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The capacity to learn is a gift;

the ability to learn is a skill;

the willingness to learn is a choice.

Young Businesswomen

About Us

The hospitality industry is diverse, but women and other minority groups continue to face a broken rung at the upper levels of management. DEI Advisors is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering personal success by sharing insights and learnings from industry leaders. While many companies are doing wonderful work in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, individuals must also be responsible for their own personal growth and career aspirations.

 

Through interviews with industry leaders, we hope to share learnings to help you:

  • Overcome conscious and unconscious bias

  • Feel comfortable seeking advancements

  • Triumph over structural barriers

  • Establish networks, advocates, and mentors

  • Find strength and resilience in the face of adversity

  • Manage work life balance

 

 

Your Hosts

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David Kong
Principal

When David Kong retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of BWH Hotel Group at the end of 2021, he did so as the longest-running CEO of any major hotel company. His leadership and legacy, characterized by a genuine care for people and a passion for hospitality, attracted praise and respect from leading voices across the industry.  When he arrived in the United States from Hong Kong as a young adult, like many immigrants before him, he had no money, no job, and no connections to offer support. He started as a dishwasher and busboy; and leaned into the values and work ethic instilled by his parents to rise through the ranks of the hospitality industry, culminating in his role as one as the industry’s most notable leaders. David led Best Western Hotels and Resorts to unprecedented growth, transforming the company and expanding its portfolio from one brand to 18 distinct brands in every chain scale segment and setting successive new records in RevPAR and EBITDA. Prior to Best Western Hotels & Resorts, David held leadership positions with KPMG Consulting, Hyatt, Omni and Hilton. David has received numerous awards and accolades including the inaugural Arne Sorenson Social Impact Award in 2022 and Life Time Achievement Awards from both Business Travel News and International Hospitality Investment Forum in 2022.

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Rachel Humphrey
Principal

Rachel Humphrey is a well-known Board Member, Speaker, Hospitality Industry Executive, and Counsel. Before retiring in August 2021, Rachel served as the EVP and COO of AAHOA, the nation's largest and most influential hotel owners association and served as a member of its Executive Leadership Team and at one time its Interim President & CEO. Rachel joined AAHOA in 2015 after more than 20 years as a trial lawyer. Rachel has been recognized as one of the most “Influential Women in Hospitality,” and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her leadership and service to the hospitality industry. Rachel currently serves on several boards and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and is dedicated to advancing women in leadership.

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Lan Elliott
Principal

Lan Elliott is an experienced hotel real estate & transactions executive, representing hotel owners and hotel brand companies for over 30 years.

In 2020, Lan rejoined Acacia Hospitality LLC, a hotel investment company she co-founded, which owns interests in five city-center convention hotels.  Lan's hotel ownership experience includes 10 years at Host Hotels & Resorts, where she closed on over $7 billion of transactions.  Lan's roles with brand companies include IHG, where she established and led the Transactions & Asset Management team, and W Hotels in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, where Lan led W Hotel's development efforts for the region, expanding W Hotels’ regional presence, including adding the W Hotels in London and Paris.  Lan's early experience included working with KPMG's Hospitality Real Estate Consulting practice, and she has a joint degree from Cornell University; a B.S. from the School of Hotel Administration and an M.B.A. from the Johnson Graduate School of Managment.  Lan’s currently serves as Co-Chair and Advisory Board Member of Castell@College, a part of the Castell Project, a nonprofit focused on advancing women in hospitality leadership.  She was previously the President of the Executive Board for the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, a Maryland nonprofit.  In 2018, she was invited to join Urban Land Institute’s Hotel Development Council.

 
 

Interviews with DEI Advisors

We interview established industry leaders, life coaches, and executive recruiters and bring you stories of their triumphs and failures. Learn how they overcome their challenges and setbacks and excelled to their present stature. Each leader we interview is an advisor who can provide inspiration and motivation in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bios and Interviews with DEI Advisors

We interview established industry leaders, life coaches and executive recruiters and bring you stories of their triumphs and failures. Learn how they overcome their challenges and setbacks and excelled to their present stature. Use the links below to access their valuable insights and perspectives. 

