HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Kenan Tekin

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: Kenan Tekin, dual opening general manager, Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Los Angeles International Airport

CONTRIBUTION: Throughout the pandemic, Tekin has been checking in on former colleague and employees who have been laid off or furloughed. But he has more to offer than encouragement and support. He’s let them know that he should be able to hire many of them when the dual Hyatt LAX property he manages opens later this year. He’s been using his own money to buy groceries and other essentials for them, including donating an entire paycheck to six families — as well as to fellow HSMAI Hospitality Hero Sheela Martinez’s birthday fundraiser. And Tekin has launched a platform called Emma Talent — named after his 3-year-old daughter — to provide coaching, mentoring, networking, and job-placement services to hospitality employees who have been laid off or furloughed.

RESULTS: In addition to having a material impact on his colleagues’ professional prospects and quality of life, Tekin has buoyed their spirits with the promise of work that keeps them in the hospitality industry.

NOMINATED BY: Mauricio Joya, hotel manager with Interstate Hotels & Resorts — “He keeps it very low key and does not talk about it. He always says, ‘The less people know, the more you can do for them.’”

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.

HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Ava Espano

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: Ava Espano, guest services agent, Accor

CONTRIBUTION: When Espano received Accor’s Heartist of the Year employee-recognition honor in 2019, she knew what she wanted to spend the prize money on: a trip to the Philippines, where she was born. When her flight was canceled because of COVID-19, she decided that she still wanted the money to get there.

RESULTS: Espano sent the prize money—several thousand dollars—to her family in the Philippines, who used it to put together care packages for those in need.

NOMINATED BY: Michael Innocentin, Accor’s vice president of ecommerce and digital for North and Central America — “When I heard about the Hospitality Heroes program, Ava immediately came to mind. Her personal act of kindness and generosity during this difficult time helped so many. Not only is she doing a great job at the hotel, she is also a role model to us all with respect to her selflessness.”

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.

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.

HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Jonathan DiFonzo

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: Jonathan DiFonzo, district sales representative for Cheney Brothers Inc. in Boynton Beach, Florida

CONTRIBUTION: DiFonzo turned the tables on restaurant workers in Delray Beach, Florida, who found themselves out of work because of the coronavirus lockdown by arranging to supply them with meals. He did it by organizing a GoFundMe campaign called “Service Industry Relief Fund” that raised more than $4,700 — and then securing matching produce donations from Boy’s Fresh Market, and was featured in a local CBS news story.

RESULTS: Armed with the money and produce, DiFonzo arranged for three dozen volunteers to pack and distribute 200 meal boxes to members of the restaurant community.

NOMINATED BY: Debbie Howarth, Ed.D., interim assistant dean at Johnson & Wales University College of Business — “Jonathan is an alumnus of Johnson & Wales University. His example of initiative and doing what needs to be done to support his restaurant community makes us all very proud.”

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.

HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Sheela Martinez

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: Sheela Martinez, most recently front office assistant and manager at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills in West Hollywood, California

CONTRIBUTION: For her birthday in May, Martinez decided to do something for the community of ceramic potters in Santa Maria, Isabela, in the Philippines, where she was born and where her grandparents still live. With the COVID-19 lockdown preventing the artisans from creating and selling their pottery — the community’s primary source of income — Martinez put out a call on Facebook to raise money for relief bags. Costing $6, each relief bag can feed a family of four.

RESULTS: Martinez’s goal was to raise enough money to feed 200 families. Within two days, she had enough for nearly 500 relief bags.

NOMINATED BY: Kenan Tekin, dual opening general manager for Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Los Angeles International Airport — “She rallied a lot us to donate and reach out to people who can donate. For a young individual at her age to help hundreds of families in need is commendable.”

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.

HSMAI Hospitality Hero: Mary Parks

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: Mary Parks, director of sales for the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown in Annapolis, Maryland, and an HSMAI member

CONTRIBUTION: From the beginning of the pandemic, Parks has kept herself busy — using the Hilton Garden Inn’s kitchen to bake chocolate-chip cookies for medical personnel, firefighters, and other first responders as well as personally making hundreds of masks for friends, colleagues, and people throughout Annapolis. But she took things even further when she created #Masks4Annapolis, a Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown–sponsored contest to encourage clients and partners to make masks for donation, with the hotel awarding prizes for the best ones. Parks enlisted Annapolis’ mayor, State Delegates Henson and Jones, State Senator Sarah Elfreth, and office of emergency management to help publicize the contest, and got members of Waldorf, Maryland–based rock band Good Charlotte to serve as judges.

RESULTS: The initial goal of #Masks4Annapolis was to make 2,000 masks over eight weeks, but within two weeks the initiative was on pace to exceed that. Learn more here.

