By Piper Blake
Web Content Manager
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview Cortney Lebens, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Muy’Ono Hospitality and the lifestyle company, Live Large. Due to her success since graduation, Lebens has been chosen by the Texas State University Alumni Association as one of three Alumni Rising Stars.
She said that getting recognized for this reward is an honor and that she is thankful for the opportunity to talk about how she has gotten to where she is today.
“I’m mostly excited because it provides me a platform to share my story because I think that a lot of young college students just don’t know what they can accomplish, and seeing real-life stories is really impactful,” said Lebens.
Lebens graduated from Texas State in 2010 as a fashion merchandising major with a minor in business. She has since strayed from a career that is closely tied to her degree but believes that her career has evolved through the core values and leadership skills she gained through Texas State.
“You definitely don’t know what you are going to do when you’re in college,” said Lebens. “It’s crazy to think you know what you want to do forever when you are 20-years-old.”
Lebens said she gained a lot from her degree and puts the skills that she learned to use in her day-to-day operations as the CEO of Muy’Ono. Lebens believes she is still a designer, in a sense, because she leads the design for all aspects of the resorts–from the rooms, the culture to the overall guest experience.
Before Muy’ono, Lebens started as an executive assistant at a consulting firm before becoming the Chief of Staff. Once she proved herself to be an asset to the companies owner, Bill Poston, he gave her the opportunity to build Muy’ono from the ground up in Belize.
Now, she is in charge of enforcing the mission, vision and values of Muy’Ono by hiring staff members that support these aspects and making sure that the company is representing these values at all times.
When talking with Lebens, you can hear the passion she has for everything she does just by the enthusiasm she has when talking about her position. However, she made it clear that she would not be where she is today without the people who support her and help push her to be better.
“Lean on people that push you. Surround yourself with people that inspire you,” said Lebens.
In Lebens’s case, she is surrounded by other alumni of Texas State University. Lebens’s business partner, assistant and many other employees are all Bobcats, which gives her a community of individuals that share core values and she can trust that they are going to help her succeed.
Not only is Lebens a savvy businesswoman, but she is a dedicated alumnus of Texas State. She is a co-lecturer of the Housley Principled Leadership Program where she helps foster the leadership skills she learned while at college in other students.
“Leading a group of young professionals and identifying extraordinary individuals and providing them with opportunities to grow, that’s kinda really my passion and what I truly love to do,” said Lebens. “That’s what gets me out of bed every day and keeps me motivated to keep doing what I am doing.”
She looks for opportunities to recruit Bobcats wanting to get a foot into their future career any chance she gets. She sees young individuals as investments because they may not have the technical skills another applicant may have, but they have the willingness to learn.
Overall, Lebens prides attitude and work ethic more than anything else when it comes to her own and others’ success.
By the end of our discussion, Lebens covered every aspect of her job and more, but she wanted to make sure she left some food for thought behind for those wary about what comes next for them.
“As tips and tricks to you young students at Texas State is just be positive, work your butt off, try new things, continually learn and take leadership roles in things you are passionate about,” said Lebens. “You will take it more seriously when you are passionate about it.”