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Renie Cavallari
Award-winning Author 
Global Speaker | Entrepreneur | Executive Coach | Strategist

Renie Cavallari is founder, CEO, and Chief Instigator of Aspire and an award-winning international marketing and leadership expert. Her inimitable grasp of business and its challenges, along with her proven, innovative solutions set Renie apart as a captivating speaker, author, leader, coach, and strategist who has driven measurable results for businesses globally for over 25 years. She presents keynote speeches around the world and is a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association.

Cavallari harnessed her understanding of business to found Aspire in 1995. Aspire designs the exact solutions that companies need to stand out and awaken the potential of their people. Most companies are done at the end of a program, while Aspire is just getting started. They stick around to give organizations the tools they need to continuously drive measurable results. Over the last 26 years, more than 1 million people have learned to think differently, challenge the status quo, and expect results through Aspire's programs. Aspire makes it all happen by establishing competencies, filling gaps, and inspiring people to rise to their potential.

 
 
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Heather McCrory
CEO North and Central America
Accor Hotels 

A skilled professional with an extensive hospitality background spanning more than 30 years, Heather began her career at Fairmont Banff Springs in the Canadian Rockies. After advancing through progressive positions at the property level, Heather joined the corporate leadership team, ultimately honing her expertise in a series of senior executive roles crossing Sales, Revenue Management and Operations. 

In 2019, Heather was appointed Chief Executive Officer, North & Central America.  Responsible for the strategic direction of the Group for this region, Heather’s focus is on building long-term growth and profitability in one of the largest and most influential consumer markets in the world.

Heather is a champion for talent development and mentorship, and a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She is proud to serve as Executive Sponsor for RiiSE North & Central America, Accor’s international network promoting diversity and gender equality. She was honored to receive the inaugural Castell Award (2019), as well as the Katie Taylor Economic Empowerment Award (2021), for her extensive work to increase gender diversity and support women in leadership, both within the organization and across the industry.

Heather is a board member for Groups360 and sits on the AHLA Executive Committee and US Travel Association CEO Roundtable.  She is past chair of Tourism Toronto and a past member of the Ontario Advisory Board for the Canadian Cancer Society.  

Heather holds an MBA from Queen’s University and resides in Toronto, Canada.

 
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Heather McCrory
CEO North and Central America
Accor Hotels 

A skilled professional with an extensive hospitality background spanning more than 30 years, Heather began her career at Fairmont Banff Springs in the Canadian Rockies. After advancing through progressive positions at the property level, Heather joined the corporate leadership team, ultimately honing her expertise in a series of senior executive roles crossing Sales, Revenue Management and Operations. 

In 2019, Heather was appointed Chief Executive Officer, North & Central America.  Responsible for the strategic direction of the Group for this region, Heather’s focus is on building long-term growth and profitability in one of the largest and most influential consumer markets in the world.

Heather is a champion for talent development and mentorship, and a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She is proud to serve as Executive Sponsor for RiiSE North & Central America, Accor’s international network promoting diversity and gender equality. She was honored to receive the inaugural Castell Award (2019), as well as the Katie Taylor Economic Empowerment Award (2021), for her extensive work to increase gender diversity and support women in leadership, both within the organization and across the industry.

Heather is a board member for Groups360 and sits on the AHLA Executive Committee and US Travel Association CEO Roundtable.  She is past chair of Tourism Toronto and a past member of the Ontario Advisory Board for the Canadian Cancer Society.  

Heather holds an MBA from Queen’s University and resides in Toronto, Canada.

 
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Geoff Ballotti
President & CEO
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Geoffrey A. Ballotti has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and a member of its Board of Directors since June 2018. Prior to that, he was CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group for four years, which spun off from the former Wyndham Worldwide in 2018 to become a pure-play, publicly-traded hotel company. From March 2008 to March 2014, Geoff served as Chief Executive Officer of Wyndham Destination Network. From October 2003 to March 2008, Geoff was President of the North America Division of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. From 1989 to 2003, Geoff held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, including President of Starwood North America, Executive Vice President, Operations, Senior Vice President, Southern Europe and Managing Director, Ciga Spa, Italy. Prior to joining Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Geoff was a Banking Officer in the Commercial Real Estate Group at the Bank of New England.

Geoff currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Hotel & Lodging

Association Board. He previously served as Chairman of the U.S. Travel Association and on the Executive Committee of the American Resort & Development Association. He also served on the board of directors for Christel House International, a not-for-profit organization that supports impoverished children throughout the world.

