The guest speaker is Karl Lum who studied at Tampa’s University of South Florida. Here, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree and an MBA. His wife is called Debbie and together they have two sons by the name Alexander and Ashton. Lum started working for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in 1999 when he was appointed the finance director of Busch Gardens in Florida (SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, 2019). SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is the parent company consisting of amusement parks in Orlando. From 2001, Lum served as the vice president of finance in the same company. He was in charge of the daily running of the departments’ activities within the company. He also aligned the financial and operational strategies to the goals of Sea World Parks & Entertainment. Lum switched to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, where he served as the Park President. At this company, he was in charge of managing the day-to-day operations of the Williamsburg parks (SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, 2019).
Lum came up with strategies to change the company positively by handling big projects and finding solutions to problems. Part of his tasks included coming up with a rebranding technique to improve productivity and investment. Later in 2016, he became the Park President of SeaWorld and Aquatica. He was faced with the challenge of reviving the SeaWorld that had been tainted by the Blackfish documentary of 2013. In the release, a trainer was killed by a killer whale, tainting the image of the company (Idriss, 2016). The leadership of the company has shifted across the years and Lum was determined to construct an organized structure for the company. He improved the attendance at the parks by impressing the mainstream audience. Today, Lum sits at the board for Visit San Antonio, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Travel Industry Association (SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, 2019).
As a board member, Lum is called upon to deliver a speech to the students at a local university. He is well-known to possess a commanding presence accompanied by a relaxed voice. He has dedicated his career to manage the company that takes care of animals at the parks. Much of the responsibility is channeled towards safeguarding the endangered and threatened animals (Iszler, 2019). He is passionate about creating awareness for the conservation of certain species. Lum has achieved a lot at SeaWorld and Aquatica by focusing on improving the attendance and retention rate of the people visiting the amusement parks. This is the reason why he rose in the ranks as his career progressed. In the industry, he always wanted to reinvent SeaWorld and Aquatica and make it the main attraction within the country. One of Lum’s main goals was to improve the image and reputation of the park. This is after the Blackfish documentary that threatened to disrupt the normal operations of the company (Idriss, 2016).
The students also have goals concerning their personal lives and careers. Most of the students envy the career achievements realized by the guest speaker. The students need to understand the difficult path followed by Lum in achieving his goals. Majority of the student’s goals are short-term and related to university life. For instance, most of the students expect to attain high grades at the end of the semester as well as advancing their careers. The students are likely to emulate what Lum advises them in his speech. The success story is well relatable to the students as they align their decisions and actions in that direction. Although most of the students’ goals are short-term, there is a classic example of prosperity to derive from the guest speaker.