Posted May 31, 2019

Kimpton CEO Mike DeFrino On His “Weirdest” Job

Kimpton Buzz

What makes Kimpton unique? It’s the genuine human connections we create every day. To showcase the real people behind the company, we’re spotlighting some of our very own Kimpton employees in a series of posts. First up is our fearless leader, Kimpton CEO Mike DeFrino, who started with us as a general manager 19 years ago.

1. What were you like at age 10?

At age 10, I was a pretty adventuresome young lad. I did a lot of physical activity. I was one of those kids who never got into trouble but was always doing things that were somewhat troubling. I was always on a bike or in the woods—swimming in lakes, jumping from high places, and just generally putting myself in harm’s way.

Mike DeFrino (far right) participating in the annual Chefs Cycle 100 mile bike ride—with the Kimpton team—in support of charitable partner No Kid Hungry.

2. What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

When I was 12 years old, my job was to weed tomato plants. It was hard, manual labor. And for eight hours a day, it was grueling. I got paid 75 cents an hour for my work. My dad offered to double my salary just to make sure I kept going back and stayed out of the house. So, I worked a whole summer weeding tomato plants, picking the tomatoes, baling hay…and then doing it all over again.

3. What aspect of your current job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy traveling to our hotels. I get a tremendous amount of rejuvenation and energy from visiting our properties. A few months ago, I was at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia for a family wedding. I had a blast experiencing the hotel as a guest and leisure traveler—enjoying the restaurant, having a great drink at the bar, witnessing the way the bartenders interact with their customers. Those are the sorts of things that put a smile on my face.

Mike DeFrino speaking at a Kimpton conference.

4. What talent would you most like to have?

I’ve had this conversation with my kids a lot. They’ll most often choose some kind of superhero strength. For the longest time, my youngest daughter wanted to be stretchy. I think I’d want to be able to fly. That would be pretty cool, although a bit cold.

5. What do you value most in the people you work with?

Their passion. My senior leadership team is made up of people who are tremendously passionate about their field, and that just shines through everything they do. Their unwavering commitment to the work we do makes Kimpton what we are.

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