Ana Marie Viditchi
My fifth spin off interview of my "Hospitality Heroes" piece, is with Ana Marie Viditchi, who is Executive Director of Merchandising at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I have gotten to know Ana this past year and a half, and I did a previous interview with her back in November 2020. Now it is July 2021, and since so much has continued to shift in these last eight months, I wanted to do another interview with her. Ana always has some good insights, perspectives, and wisdom to share.
At the time of this interview, it was her 20th anniversary in the industry, and she still loves this industry. I have been working with Resorts and Boutique Hotels since 2001, so I am around 20 years as well. Whether someone is in the industry for two years or twenty, everyone has a perspective, and it is great to shine a light on those who want to share theirs with others.
Hope you enjoy this interview, and possibly get a tidbit (or more) of wisdom, to help you move forward on your journey in a "people" industry.
Me: So, our last interview was in November... hard to believe how so much continues to shift within the hospitality industry, in general. If you had to pick one lesson, what is the one lesson you learned this past year working in your role within the hospitality arena?
Ana: We learned a lot about how to run a business more efficiently, and we also learned a lot from an employer retention standpoint. In addition. from a technology standpoint, lots of progress was made. We were forced to adapt in many ways, with the reduced physical contact that we had with guests, so we were able to look at how technology was advancing at a much faster rate. Typically technology does not move as fast, and these were some of the choices those in the industry had to make. Many had to move quickly, since there was less physical interaction with people.
We also learned a lot from a retention of good talent standpoint. People have left the industry, and there is higher competition on pay. The importance of recognition and celebration of employees is important, and we learned how important people are. People are the most important asset.
People are indeed the most important asset, especially in the hospitality arena. I am thrilled that Ana said this, as few point this out and true leaders understand this.
Me: You have always connected well with people, and you have always been big on appreciation, gratitude, and compassion.
Ana: Yes, I have always made this a priority. Sustained appreciation of people and what they do - it is a must. A lot was learned in terms of operational efficiency, and it is amazing what we can accomplish as a team. It is important for organizations to know that they accomplish as a team, not as an individual. Individuals make up the team. We had to close all properties, and then open all properties, and with thirteen plus properties, there is a lot of teamwork and collaboration. We all are learning how to appreciate more.
"Sustained appreciation of people", as Ana shares, is vital. In my opinion, for any business to be sustainable over time; appreciation and gratitude expressed and shown to their people is what will keep them afloat and thriving.
Me: Now that people are indeed traveling, and this past year is behind us, any other lessons you are incorporating to move forward with?
Ana: We are happy to be back, and we are taking time to prioritize. Helping our team to prioritize efforts. With all the time delays for products, lack of stock in some cases, and broken supply chains, there are challenges. Things that come in from overseas are delayed, and costs are higher. We have dealt with increased prices before, but this, coupled with all the other issues; we need to prioritize, plan business and inventory better, and be creative in how we get product.
Many large Resorts are dealing with supply issues and delays. Ana works with some of the most amazing people on her team. I was fortunate enough to work with her and her team for many months and the team effort, communication, and professionalism was some of the best I have ever experienced.
Me: Last time we spoke you recommended a book, 'The Sponsor Effect: How To Be A Better Leader By Investing In Others', by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. Any other good books you have read or been reading that you'd like to recommend?
Ana: Yes, I am reading another book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett titled, 'Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success'. Also, 'Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die', by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Another good one is 'Weekend Language', by Dave Yeoman and Andy Craig.
My takeaway: True leaders are always learning and growing. They share their knowledge and lessons learned freely, to assist and support others. Even with good book suggestions, leaders like Ana are happy to be of service. As soon as we finished this interview the book recommendations were already in my email box from her. I already started reading 'Made to Stick' and I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership role, entrepreneur, business owner.
I want to thank Ana, again, for her time and perspectives. The hospitality industry is very fortunate to have someone like Ana, who has been in this amazing industry twenty years. I am very fortunate to know Ana, as she is a true and inspirational leader!!
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