The Learning Institute

Hospitality Industry gurus, Horst Schulze, Cindy Novotny and Leonardo Inghilleri have formed a Strategic Alliance to expand the scope of services each provides by forming The Learning Institute. Mr. Schulze and Mr. Inghilleri, best known for creating The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, recognized as the finest service delivery organization in the world. Ms. Novotny is internationally recognized as the preeminent expert in sales and leadership in the hospitality industry. Based on the success working together in the hotel industry and equal success outside the industry, forming The Learning Institute (TLI) alliance was a natural.

TLI provides consulting and training services to organizations interested in improving performance measurably in Leadership, Service, Sales and Operations/Organizational Development. Specific areas of expertise include Strategic Planning, Total Quality Management and Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award consulting.

The Learning Institute believes in the passionate pursuit of excellence and financial success with honor and integrity. These core values create an environment of trust and respect with, and between our clients, partners and associates.



  • Visionary: Setting the standard for both elegance and market brand identification, Horst Schulze revolutionized the hotel industry with the visionary rebirth of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  As president and COO of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Horst Schulze ushered in a new world of elegance and personal service. A man of rare ability and vision, he created legions of loyal customers by raising the bar for customer service expectations to previously unimagined levels.

  • Recognized and Honored Leadership: Under his direction, The Ritz-Carlton won an unprecedented second Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Schulze himself was named “Corporate Hotelier of the World” by HOTELS magazine and was awarded the Ishikawa Medal for his contributions to the quality movement.

  • The Future: As founder and Chairman of Capella Hotel Group, Schulze is developing a new standard in luxury hotels and creating an unmatched tier of customer service and loyalty. A charismatic leader and entrepreneur with an intimate understanding of market demands, Schulze knows how to inspire customer-based success in every industry and at every level.


  • Radical Mentor: An unparalleled enthusiasm, demand for excellence and candid delivery make Cindy Novotny one of the most sought after speakers anywhere.  Cindy is recognized by Training & Development Magazine as one of the 9 most powerful speakers and a “Radical Mentor” to thousands of followers around the world. Her no nonsense approach to individual performance excellence provides a motivational message with specific take aways for people to change their behavior for the better.

  • Founder of MCA: Cindy founded MCA in 1989 and since its inception, the organization has developed a diverse client base, serving customers in the hospitality industry, real estate, development, associations, law firms, medical/pharmaceutical among many others. MCA offers results producing consulting and training in the areas of Sales, Leadership and Customer Service.


  • Expert Experience: Leonardo Inghilleri is a recognized expert in the service and hospitality industry and a well-known speaker in the area of organizational effectiveness, service excellence, business innovation, process management and human resources practices.  In his position as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Ritz-Carlton, an integral position of the steering committee, Leonardo played a significant role in the company’s unprecedented award winning success. Leonardo also served as Senior Vice President, Brand Executive successfully launching the BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts brand. In addition, he worked for The Walt Disney Company on the Executive opening team of Euro Disney Resort, Paris.

  • Founder of ICG: Leonardo is the Founder of Inghilleri Consulting Group, a business consultancy focused on assisting service-oriented companies in maximizing their capabilities and effectiveness by designing, deploying and implementing new business strategies and models


Are you a certified sales executive? MCA has partnered with HSMAI and revamped the Certified Hospitality Sales Executive application and submission process. All MCA team members and facilitators are now CHSE’s. Consider enhancing your skills and career today! Click here for more information.

Lausanne Hospitality Consulting

LHC is the consulting and executive education subsidiary of Ecole Hòtelière de Lausanne (EHL). LHC has designed a variety of hospitality management programmes to keep the industry organisations competitive. These programmes are targeted at progressive middle and senior executives and tackle priority issues in the business environment through various streams such as Leadership & Management, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Human Resources and strategy.

MCA is excited to partner with McIntosh Human Capital Management who builds high performing teams for successful hospitality focused businesses. They align your company culture from “the ground up”; creating your sales platform concept, goal setting, success measurement, market planning, recruitment and deployment.

MHCM will pair clients and candidates with clearly defined and consistently communicated performance expectations. Leaders are charged with rewarding and holding their talent accountable for achieving your specific business goals, creating innovation and supporting continuous improvement.

McIntosh Human Capital Management works with candidates to find that “perfect fit”. They will understand your career goals and expectations to match you with a company culture where you can thrive, build a rewarding career and make a measurable contribution.

McIntosh approaches team building by perceiving your people as valuable assets and whose value can be measured. Their future contribution can be enhanced through your ongoing investment.

For more information, please visit

the gay wedding institute

Marriage equality has arrived. Earn the trust and the business of LGBT clients through the Gay Wedding Institute. Are your sales and events team members prepared to reach this powerful, emerging and lucrative LGBT wedding market? We can uniquely prepare you.

The Gay Wedding Institute Certificate Program will inspire your team members, energize you and help your hotels attract loyal customers and raving fans. With the number of LGBT weddings set to skyrocket over the next decade, there are many ways for your hotels to profit. The Gay Wedding Institute will help your staff master the tools and strategies reach the LGBT market.

The certificate program is offered as a 4 part live webinar series or as an eight hour in person training. The program is taught in English and in Spanish.

Topics covered include:

  • The value of the LGBT dollar and what it could mean specifically for your business

  • LGBT terminology

  • Generational differences within the LGBT community

  • Handling intakes from same-sex couples

  • Marketing to the LGBT community

  • The top ten mistakes when working with LGBT couples

  • The top ten things LGBT couples are looking for

  • The top ten LGBT wedding trends and traditions

  • The challenges of “coming out”

This program is worth seven contact hours toward the initial certification or re-certification application for the NACE CPCE designation.

