Michael Zislis, Owner
Owner, Michael Zislis, a native of Palos Verdes, California, was only 13 years old when he brewed his first beer for a science experiment at school. By the time he was an economics major at the University of Southern California, he was a master brewer. Possessing an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit, Zislis opened a brewery fabrication company and started building breweries all over the world. Zislis parlayed his brewing experience into opening several successful restaurants, including Brewco, Rock & Brews, and Rock'N Fish. In 2004, Zislis opened Shade Hotel. Listed as Conde Nast Traveler's #6 reason to visit Los Angeles, the wildly successful luxury boutique hotel also landed on the prestigious publication's Hot List for 2007, one of only 19 U.S. properties named. In 2011, The Strand House opened, a highly acclaimed restaurant featuring farm fresh fine dining in an environment that is reminiscent of an elegant yet welcoming oceanfront beach house, complete with stunning ocean views. Always hungry for new adventures, in October 2016, we opened a second Shade Hotel location just down the coast in Redondo Beach and in 2019 created the first Multi-Concept Brewery and Food Hall, The Brews Hall in Torrance, CA.
"Success means nothing if it is not shared with others who are less fortunate," says Michael. "I am grateful that my successes have afforded me the opportunity to do so."
Katie Kruft Richardson, Vice President
Katie is the keeper of Zislis Group’s amazing culture, and the guru of exceptional hospitality. In 2005, she opened Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach as the Rooms Division Manager. She was promoted to General Manager in 2007, and in 2009 was named Executive Vice President of Zislis Group. After having her adorable daughter, Indiana (named after Indiana Jones), Katie scored her dream job as Zisils Group’s Culture Director, overseeing hiring, training, and company culture for 9 years. Katie has now reprised her role as Vice President, where she oversees the hotel division and Zislis Group corporate operations with Michael Zislis.
Katie is extremely passionate about creating a positive workplace, and loves nothing more than inspiring others to provide genuine hospitality to their guests and each other. Katie has her Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and is a certified Professional Coach. In her free time, Katie loves eating, traveling to Europe, rooting for the Phoenix Suns, lifting weights, dancing, and eating. Katie’s favorite dish is the Spicy Fried T.W.I.L.I. sandwich at The Brews Hall, especially if it’s accompanied by a Rat Beach Red Ale (an original Manhattan Beach Brewing Co. Recipe!).
Fun Fact: Due to her introspective nature, Katie's work nickname is 'Kruftologist'
Bill Matthews, Chief Operating Officer
Bill was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona by his grandparents, where he later studied Business and Marketing at Arizona State University. Bill started out as a dishwasher when he was 15, and worked his way up through the ranks. He's run everything from intimate luxury properties like Las Casuelas Terraza in Palm Springs, to the Catering Division of Wolfgang Puck. He was one of the original five people to start the Cheesecake Factory brand. He was most recently the Director of Operations / Sr. General Manager for Crews of California, where he oversaw 8 restaurants at L.A.X.
Bills genuine love for hospitality, keen attention to detail, and ability to both work hard and have fun makes him a perfect fit for Zislis Group.
Bill resides in El Segundo with his wife. He is an avid fisherman, cyclist, surfer, quoter of Danny Meyer, and of course, foodie. Bill's favorite dish is the Branzino at The Strand House and any kind of burger from The Brews Hall!
Fun Fact: Bill's drink of choice is Jack Daniels on the rocks
Jenna Record, Vice President of Marketing
Jenna is a marketing maven & hospitality connoisseur. Born and raised in the US Virgin Islands, Jenna's passion for hospitality started at a young age. She worked her way through school waiting tables, catering and managing a wine tasting room bar. After she graduated from University of Oregon in Journalism & Communications, Jenna started her career in advertising at Saatchi and Saatchi Los Angeles, launching several successful vehicle and Super Bowl campaigns for Toyota Motor Sales as well as TBWA\Media Arts Lab working with a non-profit client, Conservation International. Jenna combines her passion for hospitality and her skills in marketing to help promote all of the Zislis brands from public relations, websites, social media, community relations and more. A beach girl through and through, Jenna's passions include traveling and trying different cuisines, cooking, surfing, hiking, wine tasting and spending time with her growing family. Jenna loves the Citrus Ahi Tuna Salad from The Strand House!
Fun Fact: Jenna could swim before she could walk
Gabriela Herrera, Senior Controller
Gaby graduated in Finance & Economics from Cal State Los Angeles in 2005. She started her career in hospitality as a Front Desk Agent at the Four Points by Sheraton before moving on to the Accounting Department for Marriot. In 2006 Gaby joined the Shade Hotel family as an assistant Controller and is now the Corporate Controller for Zislis Group and the properties it services. When Gaby is not balancing our books, she loves spending time with her two young girls, especially in the kitchen together making dinner! Gaby loves the Paella from zinc@shade.
Fun Fact: Gaby was born and raised in Guatemala!
Shaun Dry, Culinary Operations Manager
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Shaun's passion for traditional South African cuisine was sparked in his family kitchen. His ingredients were grown and raised sustainably on his family farm, and every meal was crafted from scratch – a philosophy that still guides his cooking today.
Shaun has played a key role in opening a few of Zislis Group properties, building recipes and menus for new concepts. He's worked for ZG for over 14 years and has been a Chef or Executive Chef at all of the properties at some point.
Shaun's driving force is hospitality, and is always striving to find new ways to say 'yes' to our guests. He never shies away from a challenge. Working for Zislis Group has been an honor and he's proud to work alongside such amazing teams. When Shaun is not in the kitchen, he enjoys taking photographs and spending time with his furry companion, Jack, and his wife, Dawn. Shaun’s favorite dish is the Cioppino from Rock’N Fish.
Fun Fact: Shaun has been a chef at every one of the Zislis Group properties!