Two CityGate Hospitality associates were named Stars of the Industry among 472 nominations submitted to the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association for 12 individual employee awards presented Dec. 15. The Association’s annual awards recognize hotel employees who embody “resilience, compassion and dedication.” CityGate Hospitality manages Hotel Arista, Naperville’s only Four Diamond property, along with food and beverage, and wellness brands located at CityGate Centre in Naperville.
Human Resources Coordinator Sue O’Keefe took top honors for Administrative Employee of the Year, and Hotel Arista Housekeeper Asya Elamin for Housekeeping Employee of the Year. O’Keefe and Elamin were among nine CityGate Hospitality associates nominated across the various IHLA categories.
“It’s exceptional to see associates who reach this level of recognition,” said VP of Sales and Marketing Cynthia Bock. “To have two employees achieve this, among so many nominees and just a dozen categories, is truly remarkable.”
“We couldn’t be prouder of our team at Hotel Arista and all the CityGate entities, and to have industry leaders demonstrate their agreement really validates what we do,” added HR Director Marne Curio.
O’Keefe joined the company in mid-2016 and during her tenure has consistently proven to be caring and empathetic, and a consistent go-to person for the organization. She founded the company’s Culture Committee, ensuring that initiatives – from volunteerism and community giving to celebrations and social gatherings – resonate and align with associates’ interests. She is a champion for COVID-19 awareness and protocols, and demonstrated the utmost compassion and care for associates affected by furloughs. As the industry continues to recover from the pandemic impact, O’Keefe personally onboarded over 100 new associates in 2021. In the company’s 2020 Associate Opinion Survey, O’Keefe received accolades for her availability and care shown to the associate experience. She also received the company’s April 2020 Rockstar of the Month award, and the 2020 Rockstar of the Year award.
Elamin, who serves as a housekeeper and a housekeeping trainer to new associates, and sometimes a room inspector, also is a CityGate Hospitality Rockstar of the Month award winner – three times during her tenure at Hotel Arista which began in 2013.
Recurring attributes noted in her Rockstar and Stars of the Industry nominations include Elamin’s “infectious smile, technical skills and attention to detail.” In her role, she contributed to Hotel Arista being among the first hotels to receive the IHLA’s CLEAN + SAFE Certification, introduced in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elamin also has been recognized for her integrity. When a guest lost a valuable piece of jewelry, it was she who located and immediately notified management to ensure its return; the guest was overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude.
CityGate Hospitality has a history with the Stars of the Industry Awards introduced by IHLA in 1996, some 20 years before Hotel Arista opened. In 2019 the Manager of the Year Award went to the hotel’s now-retired housekeeping director.
AAA Four Diamond Hotel Arista is located at 2139 CityGate Ln., in Naperville, and is Illinois first LEED-Certified hotel. It also holds GreenSeal™ Silver Certification. CityGate Hospitality LLC is a Naperville-based hospitality management organization operating the hotel, Forbes Four Star Arista Spa & Salon, and Wine Spectator Award-winning Italian restaurant Che Figata, along with Lavazza Café, Zorba Cocktail Bar, Tap In Pub, CityGate Grille and Olympus Executive Fitness Center. The CityGate campus also offers Class-A office and retail space for renowned companies, including the worldwide headquarters of Calamos Investments.
In 2022, a 284-unit luxury residential building will be completed on the campus with a rooftop event center operated by CityGate Hospitality.