Black History Month 02.01.2021

Throughout the month of February, Ace celebrates Black History Month with programs designed to amplify the voices of our Black team members, while reflecting on the singular brilliance of African American cultural character.

Each week, we’ll be immersing ourselves in a new batch of significant films, books, sounds and community organizations, as suggested by our Black staff members — shared as a series of interactive handbills that will be distributed throughout all Ace Hotel properties.

We’ll also be hosting a virtual engagement on health and wellness in the Black community with Ayana Collins, a chat with Cheryl Grace of Nielsen Company about Black consumer and travel trends, and presenting a panel discussion with some of Ace’s Black team members, who’ll share insights on their journeys in hospitality.

Additionally, we’re highlighting some of our outstanding Black team members via LinkedIn; you can find their thoughts and insights hosted below.

We look forward to further opportunities to celebrate the beautiful differences that make up the complex tapestry of culture at Ace Hotel.

Saye Kokeh 

Saye is General Manager of the Ace Hotel & Theatre in DTLA.

What is one thing you are most proud of or have achieved in your career or personal life?

“My ability to renew and balance the many changes and challenges experienced in career and life thus far. Being able to let things go, while making things happen to meaningful impact those most important to me. Acknowledging and being comfortable with accepting my personal growth and operating in my own space.”

Tenasha Wilcoxon

Tenasha is the Assistant Director of Sales for Ace Hotel Chicago.

On being part of the Ace team:

“The culture we have cultivated within this company is completely unique to Ace. In my fifteen year long career, this is the first role in which I’ve felt my contributions as a black woman have not only been valued but amplified. I’m proud to be an ‘actual Ace’.” 

Megan Southerland

Megan joined the soon to be opened Ace Hotel Brooklyn team as the Director of Event Sales last summer. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“‘Enjoy the space between where you are and where you are going.’ We’re often so caught up in reaching a certain place in our lives that we miss the opportunities to bask in the achievements and any moment of peace that we’re currently in.”

On being part of the Ace team:

“The sense of genuine community I’ve felt since I started. Beginning a new job in the midst of a pandemic where the typical work dynamic isn’t available was tough; however my team still managed to make me feel extremely connected and a part of something bigger than what’s just in my living room office.”

Robert McCullough

Robert joined Ace Hotel Chicago as the Night Manager in October 2018.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

“Black History Month means Black empowerment, love for Black descendants, expressing and sharing what being Black means in this world. It means Black pride.”

Raynard Janeau

Raynard joined the Maison de la Luz team in New Orleans one year ago as our Night Porter.

What does Black History Month Mean to You?

“When I think of Black History Month I think of all those great people that came before me and the sacrifices they made to push us forward for the better.”

On what he’s most proud of:

“I’ve accomplished a lot in my career, but what I’m most proud of is my 8 month old son. He was born in the midst of the pandemic but is the light and love in my life.”

On being part of the Maison de la Luz team:

“What I like best about working at the Maison de la Luz is that it’s really a family. We have each other back, simply put.”

Yvette Bullock

Yvette is our fearless Hotel Manager at Ace Hotel New Orleans. She Joined the Ace team three years ago this month and was promoted from Director of Housekeeping to Director of Rooms before taking the Hotel Manager position.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

” Not Black History Month, but Black History period — I attribute my love for the Black Culture to my dad; he instilled in my siblings and I to always be proud. Growing up in the South (North Carolina), we didn’t have much, and in school the Black History class that was offered had no textbook, so we had to write everything that was given to us by our teacher. I watched my dad work extra so that he could earn money to invest in a set of Black Encyclopedias for his kids. He was so proud. I owe him and every elder before me. I have to continue the fight daily to show them that what they fought for was not in vain.”

John Sonnier

John has been with Ace Hotel New Orleans for a year and eight months. After excelling as a Front Desk Agent, he was promoted to Front Desk Supervisor and then again to his current position as Assistant Front Office Manager.

What does Black History Month Mean to You?

“For me, Black History Month is a time of reflection — a cognizant recognition of what people who look just like me fought for and why. It’s a time to rejoice in the achievements and contributions of the people of my heritage. It’s also an opportunity to teach and learn about the challenges and effects of racism and stereotypes we still experience today.”

On being part of the Ace team:

“The best part of Ace are its people — all the diverse personalities, aspirations, beauty and culture. It’s incredibly awe-inspiring and mind expanding to see and converse with all the different walks of life. It’s a humbling reminder of how human we all are.”

Felicia Mayden

Felicia has been the Pastry Chef at Ace Hotel Chicago since joining the team in September 2018.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

“Black History Month means a narrative. So many are blindsided by what media’s portrayal of the black community that it clouds their understanding. Everyone should educate themselves on all aspects of the black culture — not only during this time, but all the time.”

On being part of the Ace team:

“I like that Ace has allowed me to grow as a Chef. Being able to be creative in a safe space is important and Ace has supported me every step of the way. “

Erin Wade

Erin is a Barista at Ace Hotel New Orleans. February marks her second month with Ace.

On what she’s most proud of:

“A personal/career achievement I am proud of is realizing there does not have to be a strict separation between how I show up in my career and my artistic personal life. When I enter a space I raise the vibration by being the truest version of myself, by letting the colors inside of me shine as brightly as possible. I am intentional about my truth and inner-light being at the forefront of every conversation and opportunity I choose.”

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