When Cristin Barr, CMP, went to college, she was more interested in investor relations than guest relations. “At The University of Texas I studied Investor Relations, which took me to New York City for my first professional job,” said the current president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI).
“For the past 10 years, though, I’ve been traveling the world and enjoying the hospitality industry.” Now director of national accounts at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Barr is working with the No. 1 hotel in Arizona, according to Travel + Leisure.
“I work with meeting planners to secure guest rooms and meeting space at the hotel for programs, including incentive trips, client events, annual meetings and board retreats,” Barr said.
Az Business caught up with Barr to talk about how the next year is shaping up to be a big one for the state’s tourism brand.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY?
The sales role in hospitality is a great mix of creative and analytical. On any given day, we have unique challenges that can be best solved with a combination of critical thinking and service-based creativity.
HOW HAS YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN MPI IMPACTED YOU PROFESSIONALLY?
MPI membership and CMP (certified meeting planner) certification give me a sense of personal achievement as well as recognition in the industry. The increased credibility among customers and prospects is invaluable.
WHAT KIND OF ECONOMIC IMPACT DOES THE MEETING AND EVENTS INDUSTRY HAVE ON ARIZONA?
Tourists bring almost $20 billion to Arizona each year, which can be seen in employment and tax base coming from lodging, food service, transport and recreation — just to name a few. But the benefits reach far beyond the hotels and golf courses. The economic impact is evident in important public services as well as in the businesses that open or relocate to our area.
HOW DO MEGA EVENTS LIKE THE 2015 SUPER BOWL IMPACT ARIZONA’S MEETINGS AND EVENTS (M&E) INDUSTRY?
The economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl makes Arizona itself the clear big winner. A mega event places a spotlight much wider than just expenditures during the week of the game. There is no doubt that the M&E industry will benefit from incredible media exposure, generating future event bookings.
WHAT SHOULD ARIZONA’S M&E INDUSTRY DO TO CAPITALIZE ON THE 2015 SUPER BOWL?
We are lucky to have a very strong network of CVBs, offices of tourism and advocates that work year round to attract and assure successful meetings, conventions and events are held in Arizona. The Super Bowl will be a unique and exciting tool for continued messaging that Arizona is a premiere destination.
WHAT CURRENT TRENDS ARE HAVING THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THE M&E INDUSTRY?
Social media is interesting in that the content is often driven by stakeholders rather than by the planners or the educators. Social media can help attendees engage before and after a meeting and provides opportunity to connect with a very broad audience or a narrow specific slice of the demographic. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it will continue to change the face of the industry.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AS AZMPI PRESIDENT?
2013-2014 was a hugely successful year for AzMPI in terms of promoting excellence in the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business alliances. For the 2014-2015 year, we will focus on our key metrics with an emphasis on member satisfaction and financial management. We will also organize six monthly educational programs, the holiday party, awards gala, as well as a golf tournament that we do in conjunction with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
Eating pizza will be more than just a night out for dinner in the Valley this October.
KidsRead USA, a childhood literacy program that provides books for children whose families cannot afford them, is teaming up with Valley restaurants to raise money for children in need with the Pizza My Heart for KidsRead USA Challenge 2014 fundraiser.
For 10 days, between October 10 and 20, participating restaurants are donating $1 from each pizza or flatbread sold to buy books for third graders who cannot afford books. Only local, independent restaurants from around the Valley were asked to participate in the Pizza My Heart Challenge, and the servers and restaurants who sell the largest amount of pizzas will earn prizes.
This is the first Pizza My Heart challenge KidsRead USA founder Eileen Bailey has organized.
“Hopefully, we’ll do it every year if everyone has a fun time and loves it,” Bailey said.
Participating restaurants include Arcadia Farms, Bistro 24 at the Ritz Carlton, Maizie’s, Tarbell’s, Nook Kitchen, St. Francis and more. Sponsoring restaurants include Pizzeria Bianco, Café ZuZu, Le Grande Orange, Hanny’s and others.
Pizza My Heart is being promoted at all the participating restaurants with posters and menu inserts.
“Reading in early childhood sparks the imagination and sense of adventure, which eventually shows a child their passions in life,” Tarbell’s chef and owner Mark Tarbell said.
KidsRead USA was founded by author and journalist Bailey in 1996, and since its foundation has given away more than 29,000 books to children in the Osborn and Balsz school districts. According to a report by Central Connecticut State University, Mesa, Ariz. is currently one of the ten worst states for childhood literacy in the nation. No Arizona cities made the top ten list for high childhood literacy rates.
“My inspiration for KidsRead was finding that the children in my neighborhood schools were very impoverished and did not have books at home,” Bailey said. “We started with one school, and that was in 1996, and now we’re at seven schools.”
