Blog > Member Spotlight

Melissa L. Milione

By Melissa L. Milione | Jul 17, 2020

I fell into this business quite by accident. When I was in college at Virginia Tech, I was studying something very different and I had grown disenchanted with it. I was also working at the time as assistant manager at a very busy restaurant. The head of the Hotel Management department at Virginia Tech was doing some consulting work for the restaurant, and he told me I should major in hospitality management. A week later I switched majors, and I have never looked back. Once I started working in hotels, I realized that catering and convention services was where my passion lies.

The most memorable part of my career has been the people. I have met amazing guests, from well-known celebrities to “normal” people from all walks of life. I’ve made lifelong friends with clients and colleagues.

I would like to bring meetings and events back to my hotels at a level equal to or surpassing where we were prior to COVID-19. I’d like to return all our colleagues to work. I’d like to give all our guests the assurance that their health and welfare are truly our top priority and they can trust us to care for them.

I have been very fortunate to retain my job during the pandemic, with only 60 days of being on partial furlough. My corporate team was impacted tremendously, with only three of our core team of seven still having jobs. My colleagues have been friends for a very long time and it’s difficult moving forward without them.

At Hyatt we have put a lot of time and resources into making sure we are prepared for guests and meetings to return to our hotels. We’ve had several hotels remain open, which created a need for us to find and test solutions quickly. Our main concern is advising hotels properly when guidance varies greatly from state to state.

There’s great satisfaction in delivering a flawless event! When all the pieces fall into place and the guests have a wonderful experience, it fulfills me. And supporting events in hotels exposes me to a wide variety of events, from weddings to corporate conferences to Super Bowls. I love the variety of events we get to bring to life!

My boss, Steve Enselein, is an amazing leader. He thrives in changing environments where diversity of thought fosters innovation and creativity. He creates a climate where I can take risks, experiment and learn from failure. He also cultivates genuine relationships and connects personally and deeply with those around him.

I first became active in MPI because I was in a hotel sales role and I saw it as an opportunity to network with planners and hopefully find business. I quickly found a wonderful and inclusive community. MPI has had a profound impact on me through the relationships I have built. I strongly encourage members to embrace volunteer and leadership opportunities in your chapter. Like most things in life, if you invest yourself the rewards will be huge.

The biggest change I have seen in my career is technology. I started at a time where all business transactions were handled face-to-face or over the phone and all meeting details were typed on a typewriter. When we didn’t have the immediacy that technology provides, we planned farther in advance. It’s amazing to me what we can plan and execute these days with very little lead time.

We need meetings! We need people to feel safe meeting face to face. I believe that our human need to be with other people is greater than our fears.

I love to travel and I can’t wait to get back on the road (or in the sky!).

Photo by Jeb Pasillas, Multiview



Melissa L. Milione

Melissa L. Milione, CMP, CPCE, is corporate director of events, Americas for Hyatt Hotels. She first joined MPI in 1997.