12/20/16 | Maribeth Bisienere’s career path has been anything but linear. From her first post-college job as a housekeeper at a Colorado ski resort to her current role as Senior Vice President of Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and Water Parks & Mini-Golf for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Bisienere learned everything she knows about hospitality by working “from the ground up.” She recently visited our Providence Campus to share some career advice with students in JWU’s Hospitality program.
Like many college graduates, Bisienere wasn’t sure what life had in store for her after her diploma was in her hand, so the Massachusetts native packed her bags and headed to Colorado. Moving out there allowed her to find herself, Bisienere said. It also allowed her to find her passion — the hospitality industry— and she threw herself into it wholeheartedly. “Get in there and learn everything you possibly can,” Bisienere encouraged students. “Don't plan out your entire life. Focus on things one year at a time.” The year she had planned on spending skiing turned into 6 and by the time Bisienere had returned to the east coast, she had garnered enough experience to land a managerial role at The Colonnade Hotel.
Believe you can be anything
Although Bisienere had grown up in the northeast, when she came back to Boston she was still in what she called “Colorado-mode.”
“I was walking down the street saying ‘hello’ to everyone,” she joked. “I wasn't used to all the urban bustle of Boston.” Apparently neither was her wardrobe.
“I was lucky enough to have a very influential mentor,” Bisienere said of her general manager at The Colonnade. “He told me even though I was young I was going to be leading a lot of people, so I needed to look the part.” He helped her pick out business suits and fine tune her managerial approach. He also helped her realize that a mentor should be someone who “tells you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.”
Work and life should be fun and joyful
One of the questions Bisienere said she’s asked most often is how she achieves balance between her career, her family and herself. Her response: “You have to create it for yourself and determine when you need to let things go.” Unfortunately, she learned this the hard way after a personal health scare forced her to take a step back and realize she was putting herself last. “It was a wake up call that I had to regain balance.”
But how does Bisienere have fun at work? She regularly arrives at the Magic Kingdom prior to opening to watch “rope drop,” the moment the first visitors of the day are allowed to enter the park. “To see the excitement on so many people’s faces ... it reminds me why I’m here,” Bisienere said. “The brand I represent really is magic.”