Maya Lengerich

Mountain Ops and Human Resources
Angel Fire Resort, N.M.

Six-word bio: "Discovering exciting opportunities in the mountains.”

Lengerich is a fast-climbing go-getter at Angel Fire Resort where she brings a love of the industry, and a reliable sense of urgency, to every new role she tackles.

The 26-year-old is mountain ops and human resources manager at Angel Fire Resort in Taos, New Mexico, a role she has achieved by proving herself to be adaptable to whatever opportunity the resort business throws at her.

She started in the industry at just 15 years old at Taos Ski Valley and already has over a decade of experience, having done everything from working in daycare to helping the State Engineering office work up a plan for a dam related to a Monte Verde fishing lake at Angel Fire.

“Although she is only 26 years of age, she has proven herself an incredible talent with a true passion for ski area management,” says Chrisy Germscheid, Angel Fire’s PR manager and the one who nominated Lengerich for SAM’s Top 20 Under 30 list. “Maya does not settle for the status quo. She is constantly looking for ways to improve communication and processes throughout resort and insists on being the first one in the office and, on most days, is the last to leave.”

Change is what she thrives on, Lengerich says. Working at Angel Fire, and Taos before that, has afforded her the opportunity not only to switch it up with the seasons, but do a variety of roles that would be tough to find in other industries.

“I think I really like the change, and the diversity,” she says. “Every time I’ve switched a’s given me the opportunity to learn so much.”

Having spent the 2010-2011 season running the ski patrol department, in April Lengerich switched to running the human resources department, a job she believes she was considered for after the success of a program she introduced at the resort to improve customer service.

“[It’s a program] I was introduced to at Taos Ski Valley and then I put it on for Angel Fire Resort for all of our winter employees; I think about 600 people went through my program at the beginning of the season,” she explains. “It’s based on customer service but it focuses on loving your job no matter what you’re doing. The idea is that if you love your job and love every minute of it, then you are automatically going to have pretty good customer service.”

Lengerich’s roles share a common thread of significant responsibility, especially for a young person: creating a 30-page report for the building of an engineered environmental feature, being point-man for a safety department, ski patrol, building a summer activities program and, finally, landing in human resources, a department she says she had previously not realized was so integral to resort operations.

When asked how she has been able to excel so quickly at Angel Fire, through such a wide variety of roles, Lengerich weighs her answer carefully before referring back to one of her wide-ranging work experiences.

“I used to work at a restaurant as a chef, and something I learned there, was to always have a sense of urgency. Even if things are slow and you feel like you have all the time in the world to get the stuff done, you always have to feel a sense of urgency,” she explains.

“That way, you’re in a position to learn more things and to take care of situations as they arise. So every time I’ve switched a department I keep that in mind and try to keep on top of everything and learn as much as I can, even if I’m not getting an outside pressure to do it—I put it on myself.”

—Katie Bailey