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RIHA Column: Stars of the Industry Steals the Show

Dale J. Venturini, President and CEO of Rhode Island Hospitality Industry Association.

Dale J. Venturini, President and CEO of Rhode Island Hospitality Industry Association.

By Dale J. Venturini, President & CEO, Rhode Island Hospitality Association

After a two-year hiatus from gathering to celebrate the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) and RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF)’s Stars of the Industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a sell-out crowd of more than 700 representatives from across the industry returned in style. They all converged upon the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) on Nov. 30 to recognize the outstanding individuals in Rhode Island’s restaurant, hospitality and tourism industry at the 2022 Awards Ceremony.

Those who know me well know that Stars of the Industry has always been one of my favorite events to host. Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to pull off an event of this size, it has always been worth the time, energy and effort, but especially now more than ever.

After a tumultuous two-year stretch, the backbone of our industry—our servers, bartenders, hoteliers, housekeepers, chefs, valets, caterers and more—deserve a night to celebrate their incredible accomplishments.

This was our 32nd Stars event and the first time at PPAC, lending a Hollywood-esque quality to our Oscars-themed party. Close to 75 awards were given out to representatives from each corner of our industry and its partner industries. Many of the awards recognize employees of the year; others feature vendor and tourism entities, emerging leaders and lifetime achievers, some of which are labeled as “Oscar” awards.

If the space here allowed it, you know that I would list out each award winner by name, but there are far too many! As has been in the past, a full list of this year’s winners can be found on our website at In a state as small as Rhode Island, there is bound to be someone you know, or their brother or sister, listed there!

To me, the best part about Stars of the Industry is that the majority of our award winners are selected by customers, peers or their bosses. The nomination process is a transparent one and members of our Board of Directors, both past and present, have enjoyed learning why each and every nominee deserves to win. To see our Stars award winners, who were all dressed to the nines this year, accept their awards with smiles from ear to ear really brings a profound sense of joy and pride to my heart.

While it seemed as though we recognized everyone in the industry this year, we know there are countless more who have helped to cement our industry as one of the most important, and vital, parts of our state’s culture, community, and economy and we thank all of you.

As we ring in 2023 with hope and optimism for hospitality in Rhode Island, please consider paying special attention to how hard everyone you see (and those at the back of the house) work to make every dining, lodging and entertainment experience special for you, day in and day out.

Congratulations to all our deserving 2022 Stars of the Industry award recipients. Continue to shine brightly throughout 2023 and beyond! Happy New Year!

A veteran of more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Venturini is considered by many to be the voice of the industry in the state of Rhode Island. She has been instrumental in improving the industry’s educational and training programs in the state, as well as enhancing the bottom line of the business she represents. Venturini splits her time between the office and the State House, a constant presence for her membership.

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