New Orleans has long been praised for its vibrant hospitality culture, and the latest generation of industry professionals are using their skills to give back in a major way. Ralph Mahana, who was named General Manager of Windsor Court Hotel in April 2018, proves hospitality workers are deeply dedicated to supporting New Orleans and the greater community on a number of fronts.
At age 34, Mahana already has 13 years of experience in the day-to-day operations of the hotel, having started as a college sophomore in the night auditor/bellman role. Over the years he has worked in a variety of positions for the hotel, including operations, front desk, guest services, food and beverage and Director of Rooms. The move to General Manager has only solidified his love for the hotel itself and the industry as a whole. “Windsor Court is one of the most beloved hotel properties in the region, so having the ability to lead and work with the associates here to exemplify the spirit of New Orleans’ hospitality is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting aspects of my role as General Manager,” says Mahana. “It is inspiring to work with an organization and its employees to positively impact the community and the city itself, and that occurs both inside the hospitality industry and beyond.”
The hotel’s dedication to service is impressive. As Mahana explains, the Windsor Court Hotel annually contributes more than $150,000 in room nights, in-kind donations and other resources to charitable organizations. Under Mahana’s leadership, the hotel has undergone a staff training on human trafficking awareness and prevention, donated furniture to Nicholls State University’s new ballroom project, and worked toward ensuring the hotel provides a welcoming space to the LGBTQ+ community.
Plus, Mahana’s personal dedication to community causes is remarkable. “The causes and boards I dedicate the most time to are based on philanthropy and economic expansion, with a focus of race and gender equity and the industry that I live and breathe,” he says. He is a board member of Kingsley House, GNO Inc.’s NextGen Council and The Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association, in addition to supporting The New Orleans Campaign for Equity. He also contributes to The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Dress for Success, Strive NOLA, Sharp NOLA, Son of a Saint and The New Orleans Ballet Association. Lastly, Mahana is involved in animal welfare causes, and his four-year-old Frenchie, Bristol, reigned as Queen of Barkus this year.
With someone so in tune with the philanthropic and social needs at the helm, the Windsor Court Hotel is in good hands. Providing excellent customer service to hotel guests, as well as thoroughly giving back to the community, are Mahana’s strong suits.