MEET THE TEAM


 

Melissa Raju
Tourism & Visitor Services Manager
mraju@sugarlandtx.gov

Melissa Raju, Tourism and Visitor Services Manager, is an AMA award-winning professional that leads the marketing initiatives for Visit Sugar Land in support of its mission to promote Sugar Land as a premier destination for meetings and leisure travel. This includes advertising, brand awareness, integrated marketing campaigns, grassroots marketing efforts, tourism partnership development, website management, and the development of curated experiences called Sugar Packets.

Raju is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. Hook em’ horns! She has worked in the PR and marketing industry since 2012. Raju has had the opportunity to build her experience by working with the following organizations: Entercom communications, SemanaNews, a Spanish weekly publication, The Children’s Museum of Houston, where she went on to win the “Marketer of the Year” award in 2017.  Raju on her spare time enjoys building blocks and recording dance videos of her son Apollo and finally enjoys trying different foods and attending live shows with her husband.  

What do you love most about Sugar Land?


I absolutely love the parks that are nestled in Sugar Land. Some of my favorite places to go on a stroll with my husband and dogs are Cullinan Park, Sugar Land Memorial Park, and Oyster Creek. I personally feel they are hidden gems in the city and once you discover them you can’t get enough of them.

What is your favorite thing to do in Sugar Land?


It’s so hard to pick one favorite thing in the city because there’s a handful of things to do. But, I love catching shows at the Smart Financial Centre and practicing pilates at Hip Fitness and practicing yoga at Yes Yoga.

What is a “must-do” while you’re in Sugar Land?


A must while in Sugar Land is to visit the Sugar Land Town Square to catch a live cultural performance and taste different cuisines all within one block.  

What is your favorite event venue to host an event?


Hmm, that’s a good question. I absolutely love the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land and how you can spruce up the space for a special event to a cocktail style event.

What are your top places to eat in Sugar Land?


Cooking Girl – I love this place because I love Chinese food, but their Hot Diving fish is just to die for, but I would recommend going with friends because their meals are family style.

Kura Revolving Sushi – A true Japanese experience. The first time I went here I was surprised with how fast the service was and how tasty their sushi is. My favorite things to have is the tempura shrimp and yellowtail.

Vino and Vinyl – Love going here with my husband and trying their different wine flights. Plus, their mac and cheese with black pepper shrimp and truffle is out-of-this-world.


 

Mary Roduta
Sales & Events Manager
mroduta@sugarlandtx.gov

Mary Roduta, Sales & Events Manager, oversees the city-wide management of the Special Events permitting process, the operations and implementation of activities at Crown Festival Park and the Plaza adjacent to the Smart Financial Centre, as well as, assists in the marketing of Sugar Land as an event and meeting destination. Mary also assists the Tourism and Visitor Services Manager with Visit Sugar Land’s marketing and visitor services program in its mission to promote the city as a competitive leisure and meeting destination through visitor fulfillment and overseeing the daily operations of the Sugar Land Heritage Museum & Visitor Center.

Mary graduated from the University of Houston – Main Campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an Accounting major, a minor in Marketing, and a Certificate in Corporate Entrepreneurship. She continued her education and graduated from the University of Houston – Victoria with a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Accounting and Business/Management. Lastly, she received a Certificate in Event Management and Hospitality Sales from the University of Houston. Mary is a mom of four and she enjoys finding new experiences to try with her family and friends.

What do you love most about Sugar Land?


I love how family-friendly Sugar Land is from its attractions to the friendliness of its citizens. I also love how safe it is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with my family until almost 10 p.m. in the evening and seeing all the other families enjoying Sugar Land’s amenities.

What is your favorite thing to do in Sugar Land?


I really enjoy the events at Sugar Land Town Square. The live shows are always great and the green turf on the plaza makes it such a fun place for my kids to play around on.

What is a “must-do” while you’re in Sugar Land?


The “must-do” thing while you’re in Sugar Land for me is going to the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center. My kids are very young and they can really let their imaginations soar at the different exhibits, especially Kidtropolis, a city made just for kids!

What is your favorite event venue to host an event?


My favorite event venue would have to be the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land because it provides such a unique atmosphere. The space is versatile and who wouldn’t want to have an event surrounded by history?!

What are your top places to eat in Sugar Land?


Oba Japanese Cuisine – It’s a quaint Japanese restaurant tucked in a shopping center with the absolute best takoyaki (in my opinion) in Sugar Land. It also has an all-day Happy Hour menu so I think that’s definitely a win-win situation.

Vino & Vinyl – Fantastic food and wine combined with awesome music played on vinyl records. I highly recommend checking out their brunch menu and mimosa flights on the weekends, and as an added bonus to families, you get a free kids brunch with every adult meal purchased.

Mon Cheri Macarons – Sweet, delectable, and unique melt-in-your-mouth flavors. I used to buy macarons from the owner of Mon Cheri when she sold them at the local farmers market and I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I was when I found out she was opening her own storefront. Her shop is a must-try when you visit the “Sweetest City in Texas!”


 

Patty Holley
Cultural Arts Assistant
pholley@sugarlandtx.gov

Patty Holley, Cultural Arts Assistant, supports the Cultural Arts Department in project management and coordination throughout the art acquisition process. She is passionate about supporting artists and investing in local communities through the arts, and she is thankful to have found her role doing that in Sugar Land.

In addition to her position as Cultural Arts Assistant, Patty is also a professional classical musician and certified K-12 music educator. She graduated from Auburn University with Bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education with a minor in International Studies. She then continued her studies at the University of Houston, where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Music Performance. Outside of the arts, Patty also enjoys embroidery, reading, and hiking.

What do you love most about Sugar Land?


I only moved to Texas three years ago, and I love that I have felt so welcomed by the people of Sugar Land! It’s so evident that people take pride in being a part of this community, and in my experience, that carries over into the city being very hospitable to newcomers and visitors.

What is your favorite thing to do in Sugar Land?


As someone with an artistic background myself, I always love supporting live theater and young artists. Seeing a play at Inspiration Stage is such a great opportunity to support local students/performers, and their shows are always really fun! On a different note, I also enjoy a peaceful walk in Cullinan Park.

What is a “must-do” while you’re in Sugar Land?


I’m always so impressed by the variety of shows and concerts offered at Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. A lot of my favorite artists have toured there, and I’d recommend the experience to anyone!

What is your favorite event venue to host an event?


Definitely the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land. I love any event where I’m surrounded by history, so being able to have cocktails or dinner surrounded by geodes and dinosaur fossils sounds pretty close to perfect to me.  

What are your top places to eat in Sugar Land?


Mala Sichuan Bistro – Really affordable and so, so yummy. Their Dan Dan noodles are my absolute favorite.

Naseeb – I’m a sucker for authentic Indian food, and this is definitely the place to get it.


 

You can also reach any member of our team by calling (281) 275-2045 or emailing tourism@sugarlandtx.gov