2022 Connect x BizBash 40 Under 40: Austin Bagwell

Austin Bagwell, 38, is the director of global sales for MGM Resorts International.

Austin Bagwell

Austin Bagwell, CIS, HMCC, is the 38-year-old director of global sales for MGM Resorts International. She's based in Las Vegas and Jupiter, Fla.

What I do: 
Create memorable "wow" moments for clients by finding the ideal home for their event in one of our 29 unique world-class resorts. By assisting clients in their sourcing, contracting and event-design process, I provide a solution-driven approach to ensure their experience with MGMRI is both seamless and enjoyable. Ultimately, I am a connector. I help others achieve their vision, goals and success by bringing people together. 

Why I love my job:
I.LOVE.MY.JOB! I thoroughly enjoy being a brand ambassador for MGMRI and making an impact for both the growth of our company and our clients. I have an undeniable passion for travel and being around people, and my role provides me with the daily excitement to thrive in both. 

My career journey: 
Beginning as a travel director living in the Bahamas and running spring break, I quickly realized hospitality is in my soul. After exploring life in DMC operations and sales in Florida, I moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to begin my career in hotel sales, opening up The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and ultimately joining MGMRI in 2013 as a national sales manager for ARIA Resort & Casino. Over the course of seven years, I successfully exceeded all revenue goals and in 2021 solidified my career path as a director of global sales. 

My greatest career accomplishment:
Taking a leap of faith to move across the country in the middle of the recession to begin a new career path. Also, the creation, development and implementation of the Luxury Meetings District by MGMRI.

How I helped my organization during COVID:
By working as water maintenance support, pool staff, a lobby greeter, you name it—there was no job too small to ensure we reopened our doors to our guests and employees. By convincing multiple groups to operate in both 2020 and 2021 (regardless of size) and through strategic rebooking negotiations, I assisted in ensuring our future is bright.

The time I averted a complete event disaster:
Over the past year and a half, there have been numerous event disrupters for us all due to the ever-changing pandemic restrictions. However, I am blessed to be surrounded by so many talented hospitality professionals to ensure we find proactive solutions that minimize both our company and clients’ overall risk. Furthermore, I am proud to have a senior leadership team and be part of a company culture that remains customer-centric through it all to preserve our business partnerships for the future.

My most memorable event experience in the past year:
Our doors finally reopening in June of 2021. 

Best advice I’ve ever received: 
Stay true to who you are and let your authentic self shine through! People ultimately do business with people they like and trust, and I have found the most success by being the same energetic, positive and fun-loving person in both my personal and professional life. 

Impressive stats I’m responsible for: 
Growing my market by over 275% over the course of four years, and producing $31 million in room revenue in 2019. And despite the numerous cancellations in 2020, I secured $8 million in new business.

What’s next? 
Continuing to grow MGMRI’s newest large group concept, the Luxury Meetings District. Also, giving back to this industry I love so much through board involvement with SITE Mountain West, Women in Lodging and my alma mater UCF Rosen School of Hospitality Management.

What I do outside of work: 
I spend as much time as possible being outdoors both in Vegas and Florida. I love to golf, hike, ski and spend time on the water, truly anything that provides that natural vitamin D! Most recently, quite a bit of my time has been consumed with the training and snuggling of our adorable new miniature Australian Shepard puppy, Brodi!

Dream vacation:
Chartering a Catamaran through the BVIs with my best friends and family—it’s happening for my 40th in April of 2023!

Favorite icebreaker line:
If you could master any other profession other than what you currently do, what would that be?

Connect with Bagwell on LinkedIn.

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“Connect x BizBash 40 Under 40” is sponsored by VDA, an experiential marketing and event design agency based in Massachusetts that specializes in custom live, virtual and hybrid experiences.