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Hotel industry legend challenges students to be leaders

January 31, 2011 : Mitzi Bible/Liberty University News Service

Horst Schulze takes time to talk with students after convocation. View convocation here.

Horst Schulze, chairman and CEO of West Paces Hotel Group and the former president and COO of The Ritz-Carlton Group, spoke on leadership during Monday’s convocation at Liberty University.

Schulze has been called a living legend in the hotel industry. Born in Germany, he left home at 14 to work as a busboy in a hotel 100 miles away. He came to America in 1965 and worked for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Hilton Hotels before leading Ritz-Carlton operations worldwide.

He gave students a “simple formula” for success: have a vision, be committed to that vision and initiate the steps it takes to get there.

He said his business ventures have been successful because they were started on the same principles, “born of the values God gave us … the only true values that exist.”

“He will honor the vision if the vision is honorable to Him,” he said.

He said during his confirmation, before he was 14, his pastor gave him a word from Psalms: “He will take you under His wings.”

“That was with me as I grew as a busboy, as a waiter. … How could I have gotten there [head of Ritz-Carlton] if I wasn’t under His wings?”

He said in forming a vision, there must be integrity.

“If the integrity God wants from you is part of what you see, then you’re a leader. If you cannot see it, you will be a follower,” he said.

He said leadership doesn’t start with leading others; it starts with leading yourself.

“Have values that can be measured to the Word,” he said. “I applied it and that’s where I found success. … Leadership sets high standards; the dream should be high, something you can see, something far away, something beautiful. … Move out and capture the world. Go get it.”