2020 Annual Conference and Gala - Presented by Upshift
Thank you for attending! #ItStartsWithUs

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A New Experience for OHLA Attendees

OHLA’s 2020 Annual Conference & Gala held on November 23 and 24 was just a bit different this year. For the first time in its 127-year history the association conducted their annual conference in a completely virtual manner. The week before the event, which was supposed to be held as a hybrid event at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, Ohio saw record numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported on a daily basis; a newly amended statewide mass gatherings order; announcement of a statewide curfew; and the issuance of strong local advisories including by the City of Columbus/Franklin County, the site of our Annual Conference. For those reasons, it was found that moving to a completely virtual format was best.

Despite not being in person OHLA still delivered top-notch education, recognition of the industry’s best, and the industry still came together as it does every year, just with a bit more physical distance in between. Attendees got to fully experience all conference content including eight live presentations, seven additional on-demand breakout sessions, live awards recognition, 18 virtual exhibitors, and our virtual silent auction bidding supporting the Education & Training Fund & Hospitality Helping Hands program.

Embodying this year’s conference theme of #ItStartsWithUs several sessions included the beginning of many necessary conversations including diversity & inclusion with industry thought leaders that set the stage for the work that we must do as an industry to provide more opportunities, service, and outreach to more diverse populations. There are mileposts we can reach every day to continuously achieve new goals, hear new perspectives, and break new barriers.

Revenue Management was another key topic this year as budgeting and revenue are top of mind as our industry looks to rebuild. Our speakers from varying levels of service shared their insights on what trends they are seeing in the market and ways managers can pivot their strategies to use those trends to their advantage. In the well-received session “Revenue Management’s Finest Hour?” Kelly McGuire with ZS Associates spoke to attendees about what hotel & lodging businesses should be focused on to make the correct moves and win in the depressed market.

Attendees also had the pleasure of hearing from Sharon Kennedy, Ohio’s Supreme Court Justice. Often overlooked, but in many ways critically important to Ohio’s businesses and economy, judicial elections present the chance to determine the leadership of this branch of government. Justice Kennedy discussed concerns facing hoteliers and the entire travel economy, including increased liabilities and legal actions for profit.

Even though we were not in person to celebrate the excellence of the individuals our industry has to offer it was essential that we recognize their achievements. With so many associates impacted by the pandemic, and those remaining who are giving everything they have to keep properties running and to service guests, we continued our tradition of recognizing the Stars of the Industry. In this year more than any other, it is right that we thank those who go above and beyond through recognition.

2020 AC Closing Session


Congratulations to our 2020 Ohio Stars of the Industry Award Winners!

Ohio Housekeeper of the Year
★ Carmen Lopez, The Tudor Arms Hotel Cleveland – A DoubleTree by Hilton

SEL Ohio Housekeeper of the Year
 Philip Cline, AC Hotel Cincinnati at The Banks

Ohio Server of the Year
★ Denny Eveland, Hyatt Regency Columbus

Heartland Ohio Front Desk Associate of the Year
★ Cassie Wild, The Tudor Arms Hotel Cleveland – A DoubleTree by Hilton

Heartland SEL Ohio Front Desk Associate of the Year
★ Haven Kulp, Aloft Columbus University District

P&G Professional Ohio Supervisor/Manager of the Year
★ James Konwinski, Hyatt Regency Columbus

P&G Professional SEL Ohio “Jack of All Trades”
★ Debby Kelly, Best Western Plus Dutch Haus Inn and Suites

BMS CAT Ohio Engineer of the Year
★ Alan Gregg, Hyatt Regency Columbus

BMS CAT SEL Ohio Engineer of the Year
★ Brian Crabbe, Residence Inn Columbus Downtown

Ohio Service Superstar of the Year
★ Jacque Thomas, SpringHill & TownePlace Suites Columbus Easton Area

Allied Member of the Year
★ BMS CAT of Ohio

HSMAI Signature Worldwide Sales Leader of the Year
★ Lauren Beach, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark

Motive CBD Unique Lodging of Ohio Property of the Year
★ Cedar Grove Lodging

Air Force One SEL Ohio General Manager of the Year
★ Kelly Williamson, Best Western Plus Dutch Haus Inn and Suites

Air Force One Ohio General Manager of the Year
★ Geoffrey Matwich, Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbus Airport

Ohio Hospitality Leadership Team of the Year
★ Granville Inn

Ohio Charitable & Community Involvement Award
★ Hyatt Regency Columbus


Congratulations to the statewide winners & nominees and thank you to all who supported OHLA through your attendance! 


Attention Current Registrants! Did you know you still have access to Conference content?

The on-demand sessions and recorded live sessions are available to you on the OHLA website! Go to the myOHLA tab and login with your OHLA credentials. Here you will receive continued access to our 2020 Annual Conference education! 

myOHLA can also be found here!



Monday, November 23, 2020

1:30 PM  General Session: Speaking One Another's Language
2:30PM Revenue Management's Finest Hour?
3:30 PM A Message from Ohio's Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy
4:00 PM Diversity & Inclusion: A Necessary Conversation
5:00 PM Ohio Stars of the Industry Gala Program

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

11:30 AM OHLA's Annual Business Meeting
12:00 PM Resilience! #ItStartsWithUs
1:00 PM Business Contingency & Continuity
2:00 PM Revenue Round-Up
3:00 PM Hope! #ItStartsWithUs
4:00 PM Short Term Actions & Long Term Outcomes: A Diversity Horizon

Don't Forget! -

We have additional On-Demand content available to watch anytime!


2020 Annual Conference & Gala Sessions

What does it mean to be resilient?
Our industry and our world are facing the greatest challenges of our lifetime. How do we keep morale going and bounce back from this?


Allied Insights: Conference Edition
Back by popular demand is a conference prep edition of Allied Industry Insights. Allied Members receive tools and guidance they need to establish long lasting and successful relationships with lodging professionals. This session will provide an opportunity to preview the attendee list, discuss key targets, get an up-to-date hotel pipeline, and have your questions answered by a panel of lodging professionals. This is the best way to prepare for a successful conference – don’t miss it!


Next Steps for Safe Stays

Psa Safe Stay Seal Ohla Final

National Partners from AHLA join us to set the course for the Safe Stay® program.


Owner/Management Reception: Ohio’s Judicial Leadership
Often overlooked, but in many ways critically important to Ohio’s businesses and economy, judicial elections present the chance to determine the leadership of this branch of government. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy joins owners, management company leaders, and other executives for a private reception and intimate discussion of concerns facing hoteliers and the entire travel economy, including increased liabilities and legal actions for profit.


Ohio Stars of the Industry Gala Dinner - Diversity & Inclusion: A Necessary Conversation
Our collective commitment to diversity, inclusion and opportunity for all is being tested. Our industry has great careers, but needs to connect those with more people from different backgrounds and races. We need to examine our outreach and our service to other diverse populations, including individuals with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community. This keynote discussion will feature thought leaders working for real change who will challenge us and help us consider the path forward.


Effective Communication: Speaking Each Other’s Language
Finding ways to allow communication to unify our teams has never been more important. Keynote Speaker Lewis VanLandingham discusses four basic behavioral & communication styles and how to identify them. By recognizing the strengths of each style, we can turn differences that often are a source of conflict into a source of strength for our team, and a means of building trust and influence.


Virtual Student Session: You’re Doing It Wrong.
What exactly are you doing wrong? Join us to find out! Learn from the experts what employers are looking for in an interview, faux pas that first-time jobseekers & interviewees commit, and how to make the best impression, even over a Zoom call.


Creating a Workplace They Never Want to Leave
This session focuses on building relationships, building teams, and developing them to create the type of environment where people don’t want to let the leader or team down, provide discretionary effort, and speak well of the organization.


Short-term Actions & Long-term Outcomes: A Diversity Horizon
The steps we take to address diversity, inclusion and opportunity must include immediate plans and actions to produce measurable results. Associates, clients, and the world won’t wait for change. While we need to keep long-term goals in mind, we also need to achieve mileposts in reaching new audiences, hearing new voices, and removing barriers. A panel of industry and partner representatives will help us focus on those immediate steps, while we think about the ultimate outcomes.


Business Contingency & Continuity
One pandemic lesson is that very few entities and organizations were as prepared for crisis and disruption as they thought. COVID-19 surprised the world economy in terms of its scope and rate of spread – but is it hard to imagine other scenarios, both global and local, that could have equal or worse impact on your operations? This action-packed session will include a tabletop exercise in disaster planning.


HSMAI Sales Track 



State of the Industry
In a world that has been disrupted in a way that was unthinkable a year ago, it’s essential to take a candid look at the health and prognosis of hotel & lodging and the travel economy. Every key performance indicator for hotels continues to lag, and national data shows troubling numbers for travel in the short-term. What do the numbers portend for 2021 and beyond?


Revenue Roundup
Revenue management is under the microscope. Gain insight from revenue leaders with different scales of operation on how they are shifting focus for 2021 and how that presents different challenges and considerations. Panelists represent upscale, independent properties to brand revenue management for a portfolio of 650+ properties, and everywhere in-between.


Revenue Management’s Finest Hour?
The pandemic presents unprecedented challenges to every hotel function including revenue management.  Revenue management is not only useful in periods of high demand, it can also help exploit the limited potential in a down market. Being able to make the right moves at the right time is the only way to win in a depressed market. This session will focus on what revenue management and the hotel in general should be focused on to get your organizations moving in the right direction.



ULO Track

ULO Logo 2018

ULO “Campfire” Reception
Mixing and mingling is a conference favorite pastime.The ULO Council is proud to host a compliant, safe reception for innkeepers and independent lodging professionals to connect with new friends and old around the “campfire.”


“Unique” Cleaning Challenges
Cleaning has always been an important part of operating a unique lodging property, but COVID-19 poses a whole new set of challenges. Join us as Durk Johnson with Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals addresses how you can maintain a heightened guest experience.


Marketing During a Crisis
How do you market travel to your property in a time when people have inhibitions about leaving the comfort of their home for some destinations? Learn how to pivot and take advantage of today’s new opportunities.


Protecting Your Business from Liability Threats – and other Hot Topics
Sam Lillard of the Fisher Phillips Law Firm will help unique lodging owners and operators navigate new legal threats, including Americans with Disabilities requirements, demand letters, human trafficking lawsuits and more. Bring your questions to take advantage of this opportunity to safely make your way through the swamp of legal challenges to your businesses.


2020 Annual Conference & Gala Speakers

Equality Ohio

Siobhan Boyd-Nelson (she/her/hers) joined Equality Ohio as the Development Director in
2018. She received her B.A. in Legal Communication from Howard University in 2002. She
returned home to Columbus and earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz
College of Law in 2005. Her involvement in Columbus’ LGBTQ community began shortly
thereafter and has included leadership positions on the boards of LinkOUT, Scarlet & Gay
(the OSU GLBT Alumni Society), and the Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation. Siobhan
practiced law in the domestic, probate, and appellate fields before entering the nonprofit
sector in 2012. At Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Siobhan served as the development and
marketing manager before moving to Stonewall Columbus where she led the community
center’s capital campaign. Siobhan is also a member of the Create Columbus Commission
and a board member of both Black, Out, & Proud and Move United Church. At Equality Ohio,
Siobhan is excited to strengthen LGBTQ philanthropy across the state and deepening our civic
commitment to lived and legal equality.


