Name: Michael Dominguez
New Title: CEO
Former Title and Company: Vice President and Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
First Hospitality Job: Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk (age 15)
What are you most proud of accomplishing in your seven years at MGM?
I am so proud of the team we assembled. We built a culture where people are in the right roles, playing to their strengths, and growing their responsibilities and skills. I didn’t groom anyone to take my place because I wasn’t planning to leave, but the right team is in place.
Why make a move now?
When former ALHI CEO Josh Lesnick left, it created an opportunity. If the ALHI portfolio did not include MGM as a member, I don’t know if it would have been as easy of a decision. This decision was not connected to the MGM 2020 reorganization.
There were personal reasons, too. I wanted to move closer to my parents, who are having health issues.
ALHI offices don’t have to be in Boston; we can be strategic about it, based on where customers and industry organizations are located, as long it has good airlift.
What can you do as CEO of a membership-based sales company that you couldn’t do as chief of sales at a company that sees itself as an owner and operator of entertainment experiences?
It wasn’t about what I couldn’t do at MGM. They were great. This is a chance for me to look at how to deliver value to ALHI members and customers with fresh eyes.
ALHI is a global sales organization for independent, luxury property hotels and independent brands. That includes iconic hotels like the Pebble Beach resorts and Broadmoor resorts of the world that can’t build a global sales team for a single property, even though they are iconic. It also includes MGM Resorts International and Lowes Hotels, where I worked for seven years before that. It is all one extended family.
You talk to groups all over the country about leadership, and the importance of vision and being a servant leader. What is the change you want to lead in your new role?
It is not about what I can do, but what we can do as an industry together. Some of the largest issues today revolve around social and environmental issues that need to be tackled as a collective industry. If we are working on diversity and inclusion, that means everyone needs to be in the conversation. Human trafficking is a global issue. We need to talk about what we can do together. ALHI needs to have a seat at the table with U.S. Travel. That brings 240 hotels closer to these issues so they can make a difference.
You have shared with us before the importance of family and the work ethic you learned at home. What was your family’s reaction when you told them about the opportunity?
My mother is the example I hope to live up to as a servant-leader. She said, “What I am most proud of is that no matter where you go or what you have done, you have always been Michael.” How I treat people is what defines me, not my title.
My wife of 30 years has always been a supporter of my career. She posted a note on social media that said, “The next chapter begins.” I think that describes it well.
Dominguez on Leadership
“Approach the job with humility. It is about serving others and if you don’t understand that, you will not be successful.”
“Sharing a vision and a belief system is how you give people on your team hope. You also have to be authentic. You have to be real. They don’t expect us to be perfect, but they do expect us to be human, so we need to show our humanity and our vulnerability.”
“I started my career in this industry by accident, waiting on tables, and even today, it is still all about service.”