TORONTO — Rebecca MacNeill and Owen Kemp have been awarded Choice Hotels Canada’s 2021 Mark Pearce Memorial Scholarship. MacNeill is currently in her second year of the Management program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and began working as a front-desk attendant at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Airdrie, Alta. earlier this year. Kemp is the son of Nicole Owen, general manager of the Quality Inn & Conference Centre in Kingston, Ont. and is pursuing a career in hospitality, starting with the Travel & Tourism program at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario.

The scholarship was created in memory of Mark Pearce, who was senior vice-president, International Division, for Choice Hotels International and former head of the Canadian office. Pearce embodied the spirit of hospitality and always went above and beyond to make sure everyone felt ‘Welcome, Wanted and Respected.’ The $2,500 legacy scholarships are designated for post-secondary education in the hospitality and tourism industries.

“Rebecca has a true passion for hospitality and is dedicated to learning on the job and improving her skills, making her an ideal recipient for the scholarship,” says Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada. “And in opening the scholarship to our associates’ dependent children, we are hoping to inspire the next generation of hoteliers, like Owen Kemp, who we are delighted has decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps.”

“My mom has been in the hospitality industry since she was young and always gave me a different perspective on how to treat people, what happens behind the scenes and what hospitality truly means,” says Kemp.  “She has always talked about her experiences throughout her career and that has motivated me to head down a similar path.”

According to Lisa Leroy, general manager of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Ardrie, “Rebecca has been actively involved at the front desk and cross training between different departments. While making a fine contribution to the hotel, Rebecca has also shown real enthusiasm for her studies by going above and beyond the call of duty.”

The Mark Pearce Memorial Scholarship is intended to help support careers in the hospitality and tourism industry and elevate the next generation of industry leaders with a focus on hotel or restaurant management. Jointly funded by Choice Hotels Canada and the Choice Canada Franchise Advisory Board (CCFAB), applications are open to franchise owners, hotel level associates, Choice Hotels Canada head office staff, as well as their dependent children.


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