On April 2, 2024, the Hospitality & Tourism Management Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will honor five industry luminaries with awards recognizing their impacts at the depar

On April 2, 2024, the Hospitality & Tourism Management Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst will honor five industry luminaries with awards recognizing their impacts at the department’s Annual Awards Dinner, which will be held at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport.

“These leaders are exemplar in their work as hospitality dreamers, pioneers, and visionaries in the most dynamic industry in the world,” says Melissa Baker, chair of the Isenberg School of Management’s HTM Department. “We love celebrating everything that hospitality encompasses. In today’s world, bringing joy to people’s lives and delivering lifelong memories through hospitality experiences is what UMass HTM is all about. We are honored to celebrate the 85-year legacy of this premier HTM program with the awardees, industry leaders, alumni, and students”.

The following awardees will be celebrated:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Frank Guidara
Frank Guidara ’68

Frank Guidara ’68, Restaurateur

Over the course of his five-decade career, Frank Guidara has managed airline food service, sporting event catering, CPG manufacturing, and has managed restaurants ranging from fast food to fine dining. He served as president of Restaurant Associates and CEO of the Wolfgang Puck Food Company. Guidara revamped the concept of Au Bon Pain, positioning it for sale to the Compass Food Group. He teamed up with Centre Partners to purchase Pizzeria UNO in 2005 and helped turn around the chain’s finances and improve its reputation. Since retiring in 2012, he has served on multiple boards.

“I’m happy as heck I went to UMass. So many opportunities for things to do and ways to get involved. The most important part of college is growing up. You’re learning leadership skills. You’re maturing. A person starts forming.”

Will Guidara, Restaurateur and Author

Will Guidara
Will Guidara

Will Guidara is the author of the national bestseller Unreasonable Hospitality, which chronicles the lessons in service and leadership he has learned over the course of his career in restaurants. He is the founder of Thank You, a consultancy that helps companies across disciplines make the choice to be in the hospitality industry. He is the former owner of Eleven Madison Park, which under his leadership was named the number one restaurant in the world, and he is the host of the Welcome Conference, the world's preeminent hospitality symposium. He has coauthored four cookbooks, was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 40 Under 40 and is a recipient of The Wall Street Journal’s Innovator Award.

“Hospitality is less about how the duck is cooked and more about overhearing you say something, taking it and running with it to deliver the kind of experience that makes you feel seen.”

STEPHEN ELMONT AWARD

Ilse Harley
Ilse Harley '88

Ilse Harley '88, Area Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations West, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Ilse Harley began her Four Seasons career in housekeeping at Four Seasons Hotel Boston upon graduation from UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management with a hospitality and tourism management major. She went on to join the opening team in Maui and worked over the years at properties in Atlanta, New York, and Hualalai before being named General Manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle in 2011. She moved to Anguilla to convert the Viceroy Resort to Four Seasons in 2016 and was later promoted to Regional Vice President and General Manager. After stints at properties in Baltimore and Las Vegas, she was promoted to her current role as Senior Vice President.

UMass HTM gave me the gift of exposing me to the possibility of a career filled with experiences and travel. My love for hospitality has come from the interactions of the people I have worked with along the way. Surrounding yourself with kind people whose job is to make people happy is a reward few careers can deliver.”

DISTINGUISHED INDUSTRY LEADER AWARD

Vera
Vera Manoukian

Vera Manoukian, Chief Operating Officer, Sonesta International Hotels

Vera Manoukian leads Operations, Commercial, Brand & Marketing teams for Sonesta Hotels. She has been a key player in Sonesta’s rapid growth, uniting the company’s cultures with an emphasis on performance, accountability, and culture. Helming brand alignment across individual properties, management companies, and corporate structures, she launched four new brands and repositioned three existing brands with the support of her new commercial team. Prior to her role at Sonesta, Manoukian was the Global Head of the Hilton brand, where her strategic leadership resulted in 24 consecutive months of market share growth, 4% global revenue growth at the end of 2018, and being ranked the #1 most valuable hospitality brand ranking two years in a row.

“It’s a true honor to receive the Distinguished Industry Leader Award. Leadership remains a core tenant of my career and I am humbled to be recognized by the esteemed Isenberg School. The hospitality industry allows us to engage with so many diverse people around the globe in a way that is fulfilling both personally and professionally. Through this incredible industry, we have the unique opportunity to connect so many people throughout their journey”

OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD

Stephanie Krawczyk
Stephanie Krawczyk ’15

Stephanie Krawczyk ’15, Beverage Operations Manager, Marriott International Global US & Canada

Stephanie Krawczyk has had a passion for hospitality since she worked at Roberto’s in Northampton during college. After graduation, she worked on Nantucket before moving to the world-renowned Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, elevating her craft as a bartender and mixologist. In 2017, she began her journey with Marriott International at the Lido House, Autograph Collection in Newport Beach, California, where she was promoted to Restaurant Manager, Senior Food & Beverage Operations Manager, and Director of Restaurants & Bars. In 2022, she was featured at Tales of the Cocktail, the industry’s most well-known awards and educational conference. One year later, she joined Marriott’s Corporate Beverage Team. She was awarded a Top 30 Bartenders of the USBG’s World Class Competition in 2023.

“The best part about UMass HTM is the individuality of every student, and the magic that is created through everyone's collaboration. UMass HTM always made me feel that I was a part of something monumental and impactful.”

To attend the event through a sponsorship or individual tickets, or become involved as an industry partner with Isenberg HTM, contact Department Chair Dr. Melissa Baker (mbaker@isenberg.umass.edu) or register here.

 

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