TISOH Faculty Instructor Highlight: Cliff Anderson

One of the greatest benefits The International School of Hospitality offers students is having instructors who actively work in the hotel industry. The quick changing and dynamic nature of the industry make skilled instructors, with real life hospitality experience, a crucial aspect to the success of students.

By having educators who are in the thick of the industry, students gain valuable insight into changes and trends they may encounter when working in a hospitality oriented career. TISOH instructors, such as Clifford Anderson, teach students by offering up information about real life situations and through discussions with students.

Anderson at TISOH

Anderson joined The International School of Hospitality staff last January and currently teaches hospitality leadership. With a Bachelor of Arts in Film and experience working in the concierge services departments of two AAA Four Diamond properties in Las Vegas, Anderson is a truly valuable asset to students. Anderson explains that studying film helped him prepare for the responsibilities of a career in the concierge aspect of hospitality. "Film is all about preproduction, and being a concierge is like producing someone's trip. It's all about planning," said Anderson.

A Mentor Relationship

In the classroom, Anderson explains that he frequently incorporates real life examples into the discussions with students. "I want my students to learn from things I did that were not so great," he added. The real life anecdotes coupled with the small class sizes at TISOH offer instructors, including Anderson, plenty of opportunities to make a connection with each student. "I give my students my cell number and ask them to call me if they have any questions," said Anderson.

For Anderson, the mentor relationship that develops in the classroom often continues after students graduate from TISOH. "I don't just drop students off after graduation. I love to get calls from former students asking for advice. This allows me to keep up with them, and I am always happy to know that they are working in the field," said Anderson.

Hospitality Beginnings

Anderson's career in Las Vegas began at the age of 16 in the arcade at New York, New York Hotel and Casino. Anderson credits his time as an arcade game barker as crucial for developing the people skills he still uses today. "I had to get people to play the games. To do that, I had to step out of my comfort zone and not be afraid to interact with people," he added.

From the arcade, Anderson harnessed his people skills and experience to transfer to the Bellagio box office. Anderson explained that selling tickets for the Cirque du Soleil show "O" was not much different from promoting arcade games. After working at the Bellagio, Anderson joined The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Concierge Services. He is currently at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino as Assistant Chef Concierge.

Important Lessons

For his students, Anderson stresses that it is acceptable to question processes. "In fact, you should," said Anderson. He wants students to ask questions about why a department does things. "Just because it is the way it has always been done is not always the right answer," said Anderson. "Change is essential in the industry, and we need to be able to change and adapt," he added.

He also strives to teach his students that leadership skills are vital, and can be taken anywhere, no matter what aspect of hospitality they chose to pursue. "People don't leave positions due to money; they leave due to lack of leadership. I want my students to continually ask how they can improve things on the job," he added.

Other Endeavors

Additionally, Anderson is active in industry professional organizations.  He is a member of Les Clefs d'Or USA and is the current Vice President, and former treasurer, of the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association. The Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association, the largest local Concierge association in the nation, works to further educate those working in concierge services in Las Vegas.

The International School of Hospitality is dedicated to finding the right educators and resources to prepare students for a concierge career. Highly experienced instructors, like Anderson, coupled with comprehensive lesson plans and hands-on experience is what truly sets TISOH students apart when starting a new career in hospitality.