Congratulations, Lea Dender-Holton, for being selected as a 2011 CEO Light & Warmth Award Winner!
Director of Franchise Development
Hampton Inn & Suites Houston-Katy, TX
Hilton Garden Inn Houston West Katy, TX
Why is this Team Member deserving of the CEO Light and Warmth Award?
Lea wears many hats at her hotels, realizing that the title the job may carry means nothing, but the work that comes with that title is what makes the organization move. She is the Director of Franchise Development and Assistant to the owner. She also does the work of many other jobs, from Assistant GM of a Hilton Garden Inn, to GM of a Hampton Inn, to Area Sales Director over a portfolio of hotels. Lea’s job duties include Director of Guest Relations, Director of Human Resources, and even working the front desk as a Guest Service Agent. Lea is at the forefront of the team, showing each guest and each Team Member how to carry the roles and attributes of a real shining star to the limit.
Specific examples that show Lea’s commitment to the Hilton Worldwide values:
Lea managed the catastrophes of Hurricane Ike and Katrina, single handedly taking care of families and even opening her home for animals of Team Members’ families. When all her staff evacuated, she stood still and strong and became a fixture to the property, leaving her home in the process to make sure guests’ needs were met and they felt safe and secure.
Lea has run shuttle service in her own car for a family here during an adoption process. She drove to the airport, an hour away, to take a guest a left-behind laptop before her flight left the country. Lea brings in special requested food items to guests with special dietary needs. She lent her own vehicle to a guest with a flat tire who was late for an important meeting, and she arranged to have a new rental car delivered for him upon his return. Lea works hard for her team members to provide better benefit programs, family events, social hours, and special team outings for her staff on each property. And a family who lost their home was surprised with a fundraising event created by Lea.
Lea is also a leader in our community, making sure we are paying forward what we can to give back. She has built homes for Habitat for Humanity, and she encouraged Team Members to donate teddy bears for children with life-ending diseases.
To Lea, Hospitality is just being nice, creating an atmosphere of niceness in everything she does. She strives to smile, be happy, and let that flow in every touch of work to the guest and the team surrounding her. Her belief is doing what’s right, every time, and making what’s wrong right again, whatever it takes.
Lea owns every action and every decision she makes and works hard to ensure every situation is what is best for our guests, not always for the property, knowing that the guest “will remember.”
Now is the moment she is constantly in, moving and facing each moment with grace and dignity while doing it with urgency and discipline.
As a personal assistant, Lea has performed many duties that normally are not asked in that role. She is a part of the owner’s family in both business and in our daily worlds. She is the rock they leaned on during a time of tragedy for the family. She not only kept the business running smoothly during this time, but she was at the core of decisions that needed to be made, and life in general, that surrounded them as a family.
Lea has been called the hotel’s Lighthouse, leading the way and knowing how to work hard for the best of the business.
Posted on Jan 1, 2012