Inspiring career opportunities in hospitality.

Students and parents alike are often unaware of the many career pathways the hospitality industry offers, or that the industry provides resources to build strong families while having financial success. The ForWardThinking speaker series brings executive women to hospitality schools across the country to share their stories and encourage students to join the industry.

ForWardThinking made a big impact last year


students engaged


events nationwide


would recommend to friends

Conversations, not lectures.

Whether in-person on campus or virtually, ForWardThinking panelists tell stories about their career paths and lives, and then work in smaller breakout groups with students. While there is no formal presentation, panelists come prepared to connect and engage with students.

Interested in being a panelist?

Our panels for Fall 2023 have been filled, but if you would like to receive information about future opportunities, send us an email.

The ForWardThinking program is not only making a difference in students’ learning experience, but it will also continue to make a difference in our students’ future work and life, leading to positive changes in our industry.
Dr. Emily (Jintao) Ma, PhD GCHE CHIA
Professor, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
University of Surrey, Stag Hill Campus

Access insights from previous sessions

As part of our commitment to mentoring, educating, and leading women to the next stages of their career, AHLA Foundation provides a webinar library where students and young professionals can view previous ForWardThinking sessions.

Explore other ForWard initiatives

Annual Conference

The ForWard brand launched in 2018 as an annual conference to recognize the women of the hospitality industry and champion the next generation of leaders. The annual conference serves as the ForWard program’s pinnacle event and provides attendees an opportunity to hear from hospitality industry leaders, learn and grow with tailored sessions, and network with peers.

Explore other ForWard initiatives


The AHLA Foundation’s BUILD & ELEVATE programs accelerate the advancement of women in executive leadership. Participating women develop a foundation for career success through a year-long curriculum of skills-based workshops, career coaching and leadership coursework targeting five areas of knowledge including: executive presence, negotiation, advocacy, career development, networking.

Explore other ForWard initiatives

ForWard Network

The ForWard Network is open to AHLA members working in the hospitality industry that are passionate about the mission of ForWard. Participation in the network is not limited to any professional level or company type. Network members will actively support teh implementatino of ForWard initiatives under the guidance of the ForWard Advisory Committee.

Explore other ForWard initiatives

Advisory Committee

AHLA Foundation’s ForWard Advisory Committee unites female senior executives to provide strategic guidance and mentorship, and to help ForWard grow and expand throughout the industry.

We can’t do this without you.

The ForWardThinking speakers series is funded solely by contributions from generous individuals and organizations who want to give back to hotel industry employees and the communities where they work and live.