It is always gratifying to have members of our staff consistently lauded by our guests for their outstanding service. Two of our staff members can now add state-wide industry accolades to their list of achievements.
I am very proud to announce that Leo Granados was recognized by the New Mexico Lodging Association as the 2012 Employee of the Year for the state of New Mexico and the 2012 Food and Beverage Employee of the Year, and Rebecca Ortiz was recognized as the 2012 Front Office Employee of the Year at the association’s annual Stars of the Industry gala this past weekend.
Leo Granados – Bartender at La Fonda on the Plaza
Some might think that it can’t be too hard for a bartender to win Employee of the Year – but think again. As barman at a popular meeting place right off the lobby of a landmark downtown hotel, Granados is under a microscope every day. Nor has he stuck to tending bar. A 19-year veteran of the hotel, Granados held numerous jobs in housekeeping and maintenance before joining the bartending staff in 2006 – his favorite job to date. “I love interacting with people,” he explains. “I love that not everyday is the same.”
Bartending is an ideal position for someone who, while he earned a reputation as a hard worker and go-getter, also has a contagious sense of humor that lightens the mood around him, whether among co-workers or customers. “Just to be around him makes your day,” says Beverage Director, Evelyn Martinez. “He always makes me smile.” I totally concur.
Rebecca (Becky) Ortiz – Front Office Manager
To meet Becky Ortiz is to feel immediately at ease, like breathing a sigh of relief arriving in a comfortable hotel room.
This ability comes so naturally to some people, it tends to hide the great strength of character that lies beneath. And it’s a priceless asset for our historic hotel where Ortiz oversees reception as our Front Office Manager. Having spent her entire career – 27 years – at the hotel, she has always worked the front desk, first as an agent, then supervisor, and finally in the top position. “She’s the face of the hotel,” says her supervisor, Director of Guest Services, Adrian Montoya. “She’s the first and last person you see. She’s the front line. She is what [this hotel] is about – the longevity, the loyalty. I have seen her deal with issues where the guests go from being angry, to now they’re repeat guests,” says Montoya. “Because they love her.”
Ortiz naturally expresses to guests upon arrival the culture that we strive for – a warm family feeling, traditional but comfortable, sophisticated but not imposing. Guests consistently give her positive feedback for her genuineness and warmth; co-workers note that she has a special talent for remembering guests many years later. “I’m right there in the action, hands-on with my staff,” she says of her mission to look after guests
as her own brood. “I’m there with my sleeves rolled up. Whatever needs guests have, we try to fulfill it. We try to anticipate it.” I am also impressed that Becky has become a vegan, striving to be a healthier person and a good role model for others.
Congratulations to Leo and Becky. We’ve known you as stars for years. We are proud and honored to call you a part of our La Fonda family.