Hospitality Cares

Leadership Council welcomes new members for 2013!

March 26 2013 | News


Hospitality Cares New Orleans President, Kenny Truxillo, along with the entire Leadership Council, welcome the newly appointed members of the 2013 Leadership Council:

Jennifer Toups - Senior Sales Executive, New Orleans Marriott

Thea  Crosley Wall - Director of Revenue Management and Business Travel, Windsor Court 

Jeff Anding - Director of External Affairs, NOMCVB


Brenda Morton -  Business Development/Legal Assistant, GALLOWAY, JOHNSON, TOMPKINS, BURR & SMITH, A PLC

These new members bring an abundance of fresh ideas and energy to the table!  Welcome Aboard!


Here is a list of the Leadership Council for Hospitality Cares New Orleans!  They represent a full spectrum of the hospitality industry.  We encourage you to contact any of these members to learn more about the goals of this organization.


Kenny Truxillo -- PRESIDENT

Director of Sales

The Whitney, A Wyndham Hotel 

Kenny started in the hospitality industry in 1985 and has worked for The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Tours, Destination Management Inc., and The Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel throughout his twenty six year career. Kenny and his partner also own and operate Louisiana Travel Services a local destination management company that services the needs of visitors to the state. Kenny was elected to the board of The French Quarter Festival in 2008 and is still an active member. Kenny is the current President of Hospitality Cares New Orleans Leadership Council. He and a few others recognized how many industry friends, when faced with a hardship had no place to turn for help, other than their hospitality network of friends for support. This is why he decided to dedicate his time to giving back to the industry and workers.


Angelo Annacarto -- VICE PRESIDENT


Louisiana Travel Services

A native of Scranton Pennsylvania Angelo moved to New Orleans in 2002 to take a job as Human Resources Director for Intercom Radio.  He soon realized how special New Orleans was and wanted to redirect his career and joined the team of Travel New Orleans, a local receptive company. In August of 2005, without a job, and no idea when tourism would return, he joined his former boss from Travel New Orleans and went to work for FEMA. The job he was given was assisting families who were trying to return to their homes. He made the final inspections of the FEMA trailers and had the honor of handing keys to those families. He remembers that as  one of the most rewarding experiences.

In 2006, with the recovery still at a slow pace, he and his partner decided the tourism industry would return to New Orleans and when it did, Angelo wanted to help it thrive.  He opened Louisiana Travel Services and with hard work and persistence Angelo is now living his dreams of selling all the things that endeared him to his new found home. Angelo’s brainchild is Hospitality Cares. He recognized the importance of the tourism industry in this region, and wanted to help build a safety net for the workers who have dedicated their lives to serving our guests.



VP Sales

ACCENT on Arrangements, Inc.

Passionate and enthusiastic about everything New Orleans, Jody Halter has enjoyed every minute of her 30 year career in New Orleans’ hospitality and tourism industries. She joined the ACCENT team in 2003 to help expand the DMC division that focuses on producing special events and guest programs for association, corporate and incentive meetings. She is also an expert in client development, and handles proposal creation and development. Her genuine interest in trying new things and meeting new people makes her well-suited to build lasting relationships with her clients and colleagues. Prior to joining ACCENT, Jody gained invaluable experience as a Director of Sales and Marketing for another company, before being swiftly promoted as their Vice President and General Manager.

It’s safe to call Jody a “girl on the go!” She is Secretary on the board for HCNO, an active member of PCMA, and has served on committees for the New Orleans Metropolitan Visitors and Conventions Bureau, PCMA and ADME. She loves spending time with her sons, and enjoys dabbling in photography and honing her culinary skills with new recipes.


Mavis Early 

Executive Director

Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association

Mavis Early is Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association and Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Education Foundation.  Early is an attorney-at-law with experience in real estate and hotel development, convention planning and management, governmental affairs, and business, real estate, and municipal law.   Early is a member of Hospitality Strategic Task Force formed by the Lt. Governor’s Office and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the Advisory Board of the Lester E. Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration, and Advisory Board member of the College of Business Administration of the University of New Orleans, member of the NOMCVB’s National Customer Advisory Council and serves as the hotel industry’s representative on the Stake Out for Justice Committee of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.  She is a founding board member and past-president of the Greater New Orleans Council on Youth Leadership, former City Attorney of the City of New Orleans, and former State Chair of the International Municipal Lawyers Association.  Early received her Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Loyola University of the South. 


