Tourism Exec Speaks to MBA Students Saturday, March 14

March 06, 2009

Tourism Exec Speaks to MBA Students Saturday, March 14

Saint Leo University’s Lunch-and-Learn Program for graduate students in business administration welcomes to campus this month a leading executive from Florida’s tourism industry, Thomas E. O’Brien, president and CEO of AAA Auto Club South.

While many people correctly think of AAA as the company that gives them a tow when their vehicles break down or when a tire goes flat, the company is actually a much broader and more complex enterprise. AAA South provides consumers with travel agency services, traffic-safety courses, and a wide array of insurance and financial services. Its members come from a huge geographic market: Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and parts of Tennessee.

O’Brien, who has been president of AAA South since 2002, says he plans to share leadership lessons that can be applied to any sector of the economy, and not only the travel business. He wants to focus on fundamentals required of leaders at all times, but especially during a troubled economy, he says, such as: “how you inspire other people, creating and sustaining a positive attitude, and creating a sense of urgency.'

Because some of Saint Leo’s MBA students are already in the work force, O’Brien says they will be able to apply the leadership principles immediately. And the students who are enrolled full-time in the master’s of business administration program “will go away with good, solid ideas' they can use upon entering the business world, O’Brien says.

The program is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, in Selby Auditorium from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A light lunch will be available for students on the main campus. MBA students enrolled at Saint Leo’s Chesapeake, Va., and suburban Atlanta teaching locations will be participating through video teleconferencing technology.

Members of the public are invited to attend, though seating is limited. For more information, or to reserve a seat, contact Ashley Henderson at or (352) 588-7370.