Mike Brighton leads Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT’s focus on hospitality, as the Vice President
of Hospitality Services. Mike joined the National Account Team with more than 23 years of
experience as an engineering leader across the east coast for Marriott International. During
his time at Marriott International, he graduated from the Advanced Engineering Program and
was honored with the 2011 Engineering Outstanding Leadership Award. In his most recent
position with Marriott, Mike was the Area Director of Engineering for the Southeast, where he
had responsibility for 125 properties, across all Marriott brands. Mike’s operational experience
and knowledge of the industry is an incredible asset. He knows first-hand what our customers
need and expect, but more importantly, he knows how to exceed those expectations. BMS Cat
responds to over 500 hospitality losses per year.

Red Roof

Alex J. Cisneros joined Red Roof as Senior Vice President, Revenue Generation in 2019. Alex
leads the Revenue Management and Analytics teams, charged with helping to grow revenue
and evolving the infrastructure to better support brand strategies. Most recently, Alex served
as the Vice President of Revenue Generation for Wyndham Destinations leading all aspects
of the revenue generation process including Revenue Management, Marketing, Analytics, Call
Center and Distribution for over 20 brands. Previously, Alex spent nearly a decade working
in Transportation, Telecommunications and Consulting for publicly traded companies and
startups. A native of Ecuador, Alex holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University and a MS
in Management and Hospitality from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Security 101

Tim Cook is part of Security 101’s team of seasoned security professionals who are ready
to handle any size commercial electronic security systems project or service needs. He is
an experienced Security Professional with a proven history of working in the security and
investigations industry. His skills include Crisis Management, Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV),
Intrusion Detection, Workplace Violence Prevention, among many other practices. Before
working at Security 101 he was employed as the Service Manager for a local IT company. He
holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Wright State University and a Master’s Degree in Criminal
Justice/Safety Studies from Grantham University. In his free time Tim enjoys reading, playing
golf, and participating in Jiu-Jitsu. He lives in New Carlisle with his wife and daughter.


Jason Dunn serves as the Group Vice President, Diversity Sales & Inclusion for the Cincinnati USA
Convention & Visitors Bureau. Jason has been a change maker in Cincinnati and within the national
hospitality industry for almost two decades, with a drive to redefine how the industry thinks about
multicultural and diversity meetings and their impact on the destinations. Since joining the CVB in
2004, Jason has led efforts to deliver significant new convention business and forged inroads with
the national multicultural & diverse meetings market. During his tenure, the number of multicultural/
diverse meetings in Cincinnati has represented more than one-third of all CVB new business from
2008-18, with a direct visitor spend of $200 million. Jason brings deep perspective and a successful
track record in connecting communities of all backgrounds to Cincinnati.

Columbus Regional Airport Authority

Kristen is the Director, Communications & Public Affairs, for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority
which operates John Glenn International, Rickenbacker International and Bolton Field airports in
Columbus, Ohio, USA. Kristen leads CRAA’s communications, customer service, business strategy,
community affairs and government relations functions. Her focus is to develop trust and confidence
with passengers and community partners as well as deliver an exceptional and welcoming customer
experience. Before joining CRAA in 2016, Kristen served as Vice President, Government Relations for
the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, her roles have spanned all levels of government
and various industry concentrations. Kristen was the Executive Director to the Office of Farmland
Preservation at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, worked in the Office of United States Senator
Mike DeWine as well as for the County Manager of Arlington County, Virginia.


Darren has a BSIT in IT Security and regularly works with companies to determine their cyber
resiliency and hygiene as it relates to their digital footprint. He has been with AssuredPartners
for over 21 years and works with associations, contractors, and manufacturers in developing risk
management programs to protect their balance sheets. He has helped develop courses on cyber
liability and risk reduction, and regularly teaches CE classes for financial services professionals.

Concord Hospitality

Micah has been with concord hospitality for over 5 years the last 3 of which as GM of the
Residence Inn Columbus Downtown. He has previously worked in the Dayton and Cincinnati
markets. Micah graduated with an MBA from Wright State University. When not at in the hotel
he spends time with his wife and 1 year old son.

