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Choice Hotels' CEO Takes the Plunge on Undercover Boss

September 27, 2010 By: Melanie Gretchen

On Sunday's second season premiere of CBS' "Undercover Boss," Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels Hotels (CHH), was so touched by the hardship of employees he worked alongside of that improvements he made to the hotel franchisor included not only creating and implementing company-wide policies, but also helping the employees themselves.

Following the heads of major corporations as they go undercover to see how their decisions affect their companies on a daily basis, each hour-long episode tracks higher-ups as they work through the daily operations of their company. In Joyce's cas, this included cleaning, changing sheets, scrubbing and plunging at four of the company's brand hotels.

In the course of his undercover work, Joyce met Ricardo who keeps his son in medical school with his maintenance job at EconoLodge, in Orlando, where he's worked for seven years, plus a second job. After Joyce observed so many problems at the property, he called the general manager to have the place reviewed and bought a golf cart for Ricardo to get around the place. Then, he expanded the Choice Hotels scholarship program to cover Ricardo's son, whose medical school is now taken care of.

At the Comfort Inn in Fishers, IN, Joyce met Brandalyn, the nighttime front desk clerk, whose family abandoned her when she got pregnant at 16 and who lived with her fiance's father-in-law after her fiance had been laid off from his job. Joyce informed her of the online university the company has developed, paid her family's rent for six months so they could find a home of their own, and gave the family an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio, which they used for their wedding.

Joyce joined in

Joyce joined Choice Hotels in 2008. Starting from when he was 12, his work in the hospitality industry of more than three decades was how he put himself through college to receive a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia then graduate work at Cornell University, Wharton Business School and the Aspen Institute. His work on a range of boards and community organizations includes the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts as executive committee of the board of directors, the Autism Learning Center as a board member, and ServiceSource Foundation as vice chairman of the board of trustees.


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