Aug 22, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterWhen the Wind River Hotel and Casino first opened its doors in 2012, most of the newly hired 700 employees also were new to the hospitality and casino positions they took.
One particular hire took the important task of overseeing the casino and hotel. Amber Munoz-Duran was hired as the hotel manager and took control despite not having prior experience in the hospitality field. She received hands-on training in Nevada for two weeks and came back to raise the occupancy rate "above market expectations" of 30 to 80 percent for a new hotel, according to a press release.
Today roughly 75 percent of the 90-room hotel's workforce consists of women, and 80 percent of those hold upper management or supervisory positions.
"I had to figure out things that would work and others that didn't work," Munoz-Duran said. "It was about getting more familiar with the complex systems and utilizing different components."
She said managing her time was one of the biggest challenges she had as she helped coordinate bus schedules, supervise the finance department, and set up the computer systems and training for all new employees.
"It was about getting all the employees on the same page," she said. "Staff worked really well with each other and this was a whole new field to everyone."
Her hard work seemed to have paid off as she was nominated for the 2013 First Women of Influence Award in the hospitality category. She was recognized along with dozens of others during a luncheon Aug. 8 in Cheyenne. Munoz-Duran said she was pleased and honored to have been nominated and to have been a finalist among other Wyoming women who have been in the industry for years.
She said she hopes to take on more leadership roles and continue learning while also helping and teaching employees.
"I would like to continue to grow and develop with the company," Munoz-Duran said. "I hope that I can be an inspiration or role model to somebody else."
Munoz-Duran graduated from Riverton High School and received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.