Light & Warmth

CEO Light & Warmth Award

Hilton Worldwide established the CEO Light and Warmth Award to recognize those exceptional Team Members who embody the Hilton Worldwide Values of Hospitality, Integrity, Leadership, Teamwork, Ownership and Now at the highest level. This award is Hilton Worldwide's top honor for all Team Members. With more than a thousand nominations this year, President & CEO Chris Nassetta and a committee of Team Members from across the company selected the following 12 recipients for this year's award.

  • Evangelos Karakoulias

    Environment, Health,
    Safety & Hygiene Manager,
    Hilton Abu Dhabi Hotel, U.A.E.

    Evangelos Karakoulias was nominated by Human Resources Director Michaela Bussler because of his constant quest to improve guest service at the hotel. Service quality isn't just Evangelos' job, it's his passion and his nomination proves this. Previously when Evangelos managed the hotel's restaurant, he rapidly identified gaps in service where routine had replaced quality. He overhauled everything from training, to operating procedures, to the music. Throughout his time at the hotel, he has taught his fellow Team Members to focus on the details and it has worked. Evangelos' efforts helped the hotel make a leap from #112 to #6 on Trip Advisor in just six months. At the same time, revenue increased by 19 percent, while costs plummeted five percent. Equally passionate about his hotel and team, Evangelos is the chief editor of the monthly internal newsletter, where he coaches six Team Members to write about what is happening at the hotel. He's on the SALT committee, has organized countless community events for his team, and does whatever possible to keep each Team Member at the hotel engaged.

  • Lisa Sherriff

    Assistant Manager,
    Hilton Lake Taupo,
    New Zealand

    HR Coordinator Nicola Engelbrecht nominated Lisa Sherriff for her endless generosity, which has had an impact on guests, Team Members and the community. When a couple staying at the hotel lost their 18-month-old son to brain cancer, Lisa gave them some much-needed R&R. She collected donations from Team Members and used the money to buy 30-minute massages for the guests, upgraded them to a suite and arranged all their meals. The community is also the beneficiary of Lisa's incredible hospitality. She convinced the hotel to donate old newspapers to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and helped raise more than $5,000 NZD for the organization by selling cupcakes to local businesses. Lisa also helped to organize her fellow Team Members to run a Meals on Wheels service, delivering hot meals to hospital outpatients each week. Lisa is a key factor in the hotel's rising survey scores, taking ownership in everything she does.

  • Pedro Amorim

    Assistant Food and
    Beverage Manager,
    Hilton Orlando, FL

    Pedro Amorim was nominated by Human Resources Director Lori Brock for always giving not just "plus-one service – but plus-100." Since joining the hotel, Pedro has implemented Team Member incentive programs and lends his talents to numerous video projects that highlight what makes the hotel – and its Team Members – special. He is consistently brainstorming innovative ways to improve service for the hotel's guests, from creating a recipe board that allows guests to take recipes home of their favorite dishes, to creating personalized CDs for guests. Countless guest comments name Pedro as a source of unbelievable service and comments from fellow Team Members show that Pedro is equally invested in them. Pedro is also active in the community, lending his time to Orlando's LGBT & Friends community as well as the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.

  • Molly Mooney

    Guest Service Manager,
    Homewood Suites by
    Hilton Champaign – Urbana, IL

    Molly Mooney was nominated by her General Manager, Donna Wickersham, for living our shared Values every day. Molly is described as highly organized, outgoing, and engaged—all traits that spell success. Her colleagues say that there is no word that describes Molly better than "selfless." During finals week, she covers shifts for her fellow Team Members who are college students. When a sales manager had a death in the family, she assumed all duties. Double shifts, a plate that's already full, or back-to-back shifts – it makes no difference to Molly. She's eager to help wherever she's needed, which includes finding time to help her community by volunteering at a soup kitchen. Molly also recently helped a 95-year-old resident guest fulfill a lifelong wish of seeing a stained glass window her mother had commissioned at a church in Kansas many years ago. Knowing the guest was unable to travel, Molly located the church, had them take a photo, printed it and framed it for the guest. Molly Mooney is a shining example of our Values.

  • Cho Sang Keun

    Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel,
    South Korea

    Cho Sang Keun was nominated by Training Coordinator Choi Won Ik. Also known as "Duracell," "Energizer" and "Chief Energy Officer," Mr. Cho has an outlook so bright that it inspires others. For the last 16 years he has displayed a tireless commitment to guests and Team Members. Even on his days off, Mr. Cho loyally attends Blue Energy Committee meetings, taking photos and videos for every meeting and spending his personal time touching up and compiling the photos. To share his passion, Mr. Cho founded a photography club at the hotel and has used his skills to support the community in numerous ways. This year, he plans to take portraits of orphans from Heshim Won Orphanage, where many of the children have never had their photo taken professionally. He has built an engaged team who understands that their opinion is respected and their efforts are appreciated.

