Back to Blog list

10 September 2015


Changing & assessing the course for the future by John T G Nielsen, Practical Program Manager at Les Roches Jin Jiang

There was a real sense of excitement amongst many of Hyatt Hotels Food & Beverage leaders in Asia Pacific as they headed towards Grand Hyatt Shanghai to attend the much anticipated Asia Pacific Leadership conference from June 23 to June 27.  

Talented Executive Chefs, Food & Beverage Directors, Regional Vice Presidents, the Group President of Hyatt, David Udell and more were amongst the nearly 200 attendees gathering for this very special meeting of the minds in Shanghai. 

The theme of the conference was a “Case for Change – building on the legacy of Hyatt Food & Beverage excellence".  The team of organizers led by VP of F&B in Asia Pacific, Mr. Marco Avitabile had lined up an array of guest speakers, which included multi award wining Hotel Designer Tony Chi, 1-star Michelin Chicago Restaurateur Emmanuel Nony and Editor Hans Steenbergen of the Food Inspiration Magazine to name a few key speakers. 

The four-day program was packed with an excellent combination of workshops, new F&B brand product presentations, panel discussions and key topics by guest speakers giving attendees plenty to think about and of course plenty of opportunities to visit the great city of Shanghai and taste their way around the city’s many excellent dining venues, including visits to Park Hyatt & for a special BBQ at the Andaz Xintiandi


It was also with great excitement and anticipation that I received an invite to be a keynote speaker & moderator on the topic of Education & Future Staff.


As a former Hyatt employee of nearly 9-years in London, Hong Kong and Melbourne in senior Food & Beverage management roles, I have always had a deep admiration and affinity with the global hotel company and still have many friends within the Hyatt community. I was very lucky to be part of the first team in 1992 at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong that became a benchmark Hyatt for it’s Food & Beverage concepts. 


Being part of this conference was very indeed very special and a wonderful way for me to say thank you and reconnect with many great people. 


To ensure we covered the topic and gave the attendees clear objectives & “learning outcomes”, we spent many weeks thinking about the best possible way to transfer this and settled on the topic named “Understanding Talent in this Generation”.

To add some voices of the future we invited three students from Les Roches to join me on stage. The invited students included:

The 1-hour covered the many aspects of how students learn, what they seek from a future employer, the Why of the students and what they as students can offer to employers. To ensure we were well prepared we spent many hours discussing the topic, which really paid off and the honesty & frankness of their words were well received by the audience. 


The students did a brilliant job, in what Francesca described as “the hardest interview they will ever have” in front of 200 Hyatt Leaders.


A number of senior Hyatt Leaders greeted them after with their business card and big smiles. General Manager of Grand Hyatt Shanghai, Mr. Richard Greaves said “that the topic had for sure given many thoughts to the F&B Leaders and why it’s so important that todays Leaders pay more attention to the future Interns who often are the Leaders of tomorrow”.


Personally it was a wonderful opportunity for me to help showcase the unique talents we help foster at Les Roches and to connect them with a group of passionate Leaders, if we have unlocked a few keys in these leaders minds then our learning objectives have been fully achieved. 


To further compliment what a great job our on stage students, it was also a pleasure seeing LRJJ students on internship at Grand Hyatt Shanghai, who worked hard and caught the eyes of many senior Hyatt employees. Mamba Mandukhai (PGD2) and Alexandra Wegfahrt (HA2) worked through the day and I even saw them smiling away and still hard at work at the special BBQ at the Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai Hotel. 

A big thank you to our students Olivia, Francesca, Justin and to the Hyatt Leadership Team for inviting Les Roches Jin Jiang to be part of this prestigious conference. It was truly an honor for us.