Sean’s Blog

Be the Sponge

I started my Career in the Hospitality business as the “kid”, a sponge looking to absorb all I could.  Suddenly I find myself being referred to as the “old guard”, and wondering when and how did that happen?

I started out constantly looking for ways to surround myself with leaders who were willing to share their individual expertise.

I still am a sponge looking to absorb from people who have greater experience and knowledge than I do, but now I get to wring out my sponge every now and then, and shower the new “kid”. It never ceases to amaze me when people seek out my advice but remain honored to share what I have.

I would be remiss not to add a huge Thank You to the many people who have helped me get to this point in my life. As I get older, many of my mentors have retired or sadly passed on. I miss their camaraderie deeply.

So now I would like to shower you with a little life advice – be a sponge, seek out ways to be with those who have much to offer in both on professional and personal levels. Mostly don’t wait to thank those who help you along the way.

It’s a practice you will never live to regret.

Dayna RileyBe the Sponge
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Mustard Seeds and Values

I heard the priest in church talking about a mustard seed. The smallest of all seeds! But when nurtured it grows into a huge tree.Image result for mustard seed and bush

I may have missed his point, but it got me thinking about the MCHG Purpose and Values.  I had the honor of sharing these at a state industry event with business leaders and scholarship recipients.  They heard about all of you and values we have.  This week I am going to Texas to share it with another hotel company who heard about us and our culture.  They want to learn more! What an honor it is to talk about our Purpose and Values.

Back to the mustard seed……..  We were a small hotel company, with one hotel years ago. Driven by our culture and beliefs, we have grown to over 700 associates.  Our purpose is the same:      “To Positively Impact Lives.”  Speaking to people about our beliefs, impacts lives and helps others do the same. What an exciting thing to be part of!!!!

So lets have all 700 people in our company Positively impact someones life today, tomorrow and all week. That would be 3500 people whose lives we impacted but us.

Thank yo for helping build what we have. Keep it alive!

I shared “This is Me.”  Thank you to all those who helped with this production!

This is ME Click to play


Sean RileyMustard Seeds and Values
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“Independence” Day

On  my walk this beautiful Independence Day I decided to sit and think. Ya never know what I might come up with when I do that.  But it was so beautiful by the water and it was a holiday.

As I thought about what Independence Day meant to me. I felt grateful I lived in a place where I was allowed to be free and seek independence if I chose.  But then I saw a crew team go by in a scull. What an amazing thing to watch. All men and woman were working together and it was beautiful the way the oars went into and out of the water.  All the while there was a leader cheering them on.

FullSizeRenderI reflected on my early years of wanting independence as a young professional.  I didn’t need my parents or anybody to open any doors for me or help me out. I was independent.  But as I matured I realized that my independence was a mind set. That I did not need to do things by myself. Being part of a team or family is a choice, as is independence.  The best teams and families are the ones that allow us to keep our independence yet be surrounded by people that care.

I see Maine Course as that Team (Family).

I suggest you all reflect on those important to you today, as well as those who have given us opportunities.

Thanks Mom and Dad for helping me understand the importance of Both!

Sean Riley“Independence” Day
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#MaineCourseFun #MCFun

Everyone at Maine Course works hard and often times, things seem overwhelming. Yes, even for Sean, Mr. Positive. Personal issues, Life changing events, sickness, aging, whatever the issues are, its important to fall back on our Values.  Respect, Integrity, Family and yes…. Fun.   So lets have some fun here. You may want to first click here and play Bruno Mars 24K Magic. It will set the Stage for MCMagic seen below.

I hope you will take a break from your hard work, troubles and enjoy what some Maine Course Family members put together for you.

We have something Magical here at Maine Course

Ladies and Gentleman…. Maine Course Magic (Click here)IMG_3420


Sean Riley#MaineCourseFun #MCFun
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Its Like Riding a Bike

I won’t go into the entire sermon I heard at church this morning, but there was an analogy that hit me between the eyes.

Does anyone remember learning to ride a bike or teaching someone to ride one?  If so you remember the feeling of fear and apprehension. But I also remember trusting my father to be there for me, cheering me on and catching me if I was going to fall.

Does anyone remember learning to swim or teaching someone? I do.. Same thing. My father was there beside me making sure I was safe, but also pushing me to learn.

Now compare these to our fear of failing. That fear of letting someone down.  It is just as real as the fear of crashing the bike or drowning.  But my father was there to lift me up off the ground and help me try again. I did learn to ride a bike and swim, because my father put his arm around me and told me to get back up and he’d be right there with me.

Isn’t this the same thing we should do for each other when someone is struggling? In life or at work?  What each of us needs is someone who tells us we CAN, someone who loves us unconditionally.  Put your arm on a coworkers shoulder and say you support them in their time of need. Pick someone up after they failed a given task. Stand by your team member who is struggling at home and needs a hug.  This can be the same for leaders and their teams, as well for associates being there for their leaders.

Its just like riding a bike.

