Finalists to be Recognized at “Night of a Thousand Stars” Gala Supporting Hotel Industry Foundation 

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2020) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) have selected finalists for the 2020 Stars of the Industry Awards, which recognizes the top hotel employees in the country. The winners will be chosen from more than 300 nominations from all sectors of the industry and across the country and presented as part of the “Night of a Thousand Stars” Gala, the Foundation’s premier fundraiser.


Mark Garrett, Stewarding Supervisor, Hilton Columbus at Easton, Columbus, Ohio – Known for his positive attitude and selflessness, Mark leads by example on his team at the Hilton Columbus at Easton. After an 800-person wedding on property, Mark came in on his day off to personally clean every single dish without being asked to help lighten his coworkers’ load. A winner of the Columbus Stars of the Industry Service Superstar award, Mark’s dedication behind the scenes allows the rest of the team to shine for their guests.

 Amparo Torres, Executive Housekeeper, Key Performance Hospitality/Hampton Inn & Suites Orlando East UCF Area, Orlando, Florida – A 21-year veteran of the Key Performance Hospitality/Hampton Inn & Suites Orlando East UCF Area, Amparo is the heart and soul of the property; always prioritizing her team members, her guests and her community. Amparo treats everyone like family, even opening her home to care for a team member undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. Her warm spirit has been recognized twice by Hilton with the Spirit of Pride and CEO Light awards.

 Azra Zecirovic, Cook, The Westin Buckhead Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia – Nicknamed “Mama,” Azra has spent 19 years going above and beyond in her position and caring for her staff at The Westin Buckhead Atlanta. Azra’s passion for hospitality radiates not only in the creative dishes she executes for guests, but also in positive attitude. She often says, “If you do not have love or passion for what you do, then you will not be happy.”

Other industry awards to be unveiled at the Gala include:

  • Outstanding General Manger of the Year (Small Property)
  • Outstanding General Manger of the Year (Large Property)
  • Paving the Way Award
  • Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader Award