Barbara Gross, the general manager of Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, is stepping down from her position after 15 years of service, the hotel announced Wednesday, April 15.
When the general-manager position opened at the downtown hotel, Gross, whose career has always centered on service of one type or another, jumped at the opportunity. Under her management, the Garden Court Hotel has achieved a Forbes Global Four Star Hotel rating, named the 2004 Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business, among other awards, according to a press release.
Gross was honored in 2005 with the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, an honor given worldwide to "individuals who are recognized for professional excellence, providing valuable service to their community and actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills."
Although she is stepping down from her management responsibilities, Gross will continue to represent The Garden Court Hotel in business and professional groups in the community, "building on the many strong relationships she has established over the years," the hotel said.
Director of Rooms Division Jeffery Phillips will step in as acting general manager.
"We are grateful to Barbara for her many contributions to the Garden Court's success. We wish her all the best as she steps back, and we look toward Jeffery's leadership, and all colleagues at The Garden Court, to continue our award-winning accommodations and the service for which we are known," a statement reads.
Raised in New York City, Gross attended the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and became an elementary school teacher. After marrying husband Michael, the family moved to Portola Valley in the early 1970s due to his job.
Gross' charitable efforts have not been limited to the hospitality industry. She has chaired the Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, government action council and downtown marketing committee, and served on the advisory board to the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association.
Organizations including the Stanford Health Library, the Community Breast Health Project, Palo Alto Partners in Education, Palo Altans for Government Effectiveness (PAGE), East Palo Alto elementary schools and the Peninsula Stroke Association have all benefited from Gross' leadership.
In 2005, when Gross was interviewed by the Weekly about being selected for the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, she reflected on the responsibilities of women in the work-world: "A woman's role continues to get harder and more confusing as our lives get more complex. The pressure is so extreme. You want to be devoted, committed and excellent in what you do."