THE AHLA FOUNDATION recently held its 6th Annual Night of a Thousand Stars awards gala, recognizing leaders in the hotel industry and presenting Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Hotels Corp. president and CEO with the third annual Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award. The event also raised close to $1 million to support AHLA Foundation initiatives.
Lina Patel, director of strategic franchise initiatives at Red Roof, also was recognized at the event held during the 2024 America’s Lodging Investment Summit at the J.W. Marriott in Los Angeles. Shatterproof, a national nonprofit that promotes addiction treatment, also recognized Hoplamazian during ALIS.
“The Night of a Thousand Stars Gala brings our entire industry together to celebrate the work and dedication of the unsung heroes of hospitality—the individuals at the heart of our industry,” said Anna Blue, AHLA Foundation president.
Two recognitions for Hoplamazian
During the event, AHLA officially presented Hoplamazian with the Sorenson Award.
“Mark has championed countless initiatives that raise the bar in our industry, with his impact extending beyond the boardroom and into his local community,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO. “In honoring Mark with the Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award, we celebrate a leader whose contributions transcend corporate success and resonate in the lives of those he touches throughout the community.”
Hoplamazian also received the 5th Shatterproof Hospitality Hero Award, after being named the recipient of the award in December. More than 60 hospitality companies raised $2 million during the event to advance the work Shatterproof, which was founded by Gary Mendell, former chairman and co-founder of HEI Hotels and Resorts who lost his son Brian to addiction in 2011.
Citing data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, Shatterproof said employees of restaurants and hotels, the two major branches of the hospitality industry, have the highest rates of substance use out of the entire American workforce.
“I am honored to receive this award, but more importantly, to help raise critical support for Shatterproof and the transformational work they are doing,” said Hoplamazian. “Hyatt is proud to collaborate with Shatterproof as they lead the way in advocating for people with substance use disorders, their families and the communities this disease impacts.”
Patel bags ‘Paving the Way Award’
Patel received the “Paving the Way Award” from AHLA, an award for female trailblazers in the hospitality industry.
Patel joined Red Roof in 2023 with the goal of expanding its community of women and minority hotel owners. She collaborated with Matthew Hostetler, Red Roof chief development officer to launch the Road to Inclusivity and Diversity in Entrepreneurship, or RIDE with Red Roof, a program aimed at providing minority and women hoteliers with access to capital, resources, education, and networking opportunities.
“In the past year, we’ve witnessed the positive impact of Lina’s contributions,” Hostetler said. “Her assistance in launching RIDE with Red Roof has laid the foundation for broadening hotel ownership and entrepreneurial opportunities for underrepresented groups. Under her leadership, Red Roof has signed two 100 percent woman-owned properties since RIDE’s inception, bringing our over 35 percent of properties owned or partially owned by women closer to our 40 percent goal.”
“The hospitality industry is filled with talented, driven individuals who may feel lost or lack opportunities,” Patel said. “As hotel leaders, it’s our responsibility to elevate them wherever possible. This includes creating pathways for the entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow to enter the hospitality sector and fully understand the possibilities and pathways to success within our industry. While there’s still work to be done, it’s crucial to celebrate how far we’ve come. This award validates the efforts of countless hospitality professionals striving to expand the potential and reach of our industry.”
With 27 years as a hotel owner, Patel previously chaired one of the industry’s largest franchise advisory committees, striving to enhance conditions and opportunities for fellow hoteliers. Joining the AAHOA board in 2017, she played a role in launching the HerOwnership program, dedicated to fostering, promoting, and empowering women entrepreneurs in hospitality.
Other AHLA 2024 Stars of the Industry winners included:
- North Star Award Winner was Colby Bracy, director of human resources, The Nonantum Resort
- North Star Award Finalists were Alfonso Rauda-Serrano, chief engineer, Valley River Inn Eugene; and Bonnie Sager, general manager, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Hazelton.
- Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year went to Adrian Adriano III, director, premium brands, Marriott International
- Foundation Scholar of the Year went to Olivia Cannella, hospitality senior at Michigan State University.
As part of the celebration, AHLA Foundation also introduced the Scholar of the Year Award to recognize outstanding achievement by a hospitality student, demonstrating its commitment to recruiting the next generation of industry talent. The foundation also shared the success of Camryn Willis, a recipient of an AHLA Foundation scholarship.