Be prepared. That Boy Scout motto is one that brothers Jay and Neil Shah have taken to heart nearly all their lives. And they’ve reaped the rewards.

The men, now top executives at the Hersha Hospitality Trust, were honored last week as as Hospitality Industry ‘Good Scouts’ by the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The award dinner, which raised record levels of funding and was spearheaded by Chair Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp., recognized the Shahs for distinguished leadership and exemplary community service.

In addition to the significant funds raised, the Five Diamond Rittenhouse Hotel, acquired by Hersha in March and managed by Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM), is chartering a Learning for Life Explorer Post.

The BSA Learning for Life program gives young men and women from 14 to 20 years old an opportunity for career education through real world experiences, at companies ranging from the Philadelphia Phillies to PECO. The Rittenhouse Explorers have already started mentoring youth interested in the hospitality industry.

Cradle of Liberty Council Chairman and General Manager of the Union League Jeff McFadden presented both of the honorees, noting their contributions to the community, as well as their professional leadership in hospitality and business. CEO Jay H. Shah is CEO of the lodging trust and Neil H. Shah is president and COO. They are the sons of Hasu and Hersha Shah, founders of the Hersha Group, a hotel development, management and investment organization.

‘Not only is this an honor for Neil and myself, but it is also recognition for Hersha and the 4,300 associates that serve our guests and the communities in which we operate,’ said Jay Shah, a ranked Life Scout. ‘Scouting gave me valuable lessons about duty, honor and a sense of values. Those lessons informed and sustained a point of view that guides a culture of success at the company.’

The evening’s events were made possible by generous sponsorships from a variety of companies and individuals including The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Loews Hotel Corp., Starwood Capital Group, Temple University, Philadelphia Magazine and The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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