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JAGRUTI PANWALA
President & CEO
Wealth Protection Strategies
2019-2020 AAHOA Chair

For over 22 years, as President & CEO of Wealth Protection Strategies, Jagruti has been providing direction to individuals and businesses on asset protection and wealth transfer strategies, business succession planning, life insurance protection, asset management, and full advisory services.  Jagruti has proudly been recognized as a top producer in the country and has been the recipient of numerous industry and company awards.  

 

Jagruti is also a hotel owner and is extremely active in the hospitality industry.  She is the recipient of many awards and recognitions and is a highly sought after speaker at industry events.  Jagruti currently serves on the AHLA Board of Directors and is the 2019-2020 Chairwoman of AAHOA, the world’s largest hotel owners association, and was the first Chairwoman in the association’s 30-year history.  She is deeply committed to her advocacy work which includes testifying in Washington, DC on several important topics for hotel owners, as well as evidencing a strong commitment to elevating women in the industry and highlighting female empowerment.

 
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Melissa Maher 

Senior Leader in Travel + Tech, Inclusion & Diversity Change Agent 

Melissa is a forward-thinking strategist with a multifaceted perspective and deep insights into global marketing, public relations and communications, industry engagement, diversity and inclusion, technology, and relationship building across hospitality and other sectors. Melissa is a trusted advisor and thought leader who leverages 20 years of experience at Fortune 500 Expedia Group to establish and implement strategies, deploy operational and branding solutions, form business relationships, and drive innovative business solutions. 

Melissa most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Engagement at Expedia Group and was Expedia Group’s first Chief Inclusion Officer championing diversity and creating a sense of belonging for Expedia Group’s employees, customers, partners and communicates.  Melissa is an Advisory Board Member for Women In Travel Thrive and has received several honors such as Top 40 Women in Travel by WINiT by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and 30 Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Management.

 
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Sylvia Douglin

Founder and Principal

Refined Training & Consulting

Sylvia Douglin is the founder and principal of her firm, Refined Training & Consulting, offering training in Professionalism and Business Communication.  Sylvia has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  She has been an on-property Director of Human Resources at a full-service hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and, for the last 17 years, Director of Training initiatives in the C-Suites of three of the largest third-party hotel management companies.

 
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Peggy Berg 

Founder, Castell,

An AHLA Foundation Project

In 2016, Peggy Berg founded Castell Project, a non-profit advancing women in leadership in the hospitality industry, and served as Chair until April 2022 when the organization merged with the AHLA Foundation.  Under her guidance, Castell developed leadership programs for women, benchmarked the status of women in the hospitality industry, created Castell@College to encourage women in university hospitality programs, and promoted women on the podium. 

Peggy has owned and operated hotels and was also a well-known consultant.  She was the first female employee elected by the PKF partnership and she built The Highland Group, Hotel Investment Advisors, Inc. 

Peggy is active in the hospitality industry, including with AHLA and as chair emeritus of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, among others.  Peggy has received the 2022 ISHC Pioneer Award for her outstanding contribution, achievement and improvement in the hospitality industry and was the recipient of the 2022 HUNTER Award for excellence and inspiration, a recognition that celebrates hoteliers who exemplify exceptional leadership, citizenship, and innovation. 

 
 
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Mary Beth Cutshall  

Amara Capital

Founder & Managing Partner

Passionate about creating more real estate ownership and leadership diversity, Mary Beth founded Amara Capital in 2018, as a real estate DE&I investment platform for high-net worth women and minority investors to gain access into hospitality, multi-family real estate.  Prior, Mary Beth served as EVP & Chief Development Officer at Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), a nationally recognized owner and operator of hotels and resorts.

Honored in 2021 by ULI/WLI as a “2021 The Leaders” as a seasoned real estate industry giant, in 2017 as one of the 30 Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Management Magazine, Atlanta Magazine as one of “Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful Leaders” (2020 & 2019), and one of the top hospitality leaders to follow on social media by Crowdriff.   Mary Beth is a frequent speaker at hotel investment conferences who’s insight has been sought out by numerous news and media publications and is with the Atlanta Hospitality Alliance, Castell Project, AHLA’s FORWARD Council, ULI Recreational Council, ULI Atlanta’s Capital Market Council, and Marriott International’s Women Supporting Women Council.