Hamilton Insurance Group

Michael Hamilton graduated from Ontario High School before attending Ohio State University.
He has completed the Insurance program through the Fisher College of Business at Ohio
State University and is scheduled to graduate in December 2015. While at Ohio State, Michael
served as treasurer of Alpha Sigma Phi and currently serves on the House Corporation Board.
Michael is working currently on ARM, Associate in Risk Management and on earning his CPCU,
which stands for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter. Michael is a licensed agent in
Property, Casualty, Life and Health Insurance. Michael specializes on Commercial and Business


Theresa Flores, is a social worker, an activist, and an author, but she’s also, a survivor. For her,
the fight against human trafficking is personal. Teresa was “normal” teenage girl in a well-to-do
white suburban neighborhood, when she became victim to a human trafficking circle at the age
of fifteen. Twenty years later, Theresa is speaking out on the reality of human trafficking in the
U.S. She is the author of The Slave Across the Street and The Sacred Bath. She has been invited
as a guest on several shows including The 700 Club & The Today Show. Theresa was appointed to
the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission in 2009 and has testified before the
Ohio House and Senate in support of Human Trafficking legislation, aiding in the success of SB235
being passed into law by former Ohio Governor Strickland in 2010. Theresa has been named one
of the top influential women in the Greater Columbus area and was recognized by former Ohio
Governor Kasich, receiving the Courage Award for her work in human trafficking. Theresa is a
licensed social worker for more than 20 years. She received her Master’s in Counseling Education
from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Ball State University.

Red Roof

Ebony Holt has worked in Human Resources for 17 years, with the last 10 years in hospitality.
Ebony is currently the Interim Director of Human Resources at Red Roof, where she and her
team are working diligently on helping the organization navigate the “new normal”. Ebony has
always been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion and the social unrest of 2020 has
presented new opportunities to reevaluate and update the company’s approach to D & I.


Mr. Hommema received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the
University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign prior to beginning his career at Battelle, which is the
world’s largest, independent, not-for-profit research and development organization. He has
over 18 years of experience managing and conducting laboratory research involving biological
threat agents and surrogates, with specific emphasis on the dissemination, detection,
collection, and identification of biological aerosols. He has assembled and led multidisciplinary
teams of engineers, biologists, chemists, and others on multiple projects in the field of
aerosols, particularly in the areas of biological hazard and threat assessments, biological
detection test and evaluation, aerosol generation and characterization, environmental fate of
biological aerosols, and test methodology and facility development, all involving biological
agent surrogates and live biological agents under Biosafety Level Three containment.
OHLA Annual Conference & Gala / November 23-24, 2020 / 13


Dr. Hommema, received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Microbiology, cum Laude, with
Honors, from The Ohio State University. She worked as a microbiologist at Battelle Memorial
Institute prior to receiving her Medical Degree from The Ohio State University College of
Medicine. She completed her Family Medicine Residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital,
where she served as Chief Resident and was awarded Resident of the Year in Family Medicine.
She joined the faculty as an Assistant Program Director in 2011, was named a New Faculty
Scholar by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine in 2013, and awarded Family Medicine
Attending of the Year at Riverside. Her scholarly activity as faculty focused on resident
burnout and mitigation efforts, and she became a founding member of the Riverside Resilience
Team. In 2014, Dr. Hommema assumed the role of Program Director of the Family Medicine
Residency, and instituted a successful wellness curriculum throughout Graduate Medical
Education at Riverside. As Program Director, she served on the Riverside President’s Advisory
Council, OhioHealth Graduate Medical Education Committee, OhioHealth Primary Care Council,
and OhioHealth Physician Leadership Team.

Equality Ohio

Alana Jochum (she/her/hers) is an attorney and Executive Director of Equality Ohio. She
received her B.A. in English and B.S. in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University and has
been passionately engaged in the fight for LGBTQ equality at the local, state, national, and
international level for more than a decade. Alana spent time in Mumbai, India volunteering
with the Humsafar Trust, a nongovernmental organization working to advance LGBTQ equality
in India. After returning home, she worked at United Way of Greater Cleveland and continued
her LGBTQ volunteer work through the Human Rights Campaign. Alana attended Cleveland
Marshall College of Law where she served as Editor in Chief of the Cleveland State Law
Review. She became an Associate at Squire Patton Boggs, LLP where she focused her legal
practice on complex civil litigation, international law, product liability disputes and other
commercial litigation. Alana left Squire in 2014 to work with Equality Ohio full time where she
has the privilege of advocating for LGBTQ equality statewide.

Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals

Durk is currently a back of the house consultant that specializes in helping companies with
efficiency and productivity. He is also the Executive Director of VRHP, a national organization
that specializes in housekeeping, maintenance, and laundry principles and procedures.
Prior to his current roles, Durk, was the Vice President of Meredith Lodging where he over
saw housekeeping, maintenance, and owner relations. Durk was previously the Director of
Housekeeping for Vacasa in Portland, Oregon. Before Vacasa, Durk was the chief operating
officer of Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Durk previously served as the
chief operating officer of Meyer Services where he worked to diversify the services offered
to property owners and unify back-of-the-house operations. Durk also served as the senior
guest sales manager for Meyer Vacation Rentals, where he was responsible for implementing
a search tool to assist sales agents to find the best vacation property for potential guests, and
for raising the morale of the sales team.

Cannabis Safety First

Tim is a United States Air Force Veteran and retired Law Enforcement Officer. Upon leaving
the military he received his degree in Applied Science Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice.
In 1993 Tim received his certification from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and after
20 years of service he retired. During his tenure he worked with various task force units from
federal to local drug interdiction and high profile subject protection security services. Tim
found experience in many fields as a field training officer, hostage negotiator, critical incident
team, investigations, community relations and defensive tactics Instructor. Tim earned state
certifications as a train the trainer in crime prevention, personal safety, business security and
for safe school programs developing and implementing many of his own safety programs
into the local school districts and the business community. After retirement, Tim created his
company Cannabis Safety First and began consulting services in safety packaging, facility
security, safety training methodologies and educational awareness programs in the growing
cannabis industry. Over the past five years Tim participated in the development, creation and
implementation of Ohio HB523, Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.


John A. Kelley III, CHIA, joined Newmark Knight Frank Valuation & Advisory in 2018 and serves
as vice president in the Cleveland, Ohio, office. A nine-year hospitality and leisure real estate
veteran, Mr. Kelley has substantial expertise in the valuation and advisory of amusements,
aquariums, convention and conference centers, campgrounds and stayaway camps, hotels and
resorts, waterparks and other leisure-related assets. He has completed appraisals and studies
on assets ranging from less than $1 million to more than $600 million throughout the United
States and the Middle East. Mr. Kelley joined Newmark Knight Frank after serving as a senior
associate for about three years with a small Cleveland-based hospitality and leisure appraisal
and consulting firm. In this capacity, Mr. Kelley was responsible for completing appraisals,
feasibility studies, economic impact studies, impact studies and operational reviews for various
hospitality-related assets.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice

Prior to her term on the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy served at the Butler County
Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division beginning in 1999. From 2005 until
December of 2012, Justice Kennedy served as the administrative judge of that division. During
her time as administrative judge, she improved the case management system to ensure
the timely resolution of cases for families and children. Working with state legislators she
championed a “common sense” family law initiative to reduce multiple-forum litigation for
Butler County families. When Butler County faced tough economic times, Justice Kennedy
organized concerned elected officials in a county-wide Budget Work Group. Seeing the need
to bring private sector financial know-how to the government, she worked to create the
Advisory Committee to the Budget Work Group. Justice Kennedy served as the facilitator and
led discussions between county officials and private sector leaders to analyze county finances,
study and implement cost saving measures, and present business driven fiscal policy to the
county commissioners.

