AHLA Foundation Announces $5 million Commitment & Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are central to the Foundation's mission of helping people build careers, improve their lives, and strengthen the lodging industry. 

The AHLA Foundation’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its October 2020 meeting to elevate DE&I as a cornerstone platform under the direction of a newly created DE&I Task Force, comprised of senior leaders throughout the industry. Since then, the Task Force has been meeting to develop a five-year road map to unite the industry around a bold, transparent, and actionable commitment to foster DE&I by identifying and introducing programs to remove structural and behavioral barriers.    

The AHLA Foundation is committing $5 million to advance DE&I across the hotel and lodging industry and to create and execute on a five-year strategic plan. 

Guiding Principles 

The DE&I Task Force identified the following guiding principles for the new initiative: 

  • Diversifying representation at all levels to better serve our guests, associates, and communities.
  • Elevating inclusive leadership across corporate entities, properties, franchisees, and supplier networks.
  • Driving accountability and transparency to achieve measurable diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DE&I) results.
  • Fostering innovative approaches to scale DE&I within the industry. 

Strategic Priorities 

Over the next five years, the Foundation will focus on three strategic priorities:

  • Driving DE&I at the leadership level
  • Driving DE&I across all talent levels
  • Developing a DE&I blueprint for the industry. 

DE&I Task Force 

The Foundation established a DE&I Task Force comprised of senior leaders and line-level employees from across the industry and leveraged their insights and feedback to develop the comprehensive action plan

  • Greg Juceam, President & COO, G6 Hospitality, AHLA Foundation Chair of the Board 
  • Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President, Multicultural Affairs and Business Councils, Marriott International
  • Nicolas Graf, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, New York University 
  • Mari Marques-Thomas, Vice President, Social Responsibility & Talent Development, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 
  • Simon Mendy, Executive Vice President of Operations, Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Jim Merkel, CEO, Rockbridge Holdings 
  • Malaika Myers, Chief Human Resource Officer, Hyatt Hotels
  • Harshil Patel, Vice President, Champion Hotels
  • Ama Romaine, General Counsel, G6 Hospitality
  • Julienne Smith, Senior Vice President, Upscale Development and Transactions & Asset Management, IHG Hotels & Resorts 
  • DeShaun Wise Porter, Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement, Hilton
  • Kate Walsh, Dean and E. M. Statler Professor of the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell School of Hotel Administration 
  • Tambari Pianwi, AHLAF Empowering Youth Program graduate, furloughed employee, The Line Hotel
  • Tiffany Holland, Apprentice graduate and Front Office Supervisor, Aimbridge Hospitality

Learn More

Learn more about the Foundation's announcement: