Meet the team behind the enriching Destination experience. Explore their stories to discover how their dedication, creativity and dreams brought all of Destination to your fingertips.
Jamie Sabatier was born with a passion for traveling and exploring—he flew to France on Pan Am with his Father on his first trip as an infant and hasn’t stopped moving since. To date, he has checked off 48 states in the US and 47 countries and counting—he loves seeing new places, trying new things and notes that wherever he goes with friends and family is always considered his “new favorite place.” A strong family man, Jamie and his wife Heather met at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business and have raised three children that share their wanderlust and appreciation for faraway places—from Panama to Hong Kong and everything in between. Self-proclaimed foodies, he and his family are equally happy discovering authentic hole-in-the-wall joints as they are cooking gourmet meals at home in Denver. Jamie is admired for his skilled and innovative leadership, playing an integral role in the company’s future and new phase of growth. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, he believes a memorable hotel stay should foster a sense of place and provide a service level that is personalized and warm. Jamie brings an entrepreneurial spirit to Destination, inspiring associates every day to serve as “cultural ambassadors and high performers” – the perfect recipe for success. When out of the office, he spends his time giving back to the community through volunteer work and can often be found on a sports field or court competing and trying to stay in shape.
With family roots tied to the south where Southern Hospitality reigns, Tom Luersen is most comfortable in his flip-flops and tennis shoes and thrives on new adventures and experiences…usually with a twist of adrenaline. A dedicated family man, who claims his wife of 28 years is his best friend and soulmate, Tom beams with pride when describing the unequivocal ‘secret sauce’ of Destination Hotels: caring and passionate people. A wannabe athlete, but in reality a better strategist and coach than player, Tom revels in analogies and metaphors from sports that relate to leadership and competitiveness in the workplace. His weekend warrior activities, whether it be biking, running, golfing or catching a college or professional game—any sport—fuel his competitive spirit and drive to win. Tom is a son of a career hotelier and contends he will work until he no longer can because “it’s fun and inspiring” and “it keeps me young!”
Andrew’s passion for technology is surpassed only by his love for family, friends and the outdoors. Born in Glasgow, Scotland to Irish parents and raised in New England, Andrew’s best childhood memories are of his summer adventures on the lakes of Maine and across the green fields of Ireland. Andrew is a progressive technology thought leader with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Andrew started his career as an intern with a hotel software company and, after graduating from the University of Vermont, promptly moved out West in search of bigger mountains and deeper snow. Throughout his career Andrew has been fortunate to work for and alongside many talented leaders who have helped him realize the value of incisive business acumen and perceptive emotional intelligence in a technology leader. Andrew’s lifelong commitment to learning and actively building learning organizations was instilled in him by his parents at a young age. In addition to his undergraduate degree, Andrew earned an MBA from the Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado in Boulder. Andrew’s loving wife is an accomplished Chef and together they are on an endless quest for authentic travel experiences that take them down the path less traveled. Andrew and his wife can often be found skiing in the Rocky Mountains or enjoying some family time outdoors with their two young daughters.
Mark Hays is a 35-year hospitality veteran and proud native of Colorado. He has been fortunate enough to spend his entire hospitality career in his home state, and even more fortunate to spend it with his lovely wife of 29 years and their four boys. Although his formal education and experience is in accounting, he is one of the very few but proud finance leaders who previously in his career had the opportunity to spend six years as a General Manager. This has helped frame a unique and broad perspective as it relates to achieving business results and collaboration with his fellow leaders. His passion is leadership-based results, driven by strong relationship-building across all disciplines. Mark believes the most effective leaders surround themselves with outstanding talent who possess unwavering managerial courage and the desire to succeed beyond expectations. And last but certainly not least, his three keys to success: 1) a sharp wit, 2) the ability to consider alternative view points and 3) a heavy dose of rock n’ roll now and then.
