Hyatt Regency Baltimore’s Gail Smith-Howard wins prestigious award

Hyatt Regency Baltimore general manager Gail Smith-Howard has been named a recipient of a prestigious national award from the Atlanta, Ga.-based Trumpet Foundation. Smith-Howard is one of 26 nationally- and internationally-known leaders and a select group of hotel general managers to win the 2012 Trumpet Award, which recognizes African-American achievements and contributions. The awards were presented during a nationally-televised broadcast hosted by Wayne Brady, host of CBS’s Let’s Make A Deal, at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, on January 7.

Initiated in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting, the Trumpet Awards show has been televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries around the world. The Awards were created and developed by Xernona Clayton, a former Turner Broadcasting executive and television industry pioneer, to recognize African American achievement in diverse fields including law, medicine, civil rights, politics, the arts, sports and entertainment. This year’s honorees include surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins; Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker; legendary singer Aretha Franklin; and Earth, Wind and Fire, among others.

For the 20th anniversary of the Trumpet Awards, the Foundation decided to honor a group of individuals who have helped to change the face of the hotel industry at the front door.

“In the past, African-Americans did not hold key positions at prominent hotels,” Clayton, Trumpet Award Foundation’s CEO and president, said. “We want to bring awareness to the fact that the hotel industry has recently seen a significant change in its leadership as more African Americans move into positions of leadership.”

Smith-Howard and other leading hotel general managers from around the country will be recognized for their ability to foster and support the African-American experience and for their outstanding contributions to the hospitality industry.

According to Smith-Howard, the values represented by the Trumpet Award are in keeping with the mission and vision of the Hyatt. “I am truly thrilled to receive the Trumpet Award, and I am grateful to the committee for bestowing this honor upon me,” Smith-Howard said. “My career in hospitality has led me on an incredible journey allowing me to develop a rich network of colleagues and friends along the way. This journey has not only afforded me the opportunity to grow and gain invaluable wisdom from wonderful mentors but has also allowed me to appreciate the importance of diversity and acceptance from fellow team members.”

During three decades with Hyatt, Smith-Howard rose through the management ranks. She has helped foster the hospitality workforce of tomorrow and advanced the cause of diversity in the industry by serving on numerous regional and national boards and committees. Under her leadership, Hyatt Regency Baltimore has received a myriad of national awards for exceptional service. She received the Hyatt Corporation’s Manager of the Year Award in 2004, her first year as general manager.

About Hyatt Regency Baltimore
Hyatt Regency Baltimore, located at 300 Light Street in the City’s vibrant Inner Harbor, employs 220 staff members who serve more than 150,000 guests annually. Since its opening in 1981, the Hyatt Regency, a pioneer in Baltimore’s tourism industry, has won numerous tourism and community service awards, including the Mayor’s Business Recognition Award, a Diversity Trailblazer Award, and a ranking as top hotel in Maryland by Expedia’s Insiders’ Select, a list representing the top one per cent of its hotels and resorts. It is also the longest AAA four-diamond award-winning hotel in Maryland. The Hyatt Regency Baltimore was recently recognized in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hotels in the U.S.A.” More information is available by calling the hotel at 410-528-1234.

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