Marisa Obando, otherwise known as MO in our office, is Visit Plano’s SERF (social, education, religious, and fraternal) & Government Sales Manager responsible for booking conventions, meetings, events and securing hotel room nights in Plano. Marisa brings a solid background of industry experience and knowledge to the team, along with her always inspiring motivational quotes. She has a bubbly personality, positive energy, has never met a stranger, and is always on the hunt to try a new brunch spot.
Q&A with marisa
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself, Marisa?
A. I’m a Michigan native, but Texas has been home for over 20 years. I am very outgoing and enjoy trying new things, traveling, shopping, home decorating, gift giving, party planning and am a self-proclaimed hostess with the mostest. I love my family & friends fiercely, enjoy meeting new people and believe that life is better when you’re laughing. I am a proud aunt to my 4½ year nephew and love making new memories and having dance parties with him.
Q. How many years have you been in the hospitality/travel & tourism industry? What were your other roles in and outside of this career?
A. 2022 is my 15th year in hospitality; WOW, time flies when you’re having fun! My hospitality career started with an internship at Southfork Ranch as a Group Tour Coordinator, and I also worked in their Banquets department, as well as in the visitor center & gift shop. After I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Hospitality degree, I joined the Grand Hyatt DFW events team as an Event Concierge. My career and love for hospitality really thrived there and so most of my career was with the Grand Hyatt DFW team for over 13 years – taking on many roles such as Event Coordinator, Event Sales Manager, Event Planning Manager & Senior Event Planning Manager.
Q. How long have you been with Visit Plano and what is your favorite part about working for Visit Plano so far?
A. It will be 9 months the end of January, but feels like forever in the best way! I have really enjoyed joining this amazing team & meeting so many great people throughout the city. Growing up nearby in McKinney, I have spent a lot of time in the Plano area, but joining Visit Plano has really made me see and appreciate all that Plano has to offer.
Q. What are some of your favorite things to do, see, and eat in Plano?
A. I love trying new places and I think that brunch is the most important meal of day. Whistle Britches, Whiskey Cake, Sixty Vines (which has 60+ wines on tap), Taverna, and Bread Winners are some of my go-to brunch spots. Legacy Hall is always a must, and The Boardwalk is so fun to explore and relax in the colorful Adirondack chairs on a pretty day. I’ve also recently been exploring the Downtown Plano area restaurants like Urban Crust, Urban Seafood, and The Fillmore Pub – just to name a few.
Shopping is also one of my favorite things to do, so Plano is perfect (and somewhat dangerous for me). Visit Plano’s location in Legacy West has everything from J. Crew and Sephora to Louis Vuitton and Gucci; and just across the street The Shops at Legacy has so many great stores as well. Downtown Plano also has some great locally owned business’ which has been one my goals recently in shopping is to support local small business owners.
Q. What has been your favorite vacation?
A. In 2014, I was rewarded a trip to Italy for a top-sales achievement with Ruffino Wines. We traveled to Rome, Tuscany, Siena, and Florence and stayed in the Ruffino Montemasso estate in Tuscany. We toured each of their breathtaking estates, drinking their exceptional wines and indulged in the most amazing food I’ve ever experienced. The pasta and pizza taste like you’ve just picked the tomatoes off the vine, and the gelato is delightful. I even learned how to make pizza and pasta from scratch – but since then, have not been able to replicate, so maybe it’s time to return. I learned that prosciutto is served with every meal, and my love for wine definitely blossomed there – especially when you’re trying wine directly from the wine makers oak barrels. In addition to the amazing food and wine, the scenery and architecture is just breathtaking and pictures simply do not do it justice. I love to travel and can’t wait to travel internationally again hopefully soon.
Q. Guilty pleasure: What can you not live without?
A: Paper Mate Flair pens, Peanut M&M’s, Trolli Gummy Worms, flat white lattes, and Pinot Noir.
Q. What is an interesting fact about yourself?
A: I believe that one of my superpowers is my ability to make connections with people. I’ve always loved meeting new people and some would say, that I’ve never met a stranger. I’ve always loved getting to know people through all walks of life and piecing together how we might have a connection. One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. I truly hope this resonates through me, and if we have not yet met… I can’t wait to meet YOU soon!
Connect with Marisa on LinkedIn.