Chaplin School Alumna Appointed Group Operations Director of Elegant Hotels

Chaplin School Alumna, Gayle Talma '92, has been appointed Group Operations Director of Elegant Hotels. The hospitality group comprises the west and south coast luxury properties of Tamarind, Crystal Cove, The House, Turtle Beach, Colony Club and Waves Hotel & Spa. In her new role, the Florida International University graduate will report to the company’s chief executive officer and will be appointed to the local management Board of Directors. All general managers will also report directly to her. Her new duties include overseeing the day-to-day operations of all the hotels and independent restaurants within the group, including the world renowned Daphne’s Restaurant. She also has responsibility for developing and maintaining brand standards, operational quality and guest satisfaction as well as introducing new concepts and managing approved capital expenditure projects. Talma has been with Elegant Hotels since 1992, when she joined as a management trainee, and has had the distinction of working at every hotel in the group. Her career path included the posts of food and beverage manager, deputy general manager, regional food and beverage director and acting general manager. Prior to her appointment, she served as general manager of the Colony Club and continues in that capacity until her replacement is announced. Commenting on her promotion to Group Operations Director, a very elated Talma said: “This is an exciting time for Elegant and I am really looking forward to my new post. I expect that it will be a bit different to running one property but I am looking forward to the new experiences that will come with it. I think my years with the Group, which have been invaluable, have prepared me for this new task and it will be a pleasure working [...]

Jose Fernandez ‘02 Recognized as Humanitarian of the Year

By ASHLYN TOLEDO Jose Fernandez has built a name for himself in Miami’s competitive real estate industry. But it’s his work with charitable organizations around the world that has really set him apart, earning him the distinction of being named Humanitarian of the Year by Florida Realtors. Fernandez has always been passionate about helping others. Even as a child growing up in Puerto Rico, he remembers raising money for disadvantaged children in other parts of the world.  And while many have donated their money generously, Fernandez has given an incredible amount of time to the causes he champions. “I really have a servant’s heart,” Fernandez said. “I think the most precious thing a person can give is their time, because it’s the only commodity that you can never get back.” Fernandez studied hospitality management at the Chaplin School and eventually made his way into Real Estate. He was drawn to the flexibility it gave him because he felt that it would afford him more time to pursue other projects and passions. But, he took a great deal of his skills and training with him in his new career. “I think in any career, whatever it is, you can use the skills and the knowledge that you learn in your life,” he said. “I look back at all the classes that I took at FIU - Accounting, Marketing, statistics - I have used them all one way or another in my business.” In 1999, after arriving at FIU as an international exchange student, Fernandez began sponsoring a Honduran boy named Jairo through Children International. As fate would have it, he soon formed a friendship with a Honduran classmate. Together, they traveled to Honduras where Fernandez was able to meet Jairo. The following [...]

Carnival On Board with Third Cohort of Gold Scholars at FIU

This fall, five recent high school graduates from across South Florida began classes at Florida International University in the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management as the third cohort of Carnival Gold Scholars, a program established by Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation & plc. Selected for their outstanding academics, personal ambition, and financial need, this new slate of scholars represents the pinnacle of pre-collegiate achievement. After immigrating to the U.S. as a child, Taisha Coradin overcame language and cultural challenges to excel in high school, where she served three years in the Navy Junior ROTC. At FIU, she plans to focus on event management and culinary innovation. Serena Beze was president of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism in high school and plans to major in travel and tourism as she works to become the first member of her immediate family to graduate from college. While helping her mother, who is disabled, Leah Esper found time for academics and activities in high school; she received the Hospitality and Tourism merit diploma for her exceptional extracurricular accomplishments. Her career goal is to work in communication, and travel and tourism. Working part time to help her family, Dyani Roberts still found time in high school to serve as Vice President of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter and place in the statewide competitions, and complete a year-long internship at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale. After college, she wants to work in human relations within the hospitality industry. Despite multiple relocations and family separations, Faith Snow found her focus in high school, where she received the Hospitality Excellence Award from the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. She [...]

Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Launches the Rocco Angelo Legacy in Leadership Campaign

Florida International University’s prestigious Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management is reaching out to its global alumni base to support the Rocco Angelo Legacy in Leadership Campaign. The new fundraising campaign was created to recognize the contributions and ensure the legacy of the university’s beloved and admired teacher, mentor and friend, Rocco Angelo, acting Associate Dean for Alumni Relations at the Chaplin School. Still active after six decades of service to the hospitality industry, Mr. Angelo’s exceptional achievements will be honored through an endowment fund that will make certain his legacy endures, benefiting FIU students of the future. The funds raised will provide scholarships, recruitment initiatives to attract the best and brightest students, alumni engagement efforts, mentoring programs, career services, and student enrichment opportunities. Several prominent alumni of the Chaplin School have already contributed seed money to launch the effort, with alumni John McKibbon ’75, Chairman, McKibbon Hospitality; Burt Cabañas ‘76, Founder and Chairman, Benchmark Hospitality International; and Eric Pfeffer’77, Founder and President, The Pfeffer Group, contributing $25,000 each. “A legend in the hospitality industry, Rocco Angelo has personally led more than 15,000 students and alumni on their academic and professional paths to success,” says FIU alumnus Burt Cabañas, Chair Emeritus, Chaplin School’s Dean’s Advisory Council. A visionary leader and a gifted teacher, Rocco Angelo’s achievements span the globe, teaching and consulting in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Middle East and Europe. As co-author of Hospitality Today: An Introduction, he saw his textbook, now in its eighth edition, used in colleges and universities across the United States. His efforts were rewarded with numerous accolades, including the prestigious Statler Foundation Professorship in 1993. But it is his legacy as a teacher and [...]

Go to Top