Diana Vargas has always been interested in hospitality and travel.
Missouri State University’s hospitality leadership program gave Vargas the best of both worlds with a hospitality leadership degree.
“I was looking for the best program, and I found MSU,” Vargas said.
Finding the right path
Vargas grew up in Bogotá, Colombia. She started going to a community college in Bentonville, Arkansas, and eventually made it to Springfield, Missouri.
One thing Vargas loved about the hospitality leadership program was the professors.
“The professors are amazing,” Vargas said. “They’re able to just take you to the right path.”
One of Vargas’s favorite professors was Dr. Jokima Hiller, assistant professor of hospitality leadership.
“She’s not going to teach you,” Vargas said. “She inspires you to do your best, be better and always work with passion.”
Securing a job
Vargas graduated from Missouri State in May 2019.
She had offers from Hotel Nikko, the Hyatt Regency St. Louis and O’Reilly Hospitality Management (OHM). Since she had fallen in love with Springfield and OHM, she chose to stay here.
Vargas is currently the diversity and outreach specialist. She is getting into talent acquisition at 22 properties. She works to put the right people in the right positions at the right locations.
“If you don’t have a real knowledge of the industry, it’s going to be really hard,” Vargas said. “You need to know what it means to be a housekeeper, what it means to be at the front desk.”
Vargas has advice for incoming students: Work hard, work smart and be your best. You never know who is watching.
“Work with passion,” Vargas said. “If you love hospitality, go do your best. You have to care about people and strive to do the right thing.”