• Doyle Graham Jr. and Lone Star Court Capture a Lost Era

    FROM THE Winter 2014 ISSUE

    “Having a passion for what you do really elevates you to a higher level and helps you overcome hurdles and barriers,” Graham says. “Believe in what you do, and don’t take no for an answer.”

Working hard in the hotel and hospitality industry is in Doyle Graham Jr.’s blood. Graham, the CEO and president of privately owned property management company Valencia Group, was inspired by his father’s work developing unique and independent hotel properties across the United States.

Graham graduated with an economics degree and later a master’s degree in finance from Texas A&M University. After graduation, Graham worked in the banking industry.

"I had a knack for finance," Graham says of the years he spent in Houston as president of Eland Investment Corporation and cofounder of Molke & Graham Inc.

The opportunity to work in the hospitality industry came though Graham’s father, and Graham discovered working with hotels and properties was a gratifying experience that he was passionate about.

Valencia Group is most well known for its luxurious European-influenced properties, including Hotel Valencia in San Antonio and San Jose, and Hotel Sorella in Houston and coming soon in Kansas City, Mo.

This fall, Valencia Group adds another unique hotel to its collection, this time veering away from European themes and sticking to nostalgic Americana. Lone Star Court, a retro-inspired property designed to evoke Texas Hill Country and the simpler joys of days gone by, will open in Austin.

"I want people to feel like they’ve arrived in an oasis in the middle of a city," Graham says. Lone Star Court’s outdoor spaces will feature beautiful courtyards where corporate meeting-goers can gather for a little relaxation by the fire pit and listen to live music.

And Graham says guests can expect Lone Star Court to become an active participant in Valencia Group’s charitable efforts. "I believe there is a responsibility that comes with success," says Graham. "It just seems natural to want to give back to the community."

Cigars, Cognac and Cufflinks is one example of a charity benefit Valencia Group has hosted in the past. The American Heart Association, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are just a few of the charities Valencia Group has benefitted.

"Having a passion for what you do really elevates you to a higher level and helps you overcome hurdles and barriers," Graham says. "Believe in what you do, and don’t take no for an answer."

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?


Texas is bursting with history.  Ever  wonder how the authenticity and legacy of those landmarks are maintained and upheld for everyone to enjoy? It’s thanks to individuals like Pamela Jary Rosser, Alamo conservator. A ninth generation Texan, Rosser was born in San Antonio and has a degree in fine arts and art history. She studied conservation in Italy with a team that worked on the Sistine Chapel, as well as Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose. Rosser was kind enough to share her passion for history with us.


Gail Davis, founder and president of Dallas-based GDA Speakers, was working in corporate training for EDS when the phone rang. “One of my mentors called me and said, ‘There’s a position in the events department, and I think you should do it. It would be so easy for a working mom,’” says Davis, before adding wryly, “It was clearly someone who had never planned events.”