Bobbi Mannino, LTCP 

Sales & Public Relations

Compucast Web Media

Bobbi began her long career in tourism in 1974 as she worked for over 26 years for the Steamboat NATCHEZ.  In 1999, she was lured away to become Director of Sales at Harrah's Casino for the next 5 years.  During those 30+ years, Bobbi served numerous terms on the BOD for the NOMCVB, FQBA, HSMA and was President of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.  In order to take care of her mom, she began working for Compucast Web Media on a part-time basis which still allowed her to stay involved with tourism in our area.  After Katrina, she became Sales Director for Compucast Web Media and is integrally involved with hundreds of tourism website clients!  She is passionate about Hospitality Cares New Orleans and believes this organization will become the model organization for other cities across the country!


Cheryl Rodrigue 

Director of Sales

New Orleans Paddlewheels and Destination Management Conventions

Cheryl started as a buyer for 13 stores owned by D.H. Holmes. She was once a stay –at – home mom and after her children were grown, she set out to work in the hospitality industry. She helped open up Airport Shuttle in 1991 and then went on to be the Director of Operations for Destination Management Conventions. She has been with Hospitality Enterprises Companies since 1991 and is now the Director of Sales for New Orleans Paddlewheels and Destination Management. “One call that’s all” is what Cheryl has to say. She is a “make it happen” person and there is no tasks too much for her to handle.  Cheryl was just recently recognized by Citi Business as one of 50 Business Women of the Year for 2011.


Kerri Caputo 

Assistant Director of Human Resources 

Royal Sonesta Hotel


Kerri Caputo started in the hospitality industry in 2003 while attending University of New Orleans’s Hotel/Restaurant & Tourism program.  She graduated from University of New Orleans in 2004 and has worked at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, The Doubletree Hotel, the Hotel Monteleone, the Astor Crowne Plaza and is now back at the Royal Sonesta Hotel as the Assistant HR Manager.

She joined the HCNO Leadership Council in early 2011 after being informed to the mission of Hospitality Cares NOLA.  Being in Human Resources has given Kerri the opportunity to work with our biggest asset of the industry, our employees.  She has grown to know her employees and see the challenges they face in life each and every day.  She realized what a great mission Hospitality Cares NOLA has and is very excited to be a part!


Andrea Hemperley 

Director of Tour & Travel

New Orleans Paddlewheels

Andrea’s career in the hospitality industry started in 1990 in tourism sales with New Orleans Paddlewheels.  Her 21 years of experience includes sales and marketing for the multi-faceted, vertically integrated conglomerate of Hospitality Enterprises, event planning and decorating for Fancy Faces Decorating, Marketing Director for the St. Tammany Tourism Commission, and Travel Industry Sales Manager for a group of seven boutique hotels marketed as New Orleans Fine Hotels.  Her career path has brought her back to her roots where she is once again the Director of Tour and Travel for New Orleans Paddlewheels.  Andrea is a founding member of Hospitality Cares New Orleans which was created and is presided over by her long time friend and colleague Kenny Truxillo.  The Leadership Council of HCNO recognizes tourism industry employees facing hardships due to medical issues and offers assistance for those who qualify.  


Christy Himel 


Geaux for the Gold

Christy knows the hospitality industry from every possible angle. She has worked in nearly all aspects of the industry from marketing, event planning to business ownership and operations. Since 2004 she has operated her own successful association management company called To Market To Market which manages local and international association chapters. Most recently, she's expanded her 25 year career in hospitality to include co-ownership of one of the regions largest sports stores. Geaux for the Gold is located in Slidell and specializes in items for fans of LSU and Saints.  



Sharon Reuther 

Sales and Marketing

Hop-On-Hop-Off-Double Decker Bus Tours


Sharon began her career in the hospitality industry in 1994 with Hospitality Enterprises, selling everything from buses to boats!!  She represented New Orleans Tours, DMI, and New Orleans Paddlewheels concentrating on hotel sales and public relations.  Sharon and her husband Doug founded "Always A Pleasure" Tours and Transportation in 2002 and is presently Sales Manager for Hop On Hop Off Double Decker Bus Tours.  An active member of NACE and has also served as President of HENA.  She loves to entertain, cook and do theme parties for her firends and family!  As a new member of the Leadership Council for Hospitality Cares, Sharon hopes to give back to the industry that has been such an important part of her life.


