Lenny Talarico, CSEP, CHE
Director of Corporate Sales, Blueprint Studios
Based in: Las Vegas
How I got here: I started my career in the entertainment field. I was a theater major, attended Hofstra University in New York and went on to pursue a career in the performing arts. I was fortunate to find success professionally around the world. A two-week engagement in Las Vegas led to an opportunity that allowed me to appear in numerous shows and help create entertainment attractions for which the city has become known. While performing at the Rio Hotel & Casino, an opportunity to transition career paths occurred when I was offered a position as the event and entertainment manager for the property, allowing me to move full time into the world of special event design and production.
I then worked for Hosts Global, a leading destination management company, where I learned about corporate and incentive events, then moved to a Minneapolis-based event design firm, heading up their Las Vegas operations. In 2006, I was recruited to join MGM Resorts Events where I served for 13-plus years as executive director of events, producing domestic and international projects for the company and their clients. In fall 2019, I joined Blueprint Studios. I’ve held leadership positions in industry associations such as ILEA, NACE and the SEARCH Foundation, helping to drive the direction of the industry. I became involved with The International School of Hospitality (TISOH), where I played a role in developing and leading a certificate program for event design and production. I continue to teach there both in-person and online.
Greatest career accomplishment: I’ve been fortunate to work on some really spectacular projects. I designed decor for Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday, staged a private photo shoot for Cher in front of the Bellagio Fountains and even traveled to China to produce an incentive awards celebration for one of the world’s largest insurance companies. Looking back on my career, I’ve been involved with every major hotel opening in Las Vegas dating back to the Mirage in 1989 and most recently the 2021 Resorts World grand opening. It’s all been amazing.
A specific improvement I’ve made: Nothing really matters unless you share it with others. My involvement with TISOH and in the industry speaking and helping to develop the next generation of event professionals is something I’m both passionate and proud of. The TISOH Design Lab, which could not have happened without the support of so many sponsors, provides a tactile learning environment for students, exposing them to products and designs in a scholastic setting.
What I do outside of work: Travel is my greatest passion. I’ve often stated I could pack to go around the world and be at the airport in 20 minutes. I regularly spend my downtime enjoying trips to far-reaching destinations around the globe.
What I'd tell my younger self: ‘Be patient.’ ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ And ‘Be open and accepting to all kinds of opportunities and people—somehow they are connected on the journey and play a role in your own unique story.’