Over the years, we have held shorter versions of what we are now calling the Hospitality Foundation Program.

While those programs were well-received, we have learned that a longer format helps this shift of understanding take hold at a level deep enough to create lasting impact on the leaders and ultimately, their organizations.

Still, attendees had significant insights during our time together. Here are a few past comments. We will have more as the new Foundation Program "graduates" learn to understand people at a more profound level.


I really enjoyed the program and have been feeling the positive effects already. There were no fires to put out when I arrived back at the restaurant and I am a lot more clear on how to deal with a few problem staff members. I had been hoping they would just go away, but truly knew I just had to handle things differently.

If I could wave the magic wand and change anything, I would ask for just a bit more time. To me part of the richness is being around others who are in the same business, with like situations, previous experience, and sometimes a truly different mindset that sparks the flames.

The thing I enjoyed most was not being sold. It was truly about sharing how to get the deepest connection and best mental health possible with no book or program to buy that held the final secret. So thank you, that really helped me to be open to the entire process. It was time well spent.

-- Heidi Westfall, Alpenhorn Bistro & Bar, Smithers, BC, Canada

  Understanding the thought process has helped me see the direction I want to go. This will definitely help my organization become less effortful.

By letting other employees in on what management is thinking -- as long as they truly understand it -- I won't have to be there every day telling them what to do. They will get it and make a decision. We can go back later and talk about any decisions that didn't work out and learn from that. I also see as a result of this program that I'll get my life back.

I am with my children on Wednesdays and every other weekend ... but last night I was really WITH them. It was the first time I remember just listening to them tell me the story of their day. I have always asked but realize now that I rarely even listened to their answers. I would ask because I thought that was what I was supposed to do but I would just wait my turn to talk.

It is amazing what life looks like from a clear mind. I am thrilled to have been a part of this experience. Thank you both for holding this event.

-- Paul Thornton, Pauli's & Vinotini, Huntsville, AL
This program has opened my world. I have always been wound tight but as a result of this program I think I'll be able to bring it down a few RPMs.

I also see that I can listen better to people and really hear what they are saying instead of just saying in a rush "OK, OK, OK." My communication skills have definitely improved and I can be more at ease at work, listen better. Procrastination has always been a source of stress for me, but I think those days are finally over.

-- Roc Langone, Waterville Dari Creme, Deansboro, NY
  This program was wonderful. It gave me a chance to get away from my office and discover a new path for myself. I saw where I give away my time and ability to remain centered. I saw that I lose my calm when I get caught up in the technology in my office, taking away from my creativity.

I saw that I had not done for myself what I do for my restaurant clients -- designing the facility layout for the ambience. I’ll be redesigning my office. The program allowed me to see in a hundred ways how I give away my calm and creativity. The concept of putting problems on the back burner is perfect for me. What I've discovered here will go far in making my organization effortless.

-- Phyllis Ann Marshall, Food Power Inc., Irvine, CA
My understanding of the core concepts has deepened. It has been an affirmation for me about some of the things I’ve been doing about my life. I think I'm on the right path.

As an example, my early training and education placed emphasis on reflection and meditation. Then I got caught up in family and business and drifted away. After some major financial setbacks, my partners and I got back to getting centered and listening to each other to find solutions from a calmer state of mind.

I am thirsty for slowing down, listening and doing the things that have the most impact. I now understand more clearly. This program is a good step toward an effortless organization.

When people are happy, doing what they want to do, and feeling fulfilled, there is a positive energy that attracts guests. People want to be part of it and be there. Employees stay and good people are knocking on the door to become part of it. That is how this understanding leads to increased sales and more efficient operations.

-- Michael Hawkins, Green Street Restaurant, Pasadena, CA
  This program has challenged me to recognize that my thoughts determine my state of mind ... and to realize that my state of mind affects my entire company. I see that I need to delegate more. When I go into the business in a hectic frenzied state of mind it creates havoc in the organization and filters down.

Perhaps most meaningful for me have been the "aha" moments where I realized certain things I'm doing that I need to change. I gained focus on how I'm going to direct my management development group. We are going to have a course change. I'm going to teach them how our attitudes effect the rest of the staff.

-- Lorraine Salazar, Sal's Mexican Restaurants, Fresno, CA

What struck me is that most of the problems we encounter in our businesses (restaurants or others) are generally managerial problems, not employee problems.

We tend to want to blame our employees. If we step back and take a reflective look at ourselves, the solutions will come to us. This understanding will be valuable in my new venture into the restaurant industry so that I can remain in a centered state of mind but this program would be valuable for any business.

-- Ed Griffin, MD, R. Stanley's Cafe, Sturgis, MI


Effortless Excellence