HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Jill Flynn

As part of the 2020 Adrian Awards, HSMAI Hospitality Heroes is honoring hospitality professionals for their efforts to take a leadership position, champion a cause, or create a program that has directly benefited industry workers, medical personnel, first responders, or communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Nominations are open.

HOSPITALITY HERO: Jill Flynn, director of sales, events, and marketing for the Hyatt Regency Dulles in Herndon, Virginia

CONTRIBUTION: With the Hyatt Regency Dulles staying open through COVID-19 but reducing its staff from more than 150 to about 13, Flynn has thrown herself into 65-plus-hour, six-day workweeks. She’s done everything, including stripping and flipping sleeping rooms, working the front desk, and detailing groups coming in — all while handling tough conversations with clients and covering what used to be an 11-member sales team. Flynn has also used the lull in business to work ahead, updating the Hyatt Regency Dulles’ collateral and capacities information. Throughout it all, she has been there for her colleagues, pulling them aside for personal conversations, covering for them so they can take a quick mental-health break, and generally putting everyone else before herself.

RESULTS: In addition to having a tangible impact on her colleagues’ well being, Flynn has continued to bring in business for the Hyatt Regency Dulles. During the first weeks of COVID-19, she outfitted herself with personal protective equipment and went to Dulles International Airport, where she personally greeted U.S. Foreign Service and other federal employees who had been ordered to return home, many of them with nowhere to go — and she booked many of them rooms at the hotel. And the updated collateral she prepared has been crucial to the several meetings and one wedding that the Hyatt Regency Dulles has hosted during the pandemic.

NOMINATED BY: J.J. Abuelhawa, assistant director of sales and marketing for the Hyatt Regency Dulles — “If I could pick a handful of words to describe Jill, they would be resilient, brilliant, strong leader, and overflowing with gratitude. I have worked directly under Jill through this pandemic, and I have experienced firsthand her leadership through the toughest times.”

The HSMAI Adrian Awards have been honoring excellence in travel marketing for 64 years. Entry information for the 2020 Adrian Awards will be available soon. For more information, visit www.adrianawards.com.