André Fournier paints a picture of success for every challenge that comes his way with the mantra: “Believe in your mind that you can, and you will.” His competitive spirit developed at a young age with years of reigning as a championship wrestler, which he continued into his college days. Still a physical Titan, he is happiest when active—whether it’s fly-fishing, skiing, golfing or simply taking his dog, Phelps, for a long walk and rocking out to AC/DC. He is a true family man—proud father of three daughters Natalie, Renee and Danielle; and has spent countless weekends cheering them on at swimming competitions. Thanks to his decision to enter the hospitality industry more than 30 years ago, André met his adoring wife, Lisa, along the way in the sales department at Keystone Resort in CO. He loves to travel and explore new cultures, which he learned growing up with his parents and siblings touring North America. André’s leadership style is built on the foundation of “Living Above the Line,” coined by motivator Mike Lipkin, which fosters preeminence and accountability in the workplace. André is admired for his integrity, overcoming adversity, compassion and ability to inspire and develop staff by encouraging “intestinal fortitude” or strength from within. He sets high expectations for his team and believes in the freedom to fail. His leadership excellence has led him to win numerous awards, from HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing to Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association’s Sales & Marketing Manager of the Year. He is most at home with his family and friends, enjoying a glass of wine along a river which is always flowing and changing its course.
Hailing from Massachusetts, Mark Hickey’s first job in the hospitality business during high school was as a dishwasher for a local club. With 40+ years in the industry, he has had many opportunities to perfect his first job duties as well as travel the country, becoming a General Manager in his mid-20s and joining Destination in 1995. Mark has the innate understanding, knowledge and appreciation of the varied roles and commitment it takes in the sales and operation disciplines of a successful hotel based on his firsthand experiences. Always rooted in a strong value based culture, he has helped build winning teams throughout his leadership career. “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions” is how Mark lives his life, to quote Stephen Covey. Through his ability to cultivate and sustain long and trusting relationships, he can articulate the “Destination Difference” to any audience with confidence and conviction, leaving the receiver of the message wanting to understand more about the company, its culture, and outstanding people. It is no coincidence that Mark has chosen business development as his career focus. When not working or on the road, he can be found on the soccer fields with his two daughters, Lauren and Alexa, skiing, in the gym, adventure racing, or at home with his daughters and his lovely wife, Dana.
Raised in the wilds of Indiana by English professors, Mark Jennings grew up with a strong education in the arts. Trying desperately to find his niche, he pursued music, theatre, film and literature throughout high school and into college. After spending time in Europe and then trying his hand at starting and running a local theatre, it was clearly time for Mark to finish that elusive liberal arts degree and find a job that actually came with a paycheck. Serendipity saved the day when Mark landed a job as a night auditor in a small inn in Savannah. At last, a career where being creative, quirky and an unabashed ham was not only welcomed, but encouraged. Mark was snatched up by Hyatt Hotels, where he started in sales and catering, but quickly gravitated towards operations -- where he could perform on stage and direct the show. He held many positions with Hyatt over 20 years, rising to General Manager. In 2007, he caught the eye of Kimpton Hotels and was recruited to oversee its boutique collection of hotels in Washington, DC followed by a promotion to Regional Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic. At Destination Hotels, Mark applies his extensive background to optimize performance and execute the brand’s strategic growth plan. Mark approaches life through a curious lens tediously investigating “what gives life” to a situation and constantly seeking new ways to create amazing customer experiences and opportunities for others to advance their careers. His gregarious, competitive spirit drives vision and innovation. Creativity is deeply instilled in all facets of his Mark’s life. As a classical pianist and First Tenor in the Washington Chorus for 15 years, Mark enjoys many types of music and performance. He channels this energy actively serving his community, industry, and most of all, his family.
“Queen of Research.” Candace Johnson is passionate about statistics, how these apply to the hospitality industry and uncovering the story of each and every asset. She is most energized when tackling the “big” questions. As a leader in business intelligence, Candace is constantly surveying market and macro dynamics, believing that the answers lie in small shifts in the trend lines or where data points are seemingly inconsistent. Prior to joining Destination, she acted as industry consultant with HVS International, Ernst & Young, Horwath Landauer, and Hirsch Bedner Associates. Candace and the Performance Optimization team serve as internal solutions-based consultants working across departmental lines and connecting with numerous facets of the organization. Attracted to the company by the diversity of the portfolio, working around high-quality professionals with a deep level of integrity is what drives her commitment. A native of Ithaca, NY, she spent her undergraduate and graduate years at Cornell earning a Master of Management in Hospitality from the School of Hotel Administration. Candace is an avid reader of everything – literature, history, leadership, industry news, cookbooks – whatever! When out of office, she is mostly likely to be found running, hiking or skiing in the Colorado Rockies.
Born in Northern New Jersey with a passion for food and travel, Landy exudes energy, confidence and pride in his work.
