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Check In with Kendra Plummer, Winner of the ISHC Lori Raleigh Award

The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) has named Kendra Plummer as the recipient of the annual Lori Raleigh Award for Emerging Excellence in Hospitality Consulting. Plummer was honored at the ISHC annual conference held in Prague, Czech Republic.

L to R: ISHC CEO Andrea Belfanti, Kendra Plummer, and CHMWarnick Managing Director/EVP Kristie Dickinson.
L to R: ISHC CEO Andrea Belfanti, Kendra Plummer, and CHMWarnick Managing Director/EVP Kristie Dickinson.

Kendra is the founder of Elise Capital, which she established in 2019, a hotel-focused, real estate investment and consulting firm dedicated to providing access to hotel investment opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities. A big part of her mission for the company stems from educating and serving as a champion to individuals so that they can become hotel owners. Fun fact: 80% of Kendra’s clients have been women and 95% are first-time hotel owners

Prior to launching her own company, Kendra's career included positions at leading firms in hotel operations, asset management, and acquisitions/development, where she ultimately sourced and structured over $500M in hotel deals.

In addition to her professional advisory practice, Kendra dedicates a significant amount of time to coaching and advising students at all levels. She served as an adjunct professor for two years at Gwinnett Technical College, where she taught Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management. She sits on multiple boards and is active in several organizations focused on increasing diversity within the hospitality industry including the African American Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, and She Has a Deal. Plummer received a degree in Tourism & Hospitality Management from Temple University and an MBA in Real Estate and Finance from the University of Miami.

Clearly a busy lady, we caught up with Kendra when she was back from the ceremony.

Congrats on the ISHC Lori Raleigh Award, Kendra! Are you excited?

Yes, and very honored! The Lori Raleigh Award for Emerging Excellence opens opportunities for new generations of industry leaders to advance past barriers creating a space for new thoughts and ideas to be heard. As our industry continues to evolve, developing networks of impactful leaders is critical. I’m humbled to join the ranks of the talented group of awardees before me and look forward to being part of the esteemed network of ISHC as I continue to make an impact on this industry. As the winner, I receive a one-year associate membership to the ISHC which will allow me to experience all that the Society has to offer through planned events and interacting with top hospitality industry consultants from around the globe.

Your focus on getting more women and minorities seems to have been ahead of the curve as major brands like Wyndham, Marriott, and Red Roof have recently announced enhanced efforts to educate and help women get into hotel ownership. What excites you most about this?

Progress cannot be made without all sides of the industry acknowledging the foundational issues of barriers to entry. It excites me that major companies are spotlighting the issues new entrants into the industry face.

What challenges remain for women looking to get into hotel ownership and investment?

Access to the industry remains an issue. Whether it's access to capital or access to the right team to advocate and support throughout the process, connecting to the necessary players in this industry proves to be difficult for many.

Who inspires you most right now?

Every individual who is standing up for change and creating their own path is an inspiration to me. It’s a journey where you’re constantly going against the grain. It takes a lot of motivation and perseverance to see the mission through.

As we are about to head into a new year, what are your predictions for the hotel industry for 2023?

What a loaded question in times of so much volatility! Over the past few years, our industry has proven its resilience and desirability as transactions continued to take place. Although the markets continue to change, I see transaction volume picking up through 2023 with more strategic financing in place and hopefully one of those transactions being Elise Capital’s next deal.

Quickfire with Kendra:

What is your morning routine?

I try to ease into my mornings before the hustle of the day begins. My morning routines are catching up on news headlines, reading, a gym session, and having a good breakfast.

What do you do for self-care / exercise?

Being an entrepreneur often on the go, I like my workouts to be quick with high energy. To get my days started with a small win, I challenge myself with a HIIT workout with the goal of performing even slightly better than the previous week.

What is the biggest misconception about hotel ownership?

Often times we paint a picture of what hotel ownership is, but the reality is it's different for everyone. What I love about our industry is at the ownership level, you can choose how hands-on or hands-off you want to be. Our industry gives more pathways to ownership than most people think.

What is your top travel hack?

Typically traveling for me is running from meetings to airports with minimal time in between. Anything that can cut a line down at the airport is essential for me! Precheck, Global Entry, and CLEAR are probably my favorite subscriptions.

What is the best advice you ever got?

Success typically comes from mastering certain skill sets. Many of us look at how others have achieved success and may try to mimic it. The best advice I’ve ever received was to master something and make it your own. Everyone’s journey is not your journey, we each have to do what’s best for us as individual personalities with unique circumstances.

What is the worst?

Stick to what you’re good at. This advice can be useful in certain situations, but in the grand scheme of things, sticking to only what you’re good at develops a pattern of complacency. I’ve learned that I grow the most when I’m taking risks.

What book/Netflix/podcast are you into right now?

I always enjoy learning about other people’s stories. "How I Built This" by Guy Raz is one of my favorite podcasts.


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