Hilton CultureCategory|

Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profile: General Manager Misoon Kong Makes Hilton History

Misoon Kong headshot

May is Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month – a celebration of the achievements and contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Hilton is proud to commemorate API Heritage Month by amplifying and celebrating the voices and accomplishments of APIs in our global community, including leaders like Misoon Kong, general manager of Hilton Chicago.  

Growing up in a little village at the southern tip of Korea, Misoon Kong was inspired by her parents, who encouraged her to work hard and dream big. 
“As the youngest of six children, my parents did everything they could to provide for us,” said Kong. “Their actions taught me perseverance, dedication, and compassion.” 

The lessons she learned from her parents paid off, and ultimately drove her to pursue a successful career running hotels in the U.S. and Korea, where over the past 20 years she’s worked in everything from hotel operations to sales and marketing, rooms, and revenue management, as well as leadership positions at resort, airport, and luxury hotels.  

Now, Kong has achieved her greatest milestone yet: She was recently appointed as general manager of Hilton Chicago, making her the first woman to hold this position at the hotel in the property’s 97 years of history, which she considers a great honor. 

“Hilton Chicago is a landmark property with a rich history. As the hotel’s first woman general manager, I look forward to working with this team of professionals to continue building upon the history and sharing the stories,” Kong said. 

In her role at this historic hotel, Kong oversees all aspects of the hotel’s operations, including leading the property’s world-class team of hospitality professionals. As a leader, she’s committed to celebrating with her team in delivering exceptional guest service to the guests staying in the hotel’s 1,544 rooms.  

Discussing stepping into a new role as the leader of a team, Kong said, “My immediate objective is to connect with the team members, to understand their roles, and to get to know them personally. Visibility is important to me, and I make a point of getting out of my office daily to engage with team members and make myself available to them. I love to explore the hotel and get lost…It’s the best way to meet people.” 

This role suits Kong, who has a proven track record of outstanding leadership that’s earned her numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including recognition for operations excellence, best profitability, and environmental efforts. She’s also passionate about serving as a mentor to upcoming leaders in the hospitality industry and has been named a recipient of the California Hotel Lodging Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. 

In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Katie, who is following in her footsteps, perusing a hotelier career in sales. An avid dog aficionado, she is eager to begin exploring Chicago with her 160-pound Saint Bernard, Noah, who has been bestowed the honor of Hilton Chicago’s resident VIP (very important pup).

Reflecting on her accomplishments, Kong said, “I am excited to take this step into the next iteration of my career with Hilton and continue to lead with Conrad Hilton’s vision of spreading the light and warmth of hospitality.”