31, Associate Director of Sales
Hilton Anatole, Dallas
What I do: “My outstretching goal is always bringing in more revenue, but I spend most of my time mentoring our Express Team [sales managers handling groups requiring 50 to 249 room nights. That involves a lot of one-on-one and coaching sessions. Only 30 percent of my time is spent on my own market, which is Northeast corporate and association.”
What I really do: “I feel like I herd cats. It’s a lot of chasing people—especially customers. Look over here; look at this shiny object.”
How she got here: Kennedy was a nursing student at University of Texas Arlington, but started falling in love with the hospitality industry. “I had a change of heart and switched majors.” She started at Hilton Anatole in banquets and became banquet supervisor and then banquet manager. “I had my sights on the sales office, transferred over as an administrative assistant, started selling group business, and then was promoted to senior manager and now associate director of sales. It’s been a ride.”
Superstar stats: Kennedy was a Circle of Excellence recipient for 2014, a Hilton incentive given to the top 5 percent of the company that reaches at least 150 percent of their goal.
What’s next: Hilton Anatole will debut its $11 million pool project this summer. “The goal was to try to get associations that didn’t give us a second glance before to look at us, and it’s working.” National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association and National Student Nurses Association are coming to the property. “We are focused on getting more summer business, June through August,” she says.