Jennifer MurrayRegional Director, Human ResourcesJennifer Murray is the Regional Director of Human Resources for Valor Hospitality Partners. In this role, Jennifer provides support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization—specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. Jennifer joined Valor Hospitality Partners in 2018 as Human Resources Manager supporting the opening of The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel. Prior to Valor Hospitality Partners, she worked for nine years in the vacation rental management industry. This included strategic HR roles in recruitment, training and development. She has led teams and counseled senior executives to achieve business objectives.
Annabelle RichaletGlobal Director of Learning & DevelopmentOriginally from Montauban, France, Annabelle began her career studying Hotel Management at the internationally recognized Paul Bocuse Institute of Hospitality. Annabelle brings 18 years of hospitality experience to her role, including experience in award-winning restaurants, bars, luxury and lifestyle hotels. Annabelle specializes in food and beverage operations, staff recruitment, hotel and restaurant openings, training and employee development. Annabelle is a well-respected leader in the industry with a proven history of motivating award-winning teams to peak performance in efficiency and service. Annabelle is an integral part of Valor’s culture, and after overseeing all training and development for food and beverage operations for Valor Hospitality, her role has been expanded to train in all capacities as Valor’s Global Director of Learning & Development.
James PooleDirector of Hotel OperationsJames Poole brings 13 years of hospitality and tourism management experience across multiple markets and brands. Most recently, James was responsible for the opening of the 87-room Foundry Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton in Asheville, North Carolina. Joining the development team a year prior to opening, James helped lead construction efforts through opening, while focusing on positioning the hotel as the premier option for visitors staying in downtown Asheville. While leading his team in Asheville, James was elected by the City of Asheville to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority as a board member, responsible for helping to shape the tourism marketing and destination management efforts for one of the largest county tourism budgets in the United States. Throughout his career, James has consistently been recognized for his performance, being awarded Corporate Manager of the Year and Guest Services Manager of the Year, while also being part of award-winning teams that received Torchbearer Award recognition with IHG, Hotel of the Year for Hard Rock Hotels and Gold Key Rooms Division of the Year.
Matt GrayGlobal Culinary DirectorMatt Gray brings a wealth of world-class resort and restaurant experience to his leadership role as the guiding force behind Valor Hospitality’s food and beverage operations. Mr. Gray oversees menu and recipe creation, pricing, procurement, kitchen design and flow, staff recruitment and training and total cost controls across all disciplines. Mr. Gray worked at the world-famous Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William, Scotland as Pastry Chef and Sous Chef, before being promoted to Executive Chef. Under Mr. Gray’s direction, the hotel was awarded a Michelin Star rating for nine consecutive years. Travel and Leisure rated Inverlochy as ‘Best Hotel in Europe 2006’ and was voted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ by Decanter Magazine in 2003.
Chris MarthaGlobal Director of Food & BeverageGrowing up in Pittsburgh, PA, Chris Martha started working in hospitality at an early age. He developed a passion for the business at age 14, when he scaled the ranks from dishwasher, bus boy, and line cook to waiter as a high schooler. He went on to earn a business degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Penn State University and studied abroad in Switzerland where he fell in love with food and its deeply rooted connection with family and culture. Throughout his career, he has worked in nearly all facets of the industry, from casual to fine dining, within both hotels and restaurants. With this foundational experience, Chris today also enjoys his own venture – Scout – an Atlanta restaurant just around the corner from his family’s home.He moved to Atlanta during the tourism surge brought on by the 1996 Olympic games and spent seven years with Fifth Group Restaurants, including Atlanta favorites such as South City Kitchen, LaTavola and the Food Studio. His extensive experience has helped Chris focus on driving operational efficiencies without compromising the overall experience and satisfaction of his guests, an attribute that serves him well. Chris is well-versed in the industry and heads Valor’s Food & Beverage company.
Steve CesingerGlobal Co-founder & Chief Investment OfficerSteve Cesinger has over 35 years of experience in private equity, corporate finance, investment banking, distressed/workouts, treasury and operations, including a principal focus over the last 17 years in commercial real estate and hospitality. Since forming Valor with long-time friend and colleague Euan McGlashan, Mr. Cesinger has advised on client portfolio acquisitions and financings for more than twenty hotels representing over $1 billion in transaction value. Mr. Cesinger’s extensive investment banking experience encompasses a variety of industries, with notable transactions involving leading consumer facing companies such as Little Tykes, MGA Entertainment, Bumble Bee Seafoods and Whole Foods Markets. Mr. Cesinger has arranged mergers, acquisitions and public and private debt and equity financings, both as principal and agent, representing over $4 billion in aggregate value, including over $1 billion of debt restructuring and distressed transactions.