NOMINATED BY: Rodrigo Arandia, regional director of sales – mid-Atlantic for OTO Development, which owns and manages the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown — “Mary does this because she truly wants to do good and help others. She is simply an amazing human being.”

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.

HSMAI Adrian Awards Recognize Future-Forward Campaigns in Travel Marketing

(McLean, VA, January 22, 2020) More than 800 hospitality sales and marketing leaders gathered at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) annual Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala at the New York Marriott Marquis to recognize excellence in travel advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. This year’s award winners are making the future of hospitality brighter and better with their thought leadership and creative approaches to marketing challenges.

“The 2019 competition was fierce — entries had bold ideas and brilliant execution,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The winning Adrian Award campaigns went above and beyond, leading the future of hospitality marketing with impactful and dynamic campaigns that achieved measurable success for their brands.”

For 63 years the Adrian Awards have spotlighted excellence in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. This year’s award winners were selected from more than 1,100 entries by senior industry and media experts for the following entry categories: advertising, digital marketing, public relations, and integrated marketing.

Gold Award winners across each category were recognized during the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception, which was co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google, and TravelClick, an Amadeus Company. Platinum winners receive the highest honor among each category’s Gold Award winners.

The highly anticipated Best of Show awards were chosen from the Platinum Award winners for three divisions: digital marketing, public relations, and advertising. The 2019 Best of Show winners are:

Digital Marketing “Best of Show” – Super 8 by Wyndham; Citizen Relations, Questus, Mullenlowe Mediahub, for its Super 8 #JOURNEYSAFE campaign

Public Relations “Best of Show” – The National WWII Museum and its agency, MMGY NJF, for The National WWII Museum | Owning an Entire News Cycle: D-Day with The National WWII Museum campaign

Advertising “Best of Show” – Ritz-Carlton Marriott International for its Stellar Dining Series

Advertising Platinum Winners:

Company; Agency

  • Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Ideas Collide; Initiative
  • Discover Puerto Rico; Miles Partnership
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism; Target
  • Ritz-Carlton Marriott International
  • The Aruba Tourism Authority; Concept Farm, USIM

Digital Marketing Platinum Winners:

Company; Agency

  • AccorHotels, Fairmont Hotel, and Resorts
  • The British Virgin Islands Tourism Board & Film Commission; MMGY Myriad
  • Marriott International; Facebook, The Lacek Group, M1M – Publicis, Virtue, 160Over90, Telescope
  • Red Roof
  • United Airlines; 360i
  • Visit Seattle; PB&
  • Super 8 by Wyndham; Citizen Relations, Questus, Mullenlowe Mediahub

Public Relations Platinum Winners:

Company; Agency

  • Contiki; The Decker/Royal Agency
  • Discover Dominica Authority; MMGY Myriad
  • DoubleTree by Hilton; Edelman
  • MCR and MORSE Development; BerlinRosen
  • Travel Michigan; Weber Shandwick
  • The James New York – NoMad; MMGY NJF
  • The National WWII Museum; MMGY NJF
  • Visit North Carolina & Discover South Carolina; Luquire George Andrews
  • VisitScotland; Laura Davidson Public Relations

Integrated Marketing Campaign Platinum Winners:

Company; Agency

  • Marriott International
  • The Aruba Tourism Authority; Concept Farm

HSMAI Foundation Talent & Leadership Award Winners:

Company; Agency, Category

  • SALT Hotels; MMGY NJF; Attracting new talent
  • Marriott International; Mitchell Communication Group; Developing emerging talent
  • Terranea Resort; Engaging existing talent

“This year’s Adrian Awards winners showed remarkable ingenuity and truly embraced new techniques in their campaigns,” said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI’s executive vice president.

A panel of senior industry executives selected the HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization for 2019. Each extraordinary mind was honored by HSMAI at a reception and celebrated onstage during the Adrians Gala.

HSMAI also honored two industry leaders with HSMAI Lifetime Achievement awards. Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., executive vice president, 795 Fifth Avenue Corporation, and director, Summit Hotel Properties, was recognized with the 2019 Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations.

“From my first day working a hotel to tonight, HSMAI has been among the most important influences in my career,” said Hanson. “Thank you for this wonderful moment and memory for my family and me.”

Leland “Lee” Pillsbury, managing director, Thayer Ventures, was the recipient of the 2019 Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing. “We are in a service business, and that will never change”, said Pillsbury. “HSMAI has always stood for those values, and that is what makes this award so meaningful for me. I’m honored and humbled to receive this award and to join the extraordinary list of previous award winners.”

The Facebook Mobile Video Award went to DoubleTree by Hilton for its Cookies in Space campaign. In addition, the Corporate Social Responsibility Award was presented to Rosen Hotels & Resorts for its Tangelo Park Program.

HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Gala is featured in BizBash’s Top 100 Events in New York. Access this year’s event photos to view the excitement of the winners at the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala. Please credit “Natural Expressions NY for HSMAI” when using event photos.

