Moniz, 35, is the general manager at the Liberty Hotel on Charles Street and a mother of three. Moniz, who has been working in the hotel industry for 18 years, has been at the Liberty for 3½ years, and works to create the “quintessential Bostonian” experience for customers.
‘Boston is conservative enough; I want people to feel comfortable, both as employees and customers, and for people to embrace their own personal style.’
Q. You’ve been working in the hotel industry for most of your adult life. Did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?
A. To be honest with you, I actually moved to Boston to start school in education. I was staying in a hotel and because there was no Internet, I’d be at the front desk asking about job opportunities in the city to help pay for school. One of the guys at the front desk was like, “why don’t you just work here?” So I started working at the hotel, and I just stayed with it. It was something I kind of just fell into. I really love business but I also have a creative side, so when I started working for lifestyle hotels, I began to feel really connected to the business.
Q. How does that creativity work into your job?
A. We put together tons of events. On Mondays, we do cooking with our executive chef. It’s a pretty intimate atmosphere and in addition to cooking, we talk about sustainable food, and everyone that comes to the event gets a copy of the recipe. The event that probably gets the most attention is Fashionably Late on Thursdays. We give designers a place to showcase their work and we produce the show for them. We do another event on Fridays — this powerhouse artist series. We have local musicians from Berklee come and play. We’ve been working with James Montgomery, who is also here to mentor the kids, play music with them, and give them some advice about the industry.
Q. What’s the key to running a smooth event?
A. To me, without preparation there is certain to be failure. You sort of go in knowing that the first four or five times you run an event, it’s going to be extremely difficult. If no one comes, we still have to consistently promote the event as if there are 400 people coming because we want to show that we’re good at this, even if it’s empty. It’s all about doing things well, and consistently. You also have to believe that what you’re doing is a good idea, and believe that it will, eventually, be a success.
Q. How do you think your personal style is translated through the hotel?
A. I’m a woman, and I’ve never been one of those people that dresses like a man. I probably own maybe four suits. When I first got here and I saw the dress code, I was like, this is crazy. Employees had to wear tights with their skirts, dresses had to be longer than your fingertips; it was really old school. I felt like we should let people have some freedom within the framework. I also didn’t want customers to feel intimidated when they came into the hotel, like they’re facing a bunch of conservative people. Boston is conservative enough; I want people to feel comfortable, both as employees and customers, and for people to embrace their own personal style.
Q. The hotel industry is sort of male-dominated. What’s it like being a female in that business?
A. I definitely work with a male landscape. And that’s everyone from my colleagues, GMs in the industry, the developers, contractors; most everyone is a man. Because I’m in a leadership role now, I’ve learned over the years how to deal with it. It was very difficult in my 20s, trying to manage people that wouldn’t take me seriously because I was female and young. . . . I had to prove that I was intelligent.
Q. Are there more women in the industry now?
A. Honestly, no. I don’t see enough female GMs; I don’t see enough female VPs of operations or presidents of hotel companies. There are a few notable women in this industry, and I really admire them, but there should be more. But when I see a female in the industry that says, “I want to be a GM, or in sales or marketing,” I make it a point to take them under my wing and give them advice.
Q. What are your stress-relief methods?
A. I don’t have a car on purpose. I walk everywhere. A lot of time I’ll walk without an iPod just to take in the day and center myself. Sometimes in the middle of the day, I’ll just leave the hotel, ask people if they want to come if they’re having a stressful day, and we’ll go to the Esplanade and take a minute to breathe. In order to work well, you have to rest well. It makes me an easier, happier, person to deal with, and there are a lot of people that have to deal with me. I want to be the kind of person they can come and talk to.