Montgomery Place hires director of resident engagement

John Williams serves as the new director of resident engagement for Montgomery Place, 5550 South Shore Drive. – Waldemar Reichert

John Williams, 37, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but he still cherishes the best of Chicago and its history. He’s coordinated the inner workings of the Blackstone Hotel, so he’s aware the popular retreat for politicians, presidents and celebrities occupies a special place in Chicago’s story.

In January, Williams joined the staff of Montgomery Place, as director of resident engagement. While planning for 2018, Montgomery Place CEO Deborah Hart created the new position to enhance the daily lives of residents at the life plan community located at 5550 South Shore Drive.

Before joining Montgomery Place, Williams served as a general manager for Sage Hospitality, a management company for hospitality industry leaders, including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. While working for Sage, Williams facilitated the 2017 reopening of the Blackstone, as well as openings of upscale hospitality establishments in Philadelphia, Boston and New York.

Williams’ meticulous attention to detail and quality landed him the job at Montgomery Place, according to Hart. “I can tell you at any given time, the cost of a cocktail napkin and whether or not they are oversupplied,” he said. Beyond this intense focus on detail, he also demonstrates a knack for uniting staff to provide five-star service to Montgomery Place residents.

“John relates so well with Montgomery Place’s 200 residents, as well as staff members who interact with residents daily. He also coordinates the efforts of several managers who oversee our 170 employees,” said Hart. “Much like our award-winning executive chef, David Glasse, John brings a more sophisticated expertise because he’s worked for top establishments in the hospitality industry. And he loves working with people. We’re confident his leadership ensures a stellar lifestyle for residents that’s well beyond the status quo.”

Williams is collaborating closely with another new Montgomery Place staff member, Paul Zappoli, director of dining services. Reporting directly to Williams is Creshanna Henry, the new concierge at Montgomery Place.

Montgomery Place residents already have taken to Williams, who grew up speaking Ukrainian and Hungarian. They appreciate that he speaks 11 languages, a fact they applauded in their monthly newsletter, The Messenger.

“Hospitality has been my whole life,” Williams said. “What’s nice about Montgomery Place is those who stay here don’t just come and go. They live here. It’s their home.”