CHLA Celebrates 2022 Stars of the Industry Winners

Eleven top hotel employees, four properties honored at gala luncheon

SACRAMENTO, CA – (Nov. 17, 2022) – The California Hotel & Lodging Association honored 11 hospitality leaders and four outstanding properties today during its annual Stars of the Industry Awards Gala.

“Each winner has demonstrated sustained excellence and a passion for hospitality that inspires all of us,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, President & CEO of CHLA. “Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to every participant who daily makes the California lodging experience the best in the world.”

Hundreds of outstanding hotel employees were nominated by industry leaders throughout California. Three finalists were selected for each category, with CHLA judges selecting the winners based on their outstanding and unique contributions to their properties, to the guests, and to the community.

This year’s winners represent California’s diverse range of individuals, properties and locations. The awards ceremony was held at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.

The 2022 Stars of the Industry winners are:

Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year:

  • Miguel Lopez, Bernardus Lodge & Spa (Small property)
  • Keith Defiebre, Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (Medium/Large property)

Outstanding Manager of the Year:

  • Natalie Salinas, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Dinuba (Small property)
  • John Bernier, Hilton San Francisco and Parc 55 San Francisco (Medium/Large property)

Outstanding General Manager of the Year:

  • Kurt Bjorkman, The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Small property)
  • Chris Sommers, Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (Medium property)
  • Younes Atallah, Loews Santa Monica Beach (Large property)

Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of Year AwardThis award honors an exemplary lodging employee younger than 30 who has demonstrated superior professional dedication, leadership, and a fresh perspective to their job.

  • Elisabeth Balourdas, Rosewood Miramar Beach

WIL Connect Leader of the Year AwardThis award is given to a female hospitality professional who serves as a leader and role model within the hotel community.

  • Joan Harvey, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

HD Supply Housekeeping AwardThis award recognizes housekeepers/room attendants who show commitment to extraordinary guest service, exceptional cleanliness of guest rooms and public areas, and a true passion for the hospitality business.

  • Maria Medina, Best Western Plus Villa Del Lago Inn (Small property
  • Mario Escobar, The Waterfront Beach Resort (Medium/Large property)

Community Service AwardThis award is given for programs that demonstrate the individual property’s responsiveness to the local community.

  • Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection, Santa Cruz

DEI Award: This award recognizes the lodging property that best embodies diversity, inclusion and equity among its staff and within its community.

  • Doubletree by Hilton San Jose, San Jose

Good Earthkeeping AwardThis award recognizes lodging properties that have developed a culture toward integrating environmental management practices that improve everyday operations and the bottom line, while maintaining quality service and meeting guest expectations.

  • Argonaut Hotel San Francisco

Guest Relations AwardThis award is given for programs that develop a climate conducive to new or repeat business, create goodwill among guests or effectively solve guest complaints.

  • Magic Castle Hotel, Los Angeles