Etiquette Instructor Lyudmila Bloch, The Plaza Hotel, New York City
By Julie Schlosser

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I'm originally from Russia. It was a very traditional culture, where we couldn't talk back to our teachers. You had to stand up if you were taking public transportation and a person older than you needed a seat. I speak many languages and have visited almost every single country, so I'm always curious how one can learn about etiquette in another country.

I'm officially director of the Young Plaza Ambassadors, which is a program for traveling families. We also spend time teaching etiquette to local schoolchildren. When I started the Plaza program a few years ago, I always thought that manners were really missing from our society. We see it every day--like a young mother with a child and a bag trying to pass through a door and nobody is helping her.

The most common problem for adults is probably inappropriate use of cellphones in public places. Adults have bad habits, and it is very hard to break them. But children are very receptive, especially when they get instruction from someone other than their parents. --Interview by Julie Schlosser