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Clara Carter

President and Founder MCCSN

Clara Carter is the President and Founder of the Multi-Cultural Convention Services Network (MCCSN), Inc., a woman-owned DBE certified business that provides global meeting, event management, consulting, and third party hotel sourcing services to associations, corporations, and leisure travel clients. MCCSN produces the annual WITH National Conference and Awards Luncheon. Clara is also the visionary founder of Women in Tourism and Hospitality International (WITH, Int’l), a non-profit corporation that recognizes the contributions of women professionals who significantly impact the changing landscape of Tourism and Hospitality. 

Clara is the recipient of many accolades including 2021 selection to the San Diego Black Pioneers Exhibition at San Diego History Museum; 2021 Clara Carter day named in her honor, by the San Diego Mayor and City Council; 2020 Meetings Trendsetter by Meetings Today Magazine; 2019 Gender Equity Champion by California NOW; 2018 One of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings Magazine; and 2017 Changemaker by Meetings Net magazine. Clara is an instructor and Advisory Board Member for several organizations.

 
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Tracy Prigmore

Founder of TLTsolutions

2021 LODGING Person of The Year

Tracy L. Prigmore is an award-winning executive and the Founder of TLTsolutions, a multi-million dollar real estate investment and development firm in residential, multifamily and hotel projects in four states. Prigmore was chosen as Person of the Year by LODGING in 2021, recognized by International Hospitality Institute (IHI) as one of the most influential leaders in U.S. hospitality, and an Influential woman in hospitality by Hotel Management. Tracy is the creator of She Has a Deal, a platform that creates new pathways to commercial real estate ownership and development for women by providing education, networking and investing opportunities. She Has a Deal’s renowned Hotel Investment Pitch Competition, SHaDPitch is creating a pipeline of women owners and developers by preparing them to become sponsors and lead hotel investment projects. Prior to entering real estate development, Tracy spent 25 years as a healthcare executive and held senior leadership roles in strategic planning, business development and operations for three of the nation’s largest healthcare systems.

 
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Radhika Papandreou

Managing Partner

Korn Ferry, Chicago

Radhika Papandreou is Managing Partner in Korn Ferry’s Chicago office where she leads the Chicago office and the North American Travel, Hospitality and Leisure practice.

She joined Korn Ferry from a leading executive search firm, where she was managing director and global head of its Hospitality and Leisure practice.  Ms. Papandreou specializes in C-Suite and Board placements and has managed large scale client projects including bankruptcies and turnarounds.

Ms. Papandreou speaks frequently at industry conferences and contributes to industry publications primarily around Diversity Equity and Inclusion. 

Ms. Papandreou earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a dual major in International Affairs & Economics from the Johns Hopkins University, and later a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Ms. Papandreou is a member of the Arogya World Board of Directors, a U.S. based non-profit organization striving to reduce the global impact of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

 
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Mark S. Hoplamazian

President and CEO

Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Mark S. Hoplamazian was appointed to Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s board of directors in November 2006 and subsequently named president and chief executive officer in December 2006. Prior to his present position, Hoplamazian served as president of The Pritzker Organization (TPO), the principal financial and investment adviser for Pritzker family business interests. During his 17-year tenure with TPO, he served as adviser to various Pritzker family-owned companies, including Hyatt Hotels Corporation and its predecessors. He previously worked in international mergers and acquisitions at The First Boston Corporation in New York. Hoplamazian served as Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association from January 2021 to December 2021, and serves on the Board of Directors and as a member of the Talent & Compensation and Finance committees of the Board of Directors of VF Corporation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Brand USA and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of World Business Chicago, and the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute and of the Latin School of Chicago. Hoplamazian is a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, the Commercial Club of Chicago, and the Discovery Class of the Henry Crown Fellowship.

