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Inspirational hospitality leaders recognised at annual awards gala dinner

Knowledge, experience and consistency were just some of the values recognised by members of the hospitality industry as its most inspiring leaders were unveiled last week (Thursday), during an event at the Royal Lancaster London.

Hosted by HOSPA, the hospitality professionals’ association, the Inspirational Leader Awards took place following HOSPACE, the organisation’s annual one-day conference on Thursday, 28th November.

In the run-up to the event, the hospitality industry was asked to nominate the leaders it felt had made the biggest impact in their respective fields over the past year, in IT – sponsored by Tierney’s and presented by managing director Andy Tierney; Finance – sponsored by BDO and presented by partner Mark Edwards; Marketing – sponsored by The Hotel Marketing Association and presented by committee member Stephen Moran; and Revenue Management – sponsored by Right Revenue and presented by founder and CEO Adrienne Hanna.

The winners were announced as:

  • Inspirational IT Leader of the Year (sponsored by Tierney’s) - Robert Henderson, The Doyle Collection

  • Inspirational Finance Leader of the Year (sponsored by BDO) - Barry Dawson, Interstate Hotels and Resorts

  • Inspirational Revenue Management Leader of the Year (sponsored by Right Revenue) - Jamie Blackmore, Langham Hotels

  • Inspirational Marketeer of the Year (sponsored by The Hotel Marketing Association) - Joi Izilein, The Ritz Hotel

Following his win for Inspirational IT Leader of the Year, Robert Henderson, said: “It’s absolutely amazing to win. The nominations will have come from vendors and suppliers which is equally important as the recognition from my team members. There aren’t many awards for IT, so it’s a nice opportunity to recognise IT as a standalone within the industry.”

Inspirational Finance Leader of the Year, Barry Dawson, said the awards are a wonderful advocate to attract the right people into hospitality. He said: “The industry has always been one where we find it difficult to attract the right talent and we endeavour to find those who will strive to be the best and this is great recognition. Awards such as this bring to the fore the importance of finance within the industry.”

Likewise, winner Jamie Blackmore said HOSPA and the awards played a huge role in boosting the profile of revenue management within hospitality. He said: “HOSPA has always been incredibly supportive. Revenue management is still a relatively new field in the industry, so the more support we can get the better we will fare. I think it will continue to grow and continue to have an impact on the success of hotels.”

Joi Izilein, who was named Inspirational Marketeer of the Year, said: “The awards are really good. There’s not a lot of marketing awards out there, so it’s good to see it’s being recognised. I’ve been at The Ritz for quite a long time now so it’s nice that my colleagues are aware of what I do and what I give back.”

Andy Tierney, managing director of Tierney’s, who presented the Inspirational Leader of the Year award, said: “These awards are great – they are developing the people within the industry rather than the industry itself. We’re very proud to sponsor them.”

The awards ceremony followed HOSPACE, the annual one-day annual conference hosted by HOSPA, at the Royal Lancaster London, during which delegates were given the opportunity to network and participate in a number of talks and workshops discussing the biggest issues currently affecting the hospitality industry.

Jane Pendlebury, chief executive of HOSPA, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, said: “Congratulations to all our winners on their very well-deserved awards. It’s an amazing honour to be thought of so highly by one’s colleagues and the nominations this year were no exception – the competition was tough!

“The Awards Dinner is always a highlight for us. It’s a fantastic way to recognise those people who have made a real impact in their field. Well done to everyone involved and thank you so much to our sponsors, who presented the awards and made it all possible.”

HOSPACE will return to the Royal Lancaster London next year on 19th November 2020. If you would like any more information on membership or sponsorship, please contact

For more information on HOSPA, please visit


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