LEON COX: A HOSPITALITY SUCCESS STORY
Leon Cox, general manager of the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel, was first employed in catering services at a young age and is an excellent example of how passion, people-skills and courage can lead to a fulfilling and successful career in the hospitality industry.
In 1986, Leon was a textile major at North Carolina State University who entered college as a successful high school athlete with a sharp mind and a passion for life. He needed part-time employment to earn extra money to buy a car and found himself at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, working on the catering services staff. As he began his new job, he had no idea it was the start of a long and rewarding career.
Soon Leon realized the hospitality industry offered something that he wanted. He admired his supervisor because of his way with people, his knowledge of wine and food pairings and even how well he dressed. Leon envisioned himself as a food and beverage director and knew he could thrive and enjoy the work. He worked hard, learned well, focused on treating people well and held himself to the highest standards.
Because of Leon's passion and skills, he quickly advanced up the career ladder from catering services houseman to catering supervisor, convention services manager, banquet manager, director of convention services and eventually to the coveted role of food and beverage director.
He was then promoted even further to director of operations. He allowed himself the flexibility to relocate for career-advancing opportunities and enjoyed roles across the eastern United States, including Richmond, Va., Greenville, S.C., Greensboro, Ga., and Providence, R.I. He assumed his first general manager role in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in 2007 and continued his career as general manager in Charlotte, N.C.
His growth mindset has allowed him to continue learning, growing and achieving throughout his career. He continues to seek new challenges and enjoys his role immensely. In Leon's words, he hasn't "worked" in 12 years.
In 2012, Leon received an offer to return to the Raleigh area as general manager of the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel downtown. Although returning to Raleigh was an exciting opportunity, it took courage and confidence to take on this new challenge in a downtown area that was just beginning to revitalize. Leon was attracted by the brick and hardwood design elements of the property and envisioned great potential for the hotel.
Leon accepted the General Manager position and led the Sheraton Raleigh downtown to new levels of revenue and prestige. Because of his passion for basketball and admiration for Jim Valvano, whom he met in the mid-1980s, Leon was instrumental in developing the Sheraton's signature restaurant, Jimmy V's Osteria + Bar, which continues to thrive.
Leon's focus has always been on exceptional customer service and effective leadership. He values the mentors he has had in his career and strives to provide the same support and guidance to others in his field. Leon recognizes the value of community involvement and is active in several organizations and charitable causes. He embodies genuine concern for people and a sincere exuberance that draws people to him and motivates others. His growth mindset has allowed him to continue learning, growing and achieving throughout his career. He continues to seek new challenges and enjoys his role immensely. In Leon's words, he hasn't "worked" in 12 years.
Leon’s career is a story of passion, growth and courage in the hospitality industry. He embodies the desire to provide exceptional customer service and the passion to succeed. He encourages everyone to pursue their own passions and recognizes that there is a place for all skill sets in the hospitality industry.