AHLA Foundation Announces its Newly Elected 2022 Board of Trustees

Photo of a boardroom, conference room with empty chairs — Diversity of boards concept:

WASHINGTON—The AHLA Foundation announced its newly elected 2022 Board of Trustees, which features its most diverse board to date and includes industry executives committed to advancing the Foundation’s mission to elevate, educate, and empower the hospitality workforce.

Tom Bardenett, executive vice president of asset management for RLJ Lodging Trust, will serve as the chairman of the board; Julienne Smith, senior vice president of upscale development and transactions and asset management at IHG Hotels and Resorts will take the role of vice chair; and Anu Saxena, senior vice president and global head of Hilton Supply Management, will serve as secretary and treasurer.

This year, the AHLA Foundation is taking on an agenda to recruit new employees into hospitality and help the industry recover from labor shortages. Looking forward, the Foundation is building on its efforts to advance DE&I efforts throughout the industry by launching a nationwide ad campaign, establishing an industry best practices guide, and creating training on inclusive leadership for industry executives. Additionally, the Foundation is expanding its empowering youth and apprenticeship programs, continuing to allocate more than $1 million toward two- and four-year hospitality students and advancing its critical work around human trafficking prevention, training, and awareness.

“I am truly honored to serve as the next Chairman of the AHLA Foundation’s Board of Trustees at such a critical time,” said Bardenett. “From the global pandemic devastating the hospitality industry to labor shortages impacting our workforces, the Foundation’s goal to attract, train, and retain a diverse talent pool could not come at a more vital moment. Through its robust agenda and life-changing programs, the Foundation continues to secure a brighter hospitality industry for generations to come.”


“The AHLA Foundation is privileged to welcome aboard the dynamic hospitality leaders that make up our 2022 Board of Trustees,” said Rosanna Maietta, AHLA Foundation President and CEO. “After the pandemic wiped out nearly 10 years of hotel job growth, we look forward to partnering with our Board to discover solutions toward reinvigorating the hospitality industry and its people. As we tackle an ambitious mission for the year ahead, I’m grateful to Tom and all the Trustees for the dedication and guidance as we seek to build and strengthen a diverse workforce.”

Bardenett has been engaged with the AHLA Foundation for numerous years, supporting and growing its annual golf fundraiser. He succeeds Greg Juceam, chief operating officer for Extended Stay America, who led Foundation through the critical years of the pandemic, spearheading the launch of a COVID Relief Fund for furloughed employees, and establishing an industry commitment of $5 million over five years to expand efforts on DE&I.

New members of the board appointed to two-year terms in 2022 include:

  • Anu Saxena, senior vice president and global head, Hilton Supply Management
  • Leslie D. Hale, AHLA vice chair, president and CEO, RLJ Lodging Trust
  • Jyoti Sarolia, chief operating officer, Ellis Hospitality Group
  • Ann Christenson, executive vice president, chief human resources officer, Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Lisa Borromeo Checchio, chief marketing officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
  • Scott Trebilco, managing director, Real Estate, Blackstone
  • Daniel del Olmo, president, Sage Hospitality Group
  • Raj Chandnani, executive vice president development, WATG, Wimberly Interiors (Non-Voting Trustee)
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