Lisa Tanet

Attorney at Law, Notary Public

Owner of ETC! Catering
Lisa Tanet is an AV rated trial lawyer.  She has 20 years of experience litigating claims and mediating them to a favorable conclusion both as an insurance defense attorney and as counsel for plaintiffs.  She has represented both large and small companies as well as individuals.  Her experience includes breach of contract claims, insurance coverage issues, extra-contractual claims, personal injuries, errors and omissions, construction defects, collection, bankruptcy, commerical property claims, worker's compensation claims, employer liability claims, and safety issues.  Following Katrina, she opened ETC! a catering company that services many of her legal clientele.  She did this because of her love for cooking and entertaining friends and her desire to help people create a memorable event in their life around food as well as bring her clients a product they needed.  The business was initially opened as a small Cafe in the Galleria Office Building in Metairie, Louisiana and has grown into a full-service catering company handling corporate catering and event planning.  Lisa decided to donate her time and legal knowledge to Hospitality Cares New Orleans because she believes in its mission.  She was influential in partnering Hospitality Cares New Orleans with the United Way.



Chris Valentino

Director of Human Resources

Hotel Management of New Orleans, LLC


A native of New Orleans, Chris grew up in the hospitality industry working in family owned and operated hotels.  After graduating from LSU in 2002 he began his career in earnest as Construction Manager for Hotel Management of New Orleans.  After completing construction of Basin St. Station and post-Katrina repairs of the company’s four properties, he managed the Avalon Hotel until its sale in 2008.  After a brief stint as General Manager of Basin St. Station, Chris assumed the role of Director of Human Resources in 2009. 

Chris, along with Hotel Management, is a strong supporter of the United Way and Hospitality Cares, completing campaigns through 7 properties and garnering 94% and 95% overall participation directed to Hospitality Cares in 2010 and 2011, respectively.  He is excited to have the opportunity to offer financial relief to hospitality workers in need.  


Alex Aldrich

Group Sales Account Executive

Hotel & Tourism Concierge Services

New Orleans Pelicans


A recent transplant to New Orleans from the Florida Keys, Alex grew up running the routes of her family’s Panama Jack sun care distributorship from Ocean Reef to Key West.  Using her degree in Marketing and Family Business from Stetson University, she started a travel company in college to continue exploring her passion for tourism and sales in the travel industry.  In 2010, she uprooted herself from Florida and moved to the heart of New Orleans to work in New Business Development for the New Orleans Hornets NBA.  Her first year with the privately-owned, family-run basketball team, she started the Hornets Concierge Rewards Program and shifted her focus toward hotel and tourism sales in New Orleans.   Three basketball seasons later, she discovered Hospitality Cares in NOLA and joined its Leadership Council and cause without hesitation.  Now, Hospitality Cares and the recently re-branded New Orleans Pelicans raise funds each year for financial assistance/scholarships to members of the hospitality industry.  Alex’s mission is to continue to connect and support the hospitality industry of New Orleans by giving back her time and resources to the compassionate organization of Hospitality Cares.  


Jennifer Toups

Senior Sales Executive

New Orleans Marriott


Jennifer Toups,   originally from Thibodaux, LA  graduated from Nicholls State University in 2002 with Bachelor of Science in Management and Minor in Marketing. During college she started her hospitality career while working the front desk for 2 years at a local Holiday Inn. Upon graduating, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for former Senator John Breaux until he left Office in 2004. After a short stint in Lafayette, LA she found her way to New Orleans, LA and knew she wanted to get back into the hospitality industry.  In 2007, she began working with Marriott International working in Market Sales, transitioning to Area Sales in 2009 and now selling specifically the New Orleans Marriott handling the Mid-West/West Coast market.   Jennifer is very excited to become more involved to help further this cause.  She feels being part of the hospitality industry is like having an extended family and to be a part of this organization and to assist those family members in need will be very rewarding.




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