Highgate expands Hawaii leadership with executive appointments

Highgate, a real estate and hospitality management company, has expanded its Hawaii leadership team, appointing established executives Gary Spencer as senior vice president of sales & marketing, luxury, lifestyle and Hawaii; and Erika Kauffman as regional director of communications. Highgate Hawaii is led by Group President Kelly Sanders. 

“2024 marks the 13th year of Highgate’s commitment and investment in Hawaii, with more than 15 thriving assets in its portfolio and several in development,” Highgate Group President Kelly Sanders said in a statement. “This is an exciting and expansive season that welcomes celebrated leaders like Gary and Erika, both of whom will contribute immense regional knowledge and industry acumen to steward our vision and notable growth with excellence.” 

With more than 30 years of hospitality, sales and marketing acuity, Spencer brings distinctive, transformational expertise and leadership to his field. Spencer will oversee an integrated sales, marketing and communications strategy for Highgate Hawaii’s dynamic portfolio. Spencer helmed 20 years at Evolution and Aimbridge Hospitality acclaimed for its sales strategy, culture and performance across 1,300 hotels with a network of 2,000 sales associates. Prior, Spencer was a co-founder and principal at Evolution Hospitality, an independent hotel management company which oversees conceptualization, management and marketing verticals for hotels, restaurants, and multi-use outlets. 

With more than 27 years of reputable marketing and communications experience, Kauffman will oversee Highgate Hawaii’s strategic communications, including partnerships such as TableOne Hospitality under restaurateur and Highgate partner Patric Yumul, set to open 12 ventures across Oahu, Maui and Kauai in 2024. Together, they recently unveiled MARA Restaurant & Bar at the newly opened Renaissance Honolulu Hotel & Spa, and an eatery epicenter at the new AC Hotel by Marriott Honolulu. Kauffman is distinguished in her results-driven strategies, partnership maximization, performance excellence and sustainable portfolio growth. Prior, Kauffman was the founder and president of EPR+, a 17-year independent marketing, communications and public relations consultancy that represented notable brands across travel, tourism and hospitality, film/television, luxury retail, NGOs, culture and the arts, and Hawaii’s premier events.