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MGM challenges employees to ‘Inspire Our World’

Chef Orlando Santos

Chef Orlando Santos

By F. Carlton Peeples
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — For Las Vegas’ MGM Resorts International, a Vegas-sized production was the best way to unite 62, 000 employees under its corporate culture. “Inspiring Our World: A Musical Journey” uniquely expresses the company’s views on diversity, philanthropy and sustainability. The original production hit the stage in December 2012 for its Las Vegas properties; this past week’s Detroit performance was the first stop on a tour that will encompass each of the company’s properties and employees.

MGM’s core values of teamwork, integrity and excellence are reinforced through its mission to Engage, Entertain and Inspire, building a long lasting, positive experience for its employees and customers alike.

MGM Grand Detroit employees, executive pastry chef Orlando Santos and Yassir Yasso, after rounds of auditioning, were chosen to participate in the Detroit performance. Sharing his personal belief, Santos who appeared on the second season of “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” fought his way from a formidable past and circumstances. Having been abandoned at age 17 by his parents and sister because of his sexuality, the biracial Santos attended Johnson & Wales University, North Miami, Fla. He beat the odds.

“You have to live life now and enjoy and engage the moment,” Santos said, “You’ll never know when you’ll be given that chance again.”

“Inspiring Our World” is an initiative that had been a year in the making. Plans for the program began last winter. In September, auditions attracted more than 200 of the company’s staff. Detroit’s auditions received an equally impressive response. The production draws from employees’ hidden talents such as Yasso, who’s known as the voice of MGM and was an aspiring singer and producer. His vocal talent can be heard on the gaming floor in Detroit as well as commercials for the area’s top casino. “I couldn’t wait to represent the D, MGM, my family and fulfill some personal aspirations,” said Yasso.

Santos and Yasso received applause from their fellow coworkers as they took the stage to provide personal testimonials of their own stories to close out the performance.

“The approach was conceived as a way to express the company’s values to its employees; doing it in a way that really got us all in involved,” said Alexandria Notz, concierge and relief supervisor at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The production consists of original music and choreography performed by a cast of over 70 employees.

“We respect and value our diverse and immensely talented team members as the foundation of our success as a global company,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.

“Engaged employees are one of the most important components of the guest experience,” Murren said. “Happier employees nurture a higher level of guest satisfaction, providing a competitive edge for the company in the long term.”


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