Maryann’s Denver roots are very deep. She’s a fourth generation Denver native with tons of relatives all over town. Maryann shared some wonderful family stories. “My dad was a great cook and would make his own homemade ravioli. He was also an inventor and we were always amazed at the little gadgets he’d invent to make life easier….like this ravioli wheel gizmo that pressed the ends of the ravioli together, instead of having to pinch them by hand with a fork. He couldn’t leave anything alone. If he had a popcorn popper, he had to put a little gizmo on it so that the kernels would shoot in the right direction and not pop out of the machine. There was a continuing flow of his inventions around our house.
Food and family camaraderie played a very important part in Maryann’s childhood. She grew up in North Denver and enjoyed all of the great aspects of a large Italian family. ”My father was a gourmet cook and my grandmother made homemade bread, prosciutto, and of course they made their own wine. My mother was a wonderful cook as well. All of those things made up a lifestyle that made me feel warm and cozy. My dad was a very funny person and he made me laugh all of the time.”
Some of her happiest childhood memories revolve around the many trips to the family cabin in the mountains. “My grandfather was a lumberman and he left a large parcel of land near Tolland, Colorado to the whole family. On summer weekends, my large family including over thirty-five first cousins, would all go to the mountains and stay in their cabins. We’d all get together and go for picnics, hikes and jeep rides. It was great fun.”
Family support is very important to Maryann. Her extended family includes many aunts, uncles and cousins. “The family closeness changed for awhile. Everyone went their own directions during my college years, but now that we’re older and we’re beginning to “empty nest,” the families are growing closer and spending more time together.
Maryann is the Director of Public Relations for the Hyatt Regency in Denver and the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek. “Resort advertising is very challenging because it’s so seasonal. You have to understand the destination market.” Maryann has always been in the travel industry. She began her career as a flight attendant, when they were still called stewardesses. “Most of my career has been in the hotel business. I started in the sales office at the Hilton, then became Director of Public Relations for the Fairmont and when the Hyatt took it over, I became their PR Director. I was Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Ansco Investment Company/Ski Train and am presently Director of PR/Advertising for the Hyatt Regency Denver downtown and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa.”
What’s important in your life?
What’s in your future?
Watching my daughter, a college sophomore at CSU, to see what she becomes. I also look forward to continuing to move forward in my career.
What are your volunteer activities?
President—Volunteers of America Guild, which supports the Brandon Center, a shelter for abused women and children, and the Theodora House, a shelter for homeless women.
Past board member of the Denver Advertising Federation
Present member, Denver Advertising Federation
Member, Marketing Committee of the Metro Denver Convention and Visitors’ Bureau
Member, Marketing Committee of the Downtown Denver Partnership
Which social event is your favorite?
Each year, the Hyatt hosts an Easter Party for the children at Children’s Hospital. The Easter bunny comes; every patient gets a gift and is invited to decorate eggs, etc. It is one of the Hyatt staff’s favorite events. It’s just wonderful. We wouldn’t miss it.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met?
A couple of years ago, the Volunteers of America Guild brought Debbie Reynolds to Denver for a fundraising luncheon at the Hyatt. She is a Hollywood icon and very interesting. She spoke about “How the West was Won” and the “Unsinkable Molly Brown.” and other movies she made in Colorado. I really enjoyed meeting her.
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part?
Audrey Hepburn, because she had class and style.
Do you have any pets?
Two dogs I got at the pound: Murphy and Casey, and one orange tabby cat: Miss Kitty.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you?
I was not afraid of a coat of paint.
What word describes you best?
How would you like others to describe you?
What was your first job?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of exercise
What trait do you most deplore in others?
What is your greatest indulgence?
Popcorn with butter at the movies.
What type of clothes do you like?
Business. You have to be your best.
What is the best gift you have ever given?
A funny poem my daughter and I wrote for my parents on Valentine’s Day
What is the best gift you’ve received?
A gold nugget necklace that my father gave me that he made himself.
What or who is the greatest love in your life?
What is your current state of mind?
Excited about moving forward
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The VOA Guild has done a wonderful job raising over $1 million in nine years. I was very proud to be a part of that team. Also, I’m proud to be working for such a professional and reputable company as Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
What is your most treasured possession?
My grandmother’s Isenberg Ice antique earrings
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Ability to keep a confidence
What is the best advice you have ever received?
When all else fails, read the directions.
Do you have a motto?
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you?
I have a lot of “you had to be there” experiences. I also had an extremely cute dog that made me laugh all the time.
If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why?
A “First Lady.” It would be fascinating to see what goes on behind the scenes at the White House.
What are your hobbies? Other interests?
Collecting funky or vintage home décor.
Who is your mentor?
My aunt, Irene Zarlengo, founder of the Volunteers of America Guild, has a heart of gold and has worked diligently for years raising hundreds and thousands of dollars for local charities. She is an inspiration to all of us.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
Trying to do the right thing.
If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be?
I’d join the Rockettes.
What do you like about the town you live in?
That I have friends and people I know here.