Pursuing a higher education wasn't something Glenn Brooks wanted for his life. He intended to go straight into the workforce following his high school graduation. But in order for Brooks to obtain a good-paying job in the hospitality industry, he realized attending Triton College, a community college, was a "nice compromise" to getting a great education in two years that would catapult him into the working world. Today, he boasts the title of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for General Hotels Corporation, based in Indianapolis, Ind., where he oversees revenue operations for 13 hotels in Indiana.
Within 30 days after graduating from Triton with an associate's degree in Hospitality and Food Management in 1977, Brooks moved to Los Angeles to work at the front desk of The Westin Bonaventure, a 1,500-room hotel that is part of The Westin Hotels & Resorts Corporation. "I very quickly learned that if you work hard, are friendly to customers and simply care about what you do in your job that you can and will go far," Brooks said. "I earned my first promotion five months later."
He continued moving up the corporate ladder during his 21 years with The Westin Corporation, working in seven cities around the country. He's held his current position with General Hotels Corporation for 12 years; has won numerous awards for his exemplary service, including the Thurston-Dupar Award given by the Westin hotel group; and is involved with the Meeting Professionals International group in Indiana as the president, in addition to serving on other boards and committees.
What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of you educational and career goals?I had to learn that not every job and situation is necessarily totally suited for you. Sometimes the fit wasn't exactly right. Simply persevere through it. It won't be forever, and it makes you stronger. I've been in these situations a few times, but I always gave it my best and came out of it with a new and better position that made it all worth it.
What have been some sources of inspiration both in your career and in your life?I have learned that leadership is the most important aspect of a business. I always enjoyed the individuals I worked for as people, but almost exclusively, they were poor leaders. It's unusual, but I learned how to be a good leader by the mistakes I saw being made by those in higher positions. I am always striving to be the best leader I can be, and I know that the many people who, both past and present, have worked under me have appreciated it. The good ones excel on their own but strong leadership takes them to an even higher level.
What would you describe as your strong suit?Again, being a good leader is my number one strength. Even as I was coming up through the ranks and wasn't a leader yet, I knew that leadership positions were where I would thrive. I've been fortunate to be a leader to many great people and I have seen many, many success stories of those people excelling in their lives and/or careers.
How has Triton College impacted your life?I always enjoyed my time at Triton. The professors were caring and knowledgeable. The school just gave me a good feeling overall. The secret to success, though, once one begins their career, transitions from the importance of an education to the importance of how you perform on the job. I found upward growth to be unlimited if one has the right attitude. Schooling gets you off and running, but the rest is up to you.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?The hotel business has tremendous opportunities. For reasons I can't explain, there is always a shortage of good people. The secret to success is starting in an entry-level position when you first enter the business. This foundation will always help you in future years. Use an entry-level position as a springboard for further job growth. The ball is 100 percent in your court if you desire further growth.
What are your words of wisdom for current Triton students?Once again, the ball is in your court. If you care about a good job or career, you CAN make it happen. It is nothing more than putting your mindset in the right place. Good things WILL happen if you do your part. Even though jobs are supposedly hard to find in this economy, those who care will get jobs, and I believe there are many good jobs available. It is 100 percent up to you on how you approach it!
What are your plans for the future?I love the job I am in right now and have enjoyed it for the past 12 years. I hope to continue in my current role for many years.
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