For those new to Ask A Concierge, I am a proud member of Les Clefs d’Or USA. Les Clefs d’Or USA (pronounced Lay-Clay-Door) is the national organization of professional hotel concierge.
The International Congress of Les Clefs d’Or is held every year with all respective national organizations participating from around the world. The next meeting will take place in Mendoza, Argentina, in April 2015. A highlight of the congress will be the presentation of the international Andy Pongco Award, established by the UICH (Union International des Concierge d’Hotels), in 2008 at the Denmark Congress. Honoring the memory of celebrated Andy Pongco, the “Godfather of the Philippine Concierge,” and international honorary president, this award seeks to carry on his legacy to recognize and encourage young members to become active participants in Les Clefs d’Or’s global network. Nominees for the award must be chosen to represent their respective country, be a member of Les Clefs d’Or, under the age of 35, and embody Andy’s inspiring and trail-blazing spirit.
With this backstory, I am honored to announce I have been named the Andy Pongco Nominee for the US in 2015! This year, the US decided to give their nomination a title–the Eugenio Chinigo Award. Eugenio Chinigo, like Andy, was also instrumental in fostering the careers of young concierge. From Toronto, Houston, Rome, and ultimately NYC, Eugenio made a significant impact in the concierge field. Elegant, distinguished, and poised, he inhabited the spirit of what it meant to be a concierge. Naturally, this embodiment made him an ideal mentor to a number of concierge that have since become prominent Les Clefs d’Or members in their own right. Eugenio passed the torch of the spirit of “the keys” from one generation to the next–fostering the future of this profession. Making this award that much more special to me, I had become friends with Eugenio’s son, Diego, earlier this year as our hotels are sister properties. Since we shared many conversations about his respected father, the award resonated personally with me. When LCD USA presented me with this incredible honor, it was that much sweeter because Diego was there to witness it. Truly, it was a touching and heart-warming moment–one I will cherish forever!
Of course, it is exciting and unimaginably special to be honored by this fantastic and respected community. Our motto, “In service through friendship,” is more than a motto, it is our core, our truth. The friends I made since becoming a Les Clefs d’Or member are ones I am certain I will have for life. We share a bond that goes beyond sharing a profession–we are a family. Every day as I stand at my desk, I wear my gold keys on my lapels with pride.
As I prepare for the “competition” in Argentina in April 2015, I will be sure to keep you posted. There will be tests and essays, and I will immerse myself in the history of the distinguished Les Clefs d’Or organization–understanding the past to better build our future. I look forward to meeting the other nominees from their respective communities, and hope to form tight bonds as we go through this experience together. No matter who earns the title for the Andy Pongco Award in 2015, being there, among such talented, driven, and accomplished concierge is an honor in and of itself!