TWO of Hyatt Regency Saipan’s top managers have reached retirement age and are now ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
Director of Human Resources Josephine Mesta and Director of Rooms Rosalyn Quintanilla announced their retirements last week.
In separate interviews, they shared how they felt about working with the company they consider family. They have both been part of the Hyatt family for 28 years. They wanted to retire last year, but they didn’t want to leave the Hyatt as it faced the uncertainties and challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some people think that if you stay in a job that long, you really haven’t progressed,” Mesta said. “I disagree. I stayed in this position for 28 years because I never stopped growing, both intellectually and personally.
She said 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. You have to have a vision and to get to that vision takes a lot of time, especially when it comes to dealing with with people. To change behaviors and get people to live with your brand takes a lot of effort,” Mesta said.
She remembers 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, no matter how hard they may seem,” she said, adding that it helped them. took more than 20 years to achieve an American workforce of more than 90%.
“I love coming to work”
Quintanilla said the Hyatt “is a very, very good employer – it gives its employees every opportunity to grow.”
She also attributed their growth to Hyatt general manager Nick Nishikawa. “He’s very understanding – he’s always there for us,” she added.
“Throughout the years I’ve 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 appreciate. I love coming to work, I love being with my team, I love being with our guests. I will miss everyone.
“Whoever my successor is, my advice is to know your team first, know their families, know how they feel on a day-to-day basis. When this happens on a daily basis, everything will fall into place and the employees will be happy and the guests will be taken care of.
Mesta said she is “very grateful to the Hyatt for allowing me to get involved with 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’: ‘I love what you do, why you do it and who you do it with.’ That’s what I gave to this profession, and I can only wish that people love what they do so they don’t have to work a day in their life.
Quintanilla would also like to thank her team members for all they do to make the Hyatt Rooms division a fun division to work in.
“Without my team, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s their teamwork that makes things happen. I also want to thank all of our customers/guests. Without our customers/guests, we wouldn’t “We won’t have jobs here. Also, a big thank you to the Hyatt. My job has been eventful and challenging, but the bottom line is that I love the people I work with and the guests we have. I worked closely with my team and interacted with the guests and thanks to them we continue to survive here in Saipan especially during this pandemic.
Mesta said she doesn’t retire to be idle. “I always planned to retire at 62. I’m actually a year late. But I will not remain inactive. I have other things planned.
Mesta launched Train Smart more than 10 years ago and has conducted trainings for government agencies and private organizations, such as Society for Human Resource Management-NMI Chapter, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Institute Northern Marianas Technical and Vocational Rehabilitation Office.
She said she would like to organize similar training sessions for hotels. “My goal is to improve customer service, now known as ‘customer experience’. If we want to become a “world class destination” this is something we really need to work on…. What will differentiate us from other tourist destinations is the way we treat our visitors and the cultural experience we offer them. It’s all about service,” she added.
Mesta’s other goal in retirement is to provide people with disabilities with the training they need to enter the workforce.
“It is often us, the so-called able-bodied, who allow the exclusion of people with disabilities. I would like to be an advocate and coach for people with disabilities so they are seen for what they are able to do, rather than what they cannot do,” Mesta said.
Quality time with the grandkids
Quintanilla said she originally planned to retire aged 62 in 2020, but then the Covid-19 pandemic happened.
The tourism industry was shut down and eventually “there is [were] only a few of us employed here at the Hyatt,” she said. “So I decided to postpone my retirement and wait for the pandemic to pass. At that time I had planned to travel. But now the situation has changed again and so [have] my plans. Now I will be spending time with my grandchildren here and probably later with those in the United States.
Looking back, Mesta said, “I accomplished a lot at this hotel, but none of this is possible without my team! It takes a team to make possible what people think is impossible.
She said developing the corporate culture “we are family and we take care of each other” is worth it.
“We all go through mental, emotional and physical stresses, but when you work as a team like the Hyatt team, we always manage to achieve our dreams.”
She said renewing the lease agreement for the hotel grounds with the Department of Public Lands “is one of our greatest accomplishments that we are all proud of.”
She said keeping the only “flagship hotel” on the island with the support of most of the local community, local leaders and the CNMI government is a great achievement.
“It’s 40 more years of our island being recognized as a destination around the world, and 40 more years of jobs for locals and 40 more years of visitors coming to enjoy our precious paradise – that’s an accomplishment for everyone involved,” she added.
His involvement in developing the hospitality and culinary program with the local business school, NMTI, is another major achievement for the Hyatt, Mesta said.
“Once again, our team was heavily involved in the early days of helping the island’s only local business school train American workers with the skills they needed to enter the hospitality industry. I hope to continue to be involved with NMTI as they grow to help meet CNMI’s workforce needs.