Fisher Phillips LLP

Samuel Lillard is a partner in the firm’s Columbus office. His practice focuses on general
employment litigation, arbitration, and mediation. Samuel is a seasoned litigator with over 20
years of experience in representing employers in all Ohio and federal courts, as well as a number
of regulatory agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the
Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Department of Labor (DOL), the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA), and the Office of Unemployment Compensation. He also advises
both private and public sector employers on various employment and personnel matters,
including issues that arise under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), drug testing policies, workplace safety, sexual harassment, employee
discipline, wage-hour matters, protecting trade secrets and confidential corporate materials,
and the drafting and enforcement of non-compete/nondisclosure agreements. Samuel is also
an allied member of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, and a frequent lecturer to the
hospitality industry on various employment topics, including public accommodations under the
ADA. Samuel been included in Ohio Super Lawyers every year since 2009.


Kevin Lloyd, a serial entrepreneur, is the Founder of Lloyds of Columbus, LLC, ColumbusBlack.
com, MYLE (Make Your Life Entertaining), Co-Director of BLK hack Columbus, Co-Founder of
Venture Suite, Color Coded Labs and The Ohio Collective. Lloyd is known for an exemplary
career as a highly successful Retail Executive with more than 20 years of operational and
customer service experience in his prior career. His experience consists of high levels of
operational excellence resulting in business results exceeding $400M annually while effectively
leading teams in excess of 1300 employees amongst brands including Sears, Old Navy, Best
Buy, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods. As an entrepreneur over the past 15 years, Lloyd has
acquired a reputation for establishing strong brands and innovative marketing campaigns by
leveraging lifestyle-based marketing, social media and event activation engagement strategies.
Lloyd is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Organizer with Columbus’
Volunteer Organization, Can’t Stop Columbus. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Tuskegee
University and is the Past President of the Columbus Tuskegee Alumni Club and 1st Assistant
Director for the Tuskegee National Alumni Association, North Central Region.

Hotel Equities

Jihad Lotfi is a Regional Director of Revenue Management with Hotel Equities after the recent
merger of The Witness Group and Hotel Equities. Previously, Jihad was Vice President of
Revenue Generation with The Witness Group responsible for all revenue management, sales,
and marketing efforts. Jihad led significant organizational and process changes to improve
efficiencies and effectiveness while focusing on cultivating a focus on asset revenue and market
share. Prior to that, Jihad spent a decade with White Lodging in the revenue management
department with his last position as Market Director for the Chicago Market. During that time
Jihad did revenue management across the US for branded hotels as small as 75 rooms to 1004.
Originally from Lebanon, Jihad holds his BS Hospitality and MBA from Purdue University.

Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

Nicole is the General Manager at The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. In her 13 years there she has
been a Licensed Massage Therapist, a reservation agent, a breakfast cook, the office manager
and the Assistant Innkeeper. As General Manager her focus is revenue management and staff
development, but she works in every department as often as possible. She loves working with
so many diverse staff and enjoys meeting travelers from all over the world. In her free time
she loves to travel with her husband, Ian and step-daughter Mikayla. Her favorite place on this
earth is Pelee Island, Canada.

ZS Associates

Dr. Kelly McGuire is Managing Principal, Hospitality, ZS Associates, where she is responsible
for helping global hospitality clients improve their commercial strategy and operations, and
to find impactful uses for data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning to support
their commercial strategy. She recently served as senior vice president, revenue management,
distribution and direct marketing for MGM Resorts International, where she oversaw strategy
and execution of revenue management, distribution and direct marketing for MGM’s Las
Vegas resorts, and guided the selection and implementation planning for MGM’s revenue
management and distribution technology roadmap. Prior to joining MGM, Kelly served as vice
president, advanced analytics at Wyndham Destination Networks where she led a team of
scientists and developers that built custom analytical solutions for Wyndham’s vacation rental
business, as well as the RCI exchange. Before joining Wyndham, she was executive director,
hospitality and travel global practice at SAS, the world’s largest privately held software
company, where she specialized in analytics solutions for hospitality and travel companies.
Kelly is an author and analytics evangelist.

