2018 Top Hat Finalist Spotlight – Desiree Quintana

2018 Front of House – Hospitality Finalist

Desiree Quintana

La Fonda on the Plaza

What was your first job in the hospitality/tourism industry?
Working at Collegiate Athletic Tours as a tour escort for collegiate football bowl games while attending college at Penn State University

Who has helped/mentored you throughout your career?
Many individuals from colleagues/friends to family including Linda Heddleston to Joel Malnick to Sara Hale to Don Jackson to Annadru Lampert to Sam and Ethel Ballen to Ed Pulsifer and Jenny Kimball. Plus my husband, Greg, our two sons and my parents. Greg, our sons, and my parents are my solid rocks.

What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career was being offered the opportunity to work at La Fonda on the Plaza. Initially, I was drawn to the history of the hotel, the location and the amount of meeting/event space to sell. Having the honor to work for Sam and Ethel Ballen and now Jenny Kimball, and knowing the on-going goal is to raise the bar of service and quality at La Fonda is top-notch in my book. When the owners and executive management commit to a renovation, remodel or helping the community, it happens. There are no false promises. Did I mention the amazing tenure at La Fonda? Having the team come toward and make an event a huge success for the clients and guests to remember for years to come is magical. Plus do you know how wonderful it is to be able to admire the amazing artwork throughout the Hotel? LA FONDA IS FAMILY.

Red or Green?

What is one suggestion or piece of advice you would share with young people entering the hospitality/tourism business?
Remember always be honest to yourself, your colleagues and your clients/guests.

What is your favorite New Mexico travel experience?
How can one pinpoint a favorite NM travel experience? I will say being invited and attending Feast Day at Kewa Pueblo, dining with family/friends and having ‘front row’ seats to observe dances, was incredible. Also, winning a bidding ‘war’ at Crownpoint for a gorgeous Navajo rug and meeting the artist was special.

What is your favorite quote or piece of inspiration?
Two favorite quotes:

‘Work isn’t work unless you would rather be doing something else.’ – Don Shula

‘When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.’ – Dalai Lama

What does being a finalist for the Top HAT Awards mean to you?
It is an honor to be recognized by my peers yet my job is not successful unless everyone comes together and does their part.

Stay tuned for more Finalist Spotlights as we get closer to the 2018 New Mexico True Top HAT Awards Gala on November 8th!