 
 
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Sloan F. Dean III

President & CEO

Remington Hotels

Sloan Dean is an award-winning hospitality professional and CEO & President of Remington Hotels. Dean joined Remington Hotels in January 2018 as Chief Operating Officer before being promoted to his current role in January 2020. A graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dean drives financial results and fosters an accountable and driven culture at the third-party management company, which currently manages 82 hotels in 24 states with annual revenues over $1 billion. Prior to joining Remington Hotels, Dean worked with established brands including Ashford Inc., Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Alliance Hospitality Management, Noble Investment Group, InterContinental Hotels Group and Oliver Wyman. He is active in the hospitality community and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization, AH&LA Board of Directors, Hilton’s Distribution Owner Advisory Council and ASFONA Board of Directors, among others. Outside of the office, Dean is a fitness enthusiast and enjoys spending quality time with his kids.

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Pat Pacious

President & CEO

Choice Hotels International

Patrick Pacious is President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the largest and most successful lodging franchisors in the world, with more than 7,100 hotels, representing nearly 600,000 rooms, in 45 countries and territories. Before becoming CEO in 2017, Pat was the company’s president and chief operating officer.  He served as a U.S. Navy officer after earning his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and went on to earn a master’s in business administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. 

Pat was twice named one of the "Top 50 Best CEOs of Large Companies" by Comparably, as determined by employee ratings, ranking No. 7 overall. He also received the inaugural Veterans in Business Award  from the Washington Business Journal for his work to help veterans in the workplace and  beyond. Pat is also currently a member of the board of directors of the Wolf Trap Foundation for  the Performing Arts.

 
 
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Rosanna Maietta

President, AH&LA Foundation

EVP, AH&LA

Rosanna Maietta is Executive Vice President of Communications & Public Relations at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and President & CEO of the AHLA Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for driving the strategic planning for all of the association’s internal and external communications and increasing visibility for the dynamic hotel industry in and outside Washington, D.C. For the Foundation, Rosanna oversees the philanthropic mission, which aims to support the hotel industry’s current workforce as well as aspiring hospitality professionals through the disbursements of scholarships and workforce development programs. Since its inception the foundation has disbursed some $25 million dollars in support of the industry.

 
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Amanda Hite

President, STR

Amanda Hite has served as STR’s president since 2011 and oversees the company’s business activities and overall direction.  Under her leadership, STR has experienced substantial growth in its global presence, client base, data coverage, and revenue, as well as experiencing several significant milestones, including the 2016 unification of  STR’s global brands and the implementation of a number of key industry deliverables. Additionally, Amanda led STR through the company’s acquisition by CoStar Group in 2019.  

Amanda’s accomplishments have been recognized with inclusion in Hotel Management’s Influential Women in Hospitality, as well as 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders. Amanda is a member of the Board of Directors of AHLA and the U.S. Travel Association. She also serves as a member of the  Board of Directors of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and on the Industry Advisory Board of the Hotel and Restaurant Management  Program at Auburn University. 

 
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Chip Rogers

President & CEO

American Hotel & Lodging Association

Chip Rogers has been President and CEO of AHLA since the start of 2019, leading America’s only national association dedicated to serving the interests of the entire hotel and lodging industry. 

Chip has led the AHLA team and the lodging industry to achieve tangible results for AHLA members. He has received numerous awards and has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential by Business Travel News, one of the most influential people in Washington D.C. by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Most Influential Leaders in Hospitality, USA, and Global by Hospitality Index, a Freedom Award recipient from ECPAT-USA, and twice as a top lobbyist by the Hill newspaper. 

Prior to joining the hospitality industry, Chip served in the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to office six times and was unanimously elected twice to serve as Senate majority leader.  Chip earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and his MBA from Georgia State. 

 
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Juliette Boone

Co-Founder, Managing Director

AETHOS Consulting Group

Juliette Boone is a Co-founder and Managing Director of AETHOS Consulting Group, a global hospitality advisory firm serving people-driven businesses. Juliette has written numerous articles on the subject of women in leadership and corporate governance including “Rethinking a Glass Ceiling in the Hospitality Industry” published in the Cornell Quarterly. She has been invited to speak at the HR in Hospitality Conference, the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research Summit, the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference, and other events. Juliette serves as Vice Chair of the Engagement Committee on the President’s Council of Cornell Women, is a member at-large of the Cornell University Council, volunteers with the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, is former president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Cornell Hotel Society, and is a member of the City of Boulder’s Housing Advisory Board, appointed by the Boulder City Council. Her experience is complemented with a Master’s degree in Hospitality Management and Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

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Nicolas Graff

Associate Dean

Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality

New York University

Nicolas Graf, PhD, is the associate dean and Jonathan M. Tisch Chaired Professor of the NYU Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. He is the founder of the Hospitality Innovation HUB and incubator program at NYU. Prior to this, he served as chief academic officer of Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, managing director at Alain Ducasse, and professor and director of the IMHI Center at ESSEC Business School in Paris. He earned his PhD from Virginia Tech and is a graduate of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

He has published in numerous academic journals in the fields of finance and strategy, including the International Journal of Hospitality Management, The Real Estate Finance Journal, and the Journal of Retail & Leisure Property.

