In celebration of Mother’s Day in the US, we put a call out to"herteliers" in search of families who work together to profile. In our second installment, we are pleased to share the entrepreneurial journeys of Nanci and Mary Jane Reilly! Together they run Reilly Resort Representatives, a luxury resort representation company that offers comprehensive group sales services to independently owned luxury hotels and resorts. The properties in the collection are not the typical big brand names, but rather are for groups seeking boutique-style resorts with exceptional amenities and one-of-a-kind experiences.
After working in sales for Vail Resorts, Preferred and a few resorts in Texas, in 2017 Nanci Reilly struck out on her own and started Reilly Resorts. When the pandemic hit, she recruited her daughter Mary Jane to leave a corporate job to join her in building their growing business. We chat with mother and daughter about their entrepreneurial journey as a family.
Mary Jane, what do you love most about working with your Mom? There are so many things I love about working with my Mom - it’s hard to narrow down. My favorite thing is how I can pick up the phone and call her at any time of the day with a question, and it never seems to bother her. I probably call her 15 times a day - sometimes for a question, or just to chat. It’s nice that we can always have that open dialog.
How did your Mom prepare you for working together (or did she)? Prior to working with my mom, I worked for a handful of resorts so I was able to gain some experience under my belt before joining the family company. Once I joined the company the transition was flawless like we’ve been doing it for years.
What have you learned about working with your Mother that you didn’t know about her before? I always knew how respected my mother was in the industry, but seeing it firsthand has given me such pride and made me proud to call her my business partner and mother.
What has been the biggest challenge working with your Mom? *Knock on Wood* we’ve luckily not had any major challenges working together. I know mixing business and family can be dicey, but in our case, it’s helped our relationship, and we’ve grown closer.
What is the funniest thing that’s happened with your Mom at work? We’re constantly laughing when we travel together - it’s always a hoot. My favorite thing is drinking wine at the Delta Sky Club with my mom after a long week of travel.
Nanci, how did you prepare Mary Jane to work in the family business? MJ grew up in hospitality, at three years old she told us to Valet the Car in Vail. Thru all of our travels, she tried everything on the menu to taste where we were, from fresh-off-the-boat fish in the FL Keys to tequila in Mexico, all about the experience. She never owned a Gameboy or any device to her mind frozen, we wanted her to experience countries, cities, towns, and resorts to have an open mind to all cultures.
MJ grew up in hospitality, at three years old she told us to Valet the Car in Vail. Thru all of our travels, she tried everything on the menu to taste where we were, from fresh-off-the-boat fish in the FL Keys to tequila in Mexico, all about the experience.
Did MJ have a choice to work elsewhere? At what age did they start working with you? Fresh from college Mary Jane landed an amazing position with a Fortune 500 company, this was a great place to start learning about corporate America. Once she had a few years under her belt and COVID was waning it was the perfect timing for her to join the company with an ownership stake.
What do you love most about working with your Mary Jane? Collaborating, she has a younger mindset and understands how business flows in her generation.
What is the hardest part about working with your daughter? The distance we live from each other. I look forward to her returning to Tennessee so that when we travel together it will be seamless.
How about a funny story from working together? We have a running joke that Mary Jane is a bad driver, but I'm much worse. So, for the sake of our sanity, she drove the rental car in LA on a site visit trip. To make a long story short, we drove 30 minutes in the dark with no headlights, ran two red lights, and got lost. We laughed so hard, and now she doesn't drive the rentals!!
Tips for working with family:
1. Find time for pure family time, sometimes when it’s a family company that line gets blurred.
2. Always remember how blessed you are.
3. Don’t take each other for granted.