Serving in hospitality while guiding the next generation
Ana Marie Mormando is the vice president of food and beverage at Bellagio Resort & Casino and oversees every aspect of the food and beverage department, including daily operations of Bellagio restaurants, bars and lounges, catering, and banquets. She also volunteers her time as the vice president of Epicurean Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization comprised of Las Vegas’ top food and beverage professionals who donate their time to awarding students scholarships to attend any accredited four-year university or trade school of their choice to study in the culinary or hospitality fields.
Originally from Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, Mormando moved to New York City during her early teenage years. While attending New York University, she changed career paths to pursue a business-focused degree and discovered the hospitality industry.
“My hospitality career actually began while working part time as a hostess when I was attending NYU,” explained Mormando, “I really enjoyed the job and two months into the position, the assistant manager was promoted to general manager, and I was offered the assistant general manager position. I managed to not fully commit to the industry until I was offered a position as director of food and beverage at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. I fell in love with catering to people who enjoyed the arts, the challenge of running multiple venues and hosting numerous prestigious events. After that job, I couldn’t imagine working in a career or industry that would be more satisfying.”
In 2013 and 2014, Mormando’s role in ECF is to supervise the scholarship and mentorship, fundraising, community outreach, and membership committees. As for her involvement with ECF, Mormando believes to be able to make a difference in someone’s life is the ultimate reward. “I appreciate the opportunity to help empower deserving young individuals, through the gift of an education, to follow their passion,” she said.
Through the ECF, Mormando officially mentors several ECF students along with numerous management associates. “This is a great industry and it gives me great pride and pleasure to witness the professional growth of people who reach out to me for support or advice.”
She is inspired by her mother and husband. “My mother, in spite of all the hardships that she endured, sees only the positive in every circumstance,” said Mormando, “And my husband, who also has endured some challenges, continues to motivate and support me. He is my rock and is always there to keep me grounded.”
As for mentors, Mormando credits one of her elementary school teachers. “She was everyone’s favorite teacher. I attended a very progressive school that did not have a yearly curriculum; the students were encouraged to go through subjects at their own pace. I became adept at focusing on only completing the academic assignments and failed to actively interact with the other students. She took an interest in me and asked me to be her assistant. She quickly made me realize the importance of being part of a team and that being a lone player wouldn’t allow you to win the game. She completely changed me socially at an early age and I have been forever thankful.”
As for entering the hospitality field, her advice is to, “Get ready to enjoy one of the most rewarding professions imaginable. Ensure that you take excellent care of your employees and colleagues, so that as a team you can offer extraordinary experiences to your guests, who will in turn become your best promoters.” As Fearless Female, Mormando continues to encourage others in their progress while setting the best example.