Hong Pham was a child in Vietnam when she discovered the pleasure she took in family trips that included hotel stays. “The rooms were so nice and fancy, and if there was a restaurant, we didn’t have to cook,” she fondly recalls. As she told LODGING, although her attraction to the industry was based on that childhood impression of the luxury and fun so evident in the front of the house, her education and real-world experience in the hospitality industry shifted her professional interest to the back of the house. She is now poised to pursue a career in revenue management, with the help of the AMEX, Ecolab, Handlery Hotels, and Opening Doors scholarships given through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF)—part of the $1.3 million that AHLEF has awarded in scholarships to 344 hospitality students this year, 75 percent of whom are women.

Pham began her steps to a career in hospitality while still in Vietnam. All along, she received encouragement from her mother—her father had passed away when she was young—including when she decided to move to Singapore to complete her associates degree, and, later, to the United States with the intention of working in the industry before continuing her education there.

Pham continued her work and education in the United States with an internship at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “I worked first in room operations, then housekeeping—for a year each—before I decided to stay and continue my studies while also working part-time,” describes Pham, who is now working for Marriott International. She says her plan is now to complete her hospitality studies at Florida International University, then continue on to pursue her master’s degree.

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