RASHAIDA NIROBE – President/CEO
Ms. Nirobe has 30 plus years of experience as Human Resources/ Workforce Development professional in the San Francisco Hospitality Industry. She has worked in both employee and consultant roles for the following San Francisco Hotels: Hilton, Hyatt, Westin Saint Francis Hotel, Intercontinental, Marriott, Fairmont, Park Central, Palace, Handlery, Joie De Vivre hotels. She has also designed, developed, and facilitated training for the SF Olympic Club and Scoma’s restaurant.
Ms. Nirobe co-authored the training curriculum used by San Francisco’s Labor Management Partnership, the San Francisco Hotels Partnership Project, and served as their Lead Instructor/ Facilitator. She has facilitated training and workforce development projects for UNITE HERE Local 2 and Local 19, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 856 and Service Employees Union Local 14. Ms. Nirobe has also served as an instructor in the Labor and Community Studies and the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies departments at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). She is currently an Advisory Board Member of CCSF’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies Departments and a former Advisory Board Member of Primed & Prepped Culinary Arts Program at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA.
ANN VOWELS – Board Secretary
Ms. Vowels began working with San Francisco Communities as a counseling Intern, providing counseling and educational programs to San Francisco Working People. She began her association with Labor/ Management Cooperatives as a Facilitator of Workforce Development Training Programs in the late 1990’s.
Ms. Vowels is EIHI’s Mentor/Client Outreach Coordinator has 20+ years of experience in employment related training, coaching, and workforce development. Much of her work has been in the San Francisco Hospitality Industry with EIHI’s San Francisco hotel partners, where she successfully designs, develops, and delivers workforce development training and coaching to culturally diverse populations. Ms. Vowels has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and a Wellness Coaching certificate from Mayo Clinic. Ann works with clients to provide services that are designed to reinforce participants career choice and to identify and secure future employment in the Hotel/ Hospitality Industry.
MICHELE GAUL – Board Treasurer
Ms. Gaul is the West Coast Director of Labor Relations for the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®).
Born and raised in San Francisco in the Portola and Bayview districts, Michele attended Golden Gate University, earning a B.S. Hotel/Restaurant and Institutional Management.
Michele started her career in hospitality in 1986 at the Berkeley Marina Marriott as HR Assistant and moved up to HR Manager when she graduated from Golden Gate.
She left the hospitality industry to work as the HR Director and Director of Volunteers for the Mount Zion Health Systems, Institute on Aging /USCF.
Hospitality stayed in Michele’s blood, and she returned to the business and continued to work for various brands such as Marriott; Wyndham, Kimpton, and Starwood.
In 2000, Michele opened her own Human Resource consulting firm where she worked with many labor attorneys and their clients to implement HR processes and training. She had the opportunity to work with varying industries such as the movie industry and high tech. Michele also stayed close to her affiliations with hospitality and continued to work with Starwood and Joie de Vive Hospitality.
In 2001 Michele became the HR Director of the Fairmont Hotel. She was promoted in 2003 to the California Regional Director of HR, where she supported the HR function in Fairmont’s 5 California properties.
In 2021 Michele was offered and accepted her dream job, West Coast Director of Labor Relations for the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Gladys Porras – Board Member
Ms. Porras currently teaches in the Health Care Technology Department at City College of San Francisco. A bilingual native of Peru, Ms. Porras holds a medical degree from Universidad Federico Villareal in Lima and certification from Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates in the United States.
Ms. Porras has used her education and many skillsets to build unique partnerships, and future leaders here in San Francisco. She has taught leadership development in the Labor Studies Department of City College in a partnership with the San Francisco Labor Council. She has also served as the Executive Director for School to Career, a partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District to bring career education to underserved students. Currently she assists unions like SEIU Local 87, a local union that represents janitors, with translation and interpretation for their large Spanish speaking membership.
In her spare time Ms. Porras loves to continue the cooking traditions of Peru and other cultures and has become a master gardener.
Alexis Luna-Torres – Board Member
Ms. Luna-Torres is a Field Representative/Organizer for UNITE HERE! Local 2, where she works alongside bargaining unit members and management to enforce collective bargaining agreements. She is a third generation Union member and was born and raised in the Bay Area. Alexis earned a Bachelor of Science in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. Alexis is passionate about economic, gender, social and racial justice, and has worked on behalf of these issues at Working Families Party in Brooklyn, New York, The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Austin, Texas and as a member of the Young Feminist Task Force for the National Organization of Women.
Collette Jacobs – Board Advisor and EIHI Director of Curriculum Development, Facilitator/ Classroom Trainer and Lead Coach
Ms. Jacobs, a former EIHI’s Senior Workforce Development Specialist, possesses nearly 20 years of Human Resources experience of which spans diverse sectors including hospitality and some of the positions which she has successfully held include HR Generalist, Employment Manager, and HR Director.
Ms. Jacobs’ breadth of qualifications include but is not limited to the following:
- Recruitment and Selection
- Employee and Labor Relation
- Training and Development
- Organizational and Strategic Planning
- Coaching and Counseling
Ms. Jacobs has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work with an emphasis on Mental Health. Collette’s educational background has afforded her the knowledge and experience to serve, and support disenfranchised and marginalized minority populations. Coupling her education with her professional experience, Ms. Jacobs is uniquely equipped to participate as a member of EIHI’s Advisory Board.