ESP Project Leader Profile: Ronna Timpa

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

When you think about the hotel industry, which ESPers come to mind? I immediately think about Ronna Timpa, and in this TESOL Blog post, I am excited to present her ESP project leader profile!

When I think about the hotel industry in Japan, where I live and work, the Tokyo Disney Resort hotels are first in my thoughts because my university is located on the same train line as Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. I imagine that if Ronna were living in Tokyo, she would be active in competing for the Tokyo Disney Resort hotel training business.

Ronna, however, is living and working in Las Vegas, Nevada (in the USA). This blog post is not the first in which I have written about Ronna. (Actually, I have mentioned her in three other blog posts.) In my 17 June 2014 blog post, I describe Ronna as follows:

Ronna Timpa is an EOS (English in Occupational Settings) representative in the TESOL ESP-IS. One of Ronna’s EOP activities is training employees in hotels. Check out her company’s website and a related video.

Please note that the video above concerns Ronna Timpa’s Hotel English Online.

In view of Ronna’s entrepreneurial activities and company website, I would also like to point out that ESPers often wear many hats. In the ESP PowerPoint (Knight, Lomperis, van Naerssen, & Westerfield, 2010, slide 10), ESPers are described as follows:

ESP professionals, due to their industrial/communication expertise, often have multiple roles in the public, private, and academic sectors on a local, regional, or global scale including:

− Teaching or training (onsite and/or online)
− Teacher or trainer development (onsite and/or online)
− Curriculum design
− Materials development
− Program administration
− Policy analysis and development
− Public speaking
− Research
− Consulting

I would like to add “Entrepreneurship” to the list above.


 photo (7)

Ronna Timpa, Founder & Chief Motivator, Workplace ESL Solutions,, +1 702-280-2288

Define leadership in your own words.

A leader is someone who has followers. That is my simple definition. Leadership is a behavior that leads people to be their best.  You can be a leader at any level in management.  Leadership is a decision to encourage, motivate, guide, and inspire those around you.

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful? 

  • Topic – Hospitality ESL
  • Background – There is a hotel in Lake Tahoe that I used to travel to weekly back before [I had] children. Recently they called with interest in creating a new ESP program. We had to think outside the box to create something that would work. We decided to reach out to four hotel properties and gather employees who needed ESL, wanted ESL, and who had potential to grow. The Lodging Association, the community college, and the properties all came together to discuss this need.
  • Project – Teach specific hotel language to four different hotels in South Lake Tahoe in a 3-day immersion format
  • Needs Assessment – Surveys and conversations
  • What Success Looked like – A graduation with role plays that were spot on!


What are the reactions of stakeholders to Ronna’s training? In my 8 September 2014 blog post, I provided the link to a video of testimonials about her Hotel English Online training.

Finally, we should not forget that Ronna recently gave a TEDxTalk: Exclusion is an Invisible Disease. Be sure to check it out!

Do you have questions for Ronna? I do. I am always interested in how ESPers communicate to create and achieve their visions. I also wonder what advice Ronna has for ESPers worldwide who are interested in working in the hotel industry. Post any questions or comments for Ronna in the space below!  Also, if you are working in the hotel industry, what is your advice?

Finally, the next ESP project leader profile will be posted next month.

All the best,



Knight, K., Lomperis, A., van Naerssen, M., & Westerfield, K. (2010). English for Specific Purposes: An Overview for Practitioners and Clients (Academic and Corporate). PowerPoint presentation submitted to Alexandria, Virginia: TESOL Resource Center.

About Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight (PhD in Linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is an associate professor in the Department of International Communication (International Business Career major) and has also been working in the Career Education Center of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. In the TESOL ESP Interest Section (ESPIS), he has served as chair and English in occupational settings (EOS) representative, and he is currently the ESPIS community manager. He was also a member of the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF) appointed by the board of directors. In addition, he has been a TESOL blogger in the area of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has more than 30 years of professional experience working for private, public, and academic sector institutions including Sony and the Japan Patent Office. His doctoral research on leadership communication (i.e., discourse) as a basis for leadership development was under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin and Dr. Alan Jones.
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