HAFA/HFTM Alumni Award Winners

George D. Bedell Alumni Award

This prestigious award has been revived to honour distinguished alumni of The School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management who have consistently shown professionalism, outstanding achievement and personal contribution to the school and to the field.   The recipient served as an inspiration to the industry as well as the school and its communities.

  • 2021 Winner - Michelle Caine, HAFA '00, MBA '06, Chair, Hospitality Management, Centennial College

    • BIO: A graduate with a BComm and MBA, Michelle Caine is an accomplished educator, leader and manager with over three decades of experience in hospitality business operations.She has a track record of building strong, positive and collaborative relationships with an appreciation and respect for inclusion and diversity. Her proven leadership capabilities including superior communication and training and development expertise, led to rewarding roles in academics.

      Over the last seven years, Michelle has led the Hospitality Management academic portfolio at Centennial College. She leads a team of experienced faculty (some HAFA grads),who develop and deliver high quality hospitality curriculum in an effort to educate and prepare students for their careers.Under her leadership these programs have achieved improved provincial KPI scores, increased student retention and favourable graduate and employer satisfaction ratings.

      The talented team at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College are focused and dedicated to high quality academic programs that educates, inspires and prepares students in all areas of this dynamic industry. Through experiential hands on skills training and theoretical classroom instruction, hospitality graduates are prepared to ensure a strong hospitality workforce.

      Prior to her roles in post-secondary education, Michelle led teams in food and beverage. Her diverse experiences in restaurant operations and human resources include; TDL Tim Horton’s, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants. Michelle credits her adolescent experience at Canada’s Wonderland –serving nachos and cheese and twirling cotton candy –and the valuable mentorship of the foodservice leadership team, with her defining start in hospitality and the introduction to HAFA at the University of Guelph.

  • 2020 Winner - Bob Desautels, HAFA '74, Group Director & Chair, The Neighbourhood Group
  • 2019 Winner - Adam Fikis, HAFA ’02, MBA ’07
  • 2018 Winner - Ken Otto, HAFA '87
  • 2017 Winner - Jeff Dover, HAFA '89
  • 2016 Winner - Heidi Wilker, HAFA '76
  • 2015 Winner - Joanne Gellatly, MBA '02
  • 2014 Winner - Martin Stitt, HAFA '87, MBA '10
  • 2013 Winner - David Larone, HAFA '75
  • 2012 Winner - Geoff Wilson, FACS HAFA BComm '76

Leadership/Entrepreneurial Alumni Award

This award identifies alumni who have demonstrated success within the diverse world of hospitality and tourism. The recipient has displayed excellence, innovation and leadership in his or her field and continues to contribute both to the school and the industry in years ahead. 

  • 2021 Winner - Cayley Dow, HAFA'02 (Co-op), Founder & CEO, Thrivity HR Consulting & Coaching

    • Cayley Dow is the Founder and CEO of Thrivity Inc., a Human Resources Consulting and Coaching firm that helps service-oriented businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving world of work. Service driven and collaborative by nature, Cayley takes a customized approach to helping clients reduce barriers to change, achieve alignment, and improve overall resiliency.

      With a career of over 20 years, Cayley has worked as an HR executive overseeing nationwide talent functions in the hotel industry. Her track record in elevating culture and engagement for every business with which she has partnered, has earned her credibility as an HR thought-leader and trusted business advisor.

      In 2020, Cayley pivoted her HR career from corporate to self-employment and founded Thrivity, offering her expertise in culture transformation, coaching, leadership development and talent acquisition across industries while staying true to her hospitality roots. Service driven, approachable and collaborative by nature, Cayley’s professional success lies her ability to deliver creative yet practical solutions to the most complex people challenges.

      Cayley holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph, a certificate in Strategic Leadership from Cornell University and is a certified Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR).

      A nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, Cayley enjoys a thriving lifestyle with her husband and two children in the mountains of Squamish, British Columbia where her free time is spent in the wilderness on bike, foot, and ski.

  • 2020 Winner - Wil Leung, HAFA ’00, Director of Culinary Operations, Cactus Club Café
  • 2019 Winner - Richard Rubin, HAFA'84
  • 2018 Winner - Jerrett Young, BSc, MBA Hospitality Management '00
  • 2017 Winner - David Humphrey, HTM'11
  • 2016 Winner - Paul Henderson,HAFA'95
  • 2015 Winner - Matt Cornell, HAFA '04
  • 2014 Winner - Jeff Hyslop, HAFA '04
  • 2013 Winner - Darcy MacDonell, CME BComm '02, MA '10
  • 2012 Winner - Frank and Elizabeth Ihrig, FACS HAFA BComm, '06

Leader of Tomorrow Award

The Leader of Tomorrow Award recognizes a recent graduate who embodies the culture of the industry and the school.  The recipient displays outstanding potential in his or her attitude and passion for the industry and will have a bright and shining future ahead.  Recipients have acted as an ambassador for the school and are eager to continue their participation with students and alumni as they grow their career. 

  • 2021 Winner - Christian Cross, HAFA '17, Vice President, Consulting & Valuation, HVS

    • Christian graduated as part of the Class of 2017. During his undergrad, Christian was very involved in the school of Hospitality, Food, and Tourism Management and served as President of the Hotel Association of Canada student group and co-president of Guelph’s Slow Food chapter, the latter of which he was a founding member. Christian also was part of the University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project (UGSRP) and represented the University of Guelph at both the Young Hoteliers Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland and the #HotelNext competition at the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference. Christian was chosen as class valedictorian for the class of 2017. 

      Having completed an internship with HVS Vancouver during this undergrad, Christian moved to Asheville, N.C. to join HVS in a full-time capacity following graduation. Christian then relocated to the firm’s Atlanta office where he worked on projects throughout the southeast. Born and raised in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Christian’s goal was always to move back home. In October 2020, Christian was able make this a reality when he launched the firm’s Buffalo office. In January 2021, Christian was promoted to Vice President within the firm, and he continues to head up the Buffalo office, working on projects in Upstate and Western New York, eastern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania.

  • 2020 Winner - Danielle Gaudet, HAFA '08, Event Specialist, Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada 
  • 2019 Winner - Amy Gratton
  • 2018 Winner - Sarah Hall, HAFA '09
  • 2017 Winner - Duncan Chiu, HTM'13
  • 2016 Winner - Vicki Ly
  • 2015 Winner - Iris Lam, HAFA Co-op '08
  • 2014 Winner - Sam Prentice, HTM '12
  • 2013 Winner - Becky Campbell, HTM '09
  • 2012 Winner - Adrian Niman, HTM '07 and Jody Chrobak, HTM '06

Celebrating Traditions at the Cannon