Horst Schulze Shares Keys for Excellence at 6th Annual Cary Center Nonprofit Summit

Graham Brooks | Communications Editor

“Growing forward, excellence wins” was the theme for the 6th annual Cary Center Nonprofit Summit as Horst Schulze, co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, served as the keynote speaker for the luncheon held at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center on Monday, Oct. 17.

Schulze has a long history with the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University and most recently Auburn’s School of Hospitality Management was officially named the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management in his honor.

Viewed as a legend and leader in the hotel and hospitality industry, Horst’s address to the hundreds of nonprofit professionals in attendance ranged on topics such as effective leadership style, how to define yourself by excellence, creating a successful work culture, striving for continuous improvement, focusing on excellent customer service and more. At just 14 years old, Schulze began learning the importance of hard work and received life changing advice at his first job working in the hospitality industry.

“Don’t come to work to work, come here to create excellence in what you’re doing. At 14 years old that went right over my head but soon, slowly but surely, I learned what excellence was,” Schulze said. “It became very clear to me that excellence is not an accident. Excellence is the result of high intent in any function that you’re doing. You’re not just fulfilling a function, but fulfilling that function for a higher intent.”

Focusing on excellence, the Student Philanthropy Board, a mentoring initiative of the Women’s Philanthropy Board that works with the collegiate and community programs offered at the Cary Center, presented the Alabama Nonprofit Employee of the Year Award to Michelle Schultz, founder of Baby Steps prior to Schulze’s keynote address. Baby Steps is an organization that empowers pregnant students facing an unplanned pregnancy and parenting students at Auburn University by providing housing, support and community.

For the Cary Center, any of its nonprofit affiliates, individuals in leadership roles or for a nonprofit or company in general, defining leadership and knowing your destination is a key component to have continued success, Schulze outlined later in his address.

“What is leadership? Leadership will lead people to a certain destination and yet I talk to so many leaders who don’t know their destination,” Schulze said. “You’re leading someone but you don’t know where you’re going? You’re not leading. In a vision statement, some people will write down what they’re doing. That’s what you are. Write something down that you can achieve and vision is not something you can achieve, it’s something you wish to achieve.”

The Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, an academic center within the College of Human Sciences, hosts the annual nonprofit summit and many other programs that involve multigenerational participants and focus on financial wellness, philanthropic engagement and nonprofit studies.

Prior to the luncheon, the summit featured morning sessions on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Organizations led by Founder and Executive Director of No More Martyrs and DEI consultant Dr. Nadia Richardson and Auburn PhD student Brittany Branyon; a Building Young Professional Boards in Nonprofit Organizations session led by President and CEO of the River Region United Way Jannah Bailey; and a “Fundraising For All” session about raising funds to support nonprofit organizations led by Founder of Our Fundraising Search Dr. Linda Wise McNay.

For more information about the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, please contact Sid James at sidjames@auburn.edu or 334-844-9199.