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The Next Generation of Hospitality: Maggie Fleming (MS '21) Shares Her Feel-Good Read for Business Enthusiasts in The Art of Entertaining

Maggie Fleming Photo

Maggie Fleming, a graduate of the Master of Science in Management and Leadership program, shares her delightful memories from her time at Pepperdine Graziadio and the inspiration behind her new book, The Art of Entertaining. Get ready for an uplifting hospitality read for timeless entertaining techniques. Her book is a treasure trove of insights into modern manners, food, decor, and much more, offering an all-encompassing guide for anyone looking to develop or enhance their hospitality skills, whether they're planning a small gathering or a grand event.

Read Our Interview with Maggie:

1. How did you get your start in the hospitality industry?

I ran cross-functional initiatives for a sustainability company and those included leading the events for departments. Some events would be small and sometimes they would be for thousands of people. I also grew up in a house where we hosted social gatherings for 25 to 50 people at least once a quarter and had etiquette training as well. So I have been engaged in hospitality work formally as well as informally for many years.

2. Tell us about your recent book and what inspired you to write it.

I recently published a book titled The Art of Entertaining, which is a tell-all guide for navigating socials no matter if you are a new or a seasoned host. It's available on Amazon as well as on my website. The book blends many social traditions with modern practices. I had designers and editors work with me on the book to help bring it to life. It is a simple, holistic approach to entertaining that even includes tips for your pets! It is a straightforward and feel-good read that can be read in a few days.

3. What impact are you making with this book?

Sometimes I feel that people could be more courteous with one another. There is always room for good manners, and this piece offers readers a chance to learn or refresh their manners through a hospitality lens. The book is available only in a digital format at this time as I thought that spoke to my time at the sustainability company and that everyone should try to do their part to ease global warming no matter what industry they are in.

4. What is your top tip for successfully hosting and managing business events?

I strongly recommend giving people notice of the event and plenty of time to plan for it. People have many priorities, especially once hitting midlife (partner, children, family, friends, faith, higher education, hobbies, and the like). Make sure people know about the event for at least a couple of weeks prior to the date, and the more significant the event, the more time you should give people to plan. Also, remind people of when the event is coming up in more ways than one, don't assume they saw one written communication for it.

5. What is your favorite memory during your time at Pepperdine Graziadio?

My favorite memory is of the Pepperdine graduation. I went to school there when we were in lockdown, so being able to celebrate with my classmates and listen to the speeches was fun and also climactic. Malibu isn't bad either…

6. What advice do you have for current students?

Be kind to your professors, fellow students, and yourself. Be prepared, speak up in class, and participate. Go to the seminars and graduation if you can too. Also, stay active in the alumni group and include your friends and family in the programs because they're part of your accomplishments.

7. What is your favorite quote?

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” by Maya Angelou.

In one of my classes in my last term at Pepperdine we talked about emotions. I had never had a class where it was about emotion in business. It was really interesting, and the idea that feelings and art could be engulfed in business really stuck with me. The class also discussed emotion regulation, and I believe that is so important. How is someone supposed to get a gauge on others if they do not even have a gauge on themselves? It helped build the emotional awareness muscle that sometimes feels a bit asleep.