The books bought with the money raised by KidsRead USA goes only to third graders. According to Literacy Connects, kindergarten through the third grade is the most critical time for children to learn how to read. Children who learn to read well in those grades are more likely to succeed in the rest of their school career.
“I wanted to catch them at a time when they had learned to read but maybe they hadn’t experience the joy of reading for pleasure,” Bailey said. “My secret goal is to make lifelong readers and learners out of these kids.”
Approximately 61 percent of low-income families do not have age-appropriate books for their children in the household, according to a report by The LUME Institute. On top of that, The National Education Association states that children who read at home and are read to by their parents at a young age score higher on standardized testing. However, in low-income households, children are much less likely to be read to and to read at home than in homes with higher income levels.
Not only does the Pizza My Heart challenge raise money for disadvantaged third graders at inner-city schools, but it rewards the restaurants and servers who participate in the fundraiser.
The top sellers for both individual servers and restaurants will earn prizes such as cash giveaways, gift cards and passes to various Valley locations such as Top Golf Scottsdale.
“We hope it’s lots of fun for the restaurants, the servers and the KidsRead fans who go in to eat pizza,” Bailey said.
Pizza My Heart still has openings for restaurants who wish to participate in the fundraiser. The entry deadline is Sept. 30 and restaurant owners who want to participate may contact Eileen Bailey at 602-266-4514, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit kidsreadusa.org
Developer: Alliance Residential Company
General Contractor: Alliance Residential Builders
Architect: ORB Architecture
Location: 7100 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Size: 219,000 SF (net rentable area)
Start and completion dates: Started third quarter 2012. Completed second quarter 2014.
Project Description: Broadstone Lincoln is a 264-unit community that sits on 5.31 acres of land adjacent to the future 110-acre, master-planned Ritz Carlton development. It’s within two miles of a variety of high-end destination shopping centers, including Scottsdale Fashion Square. The community features a mix of high-end finishes and amenities, such as upgraded fixtures and appliances, gas cooktops, hard-surface counters, climate-controlled interior corridors, direct-access elevators, underground parking, private garages, a state-of-the-art fitness center, luxurious common areas for entertaining, and a separate flex studio to coordinate fitness functions and host resident events. The property is pursuing LEED for Homes Platinum Certification.
Students in Arizona State University’s Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at the W.P. Carey School of Business will be competing for up to $6,000 in the inaugural REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13 at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix.
Three competing teams of graduating MRED students will each present a development solution for a storied asset of local Arizona commercial real estate including multi-family, retail and entertainment. MRED teams will demonstrate their strategy for the local development projects including acquisition, financing, entitlements and design.
Teams will have just 10 minutes to present followed by questions, with the winning team chosen by the audience. Winning team members will each receive a $1,000 cash prize, up to $6,000.
The REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge MRED case competition event is open to the public and cost is $35. The event includes a networking reception with appetizers and refreshments from 6-7 p.m. Seating is limited and reservations are required online at www.reiacsouthwest.org or call 623-581-3597.
The Southwest Chapter of REIAC, an exclusive organization of top real estate executives involved in developing, acquiring and/or financing real estate recently formed a partnership with ASU’s MRED program.
“REIAC is very excited to conduct this inaugural competition event for the MRED program, aligning top real estate experts and professional standards with academia for bettering the commercial real estate community as a whole,” said Todd Jarman, board president of REIAC Southwest and senior vice president, BBVA Compass.
The MRED student case study competition is sponsored by The Rockefeller Group who has a longstanding history of supporting education. The future W.P. Carey Evening MBA program will be located at The Rockefeller Group’s Chandler 101, an 844,000-square-foot mid-rise office development in Chandler’s Price Corridor
“We are extremely proud to be sponsoring this premier student competition of ASU’s graduate level program for demonstrating their mastery of a real estate investment and determining the feasibility of its development,” said Mark Singerman, REIAC board member and regional director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group.
“Many of Phoenix’s real estate executives have ties to ASU and a significant number are also members of REIAC. The alliance allows for the students to have access to local real estate leaders and we’re looking forward to seeing the teams showcase their talents in the annual REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge,” Singerman said.
“The REIAC/Rockefeller Group Challenge provides students an experience that teaches them how to apply the theory of real estate in a practical way only available because of local industry support that comes from this Challenge,” said Mark Stapp, executive director of MRED, W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU.
REIAC provided $5,000 in scholarships for the 2013/2014 academic year. Requirements of the scholarship program include being a full-time student, an Arizona resident and preferably, having the desire to work locally upon graduation.
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix has announced the promotion of Carla-Risha Wright to senior sales manager, group at the luxury hotel in time for its upcoming 25th anniversary. In her new position, Wright will be responsible for managing large group business for the property in the Western and Southern regions of the United States.
