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Simpkins Series Speaker Says Hard Work, Kindness Keys To Success

Simpkins Speaker Series graphic

November 17, 2021

Harris Rosen believes that determination and kindness can to lead to great success in business.

Harris Rosen standing at tableIt’s a creed that has made him one of the nation’s leading hotel and resort owners, with seven major Orlando hotels accounting for about five percent of the tourism area’s total guestrooms.

Rosen brought his story to Eastern Florida State College on Wednesday in a virtual presentation as part of the Bernard Simpkins and L. Gale Lemerand Entrepreneur Speaker Series.

The President & COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts summed up his philosophy this way:

“Hard work is important. Treating others the way you want to be treated is important. Being kind to people is important. Don’t give up and be prepared for the ups and downs.”

Rosen told students how he overcame humble beginnings growing up in New York City.

He was the first in his family to graduate from college, served as a First Lieutenant in the Army and got involved in the hotel business in 1974.

His passion for education led him to start the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida in 2004. It ranks among the best hospitality schools in the nation and the world.

Rosen also provides free college tuition for his company's associates and their dependents after three years of full-time employment.

“Our philosophy is different. We do it because we love our associates and treat them like family,” he said.

He has also turned around a neighborhood near his hotel properties, the underserved community of Tangelo Park, through an on-going promise he made 30 years ago to provide each youth graduating high school a free college or vocational school education, including tuition, books and room and board.

Watch: Scholarship Recipient
Daniel Steffano

Watch: Scholarship Recipient
Onaiza Anjum

Daniel SteffanoThe virtual event included awarding two EFSC students with Bernie W. Simpkins Scholarships for excellence in the classroom and their plans to enter the business world.

The recipients, Daniel Steffano and Onaiza Anjum, expressed their appreciation for the assistance as they strive to overcome obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the cost of returning back to school financially, physically and emotionally, I felt I didn't have the time, money, or energy to continue. Obtaining this scholarship has given me hope and inspiration to keep moving forward,” said Steffano, who is working toward an A.S. degree in Computer Programming and Analysis, while also creating computer applications that he hopes to market.

Onaiza AnjumSaid Anjum: “Donors like you make life brighter for us and I hope that one day, I can do the same. I cannot express my gratitude enough, and I want you to know that your generous support will help me achieve my dreams.”

She is earning an EFSC bachelor's in Biomedical Science and plans to also turn her love of art into a part-time online business.

This fall session of the Speaker Series was co-sponsored by EFSC and Daytona State College.

It is named after two Central Florida business leaders.

Bernard Simpkins was a highly successful entrepreneur and Brevard County business leader who established the free sessions that have brought some of the nation’s top business innovators to Eastern Florida State College.

L. Gale Lemerand began an insulation subcontracting firm in a barn before moving to Daytona Beach and building his company into a $400 million business prior to his retirement. 

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