PEOPLE update as of Oct. 27, 2020

Fanny Ryner and Valérie Marchand form VOILA. TORLYS welcomes product management director. Michael Willingham obituary.

Fanny Ryner Valerie Marchand H

Fanny Ryner and Valérie Marchand have formed VOILA, a new, Montréal-based consulting service specializing in marketing and sales strategies for hoteliers. After working in marketing in the health and beauty industry, Ryner joined the hotel industry as the marketing and PR manager at the W in Montréal. It was there that she met Marchand. Both of them then shared all the marketing initiatives for the renowned hotel group in Quebec and Ottawa. Marchand has worked in the hospitality industry since 2003, with positions that included sales and marketing director at Hôtel Le Crystal in Montréal for several years. Together, through VOILA, they combine their strengths and fields of expertise to offer a new vision to support their business partners in both the immediate and long term. Their ultimate goal is to support the long-term recovery of the hotel industry in Quebec. Both experts position themselves as an integral an integral synergetic part of any hotel team. 

TORLYS, a global flooring company specializing in beautiful, responsible flooring solutions, announced today the creation of a brand-new position within TORLYS of product management director and the welcoming of J.F. Pelletier to serve in the role. Jean-Francois (J.F.) Pelletier joined the TORLYS team Oct. 13 to lead the Product Development Department and be responsible for all aspects of the TORLYS product portfolio. With experience in the construction industry spanning over two decades in product and merchandising roles for large companies including Uniboard, Pergo, Lowes and Walmart, Pelletier will use his extensive knowledge to carve out this new role and become an integral part of TORLYS’ continued success. 

Michael WIllingham, the inspiration behind the BC Hospitality Foundation, passed away peacefully on Oct. 11. The BCHF was founded in 2006 when Willingham, a long-time wine agent, had a brain aneurysm, causing partial paralysis, leaving him unable to swallow, and damaging his lungs’ ability to breathe while sleeping. Unfortunately, there was no clear medical solution, and the financial hardship he incurred was severe. Willingham’s colleagues in the wine industry rallied and raised an initial $50,000 to help with his situation. Willingham’s experience made him realize how many people in the service industry — servers, cooks, baristas, concierges, brew masters, and more — exist precariously, often one missed paycheque or surprise health diagnosis away from financial disaster. He accepted the support, but with the recommendation that his colleagues set up a charitable organization that could provide similar help for others in the hospitality industry. Together, they created BCHF as a registered charity that raises funds to support those in the hospitality industry facing financial crisis due to a serious health condition. Each year, hospitality workers across B.C. face financial challenges and have nowhere else to turn. The BCHF helps them when all other options have been exhausted. It is the only charity of its kind in Canada. The BCHF, its founders, friends and many beneficiaries are forever grateful to Michael, who not only inspired the foundation’s genesis but also continued to support its activities even as he struggled with his own ongoing challenges. Truly, Michael Willingham made a difference in the lives of many people.