WASHINGTON, D.C. — AHLA Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), honoured Julienne Smith, Chief Development Officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, as the 2023 recipient of the Peggy Berg Castell Award. Presented at The Lodging Conference on September 20, the award highlights women trailblazers who are paving the way for more women to rise to the top of the hospitality industry.
Smith actively supports women through mentorships and sponsorships and partners with organizations that help women navigate the hotel ownership process. She spearheaded IHG LIFT, an owner growth program focused on creating more hotel-development support for historically under-represented groups within IHG and across the hospitality industry. Smith’s roles include serving on the IHG’s Global and Americas Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Boards, AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees and industry conference advisory and planning committees, including AHLA’s ForWard.
“Increasing representation of women as well as other diverse and under-represented groups in the hospitality industry is something I’m passionate about as it builds upon our already powerful foundation and will ultimately strengthen our entire industry,” says Smith. “I’m honoured to be in the same company of incredible women who have previously been recognized with this award, and I’m very grateful to the AHLA Foundation for this recognition.”
“The beauty of this award is the spotlight it puts on the women in this industry who are championing and elevating women, continuing the tradition of Peggy Berg (for whom the award is now named),” says Anna Blue, president of AHLA Foundation. “Julienne’s leadership is inspirational; she’s leaving an important mark on this industry in so many ways.”