Meet The Team

Harris Rosen – President & COO

Our Company is Born… “Understand that back then [1974] 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.”

Read Full Biography

Derek Baum – General Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1987
  • Birthplace: Plattsburgh, New York
  • Derek graduated from Cornell University.
  • On his time off, Derek enjoys playing golf.
  • His favorite thing from the Rosen Plaza menu is the Jack’s Place Cedar Plank-Roasted Sea Bass.
  • Derek was awarded the Rock Award for a decade of foundation service to the Rosen Hotels & Resorts’ Service Advisory Council.

Jay Finkelstein, Assistant General Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2006
  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
  • Jay’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is working with a team of dedicated associates whose main concern is to create a memorable experience for our guests on a daily basis.
  • His favorite fun things to do in Orlando are playing golf and spending time with his family.
  • Jay’s favorite thing off the Rosen Plaza menu is the Lite Bite’s Grilled Cheese of the Day.
  • Jay volunteers for Hubbard House, he delivers Meals on Wheels to benefit homebound individuals, and participates with Operation Giveback to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Leslie Menichini – VP of Sales & Marketing Rosen Hotels & Resorts
16 Years of Service

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.

Victoria Hall – Director Sales & Marketing
18 Years of Service

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1999
  • Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Victoria attended the Gillian Inglis Business College in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Victoria’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is the flexibility and empowerment to make decisions for clients.
  • In 2013, Victoria was awarded with the Passion for Excellence Award, an award presented to associates who are passionate about the work they produce. In 2016, she was awarded with the Power Stroker Sales Award for her excellent sales record.
  • Victoria volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and enjoys participating in several community walks, to include walks with Breast Cancer Awareness, American Heart Association, and Paws in the Park.

Michael McMullen – Executive Chef

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2006
  • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chef Michael graduated from the University of Cincinnati.
  • For Michael, his favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is having such a diverse staff of culinarians to infuse ethnic flair into the menus and recipes.
  • Michael’s favorite thing off the Rosen Plaza menu is the amazing Cedar Plank Seabass at Jack’s Place.
  • His favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is boating on the many lakes available in the area.

Martha Rodriguez – Executive Assistant

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1991
  • Birthplace: Cali, Colombia
  • Martha was named Associate of the Year for 2013 and Associate of the Month for April 2017.
  • Martha’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is that it does not feel like work because everyone is kind and endearing.
  • Her favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is spending time with her family at various local attractions.
  • Martha enjoys participating in the 5K Corporate Walk.

Marvel Ramdowar – Chief Engineer

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2006
  • Birthplace: Guyana
  • From the menu, Marvel likes the option of building his own sandwich at the Lite Bite.
  • His favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is to visit different locations with his grandchildren.
  • Marvel’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is his team.

Dee Rencoukos – Director of Front Services

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2005
  • Birthplace: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
  • Dee was named Manager of the Year for the Rosen Plaza in 2014.
  • On her time off, she enjoys finding local venues that are off the beaten path to hang out with friends.
  • Dee’s favorite thing on the Rosen Plaza menu is the Jack’s Place Signature Bisque, a “Royal Red” shrimp and corn bisque accented with Jack’s special herbs and spices.

Crystal Grice – Director of Convention Services and Catering

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1999
  • Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
  • Crystal’s favorite things about working for Rosen Hotels & Resorts are the integrity of the brand and our company’s leadership.
  • On her time off, she enjoys going to the theater in Orlando’s beautiful performing arts venues.
  • Crystal was named Manager of the Quarter in 2015 when she worked at our sister property, the Rosen Centre.

Marcela Vega – Director of Housekeeping

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1993
  • Birthplace: Dominican Republic
  • Marcela’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is her team.
  • Her favorite thing off Rosen Plaza’s menu is 3NINE’s Yucca Fries.
  • Marcela has participated in numerous community service and corporate events. She is also a member of our company’s Wellness Initiative Network.

