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KIMBERLY L.


CHRISTNER PRESIDENT AND CEO, CORNERSTONE HOSPITALITY LLC, WILLIAMSBURG


Although Cornerstone Hospitality manages branded hotels, the company is probably best known for its work developing distinctive boutique hotels designed with décor reflecting the history and culture of the regions where the properties are located. Partnering with Craig Larson, Christner formed Cornerstone Hospitality in 2012. Today, the company owns and manages 18 hotels and 15 food and beverage outlets and banquet venues. Additionally, the company conducts market research for individuals or town leaders consider- ing boutique hotel opportunities. A year aſter launching, Cornerstone


Hospitality teamed up with Virginia-based MB Contractors and Architectural Partners to form a partnership called Creative Boutique Hotels LLC. Focusing on developing boutique hotels in historic buildings in small markets, the partnership produced the Craddock Terry Hotels and Event Center in Lynchburg, the Western Front Hotel in Saint Paul and the Sessions Hotel in Bristol.


Previously, Christner worked for


Williamsburg-based Beck Co. for almost two decades, including five years as CEO. She received her bachelor’s in business administration from Saint Leo University in Florida and has earned several certifications from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell.


CHRISTY S. COLEMAN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG


The pandemic hit a couple of months aſter Coleman came aboard as executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. The founda- tion’s two living-history museums, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, were forced to close for 15 weeks. Since visitors couldn’t experience history in person, Coleman and her staff hustled to create vir- tual experiences, ranging from a tutorial on how to make Powhatan-style twined baskets to streaming video from a dugout canoe. Coleman also maintains a lively presence on


Twitter (@HistoryGonWrong), where she fangirls over popular culture and discusses the importance of looking at history through multiple perspectives. In 2018, Time magazine listed her among 31 people “who are changing the South.” Coleman was formerly president and CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond. She also worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where she was director of historic programs. While there, she led an effort to stage a reenactment of a slave auction that drew national attention. A native of Williamsburg, Coleman earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in museum studies from Hampton University.


CLIFF FLEET PRESIDENT AND CEO, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG


Although the pandemic caused the nation’s largest outdoor living-history museum to close for three months, Fleet stayed plenty busy. In 2020, the foundation significantly expanded its digital footprint while raising $62 million in donations. In September 2020, Fleet watched as Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists exca- vated the site of the old First Baptist Church, one of America’s oldest churches founded by Black people. In February 2021, the foundation announced a partnership with William & Mary to relocate the Williamsburg Bray School, an 18th-century institu- tion that educated enslaved and free Black children, from W&M’s campus to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. A William & Mary alum who holds a bachelor’s degree in history and religion and graduate degrees in history, business administration and law from the school, Fleet joined the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in early 2020. He previously was president and CEO of Richmond-based tobacco manufacturer


Philip Morris USA and held leadership positions at its Fortune 500 parent company, Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. Fleet is a member of the board of trustees of the William & Mary Foundation and was appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to sit on the American Revolution 250 Commission.


MICHAEL GEORGE FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CRESCENT HOTELS & RESORTS, FAIRFAX


In the two decades since George founded Crescent Hotels & Resorts, the business has grown to operate more than 100 hotels and resorts and more than 250 restaurants and bars in the U.S. and Canada. George’s clients include real estate investment trusts, private equity firms and major developers. Crescent operates a collection of independent hotels under its own label, the Latitudes Collection, while also managing properties for the Marriott, IHG, Hyatt and Hilton brands. One of the Hilton properties George manages made headlines in October when it changed its name from the


Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort to the Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak to avoid the offensive term for Native American women. “We wanted to con- sider the values and perspectives from our associates, guests and the commu- nity when determining what was most important in the name,” George said in a statement.


Prior to founding Crescent, George


served as senior vice president of oper- ations for Destination Hotels, as chief operating officer for Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. and as senior vice presi- dent of operations for then-Interstate Hotels and Resorts.


www.VirginiaBusiness.com 113


Christy S. Coleman photo by Kim Brundage


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