For more information about the Adrian Awards, visit www.adrianawards.hsmai.org. To interview an HSMAI spokesperson about the event and the winners, please contact Nicole Quain at nquain@hsmai.org.

About HSMAI

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as the Marketing Strategy Conference, Adrian Awards, Sales Leader Forum, and HSMAI ROC. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization comprising more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at hsmai.org, HSMAI Facebook, HSMAI Twitter, and HSMAI YouTube.

HSMAI Adrian Awards to Recognize the Best in Travel Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations

(McLean, VA, January 9, 2019) The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is thrilled to announce the Gold Winners of the 2019 Adrian Awards. HSMAI’s Gold Winners have exemplified outstanding advertising, digital marketing, public relations, and integrated marketing in hospitality. Platinum and Best of Show winners will be revealed at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on January 21st at the New York Marriott Marquis. View the complete list of Gold Award winners on the Adrian Awards website.

This year, HSMAI received over 1,100 entries. The Gold Awards will be presented to a large group of multitalented winners including 99 awards in Public Relations, 16 in Integrated Marketing, 94 in Digital Marketing, and 29 in Advertising. The judges for this year’s awards are comprised of 200 leading hospitality and tourism experts in advertising, digital marketing, media, and public relations.

“It is inspiring to be a part of the Adrian Awards Gala evening,” said Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI. “The award winners have pushed the boundaries in hospitality marketing, and it is a privilege to honor their achievements.”

During the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception, co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google, and TravelClick, an Amadeus company, Gold winners’ submissions will be on display. All Gold Adrian Award recipients are considered for Platinum Adrian Awards and the “Best of Show” Awards, which will be announced at the Adrian Awards Gala. Following this year’s gala, all winning work will be showcased in the Winners Gallery on www.adrianawards.hsmai.org.

New this year, the HSMAI Foundation Awards for Outstanding Efforts in Attracting, Developing & Engaging Hospitality Talent will be presented. Also, throughout the evening the future of hospitality marketing will be on display, including insights from forward-thinking industry leaders who will make appearances on a new “futures stage.”

The Adrian Awards also honor HSMAI’s 2019 class of Top 25 Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization, and lifetime achievements in hospitality marketing and public relations. Leland “Lee” Pillsbury will be recognized as the recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing and Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., will be honored with the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations. The winner of the second Facebook Award for Mobile Video will also be unveiled.

HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala is a great opportunity to network and celebrate with nearly 1,000 hospitality and tourism colleagues. Tickets can be purchased at www.adrianawards.hsmai.org. HSMAI will also host the 2020 Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis, on Wednesday, January 22, focused on marketing in a digital world. To learn more, visit www.marketingstrategy.hsmai.org.

For more information and to inquire about a media pass to the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala, please contact Nicole Quain at nquain@hsmai.org.

About HSMAI
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference, Adrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. Founded in 1927 and celebrating 90 years in 2017, HSMAI is a membership organization comprising more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at hsmai.org, HSMAI Facebook, HSMAI, Twitter, and HSMAI YouTube.

Meet HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds of 2019

The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) is thrilled to recognize the brightest minds in the hospitality industry with the 2019 HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization. These professionals have been selected by a panel of senior industry executives and will be celebrated at the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala and at a private reception on January 22, 2020, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds have shared innovative ideas and achieved exceptional results in the preceding 18 months. Each of these individuals has exemplified leadership and brilliance in their respective roles. Collectively they are contributing to the bright future of the hospitality industry.

“These 25 leaders are an inspiration to the entire hospitality and tourism industry. Their out-of-the-box thinking and creativity are setting our industry up for success,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The future of hospitality is optimistic when we have professionals like HSMAI’s Top 25 who are actively driving advancement, growth, and creativity across sales, marketing, and revenue optimization.”

The HSMAI Americas Top 25 Extraordinary Minds are as follows:

  • Tammie Carlisle, Head of Hospitality, Milestone Inc.
  • Leah Chandler, Chief Marketing Officer, Discover Puerto Rico
  • Alex Ferdinand, Senior Director, Worldwide Sales, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Christen Garb, Vice President, Revenue Management-Americas, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
  • Thomas Garzilli, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand USA
  • Valerie Gavin, Vice President, Hotel Sales & Marketing, North & Central America, Accor
  • Lisa Giamo, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, OTO Development
  • Kristie Goshow, Chief Marketing Officer, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
  • Lauren Grech, CEO & Co-Founder of LLG Agency & LLG Events, and Adjunct Professor at New York University
  • Linda Gulrajani, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Distribution, Marcus Hotels & Resorts
  • Patrick Harrison, Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Tampa Bay
  • Matt Jones, Head of Analytics, Travel, Google
  • Jonathan Kaplan, Vice President, Global Sales Strategy, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Nancy Kern, Vice President of Marketing, Coral Tree Hospitality
  • Jayna Leach, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Panama City Beach
  • Caroline MacDonald, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing, Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Rene Mack, President, Percepture
  • Starla Middlebrooks, Director, eCommerce Services, Marriott International
  • Frank Passanante, Senior Vice President, Hilton Worldwide Sales Americas, Hilton Worldwide
  • Derek Price, Director of Business Development, North America, Expedia Group Media Solutions
  • Karin Salinas, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Baha Mar
  • Monica Salter, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Outrigger Hospitality Group
  • Phil Yi, Vice President, Marketing, Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Tony Yousfi, Vice President, Sales, MGM Resorts International
  • Lou Zameryka, Director, Global Chains, Booking.com

