Gladys Mouton Di Stefano is At Your Service Party Consulting, LLC
Wanting to immerse herself in the hospitality industry, Gladys scored a position as the Assistant of Food and Beverage with the Hilton International Hotel in Paris, the first Parisian hotel to open after 50 years. Gladys quickly realized that she loved the food and beverage field, and after two years with Hilton, she was selected to move to New York City to continue working with Hilton International. She considers herself very lucky to have gotten this role. “It was phenomenal, what I learned and what I did.”
When Gladys arrived in New York in December 1976, she spent six months mastering both back and front of the house skills, often coming home exhausted and with cuts on her hands. It was here she realized food and beverage were her forte. In another two years, Gladys was promoted to Director of Catering where she often hosted parties for celebrities and royal family members alike. “It was incredible,” she recalls. “I stayed there for 15 years and enjoyed every minute of it!”
After 15 years, Gladys decided to leave her 106th-floor office to work for the Marriott Company with their catering food and beverage department. Next, she transitioned to a role at the Warwick Hotel to continue advancing her career. Driven by her passion for her job, she received hundreds of praise letters and received the nickname of “Miss Ooh’ La’ La.” Gladys also worked for the Mark and Carlyle hotels during this time of her life, proving that women could make their mark in the hospitality industry. She also worked at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel under Mrs. Helmsley, who had fired her twice during her time there! At one point, the General Manager told Gladys “Don’t worry, go home and come back tomorrow. She’ll forget.” Fortunately, Gladys remained in the position for 10 years hosting events like weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and more in a scenic dining room overlooking Central Park. Gladys attended every one of her events, enjoying each minute of her hard work. At this point, Gladys was working 80-90 hour weeks. She resigned and began her own company, At Your Service Party Consulting, LLC, a consulting company in the hospitality industry.
Soon after starting her own endeavor, Gladys began receiving calls from past clients who wanted her to host their parties. She built the foundation from the ground-up and became quickly successful. She shares the key to her success is making note of every single thing the client is interested in for their event. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in Spring 2020, the world entered a two-year period of no parties, which temporarily hindered the success of At Your Service Party Consulting, LLC. “I move mountains when needed,” Gladys said about starting her client base over again, eventually building back up to success.
In addition to her loaded resume, Gladys served as President of the Food and Beverage Association for 18 years, a position that was groundbreaking for a woman. “Everything I touched was successful!” she says. Gladys continued to prove her success by increasing the Food and Beverage Association membership numbers significantly. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Woman of the Year award and in 2015 she received the Industry Professional of the Year award from the Food and Beverage Association of America. In 2012, she received the Woman of the Year award from the Women’s Foodservice Forum.
Gladys credits the successes in her life to keeping good relationships with those around her. She also shares that no matter who you are, obstacles will come to you, and there is no other way to eliminate them except to go above them! Despite her uncertainty at the beginning of her career, Gladys has shown the whole hospitality industry exactly how capable she is!
Gladys also maintains a commitment to serving others. For the last 28 years, she hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner for the children and parents of the Children’s Aid Society. She started hosting this event for 150 people. Over the years the count went up and up until it reached 2,000 people. Most of the Hotels in Manhattan donated the menu items which consisted of turkeys with all the trimmings. She transformed the gym of the Children’s Aid Society into a ballroom decorated with tablecloths and flower centerpieces. She received 150 turkeys (20lbs each), sweet potatos, macaroni & cheese (for the children), salad and desserts. The assorted drinks were donated by Pepsi and Coca Cola companies. Gladys also had 150 volunteers who came to help serve the Thanksgiving dinner. After helping to feed 2,000 people, Gladys held a raffle where 25 winners would receive a whole turkey (already cooked). You should have seen the faces of the people when they came to pick up the turkeys, it was like picking up gold.
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