Over the past 20 years, he has delivered executive education courses for various companies in Asia, MEA, North and South America, and Europe, and he has conducted several consulting projects in the fields of asset management, strategic planning, and business development.

 
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Ashli Johnson

Executive Director, Marriott - Sorenson Center for Hospitality  Leadership 
Howard University School of Business

Known as the Hospitality Sharp Shooter, Ashli Johnson brings nearly 20 years of hospitality industry experience to her new role as the inaugural Executive Director of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University. A fierce champion for equity and inclusion, she founded Hospitality Leaders Today – HLT100 as a leadership development program for Black collegiate students in 2016, and Hospitality Hued as an accelerator for Black hospitality professionals in 2019. Ashli has served on several industry boards and committees for organizations such as AHLA, NABHOOD, and LHA. She is a frequently sought after speaker and has consulted on projects with leading brands and entrepreneurs.  

In academia, Ashli has taught and served in leadership roles for several recognized hospitality programs and also served as the Assistant Dean of the University of Houston’s Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management, prior to leading educational programming for the world’s largest association of hotel owners, AAHOA. 

 
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Mitch Patel

Founder & CEO 

Vision Hospitality

Mitch Patel founded Vision Hospitality Group in 1997 with the goal of creating a company dedicated to excellence with a focus on community and family.  Mitch and his team have developed over 60 hotels and currently hold a growing portfolio of 41 properties with a market cap approaching nearly $1 Billion, including the company’s award-winning, boutique hotel, The Edwin. 

Under Mitch’s leadership, Vision has received many awards, as well as recognition for its efforts in development, community service, and design. Mitch serves on the Marriott Franchise Advisory Council, the Hilton Owner’s Advisory Council, and the Executive Committee of AHLA. Mitch maintains his presence on boards of local organizations that support education and economic development in Vision’s hometown of Chattanooga, TN, and he is an advocate for ending human trafficking in the hospitality industry. His efforts have earned him national recognition, which includes his most recent honor of receiving the NSDAR Americanism Award.

 
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Tina Burnett

Chief Development Officer 

G6 Hospitality

Tina Burnett is the Chief Development Officer at G6 Hospitality, the parent company of the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands. In her role, Burnett provides leadership and management oversight to the development, property openings, lead generation, and franchise support teams, leading to the continued growth of the brands across the U.S. and Canada.

With more than 20 years’ experience working in the hospitality sector, Burnett has held multiple leadership roles in franchise development and operations since joining in 1998. Most recently, she served as Divisional Vice President of Franchise Operations and was responsible for franchise operations and revenue-generation strategy and execution for one of the largest economy lodging portfolios in the hospitality industry.

With more than 20 years of experience working in the hospitality sector, Burnett has held multiple leadership roles in franchise development and operations since joining in 1998. Burnett holds a degree in business administration. She is an active participant in the Asian American Hotel Owners Association Women's Organization and was appointed to the board of the Texas Hotel & Loading Association. Burnett was also recently named as one of the “Most Influential Women in Hospitality” by Hotel Management. 

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Gilda Perez-Alvarado

Global CEO

JLL Hotels & Hospitality

Gilda Perez-Alvarado is the Global Chief Executive Officer of JLL Hotels & Hospitality, where she is responsible for investment sales, debt and equity placement, strategic advisory and asset management across all global regions. Additionally, Gilda leads the group’s Global Hotel Desk, a specialized team of cross-border investment sales professionals based in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe.

Gilda also serves on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University, is on the Board of Directors of Sonder, and is an active member of IREFAC, IHIC and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Board. Gilda is also a two-time recipient of the Jack A. Shaffer Financial Advisor of the year at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit. She remains the only woman to date to receive this award.

