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Monika Zuluaga

Vice President, Membership & Marketing

401-223-1120, ext. 116

Monika@rihospitality.org

Dale's Corner

This blog is written by Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO of RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) and RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF). Its purpose is to engage RIHA members with current issues and trends.

Well, we did it again…Rhode Island’s amazing hospitality industry converged on Twin River Casino Hotel to celebrate our best and brightest of 2018. This annual event is truly the highlight of my year, and even though it takes an enormous amount of work to pull of an event for nearly 900 people, it is certainly worth the time, energy and effort. Far too often, we don’t recognize our industry’s backbone…the workers who devote so much of themselves to creating a wonderful guest experience. From housekeepers, to servers, to bartenders, to valets, to caterers, to chefs and hoteliers, each person plays an important role in keeping our guests happy.

This is our 29th year of hosting this event and almost 900 people attended this celebration making it another sell out!  Close to 100 awards were bestowed upon folks from every facet of our industry and our winners hailed from organizations representing hotels, restaurants, tourism, politics and allied businesses.

Many of the awards pay tribute to employees; others feature vendor, tourism entities, emerging leaders and lifetime achievers. This year, we even added a special new award, the ‘Pinnacle’ award which celebrates the epitome of a well-earned career in our industry. As our hospitality industry continues to flourish, grow and garner regional and national attention as a tourism driver, this event is a wonderful reminder of all of those who make us as strong as we are.  

As I have often said, I wish I had the space to list each award winner by name in this column because each and every winner deserves the recognition, but there are simply too many! I encourage you to visit our website to see the full list; maybe you know one of our Stars this year! The full list can be found at rihospitality.org.

The wonderful thing about our Stars of the Industry event is that the majority of winners are nominated by customers, peers or their bosses – it’s really an incredible nomination process and each of us on the RIHA Board of Directors enjoys reading why each nominee deserves to win. Watching our Stars as their names are announced and they come up on stage to dance down the runway is truly one of the best nights of my life.

While we may have recognized the work of 100 or so individuals and organizations, there are thousands more who work to make the hospitality and tourism industry in Rhode Island such a wonderful, important and vital part of our state’s culture and community. And, just because someone wasn’t nominated this year, doesn’t mean that they won’t be up for consideration next year. I encourage everyone reading this column to think about who in your organization deserves recognition…who goes above and beyond in his/her job to contribute to our celebrated industry?

As we welcome 2019 with fresh expectations and optimism, I ask that you add a resolution to your list. Be kind and be thankful…take the time to recognize those around you, offer a motivational word or an act of encouragement.  A helping hand, a word of advice and taking a few minutes to mentor someone can mean the world to those who need a little lift and can also make the difference between good and great work. And, after all, we are an industry that strives to be great…more than 80,000 people contribute to our success!

Once again, congratulations to all of our 2018 Stars of the Industry recipients! May your own star shine brightly in the year ahead! 

Happy New Year!

