McKibbon Hospitality promotes, appoints new execs

Hotel management company McKibbon Hospitality has promoted and appointed eight new leaders to its corporate team.

"As we continue growing and evolving, adding additional hotels and food and beverage concepts to our portfolio, it’s essential that we have a strong corporate support team in place to help ensure sustainability and success,” McKibbon Hospitality President Randy Hassen said in a statement. “We are pleased to have promoted three dedicated, longtime McKibbon leaders while also welcoming four new decorated professionals, experts in their respective fields, to our corporate team and look forward to the contributions they’ll bring to our company and portfolio.”

New Additions

Crystal Gwin joins McKibbon as operations support manager, set to deploy to hotels currently in transitional phases and serve as a stand-in general manager. Gwin most recently served as GM of Tru by Hilton Orangeburg, S.C., and has hospitality and management experience, particularly with Hilton brands. She spent a year as the acting GM for Hampton Inn and Tru by Hilton Fayetteville, N.C., preceded by her time as GM of Jameson Inn Hotel.

Maka’ala Nalu Warden Kuewa is McKibbon's new corporate food and beverage director, responsible for implementing brand standards and strengthening the F&B culture and execution across McKibbon’s portfolio of hotels and seven independent restaurant and rooftop bar concepts. He joins McKibbon most recently from Bern's Steak House Co., where he served as GM of Haven Tampa, creating and designing menus, managing the restaurant team, inventory and training, preceded by his time as GM of the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. He has held several banquet captain and F&B manager positions with Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Epicurean Hotel and Hyatt Regency Jacksonville over the course of his career.

Nefike Gunden joins McKibbon as international staffing and programs manager, responsible for reviewing, hiring, processing and onboarding all J1 and H2B candidates and helping McKibbon expand and streamline international recruiting efforts. In addition to her new position, Gunden serves as an adjunct professor with the University of South Florida Muma College of Business, instructing both undergraduate- and graduate-level hospitality courses. Originally from Turkey, she completed her bachelor's degree in Recreation Management from Gazi University before earning the Fulbright Scholarship and completing her master's degree in Hospitality Management from USF in 2017. Earlier this year, she earned her Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration and Management from Conrad N. Hilton College, designing, developing and instructing courses surrounding hospitality technology.

Rafael Ibarcena joins McKibbon’s operational excellence team as sustainability strategy intern, aiding in the development of McKibbon’s sustainability strategy roadmap and Environmental and Social Governance program. Ibarcena recently graduated from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business with an M.S. in Entrepreneurship and is currently enrolled in the Patel College Global Sustainability M.S. program. Originally from Peru, Ibarcena holds an MBA from the University of Lima and has spent decades working in sustainable business management, finance, ESG reporting and construction. He is also a LEED Green Associate, Lean Six Sigma White Belt and member of the U.S. Green Building Council and Globe Organization.

Steve Lambert joins McKibbon as operations support manager, giving his operational expertise and guidance to hotels undergoing leadership changes and other transitional phases. He brings more than 30 years of experience and demonstrated success to McKibbon, most recently serving as the opening GM for the Cambria Hotel in St. Pete Beach. Before managing The Cambria, Lambert owned and operated two boutique hotels in New Hampshire—the Inn at Thorn Hill and the Bernerhof Inn.


Todd Kinney has been promoted to regional vice president of operations from his most recent post as GM of Hyatt House Westshore Tampa Airport. Kinney is responsible for supporting a portfolio of Tampa Bay hotels with leadership development and recruitment of general managers, operational strategy, budget planning, sales initiatives, guest satisfaction, and more. Kinney, who has been with McKibbon since 1997, having held multiple general manager positions at McKibbon-managed hotels, including Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Airport, Homewood Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport, Courtyard by Marriott Tampa North and Courtyard by Marriott Knoxville.

Steve Mohney was promoted to regional director of sales and marketing, responsible for overseeing a portfolio of hotels, developing and executing effective sales and marketing strategies and providing support and guidance to the sales leaders in his region. Mohney joined McKibbon in 2017 as director of sales for Residence Inn Charlotte South Park and two years later was promoted to market director of sales for the dual-branded AC Hotel and Residence Inn Charlotte City Center. He previously held various sales leadership roles with management companies including Sage Hospitality and Aimbridge Hospitality.

Rachel Sprouse was promoted from payroll supervisor to client relations manager. Having worked with McKibbon’s financial arm, McKibbon Hotel Group, for the past 14 years, Sprouse will now serve as a liaison between MHG and McKibbon Hospitality, supporting a variety of departments and internal functions. She will be responsible for supporting the onboarding process of new managed hotels by coordinating with legal, finance, accounting, and the hotel transitions and operations teams, overseeing licensing, permits and insurance compliance dates and deadlines across the portfolio as well as managing relationships with property and general liability insurance companies to oversee claims processing.