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Executive Profile , Kathleen Cochran

Happy teens. Wouldn’t this be the greatest gift to all parents?

Kathleen Cochran thinks so.

This goal has prompted the Loews Coronado Bay Resort general manager to take the initiative in launching teen programs, offering attractions such as surfboard designing and game rooms equipped with iPod chairs.

The mother of three children knows that having fun in “forced family fun days,” as they’re known in her family, can be a tricky thing to do.

Once on track to be a stockbroker, she instead went into hospitality after working for the Hyatt for four years to pay bills during college.

Once clued into the business side of the hotel world, Cochran said she never looked back.

Cochran says she likes taking care of people.

“I love making a difference in the lives of our guests as well as our employees,” she said.

With a father in the military, Cochran grew up moving every two years, with the exception of a four-year stint in the Philippines.

A self-proclaimed adventurer, she loves reading, and would one day hope to write about her own adventures through the perspective of the hotel world.

In the meantime, you can find her dragging her kids to try the many new restaurants in San Diego.


RESUME

Name: Kathleen Cochran.

Company: Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Title: General manager.

Education: Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, general manager program; UC Berkeley, degree in economics.

Birthplace: Germany.

Age: 49.

Current residence: La Mesa.

Family: Husband, Joe; sons, Ian, 17, and Joey, 12, and daughter, Molly, 15.


BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential business philosophy: You’re only as good as the company you keep. Surround yourself with the best people and be good to them. If you’re good to your people, they’ll be good to the people you serve.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Invest in the future, not just tomorrow but many years from now.

Guiding principles: Don’t ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t do (and) do what you say you’re going to do.

Yardsticks of success: High level of guest and team member satisfaction.

Goals yet to be achieved: Hotel of the Year for Loews Hotels. And to have a great adult relationship with my children.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Best business decision: Forming smart partnerships.

Worst business decision: I always tell my team members that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not making anything. Mistakes are opportunities to learn.

Toughest business decision: After 9/11, many hotels began letting people go, but I fought to keep my team members employed. Business was bad and we were certainly struggling, but I just knew it would improve. And it did.

Biggest missed opportunity: I do not dwell on missed opportunities, but rather turn them into opportunities for growth and improvement.

Mentor: Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated business, I’m inspired by Sherrie Laveroni, Loews Hotels’ executive vice president of operations.

Word that describes you: Visionary.


TRUE CONFESSIONS

What you like best about your job: People stay with us for many reasons , I love when guests tell me that we delivered on what their needs were and that we provided a supremely comfortable environment.

What you like least about your job: Paperwork and reports, anything that pulls me away from what I enjoy most, which is interacting with guests and team members.

Pet peeves: Laziness, narrow-mindedness and mediocrity.

Most important lesson learned: To slow down. When I was younger, I thought faster always meant better, but you can’t turn a ship overnight.

Person most interested in meeting: Rudy Giuliani. Talk about leadership. At that time (of the terrorist attacks), he wasn’t as well known as he is today, but he stepped up to the plate simply because it was the right thing to do.

Three greatest passions: My husband, my kids and my job.

First choice for a new career: Novelist.


PREDILECTIONS

Favorite quote: You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

Most influential book: “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. And of course, “Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience” by Jonathan Tisch. It’s the newest addition to my collection of favorites.

Favorite status symbol: A bottle of Screaming Eagle cabernet. I’m saving it for a special occasion.

Favorite restaurant: Mistral, our newest dining experience at the resort.

Favorite place for business meetings: Any place where people show up fully charged and ready to go.

Favorite vacation spot: Rosarito, Mexico. I love the people and I love the food.

Favorite way to spend time: Enjoying every moment with my family.

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