AHLA ForWard conference centres on women’s voices in hospitality

by: Felicity Cousins | May 10, 2024

US: AHLA Foundation has held its annual ForWard conference focussed on celebrating, championing, and creating community for women in hospitality.  

Nearly 1,000 attendees from across the hotel industry attended the two day conference and this year’s conference theme, Right the Narrative, centred on the power of storytelling and the importance of amplifying the stories and voices of women in the hotel industry. 

Attendees heard from keynote speakers Shola Richards, author and founder & CEO of Go Together Global; stand-up comedian, actress, and writer Zainab Johnson; and author Liz Plank, CEO of Liz Plank Productions.

On the main stage, the event covered topics such as global trends in the hotel industry and the power of advocacy, and heard from next-generation leaders, industry disruptors and leading experts.

These included Julienne Smith, chief development officer at IHG and chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees; Kevin Jacobs, CFO and president of global development at Hilton and chairman of AHLA’s Board of Directors; and Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. 

“The reality is, when women in our industry advance, the industry as a whole benefits,” said AHLA Foundation president Anna Blue. “This is an event like no other – the energy and excitement are contagious – and the rapid growth of the ForWard initiative demonstrates the need for spaces that champion and elevate women.” 

During the conference, the Foundation also announced the launch of its “Move Hospitality ForWard” campaign. Proceeds from this six-week campaign will support the ForWard initiative, which represents an industry-wide effort to support the amplification and advancement of women in the hotel industry through curated programmes and events. 

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash