AHLA Foundation’s Annual ForWard conference advances women in hospitality

The foundation launched the ‘Move Hospitality ForWard’ campaign at the conference

About 1,000 attendees from the hotel industry convened at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place for the AHLA Foundation's annual ForWard conference, which was themed “Right the Narrative” and focused on empowering women's voices and stories within the industry.

AROUND 1,000 ATTENDEES from across the hotel industry gathered for AHLA Foundation’s annual ForWard conference held recently at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. This year’s conference theme, “Right the Narrative,” centered on the power of storytelling and the importance of amplifying the stories and voices of women in the hotel industry.

The three-day event featured industry leaders and speakers who shared knowledge focused on advancing women in hospitality, AHLA foundation said in a statement.

“The reality is, when women in our industry advance, the industry as a whole benefits,” said Anna Blue, AHLA Foundation’s president. “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.”

The foundation launched the “Move Hospitality ForWard” campaign during the conference. Proceeds from this six-week giving campaign will support the ForWard initiative—an industry-wide effort to advance women in the hotel industry through curated programs and events like the annual ForWard conference, the foundation said.

Keynote speakers at the two-day conference included Shola Richards, founder and CEO of Go Together Global and best-selling author; Zainab Johnson, stand-up comedian, actress; and Liz Plank, CEO of Liz Plank Productions, the statement added. The event also featured industry leaders such as Julienne Smith, chief development officer at IHG Hotels & Resorts and chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees; Kevin Jacobs, chief financial officer 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.

AHLA Foundation organized breakout sessions covering topics from the “unhustle” mindset to transformational leadership habits, the foundation said. The main stage addressed global hotel industry trends, advocacy’s power, and featured insights from next-gen leaders, industry disruptors, and leading experts.

AHLA recently stated it is considering litigation to challenge the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule on overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, concerned it could lead to the elimination of essential managerial positions.