Piper Ayala, a Pioneer in the Corporate Housing Industry Retiring
Viciniti announces the retirement of VP, Piper Ayala and the promotion of new VP, Lynda Najera.
by · Apr 14, 2022
Since 1992, Piper Ayala, Vice President at Viciniti, has been at the forefront of the corporate housing industry. This fall, she will be taking on a new adventure—retirement.
In 1992, Ayala joined Suite Options (now known as Viciniti), the corporate housing division of Transitions Group, Inc. Founded by her father, Bill Jackson, together, they built more than just a company. They were pioneers in the corporate housing industry, and leaders in the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA).
Throughout the years, Suite Options expanded to 16 cities throughout the central corridor of the US. In 1999, Suite Options became Viciniti as a franchisee of Marriott International. Then in 2012, Marriott sold their Viciniti corporate housing brand to Oakwood Worldwide.
Ayala has been at the helm of the corporate housing side of Transitions Group throughout these changes, including helping to transition the company into an ESOP (an employee-owned company) in 2014.
Ayala has been looking forward to retirement since her husband retired in 2020. They plan to enjoy their time together traveling and attending sporting events.
She looks back on her career at Viciniti and fondly remembers the original offices in Wichita, surviving a massive hailstorm in that building, attending several company retreats in Colorado and California, and traveling to many CHPA conferences over the years. Her favorite memories will always be the people she’s had the pleasure to work with at Viciniti and in the corporate housing industry.
As a consultant, Ayala will remain on staff through November to help with the leadership transition.
Lynda Najera will take over Ayala’s role as Vice President of Viciniti. She brings 27 years of experience to her new role. Her career began in Wichita, Kansas, with Furniture Options, the furniture rental side of Transitions Group. Several years later, she transitioned to the corporate housing side to manage their entry into the Texas market. Her territory continued to grow over the years, eventually encompassing Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Of her successor, Ayala says, “Lynda is the perfect person to lead Viciniti. She has worked for both divisions of Transitions Group (Furniture Options and Viciniti) during her 25+ years with the company. She’s grown our Texas and Louisiana markets to record numbers. She’ll be a great leader for our team and continue to grow our business in the Midwest and beyond.”
Najera is looking forward to her new responsibilities and says, “I have been blessed to have incredible role models to learn from during my tenure at Viciniti, and Piper has been one of them. She has been a great mentor to me, and her guidance was influential in helping balance my skillset and enhancing my management style. Piper’s unwavering support has been a key factor in driving our success. We have enjoyed collaborating to accomplish our goals and reach new milestones.”
As Najera moves into the role of VP for the entire Viciniti organization, Craig Hufft will take over as the Regional General Manager for the Southern Region.
Hufft has most recently served as the Director of Operations for the South Region. He came to the company when Viciniti acquired the Oakwood Worldwide operations for Texas and Louisiana in 2019. Before becoming part of Viciniti, Hufft managed the Central and West Texas operations for Oakwood, eventually adding Houston and Louisiana to his roster.
Hufft is excited about his new role and the future of Viciniti.
“There is so much potential for growth in our South Region, and I’m excited about what we will accomplish. I firmly believe that we have the ideal team to capitalize on our opportunities, expand our footprint and ensure that Viciniti is the leader in our marketplace. Our South Region is a dynamic area where growth opportunities abound. Our entire team thrives on challenges and loves to win. I’m here to ensure they have everything needed to make that happen.”
Also moving into a new role will be Elida Fragozo. Fragozo will become the new Assistant Operations Manager for the Southern Region. She has a heart for service and does a phenomenal job taking care of clients and guests.
Fragozo also came to Viciniti as part of the Oakwood acquisition in 2019. “Every step of the way has been amazing. Our company truly values its employees, and they prove it by providing tools and opportunities to learn, grow and promote from within the organization. I’m extremely excited for all that is to come!”