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Stephanie Capellas: “Find ways to stay creative and on your toes”

Be kind. In the day and age that social media is ever-present, and we feel a need more so than ever to be constantly on the go, we rush from one thing to the next with a diminished attention span and sometimes consideration for others. Small acts of kindness have the ability to make a […]


Be kind. In the day and age that social media is ever-present, and we feel a need more so than ever to be constantly on the go, we rush from one thing to the next with a diminished attention span and sometimes consideration for others. Small acts of kindness have the ability to make a large impact. There are a few select individuals that I see on my way to work every morning that consistently make a positive impact on my day, whether they realize it or not. The barista at my neighborhood coffee shop makes my latte in advance every morning without fail, helping me avoid the line and be on with my day, and the bellman at The Cosmopolitan calls and holds the elevator for me on my way up to the office. Both of these instances happen without fail close to every weekday and is no coincidence. Happiness inspires those around them. If I am having a bad morning, it is almost impossible not to be able to turn it around through interaction with one of these people. This small gesture that each of them bestows speaks volumes to the prideful effort that they put into their work every day and secondly, the consideration and care they give for others. I find it inspiring and something that I wish there was more of in this world. Additionally, it’s also a pay-it-forward reminder, which I think would translate far and wide in contributing to others’ happiness.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Capellas. She is the Vice President of Public Relations for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where she oversees the public relations strategy of the leading luxury resort. A veteran of the Las Vegas hospitality industry, Capellas possesses more than a decade of communications, partnership, and marketing experience. In her leadership role, Capellas works in tandem with all key areas of operations at The Cosmopolitan, including entertainment, hotel sales, and food and beverage, to create experiential activations and integrated promotional opportunities in a continuous effort to further bolster The Cosmopolitan brand. In her time as Vice President of Public Relations, Capellas has developed and implemented several multi-phased public relations strategies as a part of the resort’s ongoing dedication to provide guests unique and luxurious experiences. This is inclusive of unveiling 21 newly designed Boulevard Penthouses, leading the debut of a remodel of more than 2,500 guestrooms and introducing first-to-market food and beverage concepts Block 16 Urban Food Hall and Red Plate. With a wealth of experience leading communications efforts for some of Las Vegas’ most celebrated entertainment and hospitality brands, Capellas previously served as Director of Global Public Relations at Hakkasan Group where she spearheaded public relations strategy for all domestic and international venues in the corporate portfolio. She was responsible for all special events, red carpets and talent relations efforts throughout more than 30 Hakkasan Group concepts spanning North America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Capellas’ efforts resulted in numerous successful venues launches, which consistently elevated brand awareness among target audiences and key stakeholders. Prior to joining Hakkasan Group, Capellas was a Senior Publicist at Cirque du Soleil where she managed all public relations efforts and initiatives for three of eight resident show division productions including special projects and show premieres such as Zumanity at New York-New York and “O” at Bellagio. As a Las Vegas resident of ten years, Capellas plays an active role in the community she calls home. She is a board member of ONE DROP, Cirque du Soleil’s non-profit organization, member of Las Vegas Fashion Council and a volunteer for The Churchill Foundation, Southern Nevada’s animal rescue and foster organization. She was honored as one of Las Vegas Weekly’s “Women of Intrigue” in 2017 and VEGAS Magazine’s “Women of Style” in 2018. Capellas earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Marketing from Baldwin Wallace University.


Thank you so much for your time Stephanie! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I had visions when I was younger of doing exactly what I am doing today — bizarre, but true. The reality is, it’s not like that for everyone. The outcome of who and where I am today was not by hope or want, but by serious ambition and motivation. I love connecting with and meeting new people, emboldening a team and have a sincere passion for what I do. In my college days, I was able to find pivotal opportunities in small-town Ohio that contributed to where I am today as Vice President of Public Relations for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. I grabbed every paid and unpaid internship that I thought I could learn from; entertainment marketing and PR at a hot-spot nightclub in Cleveland, shadowing an event planner for a summer, doing a college radio show reporting on current events…the list goes on. From there, I found devotion to public relations and eventually made the move to Las Vegas where the world of entertainment and hospitality opened up. My initial years living in Las Vegas taught me what it’s like to truly be on your own. Everyone in entertainment PR remembers those years of working red carpet events until 3 am, then heading to the broadcast studios for live shots at 5 am… It’s grueling and I can assure you, not nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but these are the years I learned the most. I was fortunate to work for beloved companies along the way including Cirque du Soleil and Hakkasan Group, spearheading major PR initiatives for both portfolios including local Las Vegas and international projects. Present-day, I serve as Vice President of Public Relations for The Cosmopolitan, a dream. When I was hired, our President and CEO Bill McBeath took a chance hiring me. I had an extensive background in hospitality/entertainment PR, but this would be my first opportunity working for a hotel and gaming brand. He saw this as an attribute to The Cosmopolitan’s already unconventional, push-the-envelope brand, but I will never forget the opportunity during my initial meeting with him and receiving the offer to represent such a remarkable property. Along the way in my career path, I’ve found individuals and opportunities that feel like they have just clicked — this was one of them.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

