“Meeting Professor Robert Koenig was a defining moment in my life. When I experienced his enthusiasm and true interest in the development of his students, I knew immediately which way I would go with my career,” says Lisa Vinciguerra. After leaving her hometown of Naples, Fla., to study with Koenig in New York City, she returned to her roots while following her passion.
Vinciguerra’s first job experience was as a social catering manager at the prestigious Registry Resort in Naples. She quickly became adept at uncovering her clients’ needs and turning their vision into reality. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited by the Cooper Hotel Management Company and focused her talents on building the catering program of the newly built Hilton Naples in 2001.
Armed with the industry knowledge and skills her NYIT degree provided, Vinciguerra has steadily climbed the ranks during her 16-year career with Cooper. During her first 10 years, faced with steep competition from two nearby Ritz Carlton hotels, she grew the catering business of the Hilton Naples from just under $1 million per year to over $2.1 million. Earning a reputation as an astute business manager, Vinciguerra now oversees the six Cooper Hotel properties Florida and manages $48 million in revenue. In her role as Florida regional director of sales, catering and marketing, she has had the opportunity to work with industry leaders, including Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, and Jim Holthouser, executive vice president of global brands.
When not at work, Vinciguerra is a true advocate for all things Naples. She dedicates her time to raising money for the Humane Society, participating in food drives for the Harry Chapin Food Bank, and sits on the board of directors for the Hunger and Homeless Coalition of Collier County.
Not surprising, working in the hotel business has fueled Vincinguerra’s passion for travel. Trips to Alaska, Italy, and Hawaii have headlined recent itineraries. Vinciguerra says she follows Hilton founder Conrad Hilton’s philosophy: “'Think big. Act big. Dream big.”