Joseph Wronski, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, praises Wright on her promotion. “Carla-Risha has been an outstanding member of the sales team here at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, and it is with great pleasure that we congratulate her on her much deserved promotion. We have the utmost confidence that she will continue to excel in her new role.”
Wright began her career with The Ritz-Carlton in April 2007 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica where she led the wedding sales team to record results. She joined The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix team in January 2010 as a catering sales manager and was promoted to Senior Sales Manager, Catering in July 2012. Wright has been recognized within the sales and marketing department of The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix for her outstanding work ethic and dedication to growing the hotel’s social catering revenue.
“I’m delighted to accept this promotion and take on the new challenges that will face me in group sales,” said Wright. “My purpose is to make the impossible possible.”
Born in Jamaica, Carla-Risha Wright is a 2004 graduate of the University of the West Indies with a degree in tourism management. She is deeply involved within the community, as she sits on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Foundation for Women and the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. She is also a member of the Black Board of Directors Project and volunteers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Wright currently resides in Scottsdale with her husband Andre and their two daughters. She is an avid reader and loves to travel in her spare time.
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix will share A Summer Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 25, with the Bistro 24 dining experience to be complemented by the Sonoma, California wines of Rodney Strong Vineyards.
The culinary evening will feature a savory starter, a summer salad with shaved seasonal vegetables, and a main course of pan-seared organic chicken with English pea purée, roasted baby potatoes and pickled carrots. A delicate dessert of vanilla-poached peach, toasted almond panna cotta, lemon raspberry meringue and raspberry sorbet will end the four-course repast, with each course to be paired with a Rodney Strong wine. Featured wines will include the 2012 Charlotte’s Home Estate Sauvignon Blanc named after Strong’s wife, the 2011 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, the 2011 Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir and Strong’s 2010 Symmetry (Red Meritage) Alexander Valley.
Priced at $65 per guest exclusive of tax and gratuity, early reservations are recommended. The event follows last month’s Summer Beer Dinner at Bistro 24 and is the next in a series of ongoing special evenings to be presented by Bistro 24. For reservations, call (602) 952-2424.
Guests wishing to pair their Summer Wine Dinner with an overnight stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix may also select from several luxury packages offered this season. Priced from $219 per night, the hotel’s Bed and Breakfast package is available on July 25 and includes deluxe accommodations, breakfast for two in Bistro 24, 20% shopping savings at the hotel and overnight valet parking. Bed and Breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix may be booked at http://www.ritzcarlton.com, toll-free at (800) 241-333 or through a travel professional.
About The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix”
Ideally situated in the Camelback Corridor within walking distance of shopping, dining and business venues — and within minutes of 10 Phoenix-area sports stadiums, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix offers 281 luxurious guest rooms and suites including the widely-acclaimed Ritz-Carlton Club Level®. The hotel’s popular Bistro 24 restaurant is the city’s premier venue for indoor/outdoor breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour and dinner, while the spacious restaurant patio and hotel pool deck have become Phoenix favorites for alfresco weddings and social events. Offering an elegant yet relaxed Southwestern sense of place and acclaimed service, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix is consistently rated Arizona’s #1 business hotel and is celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout 2013.
Cushman & Wakefield today announced the opening of two new restaurants at The Shops at Esplanade, located on the southeast corner of Camelback Road and 24th Street. The new tenants are part of Esplanade owner, MetLife, and Cushman & Wakefield’s efforts to revitalize the property’s retail presence.
“We have worked diligently with MetLife to attract an exciting and successful blend of restaurants and retailers at the property that will suit this market,” said Jon Cowen, Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield. “The Camelback Corridor provides a fabulous market opportunity for the correct tenants and we’re pleased that ownership’s plan is coming to fruition.”
Pearl Live!, a Scottsdale–based company, will open a sushi restaurant with live entertainment. Pearl Live! at the Esplanade will be the second sushi/entertainment concept for renowned restaurateur, Jimmy Carlin. The Esplanade location will feature a large, outdoor patio, an indoor/outdoor bar, and live music. Situated directly across from the Ritz Carlton, the space was previously occupied by Morton’s Steakhouse. Mr. Carlin plans to cater to the business lunch and happy hour crowds, but also provide an upscale venue at night. Bob Tam, former corporate chef for PF Chang’s and current Director of Culinary Operations for Maven Hospitality Group (who recently opened The Strand Urban Italian in downtown Phoenix), will be responsible for the creation of Pearl Live!’s menu. The approximate 7,977 square foot sushi restaurant is slated to open in May.
