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From Chairman to Bellman

From Chairman to BellmanAs part of a new series for The Learning Channel, Tufts graduate and Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch spent a demanding day in the life of his staff. Miami Beach, Fla.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.05.04] As CEO of Loews Hotels, Jonathan Tisch knows "star service" when he sees it. But can he provide it? That was the big question as the 1976 Tufts graduate participated in a new reality show for The Learning Channel that challenges CEOs to work for a day in their employees' jobs.

"The toughest position was definitely housekeeping," Tisch - who worked stints as a housekeeper, banquet server, line cook, engineer, pool attendant, front desk clerk and bellman - told The Miami Herald. "It's grueling work where you have to get down and make beds, get into the bathroom, clean all by yourself. All of our guests are not exactly clean."

Tisch had just a few hours to be trained by his staff on the basics of their jobs before getting thrust into their working worlds for the show, entitled "Now Who's Boss?"

"I had a whole day to learn how to do the rooms," said Loews Miami Beach housekeeper Sara Roiz, who trained Tisch. "It took him three hours."

From lugging bags to serving food, Tisch came face to face with the heavy demands faced by employees across his company every day.

"It was amazing to see someone at his level go through the physical and emotional strain we go through to serve our customers," Jason Sliman, director of banquets, told the Herald.

That was particularly true during Tisch's stint as a bellhop.

"I lugged two bell carts with 15 bags for a family of 10 to their rooms, and didn't get a tip," Tisch joked with the show's producers.

But the Tufts graduate says his experiences - which will air in the debut episode of the show at 10 p.m. on March 8 - gave him good insights on how to improve his company.

"The air can get a little thin when you are a CEO, and participating in ‘Now Who's Boss?' was a true hands-on learning experience," Tisch said. "Not only has my respect for the Loews Hotels employees - which I always knew were the most professional and dedicated in the industry - grown tremendously, but the experience has changed the way we make decisions about everything from uniforms to methods of service."

And to ensure the other executives at Loews have a similar experience, Tisch created a "Now Who's Boss" day across the corporation.

"It was a great opportunity to learn and listen, and we are a better company for it," he said. "All of our executives will benefit from giving different line level jobs a try."

The show - described as "moving, funny and informative" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution - was produced with help from Tufts graduate Jeffrey Stewart. "It's ‘must viewing' for anyone with a job and a boss," reported the newspaper.

 

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