Possessing a broad range of experience in all facets of Food & Beverage operations, Landy has spanned the globe collaborating with some of the best chefs and industry leaders, fine-tuning his skills and hospitality acumen. His leadership style focuses on “inspiration over motivation” and he believes that putting his team first is the key to his success. Landy plays a lead role in contract strategy, concept design, and achieving financial success, while maintaining a fluid oversight of day-to-day operations.
Landy is a graduate of Florida State University and currently resides between Denver, Colo. & Montgomery, N.Y. with his wife, Briana, and their two sons Landy Alan (4.5 years old) & Luca Andrés (8 months old).
A strengths-based leader, Robert Mellwig has spent his career assembling winning teams figuring out what is right with people, what they do better than anyone else and leveraging that to beat competitors. He fashions himself as a futurist and technologist, also pushing the organization forward in innovative HR practices, technology and creative thinking. He’s an “experiment at the line” kind of guy who is more parts marketing, business performance and mad scientist than HR. He’s been known to do magic and illusions at company meetings and events. As Robert and team work to build the best place to work on the planet, associates build friendships, relationships, trust and partnerships to deliver the “secret sauce” that makes Destination irreplaceable. His view of the company’s core values starts with its mission: “The Freedom to Go Beyond.” Owners, guests and associates have a level of freedom, choice, and empowerment that is unrivaled in the industry. The team at Destination colors outside the lines and pushes for agility, flexibility, and new thinking at every turn. Robert is focused on Destination LIFE, a different twist of work life integration allowing everyone (including himself as a Dad for son, Pierce and daughter, Juliet) to live rich, meaningful lives. Favorite recent quote? Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.
A New Orleans, Louisiana native and a Rocky Mountain dreamer, Kevin Regan oversees and supports the unique Destination properties in the Western United States. An avid outdoorsman raised on a farm with horses, hunting and hard work, he has worked and lived in some of the most beautiful places in the country. As a father and husband, Kevin’s goal is to have fun, enjoy life but not “sweat the small stuff” and in business, create a lasting memory for guests and associates. According to Kevin, life is too short to do something that is a just a job, it has to be a passion. Making people’s lives better with less hassle is what drives him. He believes that you need to break away from the ordinary and live the life you can, it’s all about the ride and experiencing the unexpected.
With over 27 years of experience in both high end interior architectural design and as a project manager, Shirli Sensenbrenner provides a balanced knowledge of both as the leader of Destination's Design + Construction Group. Since joining Destination in 1998, Shirli has assumed many responsibilities and is currently a member of Destination's executive committee, a Lowe Enterprises shareholder as well as overseeing her team as they work with the properties on capital expenditure planning and upgrades. Shirli plays a key role in business development where she creates programs, visions and budgets for potential acquisitions. Once Destination takes over the hotel, she then works with the team who implements the chosen strategy/direction for the repositioning. Shirli received a BA in Design from the University of Cincinnati and did graduate studies in Architectural Theory & History at the University of Texas, Austin.
Dani Stern joined Destination because he felt that given his background and the role, it was a perfect fit. What matters most to him is his family, and he believed that joining an organization in which the culture embraces both family and profession is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Dani began his hotel career at an early age, and when he received a degree in hospitality at the world-renowned Institute Hotelier Cesar Ritz in Switzerland followed by a second degree at Virginia Tech, he knew his life would never be the same. He has worked for numerous organizations around the world in almost every discipline. Leading the Performance Optimization Group allows Dani the ability to utilize his experience as a General Manager and Asset Manager and uses his Six Sigma background to produce synergistic results. Whether it be in due diligence, conversions, operations, asset management, innovation, best practice roll out or an asset requiring aid in almost any area, Dani is more than willing to help out. When not at work, he enjoys his family, skiing, hiking, cooking and traveling. Born in South Africa and having worked and lived on four continents, Dani dabbles in languages and can carry a conversation in a few of them.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Marie Torres is a New Yorker with an appetite for adventure. She is equally smitten reveling in the arts and culture of the city as she is stand-up paddleboarding or harvesting apples on her orchard in upstate New York. She is an unrepentant “foodie” and loves to engage in what she calls the 3 R’s: “running, reading and retail therapy.” Marie has spent her career building an arsenal of knowledge around consumer marketing, branding and advertising. She has overseen numerous reputable campaigns for vehicles, haircare products, luxury hotels and launched the hotel industry’s famous Westin Heavenly Bed®. A tremendous leader and intellectual thinker, Marie believes in the spirit of collaboration and is a champion of new ideas. She is regularly tapped as a creative resource and offers compelling solutions to just about any challenge thrown in her direction.