Growing up in the cradle of Southern hospitality—New Orleans—Ann Hoff developed a passion for the industry. Her decision to move to Las Vegas to study hospitality in the late 1980s, however, was met with skepticism by her parents.
“I was able to convince my father that I should pursue my passion,” says Hoff, who followed her father’s advice and postponed college for a year to work in the business. “I ultimately chose UNLV because of its reputation, its academic excellence, and its geographic desirability.”
Hoff’s love for hospitality hasn’t waned in her 27 years working for MGM Resorts. And much like her decision to come to UNLV, she sees her most daring career moves as the most defining.
“To risk nothing is to risk everything,” says Hoff, citing the quote that inspired her to take a mid-career departure from the booming Las Vegas market to open a hotel-casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. “I thought going into an emerging market would be the most daring thing I could do to prove myself. I learned more during that time than I have in my whole career.”
After four years in Biloxi, Hoff returned to Las Vegas to continue serving as a marketing executive for MGM Resorts before transitioning into operations. In 2014, she claimed the top seat at Excalibur.
To this day, she credits UNLV for helping to lay the groundwork for her success. “It changed my life,” she says. “I wasn’t planning on staying in Las Vegas, but because UNLV opened so many doors for me, I’m still here 30 years later.”