Board Members

Board Members


Evelyn Rickie – President

Evelyn Rickie

Evelyn Rickie is a Human Resources professional with over 35 years in the Hospitality Industry. She started her Human Resources career in Houston, Texas 25 years ago when she moved from Puerto Rico to the United States to live the dream.

She has worked in prestigious hotels such as The Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, The Westin Paso Del Norte, Vincam Human Resources, Mayfair House Hotel in Coconut Grove, Radisson Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hotel and The National Hotel to name a few. She currently holds the position as Director of Human Resources for the Royal Palm South Beach. Evelyn has become an expert in the Human Resources field with so many years of experience and attributes. Evelyn Rickie is a Human Resources professional with over 35 years in the Hospitality Industry. She started her Human Resources career in Houston, Texas 25 years ago when she moved from Puerto Rico to the United States to live the dream. She has worked in prestigious hotels such as The Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, The Westin Paso Del Norte, Vincam Human Resources, Mayfair House Hotel in Coconut Grove, Radisson Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hotel and The National Hotel to name a few. She currently holds the position as Director of Human Resources for the Royal Palm South Beach. Evelyn has become an expert in the Human Resources field with so many years of experience and attributes.
Evelyn holds an associate degree in Secretarial Science from the ICPR Junior College in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. She worked her way up with hard work throughout the years to become an expert in her field. She has been a member of the South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association for the past 8 years where she has served 2 years as Vice President and 4 years as President. She was recently elected President for another 2 years and is thrilled and thankful.
Evelyn was awarded Human Resources Manager of the Year in 2012 by the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association 2nd Annual Leadership Awards. She is looking forward to continuing to work for as long as she can and sharing her experience and knowledge with others.
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Leonie Timothee – Program Chair

Leonie Timothee

Leonie is multi-disciplined. She is the Talent Development Manager at the InterContinental Miami where she is responsible for the development and other aspects of human resources for the team.

She has 25 years experience in the hospitality industry. She is a board member of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism/Miami NAF and is also a Marino Campus advisory committee member.
Leonie enjoys serving her community. She initiated the Big Brothers Big Sisters at Work program at the InterContinental Miami. She is a notary public for the benefit of her colleagues at the InterContinental Miami and for the past 10 years has transferred that knowledge by becoming a wedding officiant.
Leonie’s love for the arts, her country of birth (Haiti) and family have been driving forces in her being a co-founder of the nonprofit, A Reflection of Me, Inc, which now serves individuals both in Haiti and South Florida.
Leonie is passionate and committed to each role she plays as they all contribute to the betterment of her colleagues, community and society.
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Olga R. Cruz – Vice President & Events Chair

Olga Cruz

Olga R. Cruz was born in Nicaragua, and moved to the United States when she was 10 years old. After graduating from Coral Gables Senior High School, Olga earned her Associate in Arts Degree in Criminology from Miami-Dade College.

Then, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Florida International University (FIU). During college, she worked as a Human Resources and Payroll Supervisor at LSGSky Chefs, where she worked for fourteen years and fell in love with the profession.
After 15 years in Human Resources, Olga returned to school to further her knowledge and understanding of the field. She attained a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from FIU. Additionally, she holds two professional designations Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and Society for Human Resources Management’s Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the National Society of Hispanic MBA, The South Florida Compensation and Benefits Association, and is also an active member of the Greater Miami Society for Human Resources Management (GMSHRM).
Currently, Olga is the Director of Human Resources at the Hilton Miami Downtown, and manages the day-to-day HR operations for Resorts World Miami. She joined Resorts World in 2014 and Human Resources after making an impact in her department, she was promoted to Senior Human Resources Manager in 2015, when Resorts World’s and Hilton Miami Downtown’s HR Departments consolidated into one.
Prior to joining Resorts World, Olga held other positions as Human Resources Manager at Centurion Air Cargo and BUPA Worldwide Corp. She also served as Project Director at Miami-Dade College, North Campus for their OSHA program.
Olga is the proud mother of Brandon, who is currently attending law school at FIU.
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Josie Podesta Soto, CHT – Membership Chair

Josie Podesta Soto

Josie Podesta Soto is President and Founder of MKT. 2000 plus | Organizational & People Development Consultant.

With over 35 years of experience she specializes in corporate & staff development, strategic business development, and human resources services in the hospitality, property management and service industries in both the domestic and international markets. her career includes working with Trump International Beach Resort, USA Today, TV Ontario as International Business Developer for Educational Programing; Univision/Galavision and numerous hotels as a training consultant including delivering the VESST program to over 5000 hospitality employees
She is Certified Hospitality Trainer, AHLA and feels privileged to have won the ATD Champions of Learning Silver Award and the award for:” Best Replicable Process” at the South Florida ATD Champions of Learning Conference in 2018. Recently she completed the certification program for level One Surveyor- Gamification.
Over the years she has been featured in various publications, including the South Florida Business Journal, and won various USA Today Jewel Awards for sales innovation as well as USA Today Market of the Year Awards. Her creative campaigns to increase guest service scores were featured in the Forbes Client newsletter.
Mrs. Podesta- Soto supports her community by actively serving on the Advisory Board of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism as Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee; as past Program Chair for the South Florida HHRA Board; actively supporting Fashion for Charity Organization and the Miami Rescue Mission.
Mrs. Soto is certified in the Behavioral Selection program P. I. Barry University Florida Human Resources Certificate-SHRM. She received certification as a trainer/presenter/ facilitator from Dr. Sharon Crane, President of Crane & Associates and received additional training from The Women’s Center for Executive Development and Michael Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates, Washington, D.C. She attended The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City & La Guardia Community College.
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Freyda Hyman – Secretary/Treasurer

Freyda Hyman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Freyda is a graduate of Brooklyn College where she met her husband of 50 years.

She moved to South Florida shortly after getting married. Freyda has been the Secretary for the South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association since 1989.
Freyda worked for the State of Florida for 35 years. Many of those years were spent recruiting staff for new hotel properties as they opened, and as liaison with the hospitality industry. Her last assignment was the Supervisor of the Business Services Hub of WorkForce One in Ft. Lauderdale. She is now retired and has been volunteering at The Humane Society of Greater Miami for more than 14 years.
Freyda is very active in the International Association of Workforce Professionals, having served locally, as State President, as District Rep. for Florida and Georgia, and on the International Executive Board. She is also a past Treasurer for the Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County. In addition, she serves as the Secretary of her Homeowners Association.
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