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Ten Embassy Suites' General Managers in the
Inaugural Circle of Leadership Training Program

MEMPHIS, Tenn.- February 10, 2009 - Business columnist and leadership guru Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” 

Embassy Suites, the national brand of upscale all-suite, full-service hotels, is implementing that same philosophy with the launch today of Circle of Leadership, an internal training program for an elite group of 10 general managers throughout the brand. The program is designed to provide individualized training and leadership development to directly support the brand’s service culture, “Make a Difference.” 
The program consists of a series of seven intensely interactive monthly webinars, facilitated by the Bixler Consulting Group of Atlanta. The sessions, led by Susan Bixler, a widely recognized author, speaker, and a frequently quoted expert in leadership development, and Margaret Brake, senior consultant and executive coach for Bixler Consulting, focus on best demonstrated practices and personalized leadership skills. 

The launch of the Circle of Leadership follows the highly successful Make a Difference training camp in 2008 for line-level team members – the first of its kind in the industry. Make a Difference is the Embassy Suites service culture, based on the Embassy Suites Service Statement: “Gracious, engaging and caring … Making a Difference in the lives of others – in ways both big and small.” 

“Our Make a Difference culture provides the tools for all of our team members to get involved and become leaders at the hotel with guests, and even other team members,” said Rick McCue, vice president, brand performance and support, Embassy Suites Hotels. “We wanted to expand upon this culture and offer a group of our esteemed general managers a more personalized approach to leadership development. The Circle of Leadership provides the tool box for our general managers (GMs) to foster his/her own brand of the Make a Difference culture at their hotel.” 

Members of the inaugural Circle of Leadership include:   

  • Ken Schell   Embassy Suites Fort Worth – Downtown, Texas 
  • Rob Oursler   Embassy Suites Washington, D.C. 
  • Steve Jung   Embassy Suites Portland – Downtown, Ore. 
  • Bud Vivion   Embassy Suites Louisville, Ken. 
  • Michael Lynch   Embassy Suites Dallas – Love Field, Texas 
  • Janet Madden   Embassy Suites Orlando Airport, Fla. 
  • Rick Beran   Embassy Suites St. Louis – St. Charles, Mo. 
  • Jarratt Watkins   Embassy Suites Hampton Roads – Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, Va. 
  • Terry Crawford   Embassy Suites Charlotte – Concord/Golf Resort & Spa, N.C. 
  • Bob Horner     Embassy Suites Nashville – South/Cool Springs, Tenn. 
Bixler indicates “for leaders to stay on track, they need a keen sense of three things: 
  1. Self-awareness and their impact on others. 
  2. Their own strengths and how to leverage them. 
  3. Identification of personal blind spots and how to manage them. 
The Circle of Leadership helps each general manager gain momentum both personally and professionally. Our goal is for them to grow themselves, their teams, exceed guest expectations, and gain market share.” 

“Our Circle of Leadership provides inspirational development to our GMs, nurturing each one’s dedication to grow the Make a Difference culture in their hotel,” continued McCue. “Not only does Make a Difference boost morale at the property level, but we are seeing a brand-wide increase in our Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking (SALT) scores resulting in part from the implementation of this service culture. Our retention rates are rising across the brand and more importantly, our owners are big proponents of growing and nurturing our culture for the success of our hotels.” 

About Embassy Suites Hotels 
Founded in 1984, Embassy Suites Hotels defines the upscale, all-suite segment and today has 198 hotels, with an additional 70 in the pipeline. With spacious two-room suites, engaging team members and an inviting atrium environment, guests are allowed to put their feet up and feel right at home. To learn more, visit 

Embassy Suites Hotels is part of Hilton Hotels Corporation, a leading global hospitality company with more than 3,200 hotels and 545,000 rooms in 77 countries and territories, including 135,000 team members worldwide. The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree®, Embassy Suites Hotels®, Hampton Inn®, Hampton Inn & Suites®, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hilton Grand Vacations™, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, and Home2Suites by Hilton™ and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection®. 

*Subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age. 


Embassy Suites Brand Communications
Dawn Ray / Melissa Giarrosso, 901-374-5954

Also See: Embassy Suites to Open 62 Hotels in Next Three Years; Development Pipeline Fueled Design Option III Prototype and Flying Spoons / August 2008



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