Melissa Minto – Event Professional of Austin
Melissa is the Director of Catering and Events at Westwood Country Club and has been an active Austin ILEA member for over a year. She got into the event industry waiting tables at a private club in Atlanta and quickly moved up the ranks. “I knew I wanted to be an event planner… After nine months I moved up to the banquet captain position at this #1 private clubhouse in the nation at the time. I didn’t know a thing about… the seated dinners and buffets but ever since then I haven’t wanted to do anything else.”
An invitation to a wedding in Austin was destiny for Melissa. There she met her current boyfriend and after long distance dating decided to move to Texas. She landed a brief stint at a hotel in Houston and then her current position at Westwood Country Club in Austin. Melissa sees wonderful benefits to working in the private club world versus hotels. “I could not stand working where… we don’t close for anything, ever!… I cannot imagine the staff not being able to be with their families [on holidays]. Luckily with private clubs, we close… on Christmas nobody’s here [at the club].”
Her experience working at private clubs is very different than the stereotype some people (and mainstream media) make of it. When she was at the hotel, she “really missed the private club atmosphere. Everybody thinks private country clubs are hoity-toity and snobby and they are really not… You really do feel like your a part of a family at a club. You see these people over and over again whether they love you or hate you. It’s not a revolving door here… It’s a fun challenge to make it right every time and make it better than it was last time.”
Small business owners and creatives (including this writer) may be quite envious hearing Melissa say “this position gives me creativity and freedom without having to worry about getting sales and advertising… They’re already here. I don’t need to go out and find them.” What a wonderful position to be in, indeed! The hustle is off the table. You get to produce events for and develop relationships with people that last years! With people like Melissa running things, it’s no wonder that the club has a 6 year waiting list to join.
When it comes to Austin, she loves the water, nature and casual atmosphere. “You can go to the grocery store in yoga pants and no make up and it’s ok.” Once a competitive swimmer, Melissa shared the waters with Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps before their Olympic medal winning days. You can often find her around water in her days off wakesurfing or with her dogs Noodles and Ziggy.
Thank you Jeff Hudson of Spacecraft Entertainment for the blog.