Monica Mendoza began teaching at Stetson University in 1997 for the departments of both accounting and business systems analysis. She received both her bachelor and master of business administration degrees from Stetson University and her doctorate from the University of Florida. She is also a licensed CPA in the state of Florida. In addition to teaching, she is the Assistant Dean of Academic Services for the School of Business dedicating much of her time to academic advising and working with students for both the School of Business Administration and the university in general. She has published in the CPA Journal, Journal of Business Disciplines, Business Education Forum and the Journal of State Taxation. Before entering academia, Mendoza worked in public accounting for McGladrey and Pullen in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, now known as RSM, and later in corporate accounting in the financial service and manufacturing industries.
Shared by Sarah Culver, Alumna of Cohort 12
Completing the Stetson EMBA has enriched my personal and professional life in ways that I could not have imagined. When I was considering MBA programs, I chose Stetson because it was complementary to my full-time job at The Walt Disney World Resort, and I was really intrigued by the cohort experience. I knew that no matter what master’s program I selected, it would be a challenge and come with trying times, so I liked the concept of going through the whole program with a cohort that would be a great support system. I learned it was much more, as the cohort quickly became part of my family.
The technical knowledge I gained during my EMBA gave me the depth of understanding and the credibility to be someone my team could count on to analyze financial reports and data, as well as the ability to see unconventional ways to improve efficiencies, save costs, and improve workplace safety. The varied subjects we studied gave me many lenses to look at the workplace with and a better concept of the “big picture”. This knowledge helped me as I got promoted during my program to being a Restaurant Guest Experience Manager in Magic Kingdom Park.
While the technical knowledge was an extremely important part of gaining my EMBA, the concepts that we learned about the difference between being a leader and a manager have been very relevant throughout my leadership journey at Disney.
One of the most valuable parts of the EMBA program for me was the coaching sessions and the focus on self-reflection and being intentional about how you approach each area of your life to be the best leader you can be. My advice to anyone considering this program would be that to reap the benefits of this approach, you have to be vulnerable and “all in”. Like most things in life, it will be what you make of it, and you will only gain what you are willing to put in. The result for me brought about a positive shift that allowed me to better align my personal and professional life and not only be a better employee and leader, but also be a better friend, partner, daughter, and sister.
Reflecting on my Stetson experience, I have taken away so much more than 18 months of intensive studying, learning concepts, and developing skills; I realize now that it was a platform to catapult me into a lifetime of learning. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to participate in this program because it would not have been possible without support from leaders, coworkers, family, friends, and Disney’s commitment to continued learning. Since graduation, I have had the opportunity to work and learn from different restaurants at Disney and most recently have had the opportunity to join a leadership team supporting Disney Internships and Programs that aligns with my values of ongoing education and development.
My personal life has also had some exciting changes since graduation; I met my forever partner, and we recently got engaged and bought our first house! I can’t wait to see what my next chapters hold; I’ve got a lot of learning and adventures ahead!
Stetson’s EMBA program officially congratulates Cohort 16 for completing their first module in this 1 ½ year experience. In a sheer 45 days, an inquisitive group of professionals have met and developed strong new friendships with their cohort-mates who have already become instrumental partners in one another’s learning and Professional Development plans.
Cohort 16’s own Megan Griffin shares with us that she is “loving the program so far and can’t believe [their] first classes are almost over already!” She especially loved the scavenger hunt around Celebration, saying that it gave her a chance to not only become more familiar with the Celebration area, but also to bond with her cohort.
Indeed, Cohort 16 has already had significant exposure to many of the program’s components. “I loved the first few days of my cohort life! The previous cohort is so friendly and inviting, and the classes have been engaging and great,” stated Joe Styron. They began their journey in mid-August with Orientation, their team-building Scavenger hunt, and an immersive Station Day filled with EMBA alumni, current students, faculty, and an executive coach who helped them grow both individually as leaders and collectively as a cohesive unit.
Cohort 16 can be extremely proud of their diligent efforts and successful completion of 2 of 17 courses, a fulfilling accomplishment that each student handled with flying colors, as the pictures reflect!
