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Igniting Inclusion: Hunter Hotel Investment Conference Achieves 51% Diversity in Speakers

The 35th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, held in Atlanta next week, is poised to make a significant impact in the hospitality industry by championing gender equality and diversity. With an impressive lineup of speakers and innovative initiatives, the conference underscores a commitment to fresh perspectives and inclusivity––more than half of presenters are from underrepresented groups!!


Shelia Johnson, CEO of Salamander Collection, and Rachel Humphrey, Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance at the 2023 Hunter Hotel Investment Conference
Shelia Johnson, CEO of Salamander Collection, and Rachel Humphrey, Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance at the 2023 Hunter Hotel Investment Conference


Milestone for Diversity: Over Half of Speakers at Hunter Conference Are Women and Underrepresented Groups

At the heart of this year's programming is the notable achievement of gender and diversity representation among the featured speakers, with 51% comprising women and members from underrepresented groups. This milestone is a testament to the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference's dedication to amplifying diverse voices, offering attendees a rich variety of insights and experiences.


The achievement is the result of a strong partnership and planning with the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance, and the hard work of the group's "Podium Committee" which aims to get more women on the speaker circuit.


“Every event benefits from having greater diversity of thought and balance across its speaker lineup. Showcasing speakers with a wide range of perspectives on the stage is a benefit for attendees while simultaneously ensuring greater visibility for these leaders, which will move the needle further on overall representation in the hospitality industry,” said Rachel Humphrey, founder of Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance. Adding, "The Alliance's Podium Committee, led by Rachel Vandenberg, has been raising awareness, advocating for change, and serving as a resource with hospitality industry conference organizers, and we are thrilled to see the forever impact these efforts are already having."


Innovative Sessions and Initiatives: Bridging the Gap in Hospitality Leadership


New to the conference this year is "The Table," an inclusive initiative that invites both registered and non-registered attendees to participate in roundtable discussions led by industry professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This initiative, developed in collaboration with the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance, aims to foster open dialogue and networking opportunities within the hospitality sector.


Cassie Kozyrkov, Google's first Chief Decision Scientist, and Oz Pearlman, a celebrated mentalist known for his engaging performances on major television shows, are among the distinguished speakers. They will be joined by industry leaders such as Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Anthony Capuano, President and CEO of Marriott International; and Leslie Hale, President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust. These sessions promise to deliver engaging discussions on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.


Empowering the Next Generation: Hunter Conference’s Collaboration with Universities and Industry Leaders


Another highlight is the student-focused panel, "Class of 2024," which reflects the Hunter Conference's commitment to nurturing the next generation of hospitality leaders. Featuring a mix of students and industry veterans, this session will explore the intersection of academia and hospitality, emphasizing the importance of education in shaping the industry's future.

With its focus on diversity, education, and forward-thinking discussions, the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference sets a new standard for industry events.

Lee Hunter, chairman of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, expressed pride in this year's programming. "As we celebrate our 35th conference, we continue to grow the program, perspectives, and topics year after year," he said, emphasizing the conference's dedication to innovation and inclusivity. With its focus on diversity, education, and forward-thinking discussions, the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference sets a new standard for industry events, demonstrating a commitment to not only addressing gender equality but also to fostering an environment where diverse voices can thrive


Final thought from Rachel Humphrey, "Women have a vital role to play in shaping the future of the industry. Representation on stages at conferences is one way to ensure that diverse perspectives are heard and further offers visibility which elevates careers. Intentionality like that of Hunter combats underrepresentation, inspires future generations, and creates a more inclusive and diverse community."


Well done, Hunter Hotel Investment Conference!! The conference runs from March 19-21, 2024 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. For more information including the conference schedule and registration details, please visit hunterconference.com

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