When Georgie Shockey was 3, she sat in the storeroom of her grandfather’s small town grocery and watched the ladies wash and prepare fruits and vegetables.
To this day, she recalls the scent, taste and colors of radishes, strawberries, bananas and more bounty from the earth.
The time spent with healthy food guided her decision to study nutrition at Ohio State. But so did something else.
“When I walked around the store with my grandfather, I saw he knew every customer by name. He would prepare a special cut of meat for one, offer a taste of a product to another.
“Sixty years ago, he did things that companies try to do today. He was forming relationships, not just making transactions.”
Today, Shockey follows in her grandfather’s footsteps. A consultant to college and corporate dining services as well as lodging and dining in healthcare, she builds relationships with clients, just as he did with customers.
“I want them to have the best experiences and the right outcomes,” she said.
Shockey also wants students to have the same broad experiences she had after college — the chance to travel and see hospitality and health care fields from different perspectives.
“I’ve had many advantages from my degree at Ohio State, but we didn’t leave Columbus for practical experience,” she explained.
“We didn’t go abroad. I got my leadership training later, working for Marriott in healthcare and college dining. We had such a narrow focus back then.”
Removing students’ financial burden
To widen the lens for hospitality management students, Shockey made a gift during the But for Ohio State Campaign. As chair of the college’s campaign, which reaped the largest results in EHE’s history, she created the Georganne Apelian Shockey Student Experience Support Fund.
After the campaign, she added a gift to her estate that is expected one day to boost the Human Ecology Alumni Society Scholarship Fund.
“These funds are a way to provide opportunities that students otherwise might not have,” Shockey said. She envisions helping those who cannot afford to come to Ohio State, or those who want to take a few more leadership courses or intern with a company, which could require an extra semester. She intends to lighten the financial load.
“My goal is to elevate the Hospitality Management specialization, to attract the best and brightest students,” she said.
“If I can inspire great students to go into our industry and be impactful, that’s pretty rewarding. And great students make our program attractive to great faculty.”