9 of Hospitality’s Greatest Thought Leaders and Highest Achievers
From marketers, developers, and consultants to thought leaders, keynote speakers, and television personalities, the hospitality sector is big on talent. Whether they are changing the game with innovative concepts or empowering hoteliers with proven tactics, these industry insiders have set themselves apart as some of hospitality’s brightest stars.
1. Bruce Faber, Owner at EHS Hospitality
Throughout his career, Bruce Faber has held several top positions, including General Manager and Managing Partner at Lincoln Park Zoo and Manager at Spiaggia, Chestnut Street Grill and Bistro 110. In 2008, Faber joined EHS Hospitality Group as the owner of the Chicago market, where he works with clients and candidates from local communities and cities all over the country. With a clear understanding that the success of any hospitality organization depends on the strength of its staff, Faber maintains a comprehensive database of the industry’s top leaders every level, allowing him to consistently supply clients with top talent.
2. Frances Kiradjian, Leader & Authority on Independent Boutique, Lifestyle & Luxury Hotels
Seasoned by 25 years of experience, Frances Kiradjian, Founder and CEO of the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association and the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network, is a 25-year hospitality and travel industry executive. She is instrumental in bringing worldwide attention to the boutique and lifestyle hotel sector and a champion for women in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries. Frances uses her global network of lifestyle professionals to connect the world’s most dynamic leaders with cutting-edge business and operational insight. BLLA conferences have become a staple in the lifestyle division, through which she arms hoteliers, restaurateurs, suppliers, designers, retailers, and anyone hospitality adjacent with the knowledge and inspiration they need to reach new levels of success.
3. Robert LaPata, Principal & Founder at Forefront Hospitality
A long-time veteran of the hospitality and restaurant consulting industries, Robert LaPata has spent a quarter of a century mastering both front and back of the house operations. During this time, he has worked with celebrated industry brands, including Hyatt Hotels, Omni Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. As Principal and Founder at Forefront Hospitality, LaPata has demonstrated a unique ability to turn conceptual ideas into working realities. Having owned, opened, operated and consulted on restaurants of every style and size, LaPata leverages his vast understanding of construction management and concept development to make Forefront a leading restaurant and hospitality consulting agency.
4. Xavier Lividini, Managing Partner, Hospitality Advance International
A member of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria Distinguished Alumni, Xavier Lividini has spent nearly four decades in the hospitality industry. During that time, he has served in executive level positions for a number of prestigious properties throughout the United States. In 2005, Lividini founded Hospitality Advance International (HAI) to deliver sales, marketing, asset and revenue management services to hotels in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the United States. Currently serving on several tourism- and business-related advisory boards, Lividini leverages his extensive expertise to help hotel owners, lenders, developers, managers, and receivers achieve organizational and financial success.
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5. Anthony Melchiorri, Hotel Exec, Host & Co-Executive Producer Travel Channel
Creator and host of the Travel Channel program “Hotel Impossible,” Anthony Melchiorri has consistently proved that nothing is impossible if you have talent and imagination. In addition to Hotel Impossible, Melchiorri is also the creator and host of “Extreme Hotels,” “Hotel Impossible: Five Star Secrets,” and host of “Hotel Impossible: Showdown.” He also brings his vast experience and industry insight to Argeo Hospitality, which provides clients with expert revenue management and consultation from the hospitality industry’s foremost consultant.
6. Rachel Roginsky, Owner & Principal, Pinnacle Advisory Group
Since graduating from Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Rachel Roginsky has established a noteworthy career in hospitality operations. In 1991, she founded Pinnacle Advisory Group, which has grown from humble beginnings into one of the nation’s top boutique hospitality consulting firms. Through hands-on direction and ethical positioning, Roginsky has helped Pinnacle develop a widespread reputation for providing a comprehensive suite of services, including market and financial feasibility, asset management, litigation support, valuation and other due diligence services that help its clients succeed.
7. Doug Roth, Founder & President, Playground Hospitality
A third-generation restaurateur, Doug Roth has spent more than three decades developing and operating multiple successful, on-trend restaurants, including Bistro 110, Bistro 100, Don Roth Restaurants, Blackhawk Lodge and the award-winning Red Moon. As an equity partner and Vice President of development with Levy Restaurants, Roth created numerous innovative, nationally recognized restaurant concepts. The founder of Playground Hospitality, he uses his extensive expertise to help restaurants streamline operations, identify opportunities, stay on-trend and better define the guest experience.
8. Ron Vlasic, Vice President at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
With over two decades of high-level experience, Ron Vlasic has developed a substantial industry footprint. In addition to his role as Vice President at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Vlasic is a member of the Board of Directors at Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, and an Advisory Board Member at DePaul University’s School of Hospitality. At Kimpton, Vlasic plays a lead role in providing unique, experiential stays that introduce guests to the local flavors of each city, while cultivating hotel and dining experiences that continue to live in the minds of guests, long after they depart. A key figure in the local community and within prestigious industry organizations, Vlasic is active in obtaining political support from state and local legislators on behalf of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association.
9. Chris Willard, Owner & Director of Marketing & Hospitality, Crown Choice Inc.
With over a quarter-century of experience in the restaurant and nightlife business, Chris Willard has developed a keen eye for detail, a passion for marketing and a unique talent for branding. Having worked in major markets, including New York City and Las Vegas, Willard brings a diversity of experiences that allow him to cultivate innovative restaurant and nightclub concepts and marketing strategies. As the Owner and Director of Marketing & Hospitality at Crown Choice Inc., Willard helps clients drive growth through creative marketing techniques that leverage proven tactics and game-changing trends. He is also committed to fostering enduring client relationships with the same honesty and loyalty he credits for building his long-standing career and professional reputation.
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