#SAITFaces: Danielle Radke
“I loved the fast-paced excitement of the restaurant world — it drew me in (and paid me well!).”
Danielle Radke’s SAIT story began in 1999, when she worked as a part-time server in The Highwood while attending university and working multiple jobs across industry. Many years later, she was approached to teach in that same dining room #HereAtSAIT and, as she says, the rest is history.
Danielle has been an instructor in SAIT’s internationally-recognized School of Hospitality and Tourism since 2007, where she teaches a variety of courses with an interdisciplinary focus on people, leadership, teams and culture.
Last year, she was recognized with a Saitsa Instructor Excellence Award. In their nomination, her students describe Danielle as compassionate and curious; a beautiful human who lifts the spirits of the whole class.
From early on, Danielle saw herself teaching in post-secondary, but wasn’t sure where she would land. Having spent half her life as a student, her formal education centres around the study of people and includes a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and Organizational Behaviour.
“My education is focused in people, as is the hospitality industry. My industry experience combined with my educational background created a unique and passionate fit for me to join the SAIT community.”
Speaking of fit, when the best thing about your industry overlaps perfectly with the best part of being an instructor, you know you’re in the right place.
“My favourite things about hospitality are the fast pace, the people, the incredible social relationships and the excitement of it all. I would say the same about being an instructor. Connection is number one for me.
“I try to be the instructor that I needed when I was young and first entering university. Seeing students thrive and enjoy their experience while learning about themselves and their own potential is incredible.”
Currently, a key source of her excitement is the energy of change spreading throughout the hospitality industry as it rebuilds post-pandemic.
“Change instigates growth and innovation. Moving forward is integral to developing new ideas and building new experiences. When coupled with past experience and perspective, it creates a very dynamic and exciting setting.
“Our industry is going to need people who are emotionally intelligent problem solvers. Adaptability, understanding and compassion will be front and centre when it comes to talent needs in the upcoming years.”
While working to help develop that talent, Danielle’s most valuable lesson learned as an instructor is: flexibility is key.
“Schedules can shift, classrooms differ — adaptability is vital to building greater resilience.”
For her students, she hopes their biggest takeaway from her class is that they practice being to be kind to themselves and to one another.
“I hope my students leave SAIT with some helpful life tools and a greater sense of self-awareness, recognizing how they can all individually impact the world around us.”
👏 Danielle Radke is an award-winning instructor chosen by students at SAIT. Explore programs available through SAIT’s internationally recognized School of Hospitality and Tourism.