ATTORNEY LAURA LEE Blake is the president and CEO of AAHOA, succeeding Ken Greene. Previously she was a partner with Connor, Fletcher, and Hedenkamp LLP in Irvine, California.
Blake previously worked for AAHOA for nearly 10 years, from 2005 to 2014, according to AAHOA. That was one of the highlights of her career, she said.
“I was frequently inspired by the work ethic and business acumen of AAHOA members, and I was surrounded by numerous dedicated board members, executive staff, and team members – many of whom are still my friends today,” Blake said. “AAHOA members embody the American dream. They exhibit how success is possible with hard work and an opportunity to grow and expand their businesses under our free enterprise system. There is simply no place like AAHOA to make a real difference for our members, hotel owners, and the industry at large.”
Advocacy on a federal, state and local level were a major part of Blake’s work during her time with the association. She sought the passage of laws that promoted fair franchising, hosted franchise law educational sessions and spoke to members about their legal rights.
“Of course, I was never alone in these endeavors, since there were countless Board members, the AAHOA president and executive team, and committed volunteers who supported the work,” Blake said, “But in the end, we achieved significant things, and it was a fantastic 10 years working with AAHOA.”
Franchisee/franchiser relations will be one of her priorities as AAHOA president, Blake said.
“With the resurgence of interest in AAHOA’s 12 Points of Fair Franchising and the future of franchising in general, this is a perfect opportunity to return to AAHOA and open the dialogue with the leading franchisors for the benefit of our members, the brands, and all of the franchise systems,” Blake said. “It’s a great time to follow the lead of our members in building and expanding on the influence of this great association to have a lasting impact for years to come.”
Also, reconfiguring AAHOA’s operational structure to ensure efficiency and maximum impact will also be on her to do list.
“As I step into this new role, my immediate task will be to help lead AAHOA as it relaunches its operational mission and moves forward to achieve its goals, with guidance and strategic direction from the AAHOA board of directors,” explained Blake. “From rebuilding the AAHOA Team and refocusing our tactical priorities to preparing for an incredible Regional season and continuing AAHOA’s efforts around fair franchising, I’m ready to hit the ground running and can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”
Greene left the president and chairman position in January to accept another job. AAHOA Chairman Neal Patel said Blake was welcome as Greene’s replacement.
“Whether it’s evaluating the franchisor-franchisee relationship to determine how best to improve the ROI so it’s more enticing for our members, to promoting fair franchising that will benefit both sides, or hosting franchise law educational sessions, her in-depth knowledge, experience, and advocacy work are just what this organization needs to take our franchising advocacy efforts to the next level,” he said. “Plus, she will be assisting with prioritizing strategies for legislative advocacy and building alliances with those who understand and support the travel industry. This is a critical time for AAHOA, and Laura Lee will play a key role in getting the job done.”