Tables and tickets for the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala are still available for purchase. For additional information on the HSMAI Adrian Awards and the HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards, visit http://www.adrianawards.com.

Co-located with the Adrian Awards, HSMAI’s Marketing Strategy Conference, on January 22, at the New York Marriot Marquis, is designed to provide practical information, insights, and strategies to drive revenue and engage guests before, during, and after their stays. For registration and more information, visit http://www.marketingstrategy.hsmai.org.

About HSMAI
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as the Marketing Strategy Conference, Adrian Awards, and HSMAI ROC. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization comprising more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at hsmai.org, HSMAI Facebook, HSMAI Twitter, and HSMAI YouTube.

HSMAI Awards Bjorn Hanson and Lee Pillsbury with Lifetime Achievement Honors

The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMAI) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards in marketing and public relations. Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., will be honored with the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations. Leland “Lee” Pillsbury, managing director of Thayer Ventures, will be recognized as the recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing. HSMAI will celebrate Bjorn and Lee at the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on January 21, 2020, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have spent a major portion of their careers in the hospitality and travel profession and have contributed to the betterment of the industry in a significant and lasting way, over an extended period of time.

“Bjorn and Lee both have illustrious careers, and HSMAI is proud to recognize their contributions to the growth, development, and success of the hospitality and tourism industry,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “We are honored to presenting Bjorn with the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations for his many years of leveraging publicity to advocate for the hospitality industry and its place in the economy and fabric of the United States. We honor Lee with the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing in recognition of his many contributions as an innovator in hospitality marketing, distribution, and technology.”

Bjorn Hanson is the executive vice president of the entity that owns The Pierre hotel in New York and is a director of Summit Hotel Properties. He is the recipient of numerous notable awards, including, One of the 33 Most Influential People in the Travel Industry by Travel Weekly, One of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Meeting News, One of the Lodging Industry’s Innovators by Lodging, and more.

In addition to these accolades, Bjorn founded the Hospitality & Leisure practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he served as Global Industry Leader of Hospitality & Leisure. He was responsible for hospitality & leisure audit, tax, and advisory services, globally. Bjorn then retired from PwC in 2008 and joined the full-time faculty of New York University (NYU). In 2010 he was appointed dean of the New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management. Bjorn was also appointed co-interim dean of one of New York University’s 18 schools and colleges. After 10 years he retired from New York University.

Today, Bjorn is a member of the Editorial Board of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and is a Reviewer for The Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, and serves an active researcher and consultant specializing in expert witness testimony for major hospitality industry matters.

Leland “Lee” Pillsbury is a managing director of Thayer Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in technology companies targeting the travel and hospitality industry. Lee was also a founder and chairman of Thayer Lodging Group and was CEO from its founding in 1991 until its sale to Brookfield Properties in 2014. In addition, he is also was the founder of TenX Healthcare, a corporation focused on transforming the patient journey through surgery. He began his career at Marriott, where he rose to become executive vice president and head of the strategy for lodging.

Lee has been involved in the purchase and sale of over 70 companies and played a major role in the launch of over 20 new companies. He now serves on the Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards of several companies Thayer Ventures has investments in.

In recent years, Lee was named Hospitality Executive of the year by Penn State University and Entrepreneur of the Year by Cornell University in 2016. He is a member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees and serves on its Executive Committee, Investment Committee, and chairs its Buildings and Properties Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and an MBA from JL Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern.

Tables and tickets for the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala are still available for purchase. For additional information on the HSMAI Adrian Awards and the HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards, visit www.adrianawards.org.

Co-located with the Adrian Awards, HSMAI’s Marketing Strategy Conference, on January 22, at the New York Marriot Marquis, is designed to provide practical information, insights, and strategies to drive revenue and engage guests before, during, and after their stays. For registration and more information, visit www.marketingstrategy.hsmai.org.

About HSMAI

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as the Marketing Strategy Conference, Adrian Awards, and HSMAI ROC. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization comprising more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at hsmai.org, HSMAI Facebook, HSMAI Twitter, and HSMAI YouTube.