Meyer Jabara Hotels Taps Local Talent
Transforming Cambria Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh-Downtown
Meyer Jabara Hotels is reinvigorating the Pittsburgh Uptown neighborhood by investing $3 million in property renovations and hiring top local talent to make the Cambria® hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown the No.1 destination hotel for business and leisure travelers. New employees include General Manager Jackie Gillespie, Director of Sales Molly Sweet, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage Joe Nolan, Sales Manager Mary Ellen Pifer, and Catering Sales Manager Tracy Anderson. With extensive experience at other fine Pittsburgh hotels, each of these key hires brings a passion for making this hotel the anchor of Pittsburgh’s Uptown renaissance.
“The Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown will surely be the envy of all hotels in the revitalized Uptown corridor,” said General Manager Jackie Gillespie. “Meyer Jabara Hotels purchased and repositioned this once underperforming property and turned it into a boutique hotel that is upscale, but not uptight. Just as the neighborhood is transforming, so is this property, and visitors from near and far will be amazed at the results when the final product — including new guestrooms, ballroom, restaurant/bar/patio and lobby — is revealed later this year. I couldn’t be happier to be working with this incredible team in a city that I love, and I know the leaders at Meyer Jabara Hotels feel the same way. Our newly-hired team brings the ideal mix of talent this hotel needs to ensure its success long into the future.”
Justin Jabara, MJH VP of Development and Acquisitions, said bringing Gillespie in as general manager was a strategic move to drive the Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown forward. The ownership and management group has been shattering the glass ceiling by placing female hoteliers in executive positions at hotels across its portfolio of 22 hotels, representing 4,000 guestrooms across 10 states, including 14 restaurants. Traditionally, most downtown Pittsburgh hotels have been led by male GM’s, but this is clearly changing with Gillespie at the helm. Her impressive track record of managing the sales and marketing efforts at other hotels in the greater Pittsburgh area made Gillespie the natural choice to lead the team of exceptional managers and relaunch the newly renovated property to the market.
“Meyer Jabara Hotels is always on the cutting-edge of neighborhood development in all the cities where we have properties, and Pittsburgh is no exception,” Jabara said. “We believe the substantial investment we are making in the Cambria hotels & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown — in both the property and its management team — will give this hotel the infusion it needs to attract travelers and local patrons and keep them coming back.”
Director of Sales Sweet joined the Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown after working 20 years with some of the premier names in the hospitality community, including, including Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton. Sweet said she relishes working at the relaunched hotel because she has always admired Meyer Jabara Hotels leadership and culture. For example, the majority of the MJH portfolio operates in the “Top 10” percent in their respective markets, ranked by TripAdvisor. The company’s success is attributed in large part to having the best associates and business partners in the industry, and the culture is built on a combination of strategic leadership tools and behavioral principles that focus each associate on providing exceptional and memorable experiences for their guests.
“I’m looking forward to competing with the leading hotels in Pittsburgh — and beating them,” Sweet said. “My goal is to increase our mid-week corporate business to augment our phenomenal weekend business. I know we can compete with the best, and that’s what I plan to do.”
Executive Chef and Director of F&B Nolan built his reputation and earned a following after working at Cafe Allegro (one of Pittsburgh’s top restaurants for more than 20 years) and most recently at the Wyndham Grand. Nolan said he’s excited about overseeing the meeting and conference space on the hotel’s plaza level, as well as the opportunity to unveil a new concept with the lower level bar and patio space.
“I plan to establish the hotel’s new bar and patio as the place to be seen before and after events, and as a place where high-level meetings can take place based on the quality of the food, beverage and service,” Nolan said. “As someone who’s made Pittsburgh home for many years, this is the opportunity of a lifetime — and I couldn’t believe my good fortune.”
Sales Manager Pifer will assist Sweet in her sales efforts. She comes to Cambria with more than 20 years of hospitality experience, including spending the last five years as Director of Sales at a nearby hotel in the city’s Oakland neighborhood. Pifer says she is pitching the up-and-coming, heart-of-Pittsburgh hotel to business-transient and corporate leaders, as well as her long list of established customers. She is familiar with the leadership of Meyer Jabara Hotels and General Manager Jackie Gillespie from competing against them in her previous position.
“I’ve always admired Meyer Jabara Hotels’ professionalism and successes from afar,” Pifer said. “I was intrigued with what they’ve done so far with this hotel; the extensive renovations are tremendous. It’s exciting to build a team and a venue from the ground up. For me, the decision to move to the Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown was easy. I really wanted to be part of this team.”
Catering Sales Manager Anderson is a 20-year hospitality veteran whose career-long focus on food-and-beverage most recently served the city’s largest hotel. Anderson said the Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown is poised to become a go-to choice for travelers who want a quality experience above and beyond a nice room.
“The Cambria hotel & suites Pittsburgh-Downtown is in a great position to host larger events, from weddings to business meetings and conferences, and I am spearheading the efforts to make sure people know that,” Anderson said. “When I learned of the executive team that Meyer Jabara Hotels was assembling for this property, I was eager to get started. I have complete confidence that this hotel will quickly become a trusted and welcoming place that groups and individuals will want to return to again and again.”