 
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Stephanie Linnartz

President

Marriott International, Inc.

Stephanie Linnartz is the president of Marriott International, Inc., the world’s largest hospitality company, with more than 8,000 properties across 139 countries and territories and 30 brands. She is responsible for developing and executing all aspects of Marriott’s global consumer strategy and overseeing its global real estate development, design, and operations services functions.  

Stephanie is often recognized for her leadership, including Forbes CEO Next’s list of up-and coming leaders set to revolutionize American business, Hotel Management’s 30 Influential Women in  Hospitality, Brand Innovators’ Top 100 Women in Brand Marketing, and was profiled as one of CNN’s 2019 Risk Takers. Stephanie joined Fast Company’s Impact Council and also the Fortune CEO Initiative, a forum of global corporate leaders committed to addressing major social problems as part of their core business strategies. She is a sought-after speaker at global industry events.  Stephanie sits on Marriott’s Board of Directors Social Impact and Inclusion Committee and the company’s ESG Executive Council and also serves on several corporate, educational, and non-profit boards.

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Krissy Gathright

Apple Hospitality REIT Board Member, COO (Retired); Senior Advisor Derive Ventures

Krissy Gathright has had a lengthy career as a C-Suite Executive and Board Member with over two decades of experience in the hospitality and real estate industry. She serves on the boards of Apple Hospitality REIT (NYSE:APLE) and Spirit Realty Capital (NYSE:SRC) and is a senior advisor for Derive Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Previously, Krissy served as COO of Apple Hospitality REIT, and as one of its first employees, she was instrumental in building a team with a strong corporate culture, driving industry-leading results, and helping execute several strategic transactions.

 

Krissy is a highly sought-after advisory council member and conference speaker, and her writings have been published in many industry publications.  Over the years, Krissy has been named one of the most influential women in lodging by Hotel Management and Lodging magazines and one of Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence. Krissy has a passion for community service and serves on several non-profit boards.

 
 
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Cindy Estis Green

cindy@kalibrilabs.com

CEO and Co-founder, Kalibri Labs, LLC

Cindy Estis Green’s career began in corporate marketing and senior operations with Hilton International. After founding the data mining company, Driving Revenue, and selling it to Pegasus Solutions, Ms. Estis Green spent twelve years as managing partner of The Estis Group working with hotel owners on targeting value growth in their assets. 

Estis Green has been honored as one of the hotel industry’s 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing, was inducted into the prestigious Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame, named as one of Cornell University’s 90 Influential Hotelies and received the HSMAI Vanguard Award for leadership in moving the field of revenue optimization toward a focus on profit contribution. 

A prolific published author, Estis Green is highly sought after as a speaker on topics related to digital disruption and the impact on the economics of hotels. 

Ms. Estis Green co-founded Kalibri Labs, a next generation commercial strategy platform to evaluate, predict and benchmark hotel revenue performance. Using data science, Kalibri Labs helps hoteliers optimize profit contribution and supports the real estate community with tools that refine underwriting for investment and development. 

Estis Green holds a BS degree from Cornell University and an MBA from The American University.

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AMY JAKUBOWSKI, IIDA, ISHC, LEED AP

PRINCIPAL AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, PYR

(PIERRE-YVES ROCHON)

Amy is an award winning design executive with 30 years of experience as a leader,
designer, director, and business partner. Responsible for annual design revenues in excess of $10MM, and construction budgets ranging from $25MM to $500MM. Adaptable skills with an advanced understanding of process and prioritization. Diverse experience including mixed-use developments, hotel repositioning and renovation, new builds, restaurants, residential, retail, and corporate offices, including the development of brand
prototypes and guidelines. Worked successfully with major hotel brands including Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, St. Regis, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula, Langham, Kimpton, and IHG. A contributing author to industry publications and a recurring speaker at industry conferences. Nominated as Hotel Management’s
Top 30 Most Influential Women in Hospitality.
Since 2021, Amy Jakubowski has joined the global design firm PYR (Pierre-Yves Rochon) as Principal and Managing Director. Based in the firm’s Chicago studio, she oversees PYR’s client engagement and business strategy worldwide, working in concert with the firm’s flagship studio in Paris as well as PYR’s parent company, Perkins&Will.