It’s ok to start small. I love the saying “Think Big, Start Small & Act Fast.” Early on, I wanted to do many things, and I wanted to do them all at once. I had to teach myself to prioritize and focus on quality vs. quantity. I’m not saying that pace and workload are not important, but there has to be a healthy balance.
Lori Calderon serves as director of talent acquisition at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where she oversees the employment of extraordinary individuals to provide exceptional service at the 3,033-room resort located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Calderon has played an integral part in elevating the employee brand at the resort through general recruitment as well as organizing various veteran initiatives. Prior to joining The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in June 2015, Calderon worked in many facets of the recruitment industry, not only along the highly-competitive Las Vegas Strip but also as a regional manager for states that are industry forerunners such as Hawaii, California, and Washington. She fulfilled roles such as corporate director of talent acquisition for MGM Resorts International, regional recruitment manager for Diamond Resorts International, regional director of recruitment for Wyndham Vacation Ownership and as a recruitment relationship manager for Allegis Global Solutions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I found my passion because of the kindness of another person. I worked at the Golden Nugget in 1993 as a Casino Auditor. After a year, I had an interest in exploring other career options. During lunch, I visited the Human Resources office to review the current openings. The current Director of HR was headed to lunch with her peers. For some reason (my lucky day), she stopped, put her personal items back in her office and came over to speak to me. She invited me into her office, asked me about myself and recommended a job at Treasure Island as a Human Resources Data Input Clerk. I applied, interviewed and was offered the role. I do believe that she had something to do with it. That started my career.
I think about her often and work hard to ensure that I treat others the way she treated me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Some of the most memorable moments while leading our military initiative are sitting with veterans and military spouses and listening to the stories. Their sacrifice makes me most appreciative and pushes me to work hard toward supporting others.
My most interesting moments were spending time at the White House, Pentagon, and Arlington Cemetery. Those visits are inspirational and grounding.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I spilled a drink on my white shirt on a day that I had to speak to applicants. My first instinct was to keep my hand in front of my chest. But, instead, I pointed it out and laughed about it. I learned humility and the value of being real. What you see is what you get.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is an organization that puts its whole heart into everything that we do. We focus on personal, quality experiences. We have worked hard to rally other employers in town to work together for the betterment of our city. We are about giving back, rolling up our sleeves, digging in and creating true, authentic relationships.
Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your cause?
Helping homeless veterans is part of our initiative. We have one gentleman, a Vietnam Veteran that was homeless. He lived at the Salvation Army before coming to work with us. He worked very hard, overcame many obstacles in his life and now has a great job, car and has purchased his first home.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Listen to the voices of the veterans to better understand what they really need.
- Understand that we have a volunteer Army. It is important that we support the whole military family in order to make it easier and more attractive to serve.
- Solutions need to include the Military Spouse. Their unemployment rate is still high at 16%
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is about setting high standards that you adhere to along with your team. It is about working to ensure that people find their true passion and potential. It is about open communication and the ability to share ideas. And it is about making the workplace fun.
I have worked with the most amazing people. So many of the people on my previous teams have progressed to leadership roles. The most heartwarming experience is when they call me to share the great news and express how our time together helped them get to where they are today.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Your history doesn’t define your future
I had a very tough childhood. Many times people that know my story have told me that they were surprised that I didn’t end up in a different place in life. I believe that negative experiences shouldn’t be an excuse. They should be what drives you to determine your own destiny.
2. It’s ok to start small
I love the saying “Think Big, Start Small & Act Fast.” Early on, I wanted to do many things, and I wanted to do them all at once. I had to teach myself to prioritize and focus on quality vs. quantity. I’m not saying that pace and workload are not important, but there has to be a healthy balance.
3. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to the next destination
The experiences we have when we are walking the path between one role to the next are the most valuable opportunities that we have. They lay the foundation of knowledge and experience that we take with us as we move forward. I often remind people to slow down and pay attention to what is around them instead of looking into the distance.
4. Laugh at Yourself
Life is about making mistakes and learning the lessons the experience provides. It’s not just ok, it’s healthy to laugh at yourself. I make fun of myself all the time to my team and I’m perfectly ok with it.
5. Everything you do represents your personal brand
I share this message in every interaction. We are our own brand. Everything matters and is a direct reflection of who we are.
Lori Calderon of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: “Why it is ok to start small” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.