Our visit to Cabbages and Condoms
It’s not everyday that you walk into a restaurant that is themed
around something that could be considered fallic or inappropriate, but I found myself in that place during our
International Experience to Bangkok Thailand when we visited Cabbages and Condoms. I chose this restaurant for 3 reasons: I really wanted to experience true Thai Cuisine, I had heard that the concept was unlike anything I would ever experience in USA, and I wanted to learn more about the foundation which the Restaurant supports.
The evening started with a short walk from our Hotel down a very dark ally to a beautifully colorful lite building. As you enter the restaurant there is a gift shop with logoed souvenirs which I knew I would have to stop and make a purchase on my way out. We were greeted by a very friendly host who was quick to put a table together for our large group.
The restaurant is two stories which has three air-conditioned dining rooms, and two more authentic courtyard style dining areas. We were seated on the upper level, which gave us a gorgeous view of the lower level. The uniqueness to this restaurant is all the decor is made from Condoms.
When we were seated, we were presented with a huge book that was our menu. It was filled with about 50 or 60 choices, and full cocktail, beer and wine section, and at the end was the dessert page. I stopped and got very excited when I found the very thing I had been wanting to try on this trip…Durian Ice Cream!!
We were all curious and looked to the end of the meal! When we ordered our meals, everyone chose something different as the portions are large enough to share, and they stage the table with sharing plates to encourage you to do so. The menu choices ranged from Spring Rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken for the faint of heart to Blazing Spicy Chicken, Pork and Noodle dishes. We all had a great time experiencing the amazing flavors of Thailand. At the end of the meal, I ordered the Durian Ice Cream. It came beautifully presented, and there was enough for everyone to take a bite. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I am attaching our reaction to the Ice Cream that is made from the “Noble Fruit”, as Krystal, our translator from the Ayuttaya tour deemed it.
With all the fun we had at this restaurant, there is benefit to the Thai community through the fundraising effort that is promoted through-out the restaurant through the signage and donation boxes. Mechai Viravaidya has a campaign to raise funds for HIV prevention and education and life skills for underprivileged children that attend his school, Mechai Bamboo school.
As a community leader, he has identified that HIV is not a ‘health problem’, but rather a Soceity Problem, and through education, we can begin to diminish the disease by promoting safe sex. What better way than through starting with the youth through giving them the tutelage at the Mechai Bamboo School.
I highly recommend a visit to Cabbages and Condoms if you visit Bangkok for the food, décor and opportunity to support a very beneficial Charity. When the server dropped off our check, each of us was given a condom as a parting gift. For some in our group, one was not enough, so there is a box to help yourself on the way out the door.
Welcome to the Land of the Cool Kids!
KidZania is where kids in Thailand (and a number of cities all over the world) come to learn about careers through play.
After finishing our visit to McDonald’s, we headed over to KidsZania for some Edutainment. KidsZania means “Land of the cool kids”.
Located in Bangkok, Thailand, KidsZania, a unique concept mixing education and entertainment, allows kids to learn about career options, money management and social responsibilities while building self-confidence and independence.
You start the adventure like many trips, via an airplane. When you land, you enter a tiny city containing stores, hospitals, banks, fire and police stations, gas stations, government offices, tv studios and etc…. The entire “city” is run by kids. The parents observe but don’t participate. There is an airport lounge for parents to relax while their kids have fun.
The “city” has its own economy and currency. The kids earn money by working at gas and convenience stores, as firemen and women, DJs and veterinarians. Depending on the experience, the kids either earn money or spend money. Kids earn money buy performing a job or they spend money on a University degree. Each job pays a different amount based on role. In addition, if you have a degree related to the job you earn more money. Kids can even save their money in the bank and earn 1% interest per month. Kids can also pass a driving test and earn a driver’s license.
The iconic experience is the Junior Pilot Program. The kids become certified pilots by passing a flight simulator.
We had the opportunity to be “kids” again, at least for an hour. We role played as news anchors, cameramen and women and producers. We also pretended to be pilots in the real airplane.
