Born and raised in New Jersey, Group Sales Officer Lisa Messina of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority started off in hospitality at Sands Atlantic City in that state. After graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, she worked her way up with increasing responsibility at Wyndham Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corp., and Caesars Entertainment before ascending to her current job in fall 2022. Even though she has moved around quite a bit during her career, she knows why she has called Las Vegas, Nevada, home for 13 years.
“Growing up and going to hotel school, there’s no bigger, better place in the world from a hospitality leadership standpoint to have a role like mine than Las Vegas,” she says. “It was always aspirational to lead an amazing destination where I could geek out as a hotelier—it’s a great place to do that here. … People genuinely get excited when they know they are coming here on business because it’s a place most people would choose to come to for leisure travel. There’s an energy here that puts you in a different frame of mind, that opens you up to new connections, meeting new people, thinking differently, and, of course, having fun.”
Messina is having fun during a time of extraordinary growth and major challenges in the meetings and hospitality industries in Las Vegas. The city expects to host 68 citywide conventions at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year, up from 55 last year. In addition, the city hosted the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023 this fall, will host the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium early next year, and will execute renovations to the North and Central Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center over the next two years—not to mention new venues and casinos like Sphere, which opened this fall, and the Fountainbleau Las Vegas, opened in December. Despite all the hubbub, Messina keeps things in perspective.
“In order to be the best leader as a chief sales officer for my people, my customers, and the community that I serve, it has to start with my own well-being,” she shares. “I always take time to be rested and balanced—it is going to help me serve up a solutions-oriented problem solver mindset. … It’s because I am keeping my own health and well-being in check. I never allow that to get out of whack, because if I do, then I’m never going to be the best person I can be in my role as chief sales officer for Las Vegas.”