By Amy Bostock
TORONTO — Last week, Kostuch Media Ltd. (KML) celebrated its 2022 Top 30-Under-30 award winners live at George Brown College in Toronto. The annual awards program recognizes and salutes the foodservice-and-hospitality industry’s top young performers, in the process, helping to foster and inspire tomorrow’s hospitality leaders. The program also helps to create a sense of pride and self-esteem for young professionals while highlighting exemplary role models for those forging careers in the foodservice-and-hospitality industry. This was the first time since the pandemic that the event has been held in person.
“We’re so proud to be here to be part of this dynamic industry and to produce this event,” said Rosanna Caira, editor and publisher, KML. “I’m so very pleased to be at George Brown College today to host the first live Top 30 Under 30 since 2019, celebrating today’s rising stars and tomorrow’s leaders. At a time when the industry is suffering through one of its most challenging periods, it’s gratifying to see a new crop of young leaders emerge to deliver their own brand of hospitality. Never has there been as much hope and expectations placed on a new generation of young. This year’s Top 30 Under 30 edition speaks to new energy and an entirely new way of approaching challenges.”
Caira said while these rising stars are not intimidated by hard work — aware that hospitality has its own rhythm and pace — they also demand balance in their lives and are not willing to sacrifice their leisure, family, friends and fun to work painstakingly hard. “They’re smart enough to know that a life based solely on work is simply not sustainable.”
In front of friends, family and industry mentors, this year’s winners accepted their certificates of achievement and pins to proudly wear to distinguish themselves as winners.
Bruce McAdams, professor at the University of Guelph, who was instrumental in launching the program in 2006 with the Ontario Hostelry Institute, under the guidance of J. Charles Grieco, was also in attendance.
“I take my hat off to [the winners] for being strong and for doing amazing work during these challenging times. The work we do in this industry is recognized economically, through the contribution we make to Canada’s economy, and travel, tourism and hospitality are key drivers in our economy. You are doing amazing work — thank you for that. Congratulations on receiving this award.”
Rudi Fischbacher, Dean of George Brown College then took the podium to say a few words. “First off, congratulations to the winners for a job well done. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s been amazing to work with you and also being a small part in your life.”
One if the winners, Shruti Kukreja, associate, Consultancy and Valuation at HVS, then delivered the valedictorian speech.
“I’m incredibly honoured and grateful to be here and to share this award with our incredible family members, friends, colleagues and mentors, especially the ones here as our guests today,” she began, “because we all know that without them, this would not have been possible. This year yet, again, we see winners from diverse backgrounds representing the entire industry. When I think about the industry, the word that comes to my mind is resilience, and everyone here today is a true reflection of that. Despite the devastating impact the pandemic has had on our industry, we remain resilient. I know this is just the beginning for us. We’re not afraid to face challenges and find opportunities. I’m privileged to be surrounded by people who are making an impact every day and are ready to mentor the next generation of hospitality leaders. Thank you for continuing to celebrate and recognize that young talent in the hospitality service industry.”
Liana Carniello, director of Human Resources at the Sheraton Centre, Toronto and Cyrus Cooper, Professor and Program Co-ordinator at Centennial College, both past Top-30-Under-30 winners, then took the stage to hand out the certificates and pins.
Carniello offered winners three pieces of advice. “The first one is focus on your strengths. You already know your weaknesses so I implore you to instead to focus on your strengths, because that’s what brought you here today. Secondly, lift as you climb. Look at who has gotten you here today, all these mentors and family members, and be that person for someone else, sponsor someone else who needs you. And I would even challenge you to sponsor someone who maybe doesn’t have the same privilege that you have the opportunities that you’ve had. And finally take care of your people.”
Meet this year’s Top 30 Under 30 here