The women and men listed here represent some of the key players in the hospitality sector, which we’ve broadly defined to cover arts, entertainment, food service, lodging, recreation and tourism. The names come from our own news staff, peer recommendations and public nominations—a long list, which was peer reviewed and culled to create the list that follows. For a variety of reasons, three individuals who made the final list are not depicted here; they are: Chris Ratay, director of marketing at the Omni-Severin Hotel; Stephanie Schulz, director of conventions and meetings at the NCAA; and Bruce White, president and CEO of White Lodging.
Philip A. Ray, 47
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
Phil Ray, a veteran hospitality executive, currently works for White Lodging as general manager of the Marriott Indianapolis Downtown. He is chairman of the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association and past president of the Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association. He serves on the executive board of the Gary Brackett Impact Foundation and on the board of the Indianapolis Chef’s Academy.
Before joining White Lodging, Ray spent nearly eight years with Omni Hotels, working at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in New York City and then at the Omni Severin in Indianapolis. He was named general manager of the year in 2009 by the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association and, in 2010, received the Bill McGowan Leadership Award from the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
Ray began his hotel career working in finance for Marriott Hotels, in positions that took him to the Northeast, Texas and California. In 1993, he joined Fairmont Hotels as director of finance at the Fairmont San Francisco and later at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Ray moved into operations and hotel services at the Doral Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Rye Brook, N.Y., a position he held until he joined Omni in 2002.
A graduate of Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., Ray is married and has three children.
Ellen M. Rosenthal, 58
President and CEO
Conner Prairie, Interactive History Park
Ellen Rosenthal was named president and CEO of Conner Prairie in 2005. Before joining Conner Prairie as vice president, Rosenthal spent 30 years working at a variety of museums, including the Minnesota Historical Society and the John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.
For the past decade, Rosenthal has pursued a special interest in how visitors, particularly families, learn in museum settings. Under her direction, Conner Prairie transformed from an outdoor history museum to an interactive, guest-centric history park. Innovations in engagement techniques developed as a way to increase learning formed the basis of Conner Prairie’s award-winning training DVD-CD-ROM, “Opening Doors to Great Guest Experiences.” The program is now used by more than 1,200 museums worldwide, reaching an estimated 26 million guests. Most recently, Conner Prairie was one of five national museums awarded the 2010 Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal, presented by first lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony.
A well-known advocate of active learning, Rosenthal has spoken widely on the changes at Conner Prairie and is the author of several articles about improving the visitor experience.
Rosenthal earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Barnard College. She has two master’s degrees, one from H.F. DuPont Winterthur Program and one from Carnegie Mellon University. She is married to Dr. Theodore Logan, a medical oncologist at Indiana University Medical Center, and they have three sons.
Ellen Saul, 45
Maribeth Smith & Associates Inc.
Ellen Saul joined Maribeth Smith & Associates in 1994 and became president of the company in 2003. As president, she organizes and oversees every aspect of planning large-scale events. Saul prides herself on being an effective team builder and on her ability to see the big picture. She has worked on a range of major events, including the National FFA Convention, the Indianapolis Prize, NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Championship, St. Vincent Foundation and St. Vincent Health fundraising events, Spirit and Place Festival, National League of Cities and West Baden Springs grand opening. The company manages 10 to 15 major events per year.
After graduating from Indiana University, Saul moved to New York, where she worked as an assistant buyer at Macy’s in New York. In 1989, she returned to Indianapolis to take a sport/special services internship with the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome, which launched her career in events coordination. She moved up to event coordinator and finally to special services/public information manager, a position she held until joining Maribeth Smith & Associates. Saul has also been a course instructor at IUPUI in the Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional Management and Tourism Department.
Saul currently serves on the boards of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. She is also a member of the program-planning committee of the Indiana Sports Corp.
Saul was named by IBJ to “Forty under 40” and as one of “20 Women to Watch.” The International Special Events Society, Indiana Chapter, named her volunteer of the year in 1999. Saul enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, reading and entertaining.
Steven Stolen, 53
Indiana Repertory Theatre
One of Indianapolis’ best-known performing artists, Steven Stolen has been with IRT for four years, where he oversees marketing and development and collaborates with Janet Allen, the organization’s artistic director.
Stolen maintains a singing presence through the Meridian Song Project, through which he gives public performances several times a year, many of them free. He hosts “Stolen Moments,” an eclectic weekly music show on WFYI-FM 90.1. A tenor by trade, he has performed with virtually every leading local arts organization and has performed nationally, taking leading roles in “The Barber of Seville,” “Cosi Fan Tutte” and “The Magic Flute,” among other operas.
In addition to his work with the arts, Stolen sits on the boards of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, IPS Key Learning Advisory and the Downtown Marketers Association. He has served on a variety of other boards, including the Indianapolis-Marion County Metropolitan Development Commission. He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership program and a recipient of the first Creative Renewal Fellowship ever conferred by the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
Before his appointment at IRT, he worked with the theater in a variety of capacities, including as musical consultant and associate artist. He was resident artist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for seven years. He is co-editor of two song anthologies and has been featured on more than two dozen recordings.
Originally from Iowa, Stolen is a graduate of both Simpson College and the University of Michigan. He has taught at five universities, including Butler. Stolen and partner Rob MacPherson have one daughter.
Greg Tinsley, 46
A 24-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Greg Tinsley has overseen all aspects of the management of the Conrad Indianapolis since joining the hotel in 2007. The hotel opened in 2006 and is one of only three Conrad hotels in the United States. During each of the four years Tinsley has been in Indianapolis, the Conrad has been named to Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the top 100 mainland U.S. hotels. In January of this year, Tinsley was named the hotel manager of the year within the international Hilton luxury properties chain. At the same time, he was recognized for having the highest guest-satisfaction scores of all the Hilton luxury properties worldwide.
Tinsley joined Conrad Hotels from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he served as hotel manager and led an $86 million renovation of the property. Before becoming manager, Tinsley served as resident manager, acting general manager, executive assistant manager and rooms division manager.
Before joining the Beverly Hilton, Tinsley spent 15 years with Sheraton Hotels, where he served in a variety of management roles in Los Angeles; Stanford, Conn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and St. Louis. Tinsley is a native of Cleveland, Tenn., and holds a degree from Cleveland State College.