Carter Donovan is truly fluent in the language of luxury hospitality. For more than 30 years she has perfected the skill of delivering legendary service during an impressive career that includes a number of senior management positions with the world’s most recognized luxury hotel brand.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County, CA, Carter, a sixth generation Californian, began her illustrious career in hospitality on the East Coast, at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. Donovan worked her way up from Concierge to Catering Manager at this prestigious Five Diamond/Four Star property over a period of six years. She was soon tapped by the Corporate Team at Ritz-Carlton to the legendary Boston property where, again in just three years she moved up to serve as the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager for Rooms.
After stints in Washington D.C., Houston and her hometown of San Francisco, Donovan was named the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands in 1999. As General Manager, Carter increase the average room rate, decreased employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction and successfully managed a $3 million renovation and addition of a timeshare component while still achieving revenue goals and house profit. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas was named to Conde’ Nast Traveler Magazine’s Gold List in 2000 during Donovan’s tenure.
Her many successes in St. Thomas lead to Donovan being named as the opening General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Florida in 2001. As General Manager prior to the opening, Carter was responsible for selecting and deploying the Executive Team while keeping the hotel opening on schedule and under budget. The Sarasota property opening was recognized as a benchmark as best in the company history – even with the difficult timing of opening just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attack. During Carter’s tenure, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota achieved a wide variety of recognitions including a Four Diamond AAA rating for the restaurant, Gallup Survey results ranking the hotel in the Top 5 worldwide in eight service related areas. In 2002 Conde’ Nast Traveler Magazine ranked The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota as the #66 hotel in the world and #17 in North America. In addition to the hotel, Donovan successfully opened and managed residential condominiums affiliated with the hotel – one atop the hotel’s nine floors and another 18-story building housing residences directly next door to the hotel.
Most recently, Carter has served as a private hospitality consultant providing management services and assistance with large scale corporate directives and re-launches. At Campton Place in San Francisco Donovan lead a team to transition the property culturally from a privately held hotel to a corporate-managed organization. Donovan may be best known for her team-building and training skills – when tapped to evolve an active cattle ranch into a luxury resort property at The Resort at Paws Up in Missoula, Montana in 2005 she was personally responsible for training the hotel staff and creating unique programs including the “Tent Concierge” concept for this one-of-a-kind resort situated on 24,000 acres along the Black Foot River.
Donovan served as Operations Manager for Mary Kenealy Events in Sarasota, Florida and was responsible for many aspects of volunteer training and liaison with families, athletes and celebrities involved with the Dick Vitale Gala benefitting the V Foundation.
Carter’s personal career highlights include serving as a participant in the highly esteemed and demanding Malcolm J. Baldrige National Quality Award interviewing and examination process while with The-Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in both 1992 and 1999. In 2001 she was honored to receive a Certificate of Special Recognition from the United States Congress as General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Also, in 2003 she was profiled and interviewed for her leadership capabilities in the best-selling book “Winning Behavior,” written by Terry R. Bacon, PhD and David G. Pugh.
Carter resides in Sarasota, Florida, with her husband Kevin. She is involved with the Salvation Army as a volunteer, the Rotary Club of Sarasota, Southside, and Children First. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Sarasota Military Academy.