Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: March/April 2010
STHM Education Proves Invaluable To Career Growth

During the five years Mike Goings has spent with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, he said his most memorable moment was helping renovate a Mt. Airy basketball court and gymnasium three years ago as part of a series of refurbishment projects of local playgrounds and recreation centers. The 76ers’ community relations coordinator and manager, along with Javier Marquis, the convention sales manager at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, are just two Temple University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management alumni who credit their STHM classes and internships with helping them achieve success in their industries.

Minus a few months between when he graduated from Temple and when he started as community relations coordinator and manager, Goings has worked in the same department in which he interned. As one of two full-time employees in his department (the other one is the director), Goings largely relies on interns to plan, set up and participate in community events organized by the Sixers. But for enterprises like the one in Mt. Airy, Goings himself handles signing the contractors and surveyors. The final product had Sixers logos on it and looked brand new, Goings said. “The most rewarding part was seeing where it was when we started and where it was when we finished and seeing the kids enjoy it,” Goings said. “That’s the best part. As a former basketball player, I love my job. Before I started working with the Sixers even as an intern, I got into recreation because I wanted to give back to the community and work with kids.”

The Sixers typically partner with local schools and Boys & Girls Clubs of America for these types of activities. Goings said one of his most recent work-intensive jobs was a similar refurbishment project, except that in this instance, the NBA, HGTV and a reading and learning center were all involved. Balancing the different moving parts, especially the taping, proved challenging, but Goings said he relied on what he learned at STHM. “STHM gave me a broad wealth of knowledge in all areas – community relations, event planning, hospitality skills – and it definitely translated into what I do now,” Goings said. “It’s very important that I got those skills like real-world experience and pressure in school and in classes like senior seminar.”

STHM has also helped Marquis at his current position with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and during the previous two years he spent at the Hyatt Regency Miami. At the bureau, Marquis works in the convention sales department, where he focuses on the Midwestern corporate, incentive and association markets and tries to convince companies to use Miami and its properties for their upcoming meetings on a daily basis. The bureau is a lead generator for the City of Miami and its beaches, Marquis said, and his duty (and the bureau’s) is to fill its hotel rooms.

Prior to his time there, Marquis worked at the Hyatt Regency Miami, which he said was a great introduction to sales and marketing. Marquis completed a manager-in-training program at the Hyatt Maui with the company’s No. 1 sales team at the time. He then moved onto the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa near Austin, Texas, to handle a small market. From there, he moved to a major market and downtown convention hotel, the Hyatt Regency Miami. There, he said, he really developed his selling abilities, which he honed at STHM.

“STHM put me in contact with the right people to be successful in the hospitality industry,” Marquis said. “Greg DeShields [STHM’s senior director of corporate relations] in particular mentored me throughout my time in STHM and continues to provide guidance today. I also learned greatly from [Assistant Dean Jeffrey] Montague, [Associate Dean] Dr. Elizabeth Barber and many others in STHM. I am where I am today because of STHM.”
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