TWO of Hyatt Regency Saipan's key managers have reached their retirement age and are now ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives.

Human Resources Director Josephine Mesta and Director of Rooms Rosalyn Quintanilla announced their retirement last week.

In separate interviews, they shared how they feel about having worked with the company they consider family. They both have been part of the Hyatt family for 28 years. They wanted to retire last year, but they didn’t want to leave the Hyatt while it was facing the uncertainties and challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Progress

“Some people think that if you stay at a job this long, you really have not progressed,” Mesta said. “I beg to differ. I stayed at this job for 28 years because I never stop growing, both intellectually and personally.”

She said that anyone who has worked in a human resources department knows that there is never a day that is the same. 

"If an HR person feels bored or stuck in routines, then they really aren’t doing HR. One must have a vision and to get to that vision it takes a long time, especially when dealing with people. To change behaviors and to get people to live your brand takes a lot of effort," Mesta said.

She remembered that there was a time when they were heavily dependent on foreign labor. “Well, we’ve shown that when you have no choice, you get creative and things are possible, as difficult as they may seem,” she said adding that it took them over 20 years to reach an over 90% U.S. workforce. 

‘I love coming to work’

Quintanilla said the Hyatt “is a very, very good employer — it gives its workers all the opportunities to grow.”

She also attributed their growth to Hyatt General Manager Nick Nishikawa. “He is very understanding — he’s always there for us,” she added.

“Throughout the years I have been here, every day I get up and get ready, not to go to ‘work’ but to go to the place that I love and enjoy. I love coming to work, I love being with my team, I love being with our guests. I will miss everyone.

“Whoever my successor will be, my advice is to know your team first, know their families, know how they feel on a daily basis.   When this happens daily, everything will just fall into place and employees will be happy and guests will be taken care of.”

Very grateful

Mesta said she is “very grateful to the Hyatt for allowing me to be involved in many local organizations to promote tourism and our workforce.”

She said the Hyatt believes in giving back to its community.

“This experience is the experience of a lifetime. I love the quote from Steve Gilliard’s book, ‘Enjoy the Ride’: ‘Love what you do, why you’re doing it and who you are doing it with.’ This is what I have given to this profession, and I can only wish that people would love what they do so they will not have to work a day in their lives.”

Teamwork

Quintanilla would also like to thank her team members for all that they do to make the Hyatt Rooms Division a fun division in which to work.

“Without my team I will not be where I am today. It is their teamwork that makes things happen. I would also like to thank all our customers/guests. Without our customers/guests, we will not have jobs here. Also, a big thank you to the Hyatt. My work has been very eventful and challenging, but the main thing is I love the people I work with and the guests that we have. I worked very closely with my team and I interacted with guests and because of them we continue to survive here on Saipan, especially during this pandemic.”

Moving on

Mesta said she is not retiring to be idle. “I've always planned to retire at age 62. I am actually one year overdue. But I’m not going to be inactive. I have other things planned out.”

Mesta started Train Smart more than 10 years ago and conducted training for government agencies and private organizations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management-NMI chapter, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Marianas Technical Institute and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

She said she would love to conduct similar training sessions for hotels. “I have this goal to improve customer service, now known as ‘guest experience.’ If we are to become a 'world-class destination,' this is something we really need to work on…. What will differentiate us from other tourist destinations is how we treat our visitors and the cultural experience we provide them. It’s all about service,” she added.

Mesta’s other retirement goal is to provide people living with disabilities with the training they need to enter the workforce.

“It is often us, the so-called able-bodied, who allow for the exclusion of people with disabilities. I would like to be an advocate and coach for the people with disabilities so they will be seen for what they are able to do, rather than what they can’t do," Mesta said.

Quality time with grandkids

Quintanilla said she originally planned to retire when she turned 62 in 2020, but then the Covid-19 pandemic happened.

The tourism industry was shut down and, eventually, “there [were] only a few of us employees here at the Hyatt,” she said. “So I decided to hold off my retirement and wait until the pandemic was over. At that time, I planned to travel. But now the situation has changed again and so [have] my plans. Now I am going to spend some time with my grandkids here and probably later with the ones in the states.”

Accomplishments

Looking back, Mesta said, “I’ve accomplished a lot in this hotel, but none of it is possible without my team! It takes a team to make what people think impossible possible.”

She said, developing the company culture of “we-are-family-and-we-care-for-each-other” makes it all worthwhile.

“We all go through mental, emotional and physical stresses, but when you work as a team like the Hyatt team, we always manage to make dreams come true.”

She said the renewal of the hotel’s land lease contract with the Department of Public Lands “is one of our biggest accomplishments that we are all proud of.”

She said keeping the only “flagship hotel” on island with the support of most of the local community, the local leadership and the CNMI government is a big accomplishment. 

“That’s 40 more years of our island being recognized as a destination worldwide, and 40 more years of jobs for locals and 40 more years of visitors coming and enjoying our precious paradise — that’s an accomplishment for all involved,” she added.

Heavily involved

Its involvement in developing the hospitality and culinary program with the local trade school, NMTI, is another major accomplishment for the Hyatt, Mesta said.

“Again, our team was heavily involved in the early days of assisting the only local trade school on island train U.S. workers to gain the skills they needed to enter the hospitality industry. I hope to be still involved with NMTI as they further grow to help meet the workforce needs of the CNMI.”

Reporter

A bachelor of arts in journalism graduate, he started his career as a police beat reporter. Loves to cook. Eats death threats for breakfast.

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