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The PR Maven Podcast

The PR Maven® Podcast is the combination of traditional networking techniques combined with the power of social media to build your personal and professional brand. The podcast features interviews with industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers about public relations and their personal brand. Each week, Nancy connects with a special guest to talk about their career, and business or organization, as well as the latest news and events that will give listeners a unique perspective on the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding, including actionable takeaways.

Oct 22, 2019

About the guest:  

Sean began running a 19-room motel cottage business in Wells, Maine, in 1982 with his wife Dayna while teaching high school special ed., moving to a larger condotel three years later and then to a 130-room hotel, restaurant and marinaHe switched full time into the hotel business, giving up his career as a teacher. The owner ran into financial trouble in the late 80s and put the hotel on the market. 

Although tough, Sean moved to Freeport to work as a front desk manager, a step down from GM. Dayna and Sean continued to work together and moved their family. Again, the early 90s caused this owner of that hotel to run into trouble. But they hung in there and worked for a bank until his current partners bought their first hotel. MCHG was a restaurant company with this one hotel. After being successful with this hotel, they built another branded hotel and another and so on. Over time, they divested of all their restaurants. Their first Marriott was in 2004 and the first Hilton in 2006. Sean’s roles went from FOM, to GM, to director of hotel ops, to COO and finally to president and CEO. 

As of today, MCHG has 20 hotels and 750 associates throughout New England and in FloridaThey have two under construction and three others in development. But Sean is most proud of the culture that they, as an organization, have created. He often says that if he gets hit by a bus, this culture will live on. It is so much bigger than Sean Riley. Their purpose is to positively impact lives. Itsimply put, but a major focus of every day of his life. Associates, guests, communities and states all can be impacted. As a team, MCHG serves on six advisory boards with Marriott and Hilton. But it all started with the Maine Innkeepers Association in 1983. 

Sean has found his Why! His advice to everyone is to find out your Why! The How will be so much easier and more fun, once you have a purpose. 


In the episode:    

3:34  Sean tells about how his career started as a teacher, working at a motel over the summer.  

5:47  Sean talks about how his career shifted and how their hotel in Salem, Massachusetts, their biggest hotel that is still under construction, is perfectly located for Halloween travelers.  

6:58  Sean doesn’t think he would change anything about his career because he was able to learn from the bumps in the road.  

8:44  Sean shares that he spends a great deal of time building the company’s culture.  

9:25  Sean says he uses social media to share the company’s message to positively impact people’s lives. 

10:43  Sean tells a story about how he learned how to use Snapchat and how it helps to communicate with different generations.  

12:09  Sean talks about how it is really important to do what is important to you.  

13:26  Some of the obstacles Sean has run into throughout his career turned into success because of the relationships he had built.  

16:33  Sean shares that he has built his professional network internationally while his personal network has grown on its own.  

17:29  To thank his associates for working on Thanksgiving and Christmas, Sean calls each hotel for all three shifts.   

18:57  To measure success, Sean looks at the comments associates are making, as well as analytics on social media and the web.  

26:18  Sean shares how his network helped him learn about the hotel business.  

28:36  Nancy and Sean talk about how employees come first and your care you’re giving your employees will transfer over to your guests. 

32:12  Sean tells about the annual video he makes at one of the company’s hotels, playing roles such as Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake or Jason Mraz, to have fun with the associates.  

33:13  Sean shares how he became the Muffin Man.  

35:19  Sean shares that his network has enabled him to learn from others and become the person he wanted to be.  

38:15  Sean suggests that you should focus on something that is really important to you and to fill a hole, taking on more responsibility.  

40:32  Sean thinks his best resource is other people.  



"Don't get dazzled by diamonds or cash, although that's helpful in some cases; if you're not happy, it's not going to make it in the long run.”  Sean Riley, President and CEO of Maine Course Hospitality Group 




Maine Course Hospitality Group Facebook: 

Maine Course Hospitality Group Twitter: @MaineCourse1  

Doris Kearns Goodwin: 

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie  

Maine Course Videos: 


Looking to connect:         

Phone: 207-865-6105