Solo Trattoria, a new concept from Chicago-based Gemstone Café Group, plans to open their doors at the Esplanade in mid February. Brittany Harrison of Catalyst Commercial represented the tenant in this transaction, bringing the company’s first location to Arizona. The Modern Italian restaurant leased approximately 2,555 square feet of space which was previously occupied by Picazzo’s Pizza. Solo Trattoria, with its cozy and inviting ambiance, will feature fresh tasting Italian food, including Naples style thin crust pizza, authentic pastas, imported cheeses, and wine and beer.
Jon Cowen and Summer Jackson of Cushman & Wakefield serve as exclusive leasing agents for the Shops at Esplanade, while Larry Downey, Jerry Jacobs, and Michael Crystal lease the available office space for property owner MetLife.
YWCA Maricopa County will Host its 20th annual Tribute To Leadership Gala on February 23, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix at 6:00pm. Guests will be provided an elegant setting to dine and dance to the wonderful Upper East Side Big Band.
Tribute To Leadership, our largest event of the year, will honor those who have made substantial contributions to eliminating discrimination, empowering women, and serving as champions to our community. The gala provides funding to support YWCA programs throughout the year; including financial education, advocacy and awareness programs, and essential services for seniors. Please join us on February 23rd to celebrate these amazing honorees. For more information, visit www.ywcaaz.org or call 602-258-0990.
2013 Tribute to Leadership Honorees:
Jaye Perricone, PetSmart, Advocacy Leader
Pamela Overton Risoleo, Greenberg Traurig, Community Service Corporate Leader
Andy Kramer, Banner Health Foundation, Community Service Nonprofit Leader
Michael Barnard, Phoenix Theatre, Creative Arts Leader
Paul Luna, Helios Education Foundation, Education Leader
Dean Victor Coonrod, MD-MPH, Maricopa Medical Center, Health & Science Leader
Patricia Little-Upah, retired, US Army Reserve, Military or Armed Service Leader
Angela Hughey, ONE Community Media, Public Service Leader
Karen Churchard, Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation, Centennial Leader
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury, Sports Leader
Julie Sullivan, International Foundation for Education & Self-Help, Racial Justice Leader
The results of Condé Nast Traveler’s 25th annual Readers’ Choice Awards are in, and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain has been voted the number one resort in the Southwest. With an overall score of 92.5 reflecting readers’ opinions on rooms, service, food, location, design and activities, Sanctuary shares the region’s top spot with Tucson’s The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. This year, Condé Nast Traveler received a record 46,476 responses, with readers evaluating more than 10,000 resorts, destinations, airlines, and cruise lines worldwide.
“We are honored to be recognized by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers and thrilled for the Sanctuary team,” said Mike Surguine, vice president and general manager of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. “The Phoenix/Scottsdale region has long been a sanctuary for leisure travelers, and we owe a debt of gratitude to the people and businesses that make this one of the world’s best places to visit.”
Condé Nast Traveler’s complete list of top resorts in the Southwest is available at http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards/united-states/top-25-resorts-southwest-usa.
The Top 5 Southern Arizona Accommodations — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:
8600 E. Rockcliff Rd., Tucson, AZ 85750
Dozens of fitness activities, spa cuisine, wellness consultations in preventive medicine, nutrition, stress management, spiritual awareness, and body and skin care treatments.
JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa
3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85745
Rich with culture, history and beauty, this resort is complete with world-class spa facilities, nationally acclaimed golf courses, fine dining and award-winning restaurants, and perfectly designed convention and meeting spaces.
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
7000 N. Resort Dr., Tucson, AZ 85750
Features 398 guest rooms, four restaurants and lounges, eight tennis courts, two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, fitness trails, swimming pools and a full-service spa.
Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
15000 N. Secret Springs Dr., Marana, AZ 85658
Nestled in the high Sonoran Desert against the Tortolita Mountains, The Ritz-Carlton features a destination spa, world-class hiking, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf, indoor and outdoor dining including True American Cuisine at CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar, all within a striking canyon setting.
Westward Look Resort
245 E. Ina Rd., Tucson, AZ 85704
Set high in the foothills overlooking Tucson and warmed by an abundance of desert sunshine, Westward Look Resort is a rejuvenating resort environment inspired by the beauty of its pristine natural surroundings.
The 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies Awards, held at the Ritz Carlton in Phoenix on Sept. 14, 2010, was a hit with almost 500 people gathering to celebrate excellence in the Arizona business community. The night honored 43 companies in Arizona that are outstanding in the areas of customer opinion, leadership excellence, social responsibility and workplace culture.
Emcee Brahm Resnik, news anchor with 12 News, recognized the companies and handed the mic off to our four presenting sponsors, who announced our Spotlight Awards. Sundt Construction, American Express, St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center and BeachFleischman were the night’s Spotlight Award winners.
Along with celebrating Arizona businesses, attendees feasted on scrumptious desserts. Here are a few photos from the celebration, but there’s more photos of the 2010 MAC Awards in our MAC Photo Album.
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