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Leading by Example: Jeffrey Yedlin

Pursuing a third hotel administration degree, this alumnus pays it forward by mentoring budding hospitality students.

People  |  Jan 4, 2018  |  By Caitlyn Lopez

Jeffrey Yedlin, '02 BA Hotel Administration, '08 Executive Master of Hospitality Administration, and Ph.D. Hospitality Administration (May 2018). (Courtesy Photo)

Editor's Note: 

This story is part of a series highlighting 50 intriguing alumni as part of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality’s 50th anniversary celebration.

When Jeffrey Yedlin left his high-ranking hospitality position at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas to work for Hilton Worldwide in Hawaii in 2016, he was trading the fast-paced atmosphere of the Strip for the calm beaches of paradise.

Although it doesn’t sound like a hard sell, walking away from a great job and uprooting a family to move to an island 2,700 miles away was a risk—albeit a calculated one—for the seasoned food & beverage professional. “It felt like a whole new career change,” Yedlin says. “People usually leave to escape something, but I was very happy with what I was doing, so that made the experience feel very different.”

Yedlin owns two degrees from the Hotel College, with a third on the way, and he says he had a specific intention in mind for each. His bachelor’s provided practical information to launch his career, while a master’s strengthened his skill set during the recession. And his Ph.D.? Well, that’s a personal goal.

“I never do things just to say, ‘I did it,’” he says. “I do them because I want to do something meaningful. I want what I do to have a purpose.”

Active in teaching and mentoring, Yedlin passes along those same words of wisdom to students and young professionals. He also encourages them to study their surroundings before making big decisions.

“I have always been fortunate to have good mentors,” Yedlin says. “Teaching is a natural extension that allows me to give back, similar to others who taught me in the earlier stages of my career.”