PEOPLE update as of Apr. 23, 2019

Brian Mitchell interim president of HAC. Kristen Richter promoted at Radisson Hotel Group. Michele Mahl joins JLL Hotels. Arrivals and departures at Ryerson University HTM: Gabor Forgacs retires; Julie Kellershohn and Rick Oh hired.


Alison Evans concluded her tenure as interim president of HAC last month to pursue a leadership position with another organization. Brian Mitchell, HAC’s chief financial officer, will now also serve as Interim resident until Susie Grynol, president of HAC, returns this summer. Mitchell has served as virtual chief financial officer of the Hotel Association of Canada since 2017. He has been a Chartered Professional Accountant since 1987 and has spent over 20 years working in senior management and financial roles. Prior to opening his own financial management advisory practice, he served as executive director of TFO Canada, a business-oriented international development non-government organization.

Radisson Hotel Group recently announced the appointment of Kristen Richter as senior vice president and chief commercial officer in the Americas. Richter previously served as vice president, Revenue Optimization for the Americas at Radisson Hotel Group. In this new role, she will work to further increase performance and executional excellence for the Americas’ Sales, Revenue Optimization, Marketing, and Contact Center teams, as well as focus on the collaboration and alignment with Operations, Development, and global revenue generating teams around the world. Prior to joining Radisson Hotel Group, Richter spent 11 years with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts where, in her most recent role, she led the entire global revenue management department overseeing all facets of revenue management for all brands

Michele Mahl has joined JLL Hotels & Hospitality as Executive Vice President. Based in Manhattan, Michele will work closely with Americas Co-Head of Hotel Capital Markets, Jeffrey Davis, to spearhead full-service and resort hotel investment sales. Michele holds exdtensive hotel industry experience and has been involved with more than $65 billion in property sales, debt placements and M&A advisory. Key transactions she has advised on include the Waldorf Astoria New York, The London NYC, W Union Square New York and the Washington Hilton.

Ryerson HTM has hired two new colleagues to reinforce their team, who will start in July: Rick Oh and Julie Kellershohn.

Rick Oh comes to Ryerson from Kansas State University, where he was a PhD candidate, specializing in Human Resources Management and Organizational Behaviour in the Food and Beverage industry. He earned a MSc in hospitality management from the Conrad Hilton College at the University of Houston. At KSU, he also worked on recipe development as a graduate assistant at Derby Dining Center to develop Asian Menus focusing on Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisines for the Housing and Dining facility that was built in 2016 to serve a student population of 1,800. Prior to that, he was sales manager at the Haeundae Grand Hotel in Busan, Korea; and management analyst for Tokyo Gardens Catering in the Houston, Tex., area.

Julie Kellershohn earned a BSc in Biochemistry from Queen’s University (Canada), an MBA from Harvard University (U.S.) and completed her PhD in Marketing Research and Food Science from Harper Adams University (U.K.). Her research interests are focused on the Food and Beverage Industry, with a focus on how and why consumers make their food and beverage purchase decisions, and how marketing can be used to influence those consumer decisions. Prior to joining academia, Julie worked at McDonald’s Canada as department head, Brand and Menu Consumer Insights. Kellershohn brings her private sector background into the classroom environment, using examples from beyond the textbook to help students understand how key marketing concepts are applied in today’s business environment.

In other Ryerson news, Professor Gabor Forgacs, associate professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management, will retire at the end of August. Dr. Forgacs has 20 years of work experience in the hotel industry on two continents, including a management position at a Four Seasons hotel in Toronto and the position of president and general manager of a full service hotel in Budapest, Hungary. He joined the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University, Toronto in 1997, and teaches Revenue Management for Hospitality & Tourism, The Value of Branding in Lodging, and Asset Management in Hospitality – all these courses are cross-disciplinary and current. Forgacs is a textbook author and he publishes articles on professional topics in the electronic media. He is the faculty advisor of the School’s co-op program and he is frequently interviewed and quoted in print and electronic media. 

Ryerson has also invited three new members to its advisory council:

— HTM alumna Juanita Dickson, president of the Gusto54 Group of Restaurants. She was instrumental in getting Gusto54 to become one of the best managed companies in Canada. She brings to the school a passion for service and branding.

Eric Holenka is Executive President Corporate at Travel Edge, the largest luxury-focused travel agency in North America. Eric brings (in addition to his French accent) corporate, technology, and sales leadership expertise to the council. 

Suzanne Helstab, Principal of Helstab Advisory Inc. brings strategic business development and marketing experience in the hospitality luxury sector. She is the former VP Marketing for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.