Mende Malouf Alford was named the Mississippi Business Journal’s 2013 Businesswoman of the Year during a ceremony Monday at the Hilton in Jackson.
Alford, the general manager/owner of the Old Capitol Inn Boutique Hotel in Jackson, has turned being in the hospitality business into a fine art.
It has led to her Old Capitol Inn being the “in” place for many central Mississippi gatherings, ranging from wedding to non-profit fundraisers. The hotel has been featured four times in Southern Living magazine and has won numerous awards such as Hotel of the Year by the Mississippi Hospitality Restaurant Association and twice by the Jackson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Alford oversees 50 employees and an annual budget of about $2 million for the 24-room boutique hotel.
“I use a hands-on management style to ensure that our day-to-day operation runs efficiently and effectively,” she said. “Excellent service and customer satisfaction are the primary goals of our business.”
Active with the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Alford has chaired several major events such as Red White and Jackson and Authenticity. The latter event raised more than $100,000 for the police department and $40,000 for the fire department.
Alford is admired for her business success even in a down economy, said David L. Powe, chief administrative officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“This is indicative of her prowess to maximize a marketing scheme that personally touches her customers and attracts them to a warm and caring environment that is second to none in service and special attention,” Powe said. “This creates the magnet for the customers to return to a great experience and to spread the word of the jewel located in downtown Jackson. She has used imagination, know-how, and lots of hard work in minimizing the problems that small businesses encounter.”
Powe also admires Alford’s strong sense of citizenship shown by her involvement in many community activities and organizations. “She is a true servant leader and gives back to her community through countless hours supporting others in the community,” Powe said.
Alford has also been active with the Jackson Group of Executive Women International (EWI), a group that promotes personal and professional development. Former Jackson EWI president Diane Luckett, internal communications coordinator for Irby, said Alford served on numerous committees and as treasurer of EWI, drawing people in with an outgoing personality and lively spirit.
“She is a beautiful, impeccably well-mannered ‘Southern belle’ who treats everyone with kindness and respect,” Luckett said. “Mende epitomizes the term professional business woman.”
Alford is also an active volunteer with her children’s school, St. Richard’s, where she has helped raised more than $30,000. She considers her highest personal accomplishments marrying Jesse Alford, “the man of my dreams,” and parenting three girls, Truus, 7, Hala, 6 and Riena, 3.
Others named among the Top 10 at the event were:
» Susan J. Graves — Executive Vice President/CFO/Partner, Godwin Group in Jackson
» Bonnie A. Wilson — Chief Operating Officer, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority in Jackson
» Dr. Tonyatta Hairston — Optometrist/Owner, EnVision Eye Care in Jackson
» Monica E. Daniels — Vice President of Resource Development, United Way of the Capital Area Inc., in Jackson
» Dr. Wilma E. Mosley Clopton — Filmmaker/Writer/Producer/Director, NMHS Unlimited Film Productions in Jackson
» Janice M. Knight — Corporate Services manager, St. Dominic Health Services in Jackson
» Donna Haynes Williams — Chief Operating Officer/Founder Haynes Electric Co. and Haynes Integrated Technologies in Gulfport
» Meredith Stringfellow — Owner, Stringfellows, LLC (Couch’s Country Store and The Blu Rooster) in Bentonia and Flora
» Yuki Northington — Owner, Buyer, Social Chair and Yuki Art & Interiors in Bay St. Louis
» Danielle Davis — Principal partner/Operations Director, Dollars & Sense Creative Consulting/Mangia Bene Restaurant in Jackson