Shared by Brian Vann
On June 26, 2018 Cohort 15 visited the HQ of McDonald’s Bangkok and were greatly impressed by their “McDonald’s Academy”, a unique and “state-of-the-art” training center for managers, that one would normally expect to find only in the corporate headquarters of a global company.McThai, the sole McDonald’s franchisee in the country from 2006 with 253 restaurants stresses that the McDonald’s business is a people business and therefore gives top priority to their people, as it is they who deliver happiness and satisfaction to customers.
Of course, a company is nothing without its people and the leaders of McThai, Mr. Chew and Mr. Vicha Poolvaraluck were quick to realise that by creating the local McDonald’s Academy.
The Academy develops McThai managers and empowers them to make a difference at work, at home and in Thai communities. It lives the corporate culture called “STEPUP” that comprises S – Sanook at work, meaning happy staff having fun (Sanook) and being enthusiastic about their work. T – Team to Win, meaning all the team sharing objectives and having trust and confidence in every person’s contribution. E – Exceed Customer Expectations, understanding and then exceeding customers’ expectations. P- People, supporting the development of staff and mutually praising success. U – Ultimate Ownership, working as if staff owned the business, daring to solve problems creatively. And P – Passion to Win, having dedication and hunger for success to be the leader.
The strong culture has created high engagement and helps drive the company’s strong values.
The continuous hard work of the McDonald’s Academy has paid off. McThai was recognized as Best of the Best Employers in Thailand and Regional Accredited Best Employers in APAC in 2013. The award was issued by AON Hewitt and Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration Chulalongkorn University, who looked at employment practices at 182 leading companies in Thailand.
McThai was also recognized as Best Employer in Thailand and in APAC in 2011.
These awards reflect the employees’ trust and engagement towards the company, their praise for the company and their dedication for it to achieve success, consistent with the management policies which result in sales growth indicating business success.
Cohort 15 was convinced that people are the main engine of McThai’s business!
Shared by Lilian Kaares
Cohort 15 visits the McDonald’s Corporation in Thailand
The visit at the McDonald’s Corporate Office was amazing. They talked about their approach in the business as focusing on; people, marketing, and operations. First, they mentioned that McDonald’s is in the people business, not the food business. They also saw the importance of creating a company culture, before the World Office felt the need.
I thought the Step up approach was put very well. It stands for S- Sanook – At Work or Fun At Work, T- Team To Win, they used the analogy of French fries, that we need everyone (the whole container of fries) to be successful, not just one. Then they talked about E- Exceed Customer Expectation, P- People, U- Ultimate Ownership, P- Passion To Win.
I thought it was interesting that because of the price, it is not an everyday meal for the Thai’s. In fact, the marketing department has sales promotions each month to entice the Thai people to come to the restaurant to eat, as well as adding Thai favorites to the menu like rice and chicken.
From an operations stand point, the one thing that really stood out to me was their Leadership by Example.
Each year the corporate leaders at the home office go out to the most successful restaurant and replace the staff, they take on all positions except the cashiers. They actually work a ten-hour shift. So, the CEO would become the Manager for the day and then they pick all other positions. What a cool and innovative idea.
Shared by Greg Lucas
home of SqUadron 15 for the next few days is a 5 Star hotel of 363 rooms located in the Business and Commercial District of Bangkok; one of the emerging cities in the Asia, Pacific Region. The property is part of the Marriott International Group, the largest hotel chain in the world, after the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
We arrived at the hotel on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at around 2330 hours and after settling in our well-appointed rooms, a few of us met in the lobby restaurant where we indulged ourselves in some local Thai food and drinks. It was a great opportunity to decompress and bond after a long and exhausting journey from Orlando, Chicago, and Tokyo.
On the afternoon of June 24, 2018, our Stetson EMBA Cohort #15 met with Mr. Peter Lucas, an Australian Expatriate who has been appointed General Manager in 2016.
Most recently, he held leadership positions at the Four Points Sheraton Bangkok and Hilton Melbourne Australia.
