Meet the Team
Owner & General Manager
John has made his home in Newport for over 25 years with his wife, Linda, and their children. John’s industry expertise includes operational leadership at the highest levels of contract food service. He has experience in hotels, restaurants, business & industry, schools & colleges, catering and retail food environments. Within these industries, John has lead teams in sales, marketing, human resources as well as operations. John joined the Blackstone team in 2007 and purchased the company in 2010, assuming General Manager responsibilities. John previously held the position of Regional Vice President with The Compass Group, where his responsibilities included leadership for several national account clients, including; Raytheon, UTC, IBM and Aetna. Prior to Compass, he was a Regional Manager for All Seasons Services, a Regional Vice President with Sodexho and Vice President for Creative Gourmets, Ltd.
Karen's bubbly enthusiasm and passion for event planning shines through on each event she is a part of. Her experience and creativity help bring her clients vision to life. Karen joined the Blackstone team in 2007 and received the 2008 "Stars of the Industry Award" for Caterer Employee of the Year from the RI Hospitality Association. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales with many years of hospitality experience ranging from Senior Catering Sales Manager at the Rhode Island Convention Center and, prior to that, Catering and Retail Manager at Harvard University. While with Harvard University, she was part of the opening team of two new dining locations and was responsible for the coordination of all catered events. Karen also worked as Assistant Restaurant Manager at the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel in New York.
Danielle's warm personality and efficient style have made her a valuable member of the Blackstone team since 2007. Danielle is a lifelong resident of Aquidneck Island, and grew up in Middletown, RI. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of RI. Her roots in the community along with her attention to detail make her a client favorite. Danielle has worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years with experience in food service, hotel front desk, event management and sales. Danielle received the 2009 "Stars of the Industry Award" for Caterer Employee of the Year from RI Hospitality Association.
Shannon joined the Blackstone team in September 2011 and has been handling corporate sales along with social events and weddings. In the past five years, she has coordinated numerous events for corporate clients including Corinthian Events, Bank of America, Diageo, Barclays Bank, UNO Chicago Grill, Hilton Grand Vacations, Best of Boston, Western Industries, KVH Industries, OTIS Elevator and many others, along with many beautiful weddings and parties. Shannon is a lifelong Aquidneck Island resident and grew up in Middletown, RI. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. She has been working in the hospitality industry since 2007 and also has prior experience in Cruise Sales & Marketing and International Sales within the airline industry. Shannon's experience along with passion and a sunny disposition have made for a seamless transition into the world of off-premise catering at Blackstone.
Human Resources & Office Management
Sales & Marketing Coordinator
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Samantha has been in the hospitality industry since she was old enough to be able to work. Various restaurants and customer service roles accompanied her journey through high school and eventually into college. She attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Recreation Management & Policy. During her time there, she was the VP of Membership Development within Alpha Chi Omega where she planned and executed countless events centered around bringing the members and their community closer together. Following graduation, Samantha was hired by Blackstone and assists with everything from event design, to management and execution, to designing print and digital advertisements. She’s taken on the role of Sales & Marketing Coordinator and is now an integral part of managing large-scale events. She also represents Blackstone Caterers within the Rhode Island Wedding Group where she works to promote nearly 40 other local businesses as the Marketing Director.