Mogul Voices

Voice of the Super Moguls

The American author, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” With this in mind, we spoke directly to many of the Top 100 “Super Mogul” General Managers across the United States, as well as GM-ready “Rising Moguls,” who are Assistant GMs or property-level directors.

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Lead by Example and Build Trust One Employee at a Time
Chris Adams

Chris Adams is a Top 100 Hotel GM in the U.S., situating him in the top 0.01%. He is the former Area General Manager for Embassy Suites, Greensboro, North Carolina, and has been in the hospitality industry for more than four decades, working for brands, management companies, and independent hotels.

Humble Beginnings

Adams is the embodiment of the American dream and testimony to the industry’s economic role as an engine of meritocracy. He worked his way up from being a housekeeper in limited-service hotels. “I started out as a housekeeper and through some wonderful opportunities and mentorship, I’ve been able to work across several brands around the country in several positions. I continue to find this industry fun and no two days are the same. I’ve had the pleasure of maintaining people on my team over the years. Trust and engagement are two important attributes for leaders. Our actions and what we do speaks volumes. People look to us to see that we are consistent and that we’re genuine.

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Build a Culture Where People Aren’t Afraid to Try
Julian Tucker

Humble Beginnings

Julian Tucker is the General Manager of Andaz West Hollywood, California. He has over 25 years of hospitality experience including resorts in the US and in the Caribbean. He started his career at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee in the security department and was promoted to Director of Security before becoming Executive Housekeeper. He was subsequently Front Office Manager at the Hyatt Regency Chicago followed by serving in several department head roles and then Director of Rooms. Tucker’s community outreach affiliations include working with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on a task force to bring more Black people business opportunities to the area.

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Go Outside The System To Get Paid Your Worth
Danny Williams

Humble Beginnings

Danny Williams is a Top 100 Hotel GM. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. While he is classically trained, his career story is quite different from a single employer “franchise player,” but according to our research, more commonplace both in the pathway to becoming a GM and a multi-employer career thereafter, especially in full-service resorts.

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Willingness to Learn is the Most Important Attribute
Tamas Vago

Humble Beginnings

Tamas Vago is General Manager at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. He grew up in Hungary and worked as a dishwasher earning $50 a month while studying to get his degree in

Culinary Arts. He worked his way up through every role in the kitchen and later became Chef at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest, Hungary. He moved to the US, worked as a chef in New Orleans, then spent some time in Nicaragua. He later became Executive Chef for InterContinental Chicago. Tamas has amassed 20 years of experience in all aspects of food and beverage, operations, and hotel management.

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Time for Hospitality to Get back to the Fundamentals.
Leo Johnson

Humble Beginnings

Leo Johnson (his name and identity have been changed to protect his privacy) is a luxury hotel General Manager in Texas with 15 years of experience in hospitality. He grew up in a suburb outside Dallas and graduated from a hospitality school in Houston. One of his first roles in the industry was as a bellman at a luxury boutique hotel in Dallas. Johnson climbed the front office and room director ranks all the way to hotel GM in 10 years of working in 4 hotels across the U.K. and became an expert in filling the gaps by recruiting housekeeping and front-line talent from Mexico and Latin America. He now oversees a team of 500 at an independent luxury boutique property that is affiliated with a hotel chain for its reservation system (“a soft brand”) and hosts VIP events for government leaders and celebrities from around the world. As a Hispanic American, he is active in local organizations and non-profits and has his hotel team engaged in community work addressing the migrant crisis on the border and takes pride in helping his associates become bilingual quickly and give back.

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Give Employees A Voice
Terrance Frederick

Humble Beginnings

Terrance Fredrick is a Super Mogul (top 1%) director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, California. He started out as an ambitious young bellman who loved serving customers and the energy and pace of working in luxury hotels. Like many of the minority elite talents we discovered, his career path was not institutionally chartered: he found an unlikely mentor who noticed his unique talents. After he inquired about promotion opportunities, he was motivated by a senior sales and marketing leader who told him he couldn’t do the senior leader’s job. This diplomatic “put down” motivated Terrance to seek advancement and get into hospitality sales. Later, once he saw his drive and determination, and passion for hospitality, this same hotel executive became a good mentor of Terrance’s. Terrance is the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Andaz West Hollywood, a Hyatt- managed hotel that is a top-tier market performer in terms of guest satisfaction. He continually brings a can-do attitude and contagious optimism to his work and to the way he leads his team.

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A Path to GM is Not Always Visible
Tanya Smith

Humble Beginnings

Tanya Smith (her name and identity have been changed per her request) is a Super Mogul (top 1%) director of rooms at a full-service hotel in New York City. She is college educated, bilingual, AHLA GM certified, and she’s spent the past eight years working in hotel operations for four different properties in New York City. Tanya began her career as a front desk agent and was promoted to rooms director at one of the major third management companies where she manages a team of 25.

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Change Starts with Better Compensation for Housekeepers
Monica Rodriguez

Humble Beginnings

Monica Rodriguez (her name and identity have been changed per her request) is a Super Mogul (top 1%) director of housekeeping at a full-service branded hotel operated by a third- party management company in Miami, Florida. Her family immigrated from Cuba three decades ago, and she grew up in South Florida. She manages a large team of housekeepers, where most are first-generation immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America. Many of her team members are single mothers who support their households and work multiple jobs, relying on their hotel employment for healthcare and medical benefits.

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Social Impact is How We Win the Talent War
Anna Kaplan

Humble Beginnings

Ann Kaplan (her name and identity have been changed per her request) is the Super Mogul (Top 15) GM of a branded full-service in New Orleans, Louisiana. She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and started her career in Food & Beverage during her college years. After working as a server, restaurant supervisor, and manager, she worked for 7 years in room director roles before becoming an assistant GM and eventually being appointed a hotel General Manager. She has known for her social impact-related initiatives and for her work housing and feeding locals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

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We Need a Talent Marketplace is Break the Glass Ceiling
Tanya Navarro

Humble Beginnings

Tanya Navarro (her name and identity have been changed per her request) is a Super Mogul (top 1%) Rooms Director at a full-service hotel property in New York City, NY. She’s spent the last 12 years working for four different hotels in the Tri-state region. She started as a front desk agent and was eventually promoted to front office manager and subsequently Rooms Director at a branded full-service union hotel in Times Square, Manhattan.

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Food & Beverage is a hotbed for talent
Josh Stevens

Humble Beginnings

Josh Stevens (his name and identity have been changed to respect his privacy) is a Super Mogul (top 1%) Food & Beverage Director at a branded luxury property in Austin, Texas. He started in the kitchen, worked his way up to Assistant Restaurant Manager, then became Food & Beverage Director where his responsibilities include the fine dining restaurant, lobby lounge bar, in-room dining, minibar, pool café, and special events. His new build

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