Ilhami Islek – Banquet Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2006
  • Birthplace: Turkey
  • Ilhami’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is the teamwork, taking care of guests, and the ability to make a difference in a guest’s experience.
  • His favorite fun thing about Orlando is getting to visit new places.
  • Ilhami’s favorite thing off the Rosen Plaza menu is the 3NINE Poolside Bar Sliders.

Miguel Murphy – Jack’s Place Restaurant and Lounge Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2015
  • Birthplace: Puerto Rico
  • Miguel’s favorite thing off the Rosen Plaza menu is the 3NINE Salmon Salad.
  • He has been recognized as a “One Step Further” honoree - this is a corporate program that recognizes associates for going the extra mile for guests.

John Torry – Beverage Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2010
  • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
  • John’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is that creativity is encouraged and appreciated.
  • He is very proud that Rosen Plaza’s 3NINE won the Orlando Business Journal’s Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Local Nightclub.”
  • His favorite thing off Rosen Plaza’s menu is 3NINE Poolside Bar’s “Big Boss,” a giant soft pretzel with locally brewed Alligator Drool beer cheese.

Patrick VanBenthusen – Director of Security

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2006
  • Birthplace: Overland Park, Kansas
  • Patrick attended the University of South Florida
  • Patrick’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is being able to provide a safe a secure environment for guests and associates.
  • Patrick’s favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is to ride his Harley motorcycle around town.
  • In 2015, Patrick was honored with the Rosen Hotels & Resorts Community Hero of the Year Award, an award that recognizes associates for their exemplary efforts in community service. Patrick is very active with the American Cancer Society and has held leadership positions with the Relay for Life of Lake Nona, among other volunteering efforts.

Mary Lou D’Antonio – Group Housing Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2008
  • Birthplace: New York City
  • Mary Lou’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is how everyone is close to each other. For her, it really feels like working with family.
  • Her favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is going to Disney with her friends for a magical day!
  • In 2008, Mary Lou received the Commitment to Excellence Award at our sister property, Rosen Shingle Creek.

John Beauford – Banquet Set-Up Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1993
  • Birthplace: Orlando, Florida
  • John’s favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is grilling with family and friends.
  • John volunteers for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida preparing food for the kids and families, and has participated at the Corporate 5K.

Ahlam Sakout – Outlets Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 2000
  • Birthplace: Morocco
  • Ahlam’s favorite things about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts are the employee benefits, the leadership, and the family-oriented atmosphere.
  • On her time off, she enjoys going to the movies and experiencing the great attractions around Orlando.
  • Ahlam’s favorite thing on the Rosen Plaza menu is Jack’s Place’s The Wedge, their signature flourless chocolate cake.

 Brian Simpson – Cafe Matisse and Lite Bite Manager Brian Simpson – Cafe Matisse and Lite Bite ManagerArrow Icon

Brian Simpson – Cafe Matisse and Lite Bite Manager

Howard Noble – Warehouse Manager

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1984
  • Birthplace: Bethesda, Maryland
  • Howard’s favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is getting to be a part of a very successful company.
  • His favorite fun thing to do in Orlando is adventuring the Orlando wetlands.
  • As part of his community service, Howard has helped provide meals for families at the Coalition for the Homeless.

Andres Zuluaga – Bell Services Manager

  • Birthplace: Medellin, Colombia
  • Andres’ favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is that it is family-oriented, a smoke-free workplace, and has a company culture of wellness and health.
  • During his time off he enjoys visiting area recreational parks and watch Orlando City soccer games.
  • Andres loves the burgers at 3NINE.
  • He has been recognized as Associate of the Month as well as Manager of the Quarter.

Emilien Juste – Chief Steward

  • Joined Rosen Hotels & Resorts in 1995
  • Birthplace: Haiti
  • His favorite thing about working at Rosen Hotels & Resorts is the opportunity to grow.
  • Emilien’s favorite thing from the Rosen Plaza menu is the 3NINE Poolside Bar Skuna Bay Salmon Salad, which features a grilled filet of sustainable, ethically-raised salmon from Vancouver Island.
  • Emilien has participated in corporate events such as Charity Challenge and community walks.

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