Having plied her trade for more than 25 years in F&B, sales and marketing, Kay Kolbo knows a thing or two about providing excellent service, but her service to the Las Vegas community in which she lives is deserving of praise, perhaps, on a “higher level.”

In her capacity as community service chairman for the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE)—the chapter has won the NACE national community service award four times in the past six years—Kolbo has helped support organizations such as Candlelighter’s Childhood Cancer Foundation, Street Teens of Nevada, domestic abuse shelter Shadetree of Nevada and child abuse prevention and family service organization Olive Crest.

“Anyone and everybody that needs help, I reach out and talk to our committee and we do it,” Kolbo said of her work with NACE, including providing shelter and hundreds of cases of water for local homeless teens to help survive the unforgiving desert climate in Las Vegas. “We give them 25 hot meals once a month, have a bottled water drive, a coat drive, help them get their GED, and provide Thanksgiving dinner—anything we can do, including the donation of clothes. I ask everyone, if you want to clean out your closet, we’ll give them the clothes.”

Kolbo, who in her professional life has held senior F&B management positions for some top Las Vegas hotels, as well as working for local publishing companies, is also a member of Destination Services Association of Las Vegas and Las Vegas Territory.  The obvious question is, “Where does she find the time?”

“You find the time,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’s that passion within you that says ‘I need to do this.’ I’m always active, morning noon and night—I’m a workhorse, a workaholic. NACE is a great organization; that’s just the type of chapter we are.”

Her experience in the events industry, with its emphasis on organization, is a key factor in her success.

“I don’t know how I do it sometimes—I just get it done,” she said. “Being in the event business, that helps. You just round up the troops and get it done. If there’s a will there’s a way.” 

Paying it Forward

Here are some organizations making a difference:

Hyatt Regency Trinidad won the Caribbean Hotel Association for Social Responsibility award. One of the hotel’s recent community service projects was with the United Way of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Day of Caring. Hotel employees participated by painting, refurbishing and restoring the AMICA House for socially displaced girls.

MGM Resorts International launched its Military & Veterans Program (MVP). Developed by MGM Resorts’ Veterans Employee Network Group, MVP provides special recognition, offers, discounts and benefits at MGM Resorts destinations throughout the U.S. to the country’s 24 million military members, veterans and spouses.

Swissotel Chicago was selected as a recipient of AccorHotels’ Global Bernaches Team Award for its partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. The not-for-profit is dedicated to providing a safe and education-focused environment for abandoned children and their foster families in some of Chicago’s highest-crime neighborhoods.