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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Keynote Speakers

Simon Hudson headshot

Simon Hudson

Professor, University of South Carolina

Simon Hudson is a part-time professor at the University of South Carolina and also consults for the tourism and hospitality industry. He has written 11 books and over 100 research articles and book chapters. With an eclectic background in the ski industry, retail, and academia, Simon is a fount of international experience and comprehensive business information. His cosmopolitan and creative ideas have been influenced by award-winning work at the University of South Carolina, University of Calgary and the University of Brighton, as well as visiting professorships in Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Simon has also taught three times on Semester at Sea, a floating university that circumnavigates the world.  

Industry Panel

Passion Graham headshot

Passion Graham

Catering and Events Manager, Desert Mountain Club

With more than 25 years of experience within the hospitality industry, Passion Graham has journeyed a road less traveled to get to her current role as the catering and events manager at Desert Mountain.

Graham has a background in hotels, restaurants and is an entrepreneur, having owned and operated Passionate Productions, an event planning and production company since 2008. 

After deciding to go back to school to attain her degree in hospitality management, Graham began her club career in 2014 at the Charlotte Country Club. Working her way through various roles, she has been learning the business ever since. After being recruited to Scottsdale to oversee the opening of Seven Desert Mountain, Graham says not only did the trajectory of her career, but her life, changed. She managed three clubhouses at DM before settling into her current role and is excited as ever about what lies ahead.

Chad Sorensen headshot

Chad F. Sorensen

Managing Director and COO, CHMWarnick

Chad F. Sorensen is managing director and chief operating officer with CHMWarnick, the leading provider of hotel asset management and owner advisory services. Sorensen is chair emeritus and membership chair of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (“ISHC”), an invitation-only society comprised of prominent hospitality consultants from around the world. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (“HAMA”) and is a designated Certified Hotel Asset Manager (“CHAM”). Chad sits on the Michigan State University Real Estate Investment Management Advisory Committee and is a regular lecturer on hospitality asset management. He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree, with a dual emphasis in Finance and Management, from The University of Illinois Chicago, a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Iowa State University and is an alum of the Harvard Business School Program for Leadership Development. 

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