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Meeting Leaders: Teresa Chamley

Executive Profile

Name: Teresa Chamley

Title: Regional Sales Manager

Organization: Younes Hospitality

Location: Kearney, Nebraska

Birthplace: North Dakota

Education: Bellevue University, Bachelor of Science

Career History

Younes Hospitality, catering department, 1993-1994

Younes Hospitality, sales, 1994-present

Theresa Chamley has had the business in her blood for more than 25 years. Now the regional sales manager for Nebraska’s Younes Hospitality, the North Dakota native took her first job at a family-owned Holiday Inn while her husband was in college.

“We moved to Nebraska while my husband was doing internships, and we were in some wonderful but very small communities that didn’t really have any hospitality options available,” she said. “So I did a lot of different things — I worked at a radio station, I worked at a flower shop — then we got transferred to Kearney, Nebraska, where Younes Hospitality is located. I started working for the company in the early ’90s, working part time in the catering department. We had small children at that time, so I didn’t want to be full time.”

When her husband finished school and took a position with another company in the eastern part of Nebraska, Chamley assumed she’d have to leave her position at Younes Hospitality and find something else. But the company owner Paul Younes, who at the time had one hotel but in the past three decades has grown his empire to include several properties together on one campus, had a unique proposition for Chamley.

“It was pretty innovative for the mid-’90s — he asked if I wanted to do sales, working from a home office, which worked because typically we meet clients at their offices,” she said. “The rest is history — it’s worked out so well and has been a wonderful partnership.”

Chamley is the regional sales manager of the family-owned company, working with two other salespeople. Instead of compartmentalizing the roles, the sales team all work each segment of the Younes market.

In the time since Chamley started working for Younes Hospitality, what began as one family-owned hotel has grown into 14 hotels and three conference centers across Nebraska. In Kearney, the Younes Campus includes the North and South Younes Conference Centers, the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, a Crowne Plaza with a water park, a Hampton Inn, a Fairfield Inn, a Holiday Inn, a La Quinta Inn, a Comfort Inn and a Candlewood Suites, with two additional properties, Tru and Home 2, in the works.

“It’s a very unique situation — I don’t know of anything like this elsewhere in the Midwest,” said Chamley. “I think what sets us apart is that we’re always looking at ways to give our clients a positive experience. We have many loyal customers who book various properties years in advance.”

Because of the diversity of the Younes Hospitality portfolio, Chambley works with a wide range of needs, from corporate events and affiliate groups that may stay in different properties and attend the same conference to weddings, family reunions and groups that are part of the SMERF market.

“It really runs the gamut,” said Chamley. “We’re very fortunate that we’ve been around for a long time, and Younes Hospitality has wonderful clients that have been working with us since before the 25 years that I’ve been with them. We really focus on repeat business thanks to giving our clients great customer service. We just do things a little differently.”

Tips from Teresa Chamley

• Collaboration between the conference facility, the local visitors bureau and the meeting planner is the best formula to achieve a positive outcome for attendees.

• Meeting planners should consider suggestions for their events from local sources. Since COVID, attendees are looking for new experiences at a conference. What might not have been considered for a planned event in the past might now be more appealing.

Meeting planners need to trust the conference facility personnel to guide them in the best use of the event space; facility personnel are there to make them look good!