TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Stephanie Bryan, Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians spoke at the Shila Bowron Leadership Lecture on Thursday, February 22 at The University of Alabama’s Child Development Research Center. The hospitality management program in The College of Human Environmental Sciences hosted the event which was sponsored by Bill Bowron, CEO of Red Diamond.
Bryan, driven to take a leadership role in her tribe by her love for her people, says that love is what motivates her to put her feet to the floor every day and work hard to both preserve Poarch Creek heritage and bring her constituents into prosperity. She advised students to have a vision and a plan but be flexible enough to modify it because change is inevitable. “Dream big, never doubt yourself, never say ‘I can’t do something’ and never give up,” Bryan told them.
After Bryan shared her insights on leadership, faculty members inducted her into UA’s Hospitality Hall of Fame. “We are honoring Stephanie Bryan with induction into the Hospitality Hall of Fame because she exemplifies the leadership qualities we hope to instill in our students,” says Dr. Kimberly Severt, director of the hospitality management program. “Chairwoman Bryan’s successful leadership of her people, can be attributed to her commitment to preserving the values of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians through her vision of sustainable and diversified investments and her passion to create a better life for tribe members, the communities in which they live, and the State of Alabama.”
In 2014, Bryan became part of her Tribe’s history when she became the very first woman elected to serve as Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. She previously served as the Tribe’s Vice Chair from 2006 until she was elected to Poarch’s top leadership position.
During the years that Bryan has served her Tribe, Poarch’s economy has grown by 1000% and has become a major driver of economic growth in the State. Nationally, Chairwoman Bryan is known as a passionate advocate for Indian Country and serves on numerous regional and national boards. She attributes her success in shaping policy that affects her Tribe and others to her deep and abiding love for her people.
UA’s Hospitality Hall of Fame was created in 2010 to honor individuals who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the hospitality profession. Honorees chosen follow these six exemplary characteristics of leadership — model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, kindle the heart, enable others to act, and believe in yourself; have established a strong, supportive relationship with UA; and have participated in the Shila Bowron Leadership Lectures.
The leadership series named in honor of Bowron’s mother, Shila, began in 2002 to introduce students to a variety of hospitality leaders and their perspectives of the hospitality industry.
Dr. Kimberly Severt, director of the hospitality management program, 205/348-8169, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tabby Brown, email@example.com, 205/348-9848