The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) held its ForWard Conference at the Hilton Chicago for the first time in person since 2019. Professionals from all aspects of the hotel business networked and engaged in career development opportunities.
The convention schedule included keynote speakers, panels, and breakout sessions meant to provide attendees with the information they might use in their jobs. The event, themed “ForWard momentum,” focused on lessons gathered throughout the years and propelling women into the future of hospitality.
Vice President, Conferences, and Events for AHLA Katie Moore said there were “a few reasons” that “momentum” served as ForWard’s theme. “First, ForWard itself has benefited from enormous momentum since its start. We’ve invested greatly in the program, not just by joining forces with industry leaders like Castell Project, but also in the development of new programs and resources for the advancement of women in the hotel industry.”
In a video address, outgoing ForWard Advisory Committee Chair Laura Fuentes explained that choosing “momentum” as a theme worked for the conference because “we wanted to pause, honor, and celebrate women’s resiliency over the pandemic and the fact that they have worked harder and pushed further than ever before.” That momentum, velocity, and speed got us here.”
Chip Rogers, President, and CEO of AHLA shared statistics from the previous year, including the fact that, while there are more women in the hotel industry than ever before, according to the Castell Project’s 2022 Women in Hospitality Leadership Report, the numbers of those in leadership aren’t moving quickly enough to make actionable change.
Rogers further stated that the merging of the AHLA Foundation and Castell will help to elevate more women in the business.
“AHLA and the AHLA Foundation along with the Castell Project have had a long history of investing in and advancing women in hospitality…Together, we will continue to elevate women and create forums and programs intended to advance women in hospitality,” he said.
In addition, Rogers revealed findings from an AHLA analysis conducted in collaboration with Morning Consult, which examined the employment preferences and demands of today’s workforce.
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