HMT Career Forum Thursday


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Hospitality Management and Tourism program will host a career forum this Thursday, October 25 in the Student Union Ballroom from 12:30-2 p.m. This event is open to all NSU students and will include discussion about professionalism, networking and career goals in general.


Speakers will be Lauren Sharplin of Sharpco Hotels, Tracy Young representing the Shreveport Hilton, Warren Patterson of P.J. Chang’s and Zach Ebarb, Visit Baton Rouge.


Sharplin is employed with Sharpco Hotels Group, a hotel development and management company, where she is currently general manager at Holiday Inn Express and helps oversee the company’s three other Natchitoches properties. She graduated in 2007 from Northwestern State University with a degree in Public Relations and Hospitality Management and Tourism. She earned a degree in Patisserie and Baking from the Le Cordon Bleu Academy in Austin, Texas, in 2009. Lauryn worked as the general manager of the Comfort Suites Hotel since its opening in 2010 until 2017. During that time the hotel was nationally recognized, performing in the top 2 percent of the brand and the winner for Hotel of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.


Sharplin is an active member of the community serving as executive chair for the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission, a Chamber Ambassador, founding member of Natchitoches Young Professionals and member of Service League of Natchitoches.


Young graduated with her degree in Hospitality Management & Tourism from NSU in 1997.  She completed her internship at the Columns on Jordan Bed and Breakfast, worked in Gulf Coast casinos, and the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.  Currently, Young is the sales manager at the Hilton in Shreveport.  She is married to Marty Young and they have two daughters.  Young says she cannot imagine being in any other industry. She is passionate about making sure that people have a wonderful time when they visit Louisiana.


Patterson is a 1998 graduate of the Hospitality Management & Tourism program.  He was also a member of the NSU Demon Football team from 1994 to 1998.  Originally from Bunkie, Patterson has worked for many top restaurants and oil companies in their C-Store division, with his current role being an operating partner at P.F. Chang’s.  He is extremely proud to be a graduate of NSU as the university is well respected.


Ebarb, a native of Converse began working at Visit Baton Rouge in April of 2016 as the CVB’s Sports & Convention Sales Manager. His previous roles with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, Natchitoches CVB, Holiday Inn and Hilton brands provided him with a strong foundation in tourism and hospitality management.


Ebarb earned his Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management and Tourism from Northwestern State University in 2015. He is a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, Louisiana Travel Association and Destinations International. In addition, he is involved in event management with the Academy of Country Music. He also serves as an alumni advisor for the NSULA HMT Program and Pi Kappa Alpha-Mu Kappa Chapter. In his free time, Ebarb can be found volunteering in Baton Rouge, playing tennis and attending concerts.


More information on the HMT Career Forum is available by contact Valerie Salter, Assistant Professor at