RLJ Holding’s Hale headlining Bharat Shah series at Hunter Conference

Hale is the first African American woman to head a publicly traded REIT

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Leslie Hale
Leslie Hale, president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, will join Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group, for the 10th Annual Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series at the 35th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference.

LESLIE HALE, PRESIDENT and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, will join Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group, for the 10th Annual Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series at the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference. The Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series was established and endowed in honor of Dr. Bharat Shah at Georgia State’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration, J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The upcoming series is scheduled for March 21, accessible to registered attendees, special guests, and Georgia State University students.

Hale is the first African American woman to lead a publicly listed real estate investment trust. She serves on the board of directors for Delta Airlines, is a trustee of Howard University, and is a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Currently, she is the board chair for the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Hale said she was honored to be included in the Bharat Shah series, she said in a statement.

“Reflecting on my professional journey, I have immense gratitude for the depth and breadth of experiences that have shaped me and the invaluable friends and mentors who have guided me along the way,” Hale said. “I am excited to share a few of the many lessons I have learned with those who will lead us into the future.”

Before joining RLJ in 2005, Hale held positions with GE in their Commercial Finance Group and Real Estate Strategic Capital Group. Previously, she worked as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate finance. Hale earned a BBA from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Goldman Sachs and Toigo Fellow.

“Leslie is a trailblazer who has continually shattered ceilings in the corporate world, epitomizing vision, resilience and excellence,” Shah said. “Her contributions continue to shape the hospitality industry and inspire our next generation of leaders.”

Over the years,  Shah has hosted conversations with various individuals, including his father Bharat Shah; the late Mark Elliott, president of Hodges Ward Elliott; Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp.; Tom Baltimore, president, chairman and CEO of Park Hotels & Resorts; the late Arne Sorenson, former president and CEO of Marriott International; Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton; Vince Carter and Grant Hill, NBA and NCAA basketball players, business leaders and philanthropists; Sara Blakely, founder and executive chairwoman of SPANX; Jesse Itzler, author and entrepreneur; and Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

“Leslie’s impactful leadership at RLJ makes her a perfect fit for the series,” said Lee Hunter, chairman of the Hunter Hotel Conference and chief operating officer of Hunter Hotel Advisors. “We’re excited to welcome her to the main stage at Hunter, where her remarkable journey in the hospitality industry will undoubtedly inspire and enlighten our attendees.”

“As HUNTER approaches its 35th year, the Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series continues to be a cornerstone, connecting our industry by showcasing diverse paths to success,” he said.

The Hunter Hotel Conference is set to take place at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis from March 19 to 21, targeting hotel owners, developers, and investors with a focus on education and networking.

Meanwhile, Shatterproof, a national nonprofit addressing the U.S. addiction crisis, will acknowledge Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp., at its seventh Hospitality Heroes Reception on Jan. 23 at J.W. Marriott in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Americas Lodging Investment Summit. Hoplamazian will be recognized for rallying hospitality leaders to raise awareness and address addiction stigma.