AHLA Foundation celebrates hotel workforce at annual gala

The AHLA Foundation hosted its sixth annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala, honoring leaders in the hotel and lodging industry— including property-level talent—on Sunday evening in Los Angeles. The event raised nearly $1 million to support AHLA Foundation initiatives aimed at strengthening industry’s workforce and included the Stars of the Industry Awards, commemorating winners for their service to the industry.

“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 ones at the heart of our industry,” AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue said in a statement.

As part of the celebration, AHLA Foundation introduced the Scholar of the Year Award to recognize outstanding achievement by a hospitality student and demonstrate its commitment to recruiting the next generation of hospitality industry talent. The foundation also shared the success of Camryn Willis, an AHLA Foundation scholarship recipient.

During the event, AHLA honored Hyatt President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian with the third annual Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership 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,” AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers said. "In honoring Mark with the Arne Sorenson Social Impact Leadership Award, we celebrate a leader whose contributions transcend corporate success and echo in the lives of those he touches throughout the community.”

AHLA’s 2024 Stars of the Industry winners were:

  • 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.
  • AHLA Foundation ForWard: Paving the Way Award went to Lina Patel, director, strategic franchise initiative, Red Roof Franchising.
  • 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.