List of Articles
No. Subject Author Date
» The Best and Brightest Shine Brightly at RIHA’s Stars of the Industry Event file Monika Jan 15, 2019
Well, we did it again…Rhode Island’s amazing hospitality industry converged on Twin River Casino Hotel to celebrate our best and brightest of 2018. This annual event is truly the highlight of my year, and even though it takes an enormous amo...  
39 ‘Tis the Season of Giving Monika Sep 20, 2018
Hope everyone had a wonderful summer filled with rest, relaxation and rejuvenation and is now raring to go! We are fully in the season of giving – no, not the holidays – but, an even more stressful time of the year, the political season. Now...  
38 That’s a Legislative Wrap! file Monika Aug 16, 2018
After a marathon session of debates and a flurry of votes, Rhode Island’s General Assembly has adjourned for the summer. With hundreds of bills in the mix, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) spent countless hours carefully monitoring each...  
37 Summer in New England: Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard file Monika Jul 05, 2018
When many of us think about summer vacations, we think about jumping on a plane and traveling to a far-off destination. However, for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in New England, there’s no need to venture too far to enjoy som...  
36 Our Next Generation of Culinary Stars: Cooking and Planning Their Hearts Out file Monika Jun 11, 2018
Recently, Providence, RI hosted the National ProStart® Invitational (NPSI), the country’s premier secondary-school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. We had some wonderful judges visit from all over the nation as...  
35 Swimming Down “STREAM” Monika May 15, 2018
Education is truly the foundation of success no matter what career path you choose. Some learning is done in traditional classrooms, and more practical experience is gained in the thick of it in a restaurant or hotel kitchen, lodging establi...  
34 The #MeToo Movement is More than a Hashtag file Monika Mar 02, 2018
While the #MeToo movement has become synonymous with the entertainment industry, its reach is far deeper than the bright lights and golden statues of Hollywood. From politics, to business, to manufacturing, to hospitality, the potential for ...  
33 “We are made of star-stuff. Our bodies are made of star-stuff. There are pieces of star within us all.” file Monika Jan 02, 2018
“We are made of star-stuff. Our bodies are made of star-stuff. There are pieces of star within us all.” – Carl Sagan There is no greater honor for me each year then to be part of our industry’s largest celebration! Each November, I look forw...  
32 Paid Sick Leave Passes RI Legislature file Monika Oct 10, 2017
In September, both the Rhode Island House and Senate passed legislation that will require companies to give employees paid sick leave. Although the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is generally opposed to mandates that impact the employer-e...  
31 When did ‘Entry Level’ become Negative? file Monika Sep 19, 2017
If there is one theme that has dominated the political landscape in Rhode Island for the last decade, it is without a doubt jobs and the economy. Though we have seen a rise in the local economy since the recession, talk of job creation still...  
30 Taking the High Road – the Road Less Traveled file Monika Jul 24, 2017
Normal 0 false false false EN-US KO AR-SA Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association It is increasingly difficult to take the high road in today’s political climate. And, so few are doing it, but it is critically important....  
29 Paid Sick Leave – it’s Nothing to Sneeze at RIHA May 08, 2017
In Rhode Island and across the nation, we’ve seen a host of legislation introduced by out-of-state special interest groups that have squarely targeted the hospitality industry. From eliminating the federal tipped wage, to raising minimum wag...  
28 Buying Local for the Holidays Monika Nov 15, 2016
The holiday season is fast approaching…from a retail perspective, it seems to come earlier and earlier each year. While I was shopping for Halloween candy this year, I was sidestepping Christmas trees, holiday decorations and specialty choco...  
27 The Cost of ‘Chip’ Cards and Protecting Against Fraud Monika Oct 04, 2016
By Dale Venturini, President and CEO, R.I Hospitality Association  Many of us currently have an EMV credit or debit card – also known as a ‘chip’ card. These safer versions of the traditional magnetic-strip cards were designed to protect co...  
26 Gluten is Not Free in Restaurants file Monika Sep 01, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association We all know people who struggle with food allergies. From peanut butter, to shellfish, to strawberries, to dairy, the idea of dining out when one has a food allergy can be an alarmi...  
25 Managing a Better Future file Monika Jun 30, 2016
The hospitality industry is a continuously growing segment of the U.S. economic picture. This year alone, the restaurant industry is expected to realize $783 billion in sales and employ 14.4 million in good-paying jobs, according to the Nati...  
24 Partnerships – They’re Not Always the Obvious Choice file Monika Jun 06, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association I’ve written extensively about the need to collaborate with organizations that share the same business interests. Whether a business partner’s mission is within your organization’s ...  
23 How Important is a Proactive Crisis Plan? Your Business Could Depend on it. Monika May 05, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association   With the spate of negative media headlines surrounding restaurants that have experienced foodborne or human-contact illness, it is critically important that every eating establis...  
22 Where Have the Teens Gone? file Monika Apr 04, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association It used to be that almost every teenager had a job in the hospitality industry. With flexible hours and class-friendly scheduling, our industry was the perfect landing spot for high...  
21 The Real Cost of Foodborne Illness file Monika Feb 02, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association Our food supply system, while infinitely safer and better regulated than most other parts of the world, still has its challenges. We’ve all seen the headlines and recalls from E. co...