Hyatt Sales’ First Lady
By David M. Brudney, ISHC
(One of the many tributes to Beverly A. Kordsmeier, who passed away April 8th, wife of Joseph G. Kordsmeier, retired Senior V.P. Sales & Marketing, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts)
It just didn’t seem right.
Here we all were, helping Joe, family and friends celebrate Bev Kordsmeier’s life at the President’s House in a Hyatt Regency, and no mention of Bev and Hyatt.
Bev was a big part of everything Hyatt was and what it became and none of us who were there back then will ever forget that.
If Joe was in fact, the “president” of Hyatt Sales for more than a decade, then Bev was surely the First Lady. Joe was the leader of our sales force and Bev was to Joe what Douglas MacArthur’s wife, Jean, was to him: “the general’s general.”
While Joe was out there in the trenches, making Hyatt a legitimate player in the big time convention arena, building a great team to sell those spectacular new hotels, Bev was right there with him. Bev and Joe were Hyatt Sales’ first celebrities everywhere they went, no matter what trade show or industry gathering. Everyone knew them or wanted to know them, government and union leaders, the NFL, association execs, meeting planners, CVB officials and hotel people worldwide. Joe and Bev put a “face” on Hyatt Hotels at a time when we really had none.
Those of us close to Joe during those years knew only too well how important Bev was to him. Bev was Joe’s number one advisor. She was both Joe’s harshest critic and his biggest supporter. She always spoke her mind, always “telling it like it is.” She had a great gift for reading people. She could spot a phony a mile away - - and never hesitated to tell Joe so. She helped Joe in recruiting sales associates, in closing multi-Hyatt hotel bookings, and with every important business decision he made.
Joe turned to Bev not only for strength and courage but so many times to recharge his battery. He was always stronger, fresher, wiser and so very optimistic after he and Bev were able to steal some time together.
Joe was so accessible to everyone in Sales back in the ‘70s that he didn’t have a lot of time to be with Bev. I’m sad to say that I can speak from personal experience. I was one of the biggest “time-robbers.” So many times I would call Joe at home in Atherton or Burr Ridge, venting frustrations, seeking both his advice and approval, and taking him away from his private time with Bev.
When we traveled together on business I would always want to talk with him about all the icons he knew so well, Lombardi, Rozelle, Hunt, Hoffa and Meany. But Joe always found a way to bring the conversation back to Bev. He had such joy in talking about her. He adored her. She was his best friend. I learned so much about Bev just from listening to Joe talk about her.
Speaking for all of Joe and Bev’s “Hyatt family,” saying our final farewells was very difficult. We all felt such a sense of helplessness in not being able to be more, to do more there for Joe and his immediate family.
I’m reminded of the story of the little girl who came home late from school one day. When her mother asked why she was so late the little girl told her that she was with her best friend. It seems her friend had brought a porcelain China doll, a special gift to her family, to school that day for “show and tell” and as the two girls were walking home after school, the friend tripped and dropped the China doll on the sidewalk, breaking into a hundred pieces.
“So,” the mother said. “You’re late because you stayed to help your friend pick up all the pieces of the China doll?”
“No, mother,” she said. “I’m late because I stayed to help my friend cry.”
And so just like that little girl in the story, all of us will be late tonight, Joe, because we’re here to help you cry.
© Copyright 2004
|Also See||Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004|
|What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003|
|Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003|
|Time to “Group Up”? Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002|
|America’s Front Desk Fights Back! / January 2002|
|Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001|
|A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001|
|More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000|
|It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000|
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