Meet The Team
Harris Rosen – President & COO
Our Company is Born…
“Understand that back then  the Middle East had essentially shut off the United States in terms of oil supply. The vast majority of hotels in Orlando were bankrupt or closed, and here I was buying a hotel in the midst of this chaos, and getting guests to stay at the hotel was very difficult.
I remember I used to stand right at the entrance ramp to the hotel and literally pray that somebody would turn in and come on to our property. Just try to draw them in with my mental powers that I might have possessed. It was very difficult to do that, and so very early on after I had acquired the property for a week, I knew that standing there begging for business was not the appropriate thing to do. So I packed a little bag, got out on I-4 and said that I was going to hitch hike to New England where I knew there were dozens and dozens of motor coach operators who came to Orlando. And so we got a ride almost all the way up to New England, kept hitch-hiking until finally we got to meet with motor coach companies. I would strike a deal with the president or the chief operating officer of the company. I would ask what rate do they want to stay with us. They would say $8 or $9 or $7; I would write the rate down, the name of the company on my business card or a cocktail napkin, sign my name and that was the contract. And I probably signed 11 or 12 contracts that way. Some of these guys were so kind—they felt so sorry for me—that they would actually drive me to my next appointment in their buses.
So I didn’t hitch-hike much around New England because I had all of these wonderful Motor Coach guys who were getting these terrific rates at my hotel, and they were really very generous and gracious in showing me around New England in these Motor Coaches. When I finished, what was probably around 5 days, I literally had enough business to sustain us for that first year. I did not hitchhike back—I flew back—so excited and thrilled that I had accomplished my mission. And the truth is that many of those New England Motor Coach operators remain today as our clients. And of course they have expanded tremendously, from 1 or 2 buses to Orlando—some are now up to 20 or 30 buses to Orlando.
It was one of those quirks of faith that led me to do what I did. Clearly a ridiculous attempt to market the hotel, but at that moment the only opportunity I thought that presented itself for me to get off my chair, go to where the business was, and try to convince people to use our hotel. And it worked very well.”
Derek Baum – General Manager
Jay Finkelstein, Assistant General Manager
Leslie Menichini – VP of Sales & Marketing Rosen Hotels & Resorts
The Madison, Wisconsin, native joined the Rosen Hotels & Resorts team in May 2001 bringing with her a career’s worth of valuable experience. Building on a dream and watching it turn into a reality is what drives Leslie and what she loves about her job.
Between Orlando and Las Vegas, Leslie honed her career in the nation’s top two entertainment and meetings destinations. In Orlando, the entertainment capital of the Southeast, Leslie built and led Rosen Shingle Creek’s pre-opening team in marketing and selling its 1,501 guestrooms and meeting halls. After the hotel’s successful opening in Sept. 2006, Menichini created synergistic sales opportunities within Rosen Hotels & Resorts’ team of Directors of Sales and Marketing and Sales Managers. This combined responsibility led owner Harris Rosen to expand Leslie’s role to Vice President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Convention Properties. In addition to her current Rosen Shingle Creek sales and marketing duties, Leslie oversees the centralization and synergy efforts of Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza, and Rosen Shingle Creek’s sales and marketing, staff development, and revenue management.
In the entertainment capital of the Southwest, Las Vegas, Leslie was Director of Sales for Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, where she was instrumental in opening the landmark hotel. Her position progressed as the Executive Director and Corporate Liaison for Park Place Entertainment’s corporate sales office where she concentrated on synergizing five Las Vegas hotels within different brands which allowed her to develop the skills she uses to lead her team today.
To complete her well-rounded experience, Leslie was the pre- and post-opening Director of Sales at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, California, completing her 10 year with Westin Hotels & Resorts; and prior to her move to Rosen Hotels & Resorts, served as the Assistant Director of Sales at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.
With such a professional skillset and wisdom, Leslie would like to bottle everything that she has learned over the years so that she can preserve all her cherished life experiences! Born of the passion she has for family and friends, she has never met a stranger. Balancing life the happiness of her two sons, husband, and daughter in law, last but not least her beautiful two grandchildren. She treasures the many valued industry friends she has met along the way.
Leslie loves to invite her friends and colleagues into her home at the close of a long day and as you enter you will smell the waft of garlic cooking, hear the sounds of Italian music and the wine bottle cork popping and the patter of the feet of the very happy puppies Farley and Sheldon; once you have experience this, you’ll know you have met Leslie Menichini, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and loyal partner and friend.