Sean RileyIts Like Riding a Bike
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Inspired by others

I recently visited one of our hotels and was talking to the GM. She said how cool it was to be outside cleaning cars off with her associates.  I was talking to another who said she keeps her snow pants handy so she can either shovel paths to guest cars or clear off cars.  I have heard Kevin tell the story of one of his GMs who would do that in hopes of inspiring his team to do the same. Kevin, as a bellman, only took three days of watching his boss to realize he, too, should do it as well.  But that example has stayed with I’m for life and he tells hundreds of people per year.  I was inspired by these great people today!

img_1907So on my way to work on this blustery Saturday I thought I too, could  put this feeling of inspiration to work.  So I stopped at our Freeport Hampton, near my office, to clean off a few cars.  I went in half way through to warm up and saw lots of associates who were surprised and smiling.  One told me “Oh Yea, Gordon did that the last storm.”  I became even more inspired and enjoyed seeing guests come out to a clean car.

I drove off feeling thankful for the leaders and associates who set the pace and make the Maine Course experience special.  In fact I could tell another dozen sores of leaders and associates who do this on a regular basis.

Thank you all for inspiring me, the guy who is supposed to inspire you.  We do have a very special group of people.

Sean RileyInspired by others
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Avoid Failing the Test (of life)

Positively impact her life!

Positively impact her life!

I was reading this morning and loved this story…..Walt Bettinger, CEO of Charles Schwab, had 4.0 in college until he took his final in one course.  He got the test which was a blank piece of paper.  He turned it over and it, too was blank.  The professor said to them, “I’ve taught you everything I can about business in these ten weeks, but the most important message, the most important question is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?”  Derringer had no idea and failed the test, brining his grade to a B.  It was the only B he received, but it was this one experience, that taught him to open to the world. From that point he didn’t look through people, even if they were doing a job that might be considered menial by some.

Inspired by the story, I walked into church this morning. The shy little man who passed out the papers at church looked at me and said good morning as he had for the last 7 years.  I never said anything other than “Hi” before.  Today I said, “Good morning, how are you? I have seen you here every week for years. My name is Sean.”  He replied, “I am Bill,” with the biggest smile I had ever seen.

And I thought I was good this stuff but today I learned a valuable lesson.  If our purpose, both personally and as a company is important, we need to do this kind of thing daily.  “To Positively Impact Lives”

Will you join me in recognizing people?  Vince, the Homeless guy who walks by your hotel? Bill at the entrance of Church? Sam, the parking lot attendant that Paul Lohnes delivers coffee to daily. Or that little old lady sitting on the bench by herself.

I’d love to hear your stories on the  Maine Course Facebook Page


Sean RileyAvoid Failing the Test (of life)
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Back to Sean and Typos

thank you notesI used to have a coworker who laughed at me for my typos. I often typed “tanks” vs thanks. But after reading my Father’s Day book, I realized it wasn’t about the spelling. It was about saying “tanks.”

When was the last time you received a personal note from your boss at work? Better yet, at home! A note of encouragement or condolences from a coworker? I am thinking it may have been a while. Yes, texts, Facebook posts, emails…. all are OK. But going to the mailbox and seeing a handwritten note that someone personally wrote, it is heartwarming!

So let me challenge my friends at Maine Course. Make a point to send a note to someone who has “positively impacted your life”Perhaps it’s to someone who works for you or by your side. Maybe it’s your boss. Then send one to someone else who impacted your life.

If 600 members of our Maine Course family do this, we will positively impact lives more than we will ever know. Take a minute and do it now. I also promise to continue to do it.  Word on the street is it takes people 30 minutes to figure out what my notes say with my handwriting.  But remember, its about the “tanks”!


Sean RileyTanks….
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Fun Makes the Tedious Bearable

We live and breath our values at Maine Course. In understanding and articulating the Maine Course Values, it was determined that fun needed to be included along with family, respect and integrity.  “Fun makes the tedious bearable,” quote by Sean Riley.

Why is that so important? Studies show that laughter is contagious and binds people together.  It releases endorphins that improve the immune system, reduce pain and protect us from stress. Having FUN while at work sounds like it provides the same benefits as working out. So let’s do it!  Let’s all 500 MCHG Associates have fun today and make someone else smile while improving our health at the same time.

If the CEO of a company can wear a pink coat and dance all over Portland with some GM’s, you can do it to.

Enjoy “Maine Course Funk.”

Sean RileyFun Makes the Tedious Bearable
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I was telling the story of MCHG and my career to a person close to me. I mentioned how tough it was, but how I learned so much.

I went through a bankruptcy of the former owner of the Freeport Inn, went through a purchase of the same hotel to Peter and Paul, survived a recession in the nineties, made it through 9/11 followed by another recession. We weathered the storm of divesting of our restaurants and those great people, another recession, to lead us to these good times.

But what I learned most, is that we can weather storms when we hold on to our values and beliefs.  Integrity, Respect, Family and Fun are what allowed Maine Course to survive in tough times and prosper in the good.

Shoot, this Front Office Manager believed and had the sticktoitiveness to become President.

circa 1994 at the Freeport Inn OfficeImage

Believe in yourself!  Live your values and you too will have a great future!

Celine GauthierSticktoitiveness
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