  • Pete Rudewicz

    Senior Director, Focused Service Brands Architecture & Construction,

    Pete Rudewicz's dedication to Hilton Worldwide shines every day, and it shows in his consistently outstanding results. After Pete was asked to create a more efficient build design for the Homewood Suites prototype, he far surpassed the expected "nip and tuck" expectations, which inspired Bill Duncan, Global Head, Homewood Suites by Hilton, to submit a nomination for Pete. To achieve the innovative design, Pete bought a design program for his home and worked on the prototype during his spare time. The results were incredible and his hard work and dedication added up to a record year for Homewood Suites development sales, including more than 35 deals for this prototype —which translates into $80 million in future royalty earnings! Thanks to Pete's hard work, time, and dedication, Homewood Suites is always evolving to be the best they can be.

  • Willie Lewis

    DoubleTree Club by Hilton Hotel
    Buffalo Downtown,NY

    Willie Lewis is a shining example of teamwork, always putting others first and demonstrating unparalleled acts of kindness. Housekeeping Manager, Dawn Sobeiraski, nominated Willie because he makes sacrifices and lives our Value of Integrity by doing the right thing, every time. Team Members sigh in relief when they realize Willie is in charge. He has set a high bar for those around him and takes the time to teach his fellow colleagues as he goes. When his work in laundry is finished, Willie will often help other departments catch up, or prepare for success. Willie is also a leader in his community and dedicates his time to cleaning buildings and volunteering. Everyone knows that Willie is there to give advice or a helping hand—and you don't even have to ask.

  • Rick Sample

    Chief Engineer,
    Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Airport, GA

    General Manager Tommy Beyer nominated Rick Sample due to the overwhelming numbers of positive comments he received directly about Rick, as well as those that were posted to Trip Advisor. Rick has happily worked through a number of changes at the hotel and has always given his team focus and direction. Rick is a team player and a Renaissance man and does everything from helping to make beds and bus tables, to assisting the front desk and handling guest issues. Rick's actions have resulted in more than $50,000 in business and his leadership and dedication have made turnover in his department nearly non-existent. He was also able to help the hotel reduce spending by $67,000 and helped it to save $10,000 in utility expenses. Rick is a team player through and through.

  • Tom Dempsey

    General Manager,
    Hampton Inn & Suites St.
    Louis South I-55, MO

    Tom Dempsey's service is so inspirational to guests and his fellow Team Members that he received eight nominations! Tom is genuinely enthusiastic about hospitality and has been nicknamed "The Blur" by his colleagues for having a reputation for seeming to be everywhere at once. A number of small gestures, such as scraping snow and ice from guests' vehicles and heeding a guest's joking request for steak and eggs, have contributed to Tom's hotel's success. Tom is described by many of his Team Members as "selfless" and has taken a personal interest in their success. When Tom expects a busy day, he'll give his team a head start by arriving early to finish all the laundry. He once took a day off to help a Team Member move into a new apartment. And each Christmas, Tom cooks a homemade dinner and packs each Team Member a dinner bag. Tom truly leads by example and gets others excited to spread the light and warmth of hospitality.

  • Annette Mayerl

    Human Resources Officer,
    Hilton Croydon Hotel,

    Hotel Manager Nicholas Craninx nominated Annette Mayerl and said that "she shines with our core Values and lavishes guests, Team Members, and the community with special attention." When it comes to giving unconditional moral support, Annette is unparalleled. She is equally supportive of her teammates, her guests, and the community. Annette regularly trades her personal time to work around others' schedules and ensures quality training for her team. Thanks to her passion and drive, Annette has contributed to the hotel achieving an 87 percent trust score, a 93 percent integrity score, and an incredible 98 percent "My Leaders Live the Core Values" score in the 2012 Team Member Survey. Considering all this, it's no wonder the hotel leapt from #13 to #4 on Trip Advisor.

  • Henrietta Clanton

    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel,
    Collinsville – St. Louis, IL

    Henrietta Clanton received multiple nominations and is described by her Team Members as "a constant ray of sunshine" who is loyal, dependable and selfless. Henrietta spreads the light and warmth of hospitality both throughout the hotel and the local community. For years, she has donated her tax return money to the community and spends her spare time feeding the needy on major holidays including Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day. When Henrietta previously won the DoubleTree by Hilton Spirit of CARE award, local ownership matched her monetary prize. Without hesitation, Henrietta requested that the extra money be given to her church's fundraiser for cancer research. Her selfless disposition is a constant source of inspiration to everyone she encounters.

  • Vasile "Billy" Tuturici

    Housekeeping Supervisor,
    Waldorf Astoria,

    When you hear Vasile "Billy" Tuturici say "welcome to the seventh floor, it is always my pleasure to have you," you know you're in good hands. Billy's manager, Housekeeping Supervisor Colleen Clayton, knew the same thing when she arrived in her new position and Billy handed her a folder stuffed with notes to help her become familiar with the hotel and its rooms. Colleen nominated Billy because he will go to any length to assist a guest and make them happy, and he treats his team the same way. He genuinely cares about teammates' growth, and gets to know each Team Member individually so that he can help them to succeed. Billy's friendly demeanor helps him put others at ease, even under the demands of his own responsibilities. He arrives early, leaves late, and understands that his actions make an impact on the hotel's success.

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