St. John Hospitality Sector Wins Big at Tommy Star Awards

Sherrolyn Stapleton address the crowd at the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association’s Tommy Star Awards.


St. John was well-represented at the Saturday night, November 10, Sixth annual V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association’s Tommy Star Awards, when two of three St. John hospitality employees nominated for the prestigious award won their categories.

Toya Frazer Ellis, Westin Resort’s director of fun, won Hotel Supervisor of the Year, and VIVA! Villas’ rental management company sales manager Sherrolyn Stapleton won Hospitality Support Service Associate of the Year.

Ellis, who has worked at the Westin for nearly three years and been in her current position since February, was honored to win the Tommy Star Award.
“The evening was fantastic, and it was really an honor to win the award,” said Ellis. “I’m very excited to represent for the Virgin Islands.”

In her position as director of fun, Ellis is in charge of all activities on the Westin property for all ages. Prior to becoming the director of fun — a new position at the Westin — Ellis worked as the catering sales manager, where she managed weddings at the resort.

Delivering the Best
“As the director of fun, I get more face to face with the guests, so there’s more of an impact with our visitors,” said Ellis. “It gives them a great experience while they’re visiting the V.I.”

Customer service is an important aspect on an island where tourism is a major industry, Ellis explained.

“Customer service is very important, because if we don’t give good customer service, we will not have repeat guests,” she said. “It’s very important to deliver the best customer service that we can.”

VIVA! Villas co-owner Angie Smith-Liburd could not be happier about Stapleton’s win, she explained.

“From day one she’s been absolutely fantastic with guests and homeowners, and she is definitely deserving of this award,” said Smith-Liburd. “It was no surprise to us, and we were thrilled when she won. It just proves she’s got unlimited dedication.”

A VIVA! sales manager must be knowledgeable about the island and enjoy working with people, Smith-Liburd continued.

“When we wrote up the job description for that position, we were basically describing Sherrolyn,” she said. “She’s done everything from deliver a crib to a family in the middle of the night to drop everything in the office to run down and help a guest who needs something. She really goes the extra mile.”

Stapleton was shocked when she won, she explained. The VIVA! sales manager did not even have time to prepare an acceptance speech.

“I didn’t go there to win, I just went to have a really good time, and when they called my name, I said, ‘Oh my God,’” said Stapleton. “At the beginning of the evening, I said, ‘If I win, I’ll think of something to say on the way up,’ but on my way up I was just in disbelief. It is a great honor and it will definitely be worthwhile and make a difference in my life.”

Ellis will advance to the Caribbean Hotel Association to compete at the regional level.