I remember the day I received the call from The Cosmopolitan with my job offer — exactly where I was and who I was with. To join an organization with such a remarkable leadership team and a superior take on hospitality was a dream and continues to be to this day. The most pivotal moment I have had to-date was sitting in a meeting with our leadership team during my first week. It was a roundtable, where executives vocalized areas of strength and weakness, current events, immediate happenings, etc. The collective feedback from the group of those rallying around each other was impressive, to say the least. It was not a show-and-tell of who’s doing what better, but rather an opportunity everyone looked forward to on a monthly basis to learn from one another and find support. We are strength in numbers, and that’s what separates the good from amazing organizations today. Seeing strengths in others that you do not possess, and coming together for the larger picture rather than the self-serving ones.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Looking back, the mistakes along the way in my career certainly did not resonate as funny at the time — you feel as though your life is over, but it’s truly part of the process! I take every opportunity I can to continue learning each and every day. There are times when I think I know it all, but let’s be honest, we can all take lessons from those around us on a consistent basis — and sometimes, it really pays to simply listen. There were mishaps from distributing an email with a slew of names blatantly on copy (when they should have been bcc’d; a big PR no-no) to forgetting a supervisor’s coffee order during a feet-to-the-fire internship and more. In short, they all taught me to pay attention and toughen up. A mentor once shared this quote by Albert Einstein with me, “The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.” In short, talk less, listen more, and when the opportunity comes to learn from someone else, take it and expand your knowledge.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

To say the least! It’s been a whirlwind with years of non-stop updates. The Cosmopolitan has been undergoing redevelopment since Blackstone Group took ownership in 2014, which has brought about the past few years of reinvigoration to the hotel. I could not have joined at a more riveting time, and have had the opportunity to spearhead the awareness surrounding The Cosmopolitan 2.0 including a full room remodel, a complete revamp of our Restaurant Collection, the purchase of a private jet, groundbreaking technology, luxury Boulevard Penthouse suites and Las Vegas’ first urban food hall, Block 16. The list goes on, and throughout this time I’ve had the privilege of being included in the executive team that has made this wave of change come to life. The projects we have championed together are what most people do not have the opportunity to conquer in a full career span, let alone a couple of years. The team is devoted, innovative and steadfast in bringing the best to our guests. The Cosmopolitan is truly in a league of its own, and I’m proud to be apart of it.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Be respectful. It sounds like a no-brainer, but at times we can get so transfixed on what we are personally trying to achieve that we will bulldoze over others just to ensure our viewpoint is heard. At the end of the day, when you are going up against someone else for a job or promotion, you want people to walk away knowing that you are simply a good person. You will be surprised at how often this goes dismissed, but is one of the most modern-day cherished values.

Ambition is key. There is no one waiting to help you along the way or offer a hand to your success. When those moments happen, it is important to appreciate them, but you are the sole determiner of your destiny, so thoughtfully invest in your future. I have found that the years spent in my career where I was hustling to make things happen taught me the most. I never lost sight of what I wanted to accomplish, whether short term or long term.

Find your best supporters. Everyone should have a few key individuals in their life that can talk you out of a downtime and help get you back on track. I have an incredible group of successful women that are my closest girlfriends that I both admire in their respective fields, and look up to for their own personal take on life and in dealing with tough situations. It’s nice to have the backup and support during a trying moment, but even more so to see a different perspective on life and learn how to move on. Surround yourself with good people.

Never lose your integrity. Some of my greatest learning lessons along the way have reminded me to always go with my gut. I’ve learned this both the easy and hard way throughout the years in my career. It’s easy to go with the popular opinion, but if it doesn’t feel right to you, the likelihood of those warning signs diminishing along the way are few and far between. Speak up, say exactly what you mean, trust your instincts, and if it feels wrong, don’t do it.

Find ways to stay creative and on your toes. We all go to work every day and can get caught up in the regular groove and routine. Keep your sharpened edge! I try to make time to check out a competitor at least once a week to see what else is happening in the market and in my field, and every morning start my day with reading through market trends and current events. I also motivate my team to do the same and share their findings. Additionally, I work with some tremendously creative individuals that may not always touch my world of PR, but who are close enough that I can venture to them when I’m stuck on a thought or project. Other perspectives and thoughts should always be welcome.

You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?

Say yes! Part of the business is constantly staying connected, meeting new people and fostering relationships. A week does not go by where you won’t find me at an event connected to the community, a social gathering such as the opening of a new venue in town, supporting a colleague’s project or venture, hosting guests at The Cosmopolitan or a media event. Las Vegas is a small, but an extremely well-connected town, and it pays to show support to other organizations in addition to constantly making connections through meeting new people. Follow up is key to show sincere interest, and learning to listen goes a long way.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

Network, network network — and in doing so, make thoughtful, genuine connections with others. You’d be surprised how many one-off meetings I have made with others that have turned into established relationships later down the line. Go to networking events and spend quality time with others learning about their background. They will remember the effort and interest you invested in getting to know them, and always remember that paths will someway or somehow cross again.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

In PR, the news is your gateway. Catching up is the first thing I do every morning before kicking off the day (CNN’s “5 Things” is great, as are news apps to showcase breaking updates). It lends yourself to being able to find common ground and discussion points with strangers and also staying on top of industry trends.

Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Be kind. In the day and age that social media is ever-present, and we feel a need more so than ever to be constantly on the go, we rush from one thing to the next with a diminished attention span and sometimes consideration for others. Small acts of kindness have the ability to make a large impact. There are a few select individuals that I see on my way to work every morning that consistently make a positive impact on my day, whether they realize it or not. The barista at my neighborhood coffee shop makes my latte in advance every morning without fail, helping me avoid the line and be on with my day, and the bellman at The Cosmopolitan calls and holds the elevator for me on my way up to the office. Both of these instances happen without fail close to every weekday and is no coincidence. Happiness inspires those around them. If I am having a bad morning, it is almost impossible not to be able to turn it around through interaction with one of these people. This small gesture that each of them bestows speaks volumes to the prideful effort that they put into their work every day and secondly, the consideration and care they give for others. I find it inspiring and something that I wish there was more of in this world. Additionally, it’s also a pay-it-forward reminder, which I think would translate far and wide in contributing to others’ happiness.

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