Profiles in Leadership – Part 2
Four Women Who Are Making a Difference: Across the Merrimack Valley, women fill the corner offices and boardrooms in all types of professions and businesses. Here is a look at four female leaders who are making a difference in the workplace each day.
KATHY AIELLO – Director, Atlantic Hospitality Group
Kathy Aiello can never be completely sure how her day will go when she arrives for work at Atlantic Hospitality Group’s corporate offices in Salisbury. For that, she is very happy.
Aiello, a Newburyport resident, is the director of the multifaceted organization. Owned by the Capolupo family, which is well known for its construction work, Atlantic Hospitality Group operates six businesses along Salisbury Beach, including the Blue Ocean Music Hall, the Blue Ocean Event Center and the By the Sea gift shop. They also own the Seaglass and Capri restaurants, as well as SurfSide, a bar and restaurant at the beach.
Aiello became acquainted with the Capolupos 10 years ago when her children were students at Immaculate Conception School in Newburyport and she was tasked with organizing the popular North Pole Express train ride. The Capolupos’ company, SPS New England, was a sponsor.
Aiello was hired as executive director of the Salisbury Beach Partnership, a nonprofit that was the brainchild of the Capolupos. The group organizes festivals, concerts and events with the goal of bringing crowds back to the beach while also trying to launch revitalization efforts for the beach pavilion complex.
“Everything just grew from there,” Aiello says.
The Capolupos began investing in the area and developing their properties through AHG. In 2008, Aiello was given the role of director and worked alongside the Capolupos to bring to reality their concept and vision for improving the beach.
“I’m fortunate to have been involved from the beginning,” Aiello says.
About 125 year-round employees work for the six distinctive businesses under the AHG umbrella. It’s no wonder Aiello’s schedule is constantly shifting.
Some days she can be found planning which acts to bring to the music hall. Other times she’s working with chefs and menus for the many private functions and parties at the event center or restaurants. When it comes to the 300 or so events that AHG oversees each year, tending to the smallest details is important to Aiello.
She strives to stay aware of what’s current and fresh — but not too trendy — and to be “consistent in what we deliver,” Aiello says, while “being the best at what we do” and recruiting the best talent.
Achieving all of this ensures that customers will continue to return, she adds.
“We are always trying new ideas and new events,” Aiello says.
Proud to have witnessed — and played a role — in creating the story of Salisbury Beach today, Aiello says she would offer this advice to newcomers entering the hospitality field: “Be willing to pitch in and get the job done.”
From folding napkins to giving a speech, all elements are crucial to running a successful event, Aiello says.
“It’s really not about me in this business — it’s about the team,” she says.
Her job also offers an important perk — it lets her keep up a little with one of her favorite hobbies.
“I love to dance,” Aiello says with a laugh. “If you go to a show at the music hall, you’ll find me dancing in the back of the room.”
Music and dancing have provided many happy memories, dating back to her childhood in Connecticut. Every Saturday night, she watched as her parents went out dancing. On New Year’s Eve, Aiello and her family could be found hitting the dance floor. These days, a similar scene plays out when her family gathers at the summer beach house.
Aiello also loves boating and skiing. She and John Murdock, her husband of 26 years, enjoy traveling with their children, Lauren, 22, and Ryan, 19.
Atlantic Hospitality Group
Check back tomorrow, when we continue our series with Deedee O’Brien, Executive Director of Ironstone Farm.