Lakeside Inn marketing director steps down
“You cannot expect to discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore,” a popular greeting card reads.
That’s where Todd Majoris is coming from these days, as he talks about leaving his job as marketing director for Lakeside Inn and Casino at Stateline – his home away from home for 10 years.
But it’s time to move on from the stability and sanctuary he’s coveted for almost a third of his life at age 33.
“It’s been a fun 10 years, but I have to look at where I’m going personally,” Majoris said, adding his last day is Nov. 11. The next day, friends plan to mark the milestone with a quasi surprise party at his Meyers home.
Majoris downplays the risk of stepping off a professional cliff to leaving without a job lined up yet, equating the maneuver to high-stakes gambling.
“The bigger the risk. The better the payoff,” he said. “You have to (take the risk). I’m ready to leave Tahoe to make my mark.”
There have been doubts about leaving Lake Tahoe, where he’d eventually like to retire.
“I woke up in a cold sweat the other night and (asked): ‘What am I doing?”
Just to be safe, Majoris has stashed away a four-month buffer to support himself financially, as he explores opportunities in New Orleans, Chicago and Las Vegas. The latter is his first choice because “Nevada is gaming,” he said, ignoring the fact that he dislikes the heat.
Since the word of this popular Tahoe figure’s departure crisscrossed the lake, there’s been no shortage of suggestions, best wishes and sadness shared by friends and colleagues.
“I have some friends who say, ‘Todd, the vacation is over. You need to move to the city,’ ” he said.
Some have implied he’d thrive in politics because of the sheer nature of his gregarious personality. Another acquaintance hinted that he should host game shows because he looks like Pat Sajak, the host of “Wheel of Fortune.”
Still, the exciting, 24-hour casino business calls him.
Many of those he’s worked with simply don’t want him to go.
“I’ve been depressed for a week. He’s been like a big brother. He’s helped me personally and at work,” Majoris’ assistant Rori Cosma said.
Maids, dishwashers and casino floor workers have expressed remorse.
“We’ll miss him. I’ve known him since he first got here as a youngster,” co-worker Donna Kirchoff said.
Indeed, Majoris would also admit he grew up at Lakeside Inn and Casino, the first real job in his eyes. In 1987, the Pennsylvania native started working in the marketing industry at Mt. Rose Ski Area on North Shore.
“I’ll never forget that interview. I had no experience, but I said I’d work hard and they gave me a job in marketing,” he said.
The year before he left the ski area for the casino in 1990, Majoris graduated with a business degree at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.
It didn’t take long before he realized he had much to offer the casino world and associates learned about his extraordinary personality.
Even his title exemplifies an individual nature – director of innovation and marketing. Those singing his praises remark that Majoris has more than lived up to that title, on the job or on various boards. He’s served on the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and the Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority.
“Todd is willing to look outside the box for opportunities,” Steve Teshara said. The director of TDVA and the Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance described him as “an energetic young man with a great future in the casino business or any other business he decides to do.”
“Todd is one of those people who takes his business seriously but never himself,” said Kathleen Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber.
“People who do their job well and maintain their sense of humor about the whole thing are rare. That’s Todd,” said friend and associate Bill Chernock, MS Dixie II Paddlewheeler director of marketing. The two have teamed up on cooperative promotions.
Ideas have abounded from Majoris, from the casino’s 10-year birthday bash in 1995 to the Mardi Gras party, an annual knockoff timed with parties in New Orleans.
“All you do is give away $3,000 in beads, and everybody and their mother is here,” he said.
“We’ve had our failures and successes. When I look back on the last 10 years, it’s gone too damn quick,” he said. “But I’m happy as can be. It’s personal growth for me. I’ve done a lot of work here.”
The company began recruitment this week to fill his position. Both President Mike Bradford and General Manager Lon Rusk were unavailable for comment at press time.
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