More details and registration for the webinar course is at

Bernadette Smith is founder and president of 14 Stories and the Gay Wedding Institute (GWI), and award-winning author of three books, including The Business of Gay Weddings: A Guide for Wedding Professionals. 14 Stories, the nation’s leading same-sex wedding planning company, has produced hundreds of gay and lesbian weddings with couples from around the world.  Through the GWI, Bernadette has trained thousands of wedding and hospitality professionals on sales and marketing best practices to same-sex couples.

Bernadette’s expertise has been sought after by the Today Show, National Public Radio, the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Travel and Leisure among others.

Myrna Plaisir Daramy, the Co-Founder of Mezzohead Media Corporation and the mind behind, the first social media platform for the bridal industry, is honored to partner with MCA to provide training on the following topics:

•    Search Engine Optimization
•    Digital Marketing
•    Digital Analytics
•    Marketing to Millennials
•    Digital Cohesiveness

With over a decade of experience in the luxury lifestyle and bridal industries, Myrna’s natural ability to clarify the blurred lines between technology application and spontaneous creativity is what makes her one of the most insightful digital marketing strategists today.  

Myrna takes pride in helping businesses to peel back the layers of their brand, tinker with technology tools, and return to them an optimized site and digital strategy that performs better than ever before.  With such a rich palette of experience, Myrna has a unique ability to deliver challenging information in a fun, tangible way that empowers businesses to make better insightful decisions that will grow their digital brand.

For more information, please visit


The Cocktail Architect specializes in  cocktail consultancy and creating custom cocktails  for every type of private social and corporate event. Our clients range from bars, restaurant groups, lifestyle hotels, fortune 500 companies, liquor brands, leading event planners and celebrities. With our team of expert mixologists , we are zealous about creating the ultimate drinking experience and elevating any bar program to increase brand awareness and maximize profits. 

For more information, please visit


Music is the universal language. It will help you emotionally connect with your audience. Since 2003,
leading organizations such as Microsoft, Pfi zer and PwC have called on SongDivision to engage, entertain and educate their people in over 20 countries. Groups from 10 to 10,000+ write and perform original songs with musicians who’ve worked with the likes of Prince and Taylor Swift.

- Teams undertake the challenge of writing original songs with the assistance of an all-star band, then perform them in a ‘battle of the bands’! No musical experience required…
- Perfect for general sessions, your audience will help create a song that captures your program’s key messages.
- Choose from two fabulous programs: “Building A Culture Of Innovation - Communication, Creativity &       Collaboration” or “CSR Storytelling With Songs”.
- Highlight key event objectives whilst putting your attendees’ music knowledge and skills to the test with this fun and interactive activity led by SongDivision’s world class musicians!
- Lip syncing is all the rage, and you haven’t lived until you’ve done karaoke backed by a live band of amazing musicians!
- Whether a party band or DJ, headline act or our unique interactive musical entertainment, SongDivision can take your even to the next level! Ask about our Gala Awards packages...

For more information, visit


Debbie Castillo has more than 25 years of experience specializing in sales, marketing and revenue management in the hospitality industry.  In the Fall 2013, after 14 years with Loews Hotels, serving in Senior Sales & Marketing Executive Leadership positions, Castillo launched a new business venture focused on providing consulting services in the areas that she is most passionate about.  In creating the scope of services, she designed them to be in alignment with her strengths and areas of expertise, to bring the greatest value and return to her clients.  

Driving R.O.I. Inc. serves as an invaluable resource to the hotel owner, asset manager or hospitality management company by providing integrated sales, marketing and revenue enhancing strategic plans designed to drive top line revenues to achieve EBITDA goals and increase asset value.  Primary areas of focus include due diligence and market analysis for new hotel acquisitions, business diagnostic assessments for transiting or under-performing assets, r.o.i. analysis for capital investments and ongoing sales & marketing asset management services.

During her career with Loews, Castillo was responsible for the sales, marketing and revenue management results for a wide variety of assets located in first & second tier cities, suburban markets and destination & urban resorts. Her broad base of experience ranges from creating and executing profit driven strategic/tactical plans for the traditional, straightforward business model to the complex, dynamic multi-segment & multi-channel business model.

This diverse experience combined with her passion for the business, led her to create a business model where she customizes the scope of services for each project to ensure she understands her client’s specific needs and delivers beyond their expectations.  

For more information, visit


Doug Sandler is a nationally recognized speaker and writer with extensive business experience as an entrepreneur and leader. His book, Nice Guys Finish First is a #1 ranked Amazon Best Seller.  As a podcaster, Doug has interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk, Arianna Huffington from HuffPost, Dan Harris from Good Morning America, Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff and dozens of celebs. He specializes in teaching others the "how-to's" of building relationships and strengthening connections.

Doug’s most popular program

(Nice Guys Finish First): 

The organizations that get ahead today understand the importance of building amazing relationships and making personal connections with people. Companies that make people a priority over procedures, putting the customer experience and relationships at the top of the list and valuing people over technology keep customers longer. Successful organizations approach the future with an attitude of high touch over high tech. Doug's program provides stories, lessons, concrete takeaways and action items. The attendee will go beyond finding out why nice people finish first and discover how to be successful using the lessons provided. The program walks participants down a path to becoming a student of Sandler's system: Invest, Inspire and Execute.

For more information, visit