Hotel Council of San Francisco Elects Seven New Board Members
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Hotel Council of San Francisco Elects Seven New Board Members
25 January 2024 – San Francisco, CA: Heading into a pivotal year in the recovery and expansion of San Francisco’s hospitality economy, the Hotel Council of San Francisco (www.hotelcouncilsf.org) has added to its board with the election of seven new seasoned industry professionals: Peter Hart (Hilton Union Square/Parc55); Rodrigo Ibanez (Omni Hotel); Kunal Juneja (J.W. Marriott); Isabelle Matter (The Clift Royal Sonesta); Pulkesin Mohan (Taj Campton Place); Emily Nichols (Kimpton Alton Hotel); Jeffery Ossenkop (W Hotel San Francisco)
“San Francisco is blessed with a deep bench of world class hospitality professionals,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “San Francisco is at a pivotal moment in its history, and we must put the city first and work together. These incoming board members are committed to that collective mission.”
Raymond Vermolen, Chair of the Nominations Committee for the Hotel Council noted that the new incoming board members “exemplify the full cross section of our hospitality community. Every board member has a unique lens and is joining us from a different set of work and life experiences.” He continued: “The cross section represents different parts of the city, different sized hotels, and different approaches to our work. We are excited about what we will achieve as a Board of Directors with their collective input.”
Below is a full list of the newly elected board members for the Hotel Council of San Francisco.
JW Marriott San Francisco
Kunal is a hotelier working to create memories of a lifetime for guests and associates. His expertise includes opening new hotels, operating luxury and high-volume premium hotels, renovation, data analysis & interpretation, development and implementation of new ideas. He enjoys generating new ideas, devising feasible solutions to relevant problems, empowering and supporting the teams. His colleagues would describe him as a driven, resourceful individual who can maintain positive, proactive attitude when faced with challenges.
Kimpton Alton Hotel
Emily Nichols is the General Manager of the Kimpton Alton Hotel, where she oversees operations of the 248-room hotel designed in partnership with Kara Mann in the city’s iconic neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf. Emily Nichols joins the Kimpton Alton Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf as General Manager following experience in San Francisco as the General Manager of the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown. She previously served as the Assistant General Manager at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square. Emily brings nearly 15 years of experience in hospitality from hotels across the country—her background includes numerous task force stints including in Mendocino, CA and Palm Beach, FL. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Emily spent time in New York City as the Director of Operations for Dream Hotel Group and the Area Rooms Division Manager for Amsterdam Hospitality. Prior to that, Emily was General Manager for Kahler Hospitality Group in Rochester, Minnesota, where she oversaw all daily operations for the Residence Inn by Marriott. Emily has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Metro Urban Studies, with a minor in Sociology from Augsburg University. Emily is a coffee aficionado and—no surprise here—loves traveling as well as caring for her plant collection. Her favorite places visited to date are Croatia and Barcelona.
Omni Hotel San Francisco
Rodrigo Ibanez was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he studied Hospitality Management. He moved to New York in 2004 with his wife and their one-year-old daughter. He has been happily married with three children (1 girl and 2 boys), and currently resides in San Francisco, CA; after spending 12 years in Irvine. He enjoys playing and watching soccer, as well as riding his motorcycle, and he is also an avid golfer. He has over 20 years of experience in operations. He is focused mostly on guest and employee experience. He is currently the General Manager at the Omni Hotel San Francisco.This is his third time with Omni; during his last 18 years he has spent time between Omni Hotels & Resorts and Terranea Resort. He worked for Omni Hotels & Resorts in Los Angeles, Austin and now San Francisco, and he has held different roles at all three properties within the company in three different markets. With Terranea, he was part of the opening team and held four different roles during his tenure with them, his most recent being Executive Director of Resort Operations, leading all operations, reopening after COVID-19, member of the Strategy Committee and chair of the Executive Committee, reporting directly to the President. Prior to Omni and Terranea Resort, he had roles with The Luxury Collection from Starwood Hotels & Resorts (both in Argentina and New York), Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Westin. While he is very involved in the strategy behind providing guests and associates with the best experience, he is a very hands-on leader who coaches and leads by example. It is key for him to understand the roadblocks to help remove them. He is a problem solver and thrives in a high pace, all-hands-on-deck environment.
The Clift Royal Sonesta San Francisco
Isabelle Matter is a hospitality professional with hotel and travel industry experience, including general management of hotels. She has lifestyle/boutique hotel experience as well as resorts and larger brands. Highly focused on the customer experience, she works towards creating a meaningful connection with the customer and associates alike. Isabelle spent several years working in the Silicon Valley, in a dynamic corporate environment, and she is also familiar with other markets, including San Francisco, and a diverse client base. She is dedicated to developing positive long-lasting relationships with all stakeholders and focused on guest management service, as the industry is all about service, and about creating a unique experience for all.
W Hotel San Francisco
Jeff Ossenkop brings more than 22 years of hospitality leadership experience to his role, having most recently served as general manager at The Tremont House – A Tribute Portfolio in Galveston, Texas. Jeff initially joined the Canopy brand in 2019 during the launch of the luxurious Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown, where he played a pivotal role in curating the onsite dining programs. Jeff boasts an extensive background in boutique and luxury hospitality, including a 13-year tenure with Starwood Hotels & Resorts under the luxury-lifestyle brand, W Hotels, where he was assigned task force for new builds and transitions in DC, Ft. Lauderdale, Scottsdale and San Francisco markets. Additionally, Jeff has served on various boards including the Board of Moody Gardens, Board of directors for Austin Hotel & Lodging and Galveston Hotel & Lodging, and as an appointed official for the Park Board of Trustees for Galveston, Texas.
Taj Campton Place San Francisco
A highly motivated leader with over 21 years of leading hotel operations (luxury, heritage, resort, business), revenue and resource management, Pulkesin has actively led the dynamic business development across India and Sri Lanka. He enjoys varied challenging projects including pre-opening and well-established systems utilizing my expertise with strong interpersonal skills & proven abilities to deliver results through strong work ethic and team building towards service and operational excellence. Pulkesin possesses a unique blend of leadership, marketing expertise, and financial acumen within the hotel industry. He excels in guest and public relations, fostering multicultural team development and driving operational improvements. His community engagement and corporate social responsibility efforts reflect a commitment beyond business. He is skilled in managing owner-property relationships and ensuring quality labor relations. Furthermore, his leadership is characterized by a focus on performance metrics, creating an enriched work environment, and effective stakeholder management. Overall, he is known for his leadership, excellence, efficiency, ethics, and compassion in this dynamic industry.
Complex General Manager – Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco, A Hilton Hotel
Peter Hart is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which has 1,921 rooms and 160,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as the Parc 55, which has 1,024 rooms and 23 meeting rooms. Peter brings with him a wealth of industry experience, having held important roles in various hotels across the Bay Area since joining Hilton in 2003. In his most recent position as complex hotel manager at the San Francisco hotels, Peter demonstrated his ability to achieve positive outcomes, enhance the guest experience, and maintain high levels of Team Member satisfaction.
The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.