Cindy Bates

Cindy Bates

 ASHLAND — The Common Man family’s Chief People Officer Cindy Bates, PHR, CHT, was recognized for her decades of commitment to hospitality in New Hampshire with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association.

A resident of Belmont, and graduate of Colby Sawyer College, Bates began her career with The Common Man family as a server at Tilt’n Diner in Tilton in 1992. She was promoted to general manager of the diner in 1998, and became The Common Man’s first director of training in 2006.

During her acceptance speech, Bates noted that she didn’t intend to stay in the hospitality business, rather her server position was a part-time job meant to expose her to some adult conversation, having three small children at home.

“But the truth is, I fell in love with this company,” said Bates. “I fell in love with who we are, what we do, how we support our communities and how we support each other. I realized that the restaurant business is about so much more than just food, it’s about a love of caring for others and a love of caring for each other.”

Named Chief People Officer in 2020, Bates leads training initiatives for the hospitality family of more than 675 employees, advises on human resources policies and procedures, and leads recruitment of new talent. She developed a management mentor program and conducts various training seminars across the company.

Over the past 19 months, Bates became the go-to expert regarding health and safety regulations and protocols as restaurants and lodging properties grappled with COVID-19. She was in constant contact with state and local health officials to ensure that employees were following state-mandated guidelines and assisted those who had potential symptoms in finding testing centers and care when needed. She spent countless nights and weekends handling phone calls regarding health questions, securing back-up staff, and setting restaurant closings in motion as a precaution to keep guests and staff safe during the pandemic.

When The Common Man was in the unfortunate position of laying off hundreds of employees due to the mandated take-out only model of business during the height of COVID-19, Bates developed and led a program to purchase and distribute gift cards for necessities like diapers, prescriptions, groceries and gas to employees who were waiting for state unemployment benefits. She also assisted in coordinating a Family Meal program to serve a hot family meal for pick up each night to furloughed and existing employees.

Bates is a Certified Hospitality Trainer recognized by the National Restaurant and Lodging Association and in 2014, she undertook the rigorous process to earn the Professional Human Resource designation from the Society of Human Resources. She’s also devoted her time over the past 14 years as a member of the national Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers, and was twice elected to the organization’s board of directors by her hospitality peers from across the country.

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