During our briefing, Peter told our group that there are more than forty 5 Star hotels in Bangkok; a city that has become the #1 tourist destination in the world ahead of London of Paris.
In 2017, Bangkok welcomed more than 30 million guests and visitors.
The main opportunity in the hotel business here in Bangkok is the very low ADR (Average Daily Rate) which is about $95.00 per night for 5 Star Hotels. The ADR in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco is between $600.00 and $750.00 per night.
The success indicators at the Westin Sukhumvit and in the Marriott Hotel Group are Revenue, which includes Profit and Budget Achievement- Guest Satisfaction- Quality Assurance Audits- Employee & Owner Satisfactions.
Before leaving for Bangkok, Dr. Carrick told us that the breakfast buffet at the Westin are tremendous and we unanimously agree. We always look forward to meeting at the restaurant early in the morning to enjoy the variety of fabulous local and international food served by the friendly and welcoming staff.
Shared by Aziz Ndiaye
Picture this, you just arrived in Bangkok and are interested in starting a business, what would you do? Begin exploring on your own or approach the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand and take advantage of decades of experience in doing business in the area?
Cohort 15’s Monday AM meeting was with C.F. Chicarelli from Pan Pacific Associates and Paul Robere from Robere and Associates. Both provided us with an overview of the chamber’s objectives:
- Promote trade between the U.S. and Thailand
- Help protect and promote the interests of its over 600 members and over $23 billion investment
- Elevate the civil and commercial reputation of the U.S. and Thailand
As well as the chamber’s guiding principles:
- Good corporate citizenship – maintain high standards of professional and business ethics
- Improve market access and promotion of intellectual property rights
- Environmentally responsible business practices
Q&A included discussion around unique relationships based on a culture of mutual respect. We also discussed government medical and drug programs, medical tourism, traditional medicine, robotics in South East Asia, resources available and Bangkok as the gateway to ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
In their closing statements, both agreed that it is an ongoing learning process between two cultures and their belief that sharing of knowledge through committees and their members will provide the foundation for sustained growth through times of change.
Shared by Elena Outlan
As some of our Cohort 15 members get ever nearer to their trip to Thailand, we asked them what they are most excited about and what gems they have found to visit in their spare time.
Kate Kroll from Cohort 15 said that she is most excited about experiencing the new and diverse culture of Thailand. She is also eagerly awaiting the “once in a lifetime” visits to a number of state-of-the-art businesses in Bangkok.
Kate, Sophia Huger Baldwin and Nicole Amero have added Krabi Beaches and Chiang Mai to their itinerary, and are keenly awaiting their Elephant hike!
Krabi Beach is a beautiful area of Thailand, located on the southern west coast. The crowning glory of Krabi Beach is Railay Beach, which is only accessibly by sea as it is cut off from the mainland by jagged limestone cliffs. Therefore, Railay Beach doesn’t even have any roads, and despite being a main attraction, it is always quiet enough to enjoy the sound of the clear waves hitting the white sandy beach. Railay is also a prominent rock-climbing spot. Phra Nang is another Krabi Beach island that is known for being a perfect shallow swimming and snorkeling spot. Ao Nang is a tourist center island with a small town feel, taking only 30 minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other.
Chiang Mai is a city located in the mountain areas of Northern Thailand. It was a cultural and religious center, and ruins of walls and moats can still be seen in the old city. It is also home to hundreds of stunning temples such as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which has a legendary white elephant shrine, and Wat Phra Singh which is a 14th Century Buddhist temple that not only houses gold and copper Buddhas, but also murals and ancient manuscripts. Chiang Mai is also well known for Chiangmai Jungle Trekking,
an excursion trip that can range from a couple of hours to two days. This organization is owned by Toto, who was born in a small village in Chiang Dao Forest and offers experiences such as riding an elephant, bamboo rafting, exploring caves and the rainforest or even taking small groups to his Hill Tribe to experience real forest life.
Our students will have ample time to explore the sights and sounds during their time abroad. We can’t wait to hear about all of their amazing experiences and things that surprised them the most!