Ohio State University

Lori Patton Davis, PhD is one of the most highly respected, accomplished and influential scholars
in the field of higher education. She is author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, book
chapters and other academic publications appearing in venues such as The Journal of Higher
Education, Teachers College Record, Journal of College Student Development, Urban Education
and International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Her research has been cited in more
than 6,000 publications and funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation, Lumina Foundation,
American Psychological Foundation and an array of other entities. She has served on seven
editorial boards for journals in the field of education and was previously associate editor of QSE.
She was the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J Equity and Inclusion
Officer for six years. The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) members elected
her to a two-year term as the first Director of Equity and Inclusion on the Association’s national
governing board. Lori has received many national awards for her scholarly contributions and was
recognized in the Edu-Scholar Rankings among the top 200 educators in the United States. She
is a frequently sought-after expert on a wide range of education topics. The Chronicle of Higher
Education, Inside Higher Ed, Huffington Post, Diverse Issues in Higher Education and dozens of
other media outlets have quoted Lori and featured her research. She has also advised university
presidents and other senior administrators, philanthropic foundation executives, culture center
directors, and educators in urban K-12 schools.


Kiersten Pearce serves as the Vice President of Member Engagement & Services for AHLA.
Kiersten’s role is to ensure that AHLA continues to deliver a compelling value proposition model
to the more than 26,000 members across all membership categories. Kiersten comes to AHLA
with extensive experience within the hospitality industry and most recently project managed
AHLA’s Consumer Innovation Forum (CIF), where she served as Director of Industry Relations at
Kalibri Labs for nearly four years. Prior to joining Kalibri Labs, Kiersten worked at Qatar Airways,
where she managed direct online sales and OTA relationships for the Americas, and at MICROS
E-commerce (formerly TIG Global), where she maintained corporate relationships with hotel
brands such as Hyatt Hotels Corporation and KSL Resorts. Kiersten holds a Bachelor of Science
in finance from Virginia Tech.

Associated Risk Managers of Ohio

Terry began his career with Lloyd’s of London brokers, worked in London, Latin America,
Bermuda and New York City before settling in Ohio. With senior marketing and management
experience for insurance companies, wholesale underwriters and intermediaries, specialty
insurance service companies, reinsurance brokers and insurance agents, he is a past President
and a current Director of Ohio’s specialty lines insurance association (OAPSLO), a recipient
of the Professional Insurance Agents of Ohio Insurance Person of the Year award for services
to their MarketMaker Task Force. Terry currently serves as Executive Director for Associated
Risk Managers of Kentucky and Ohio, a network of independent insurance agencies offering all
forms of insurance.

Kalahari Resort & Conventions Sandusky

Jerry Simon is the Director of Sales at Kalahari Resort & Conventions, Sandusky, Ohio A 33
year veteran of the Ohio hospitality sales and convention industry, he has been with Kalahari
Resorts since 2009. Jerry leads the group sales and catering teams for the 890 room resort
and convention center destination. Likewise, he is a member of the Kalahari leadership team
and assists with the day to day revenue management of the resort. As the COVID-19 pandemic
has drastically altered the hospitality and meetings environments, Jerry embraces the
challenges facing the industry as we all strive to adjust, re-invent, and forge ahead in the post
pandemic era.

Ice Miller LLP

Catherine Strauss is an adviser and advocate for employers with workforces in Ohio and
nationally. She is also a skilled coach to human resource professionals and business executives.
Preferring practical outcomes based on a keen knowledge of the law and common sense
judgment, Catherine is an effective adviser in managing risks and conflict avoidance.
When disputes are unavoidable, Catherine is a tenacious trial attorney, having successfully
represented employers and businesses in all types of legal proceedings, both in Ohio
and nationally. She comes to Ice Miller after working as Associate Corporate Counsel for
Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Jacksonville, Florida. While there,
Catherine managed Regency’s nationwide litigation and disputes. She also counseled on risk
avoidance and matters involving bankruptcy, use restrictions, public takings, lease covenants,
development and tenant issues. Prior to Regency Centers, she worked at Schottenstein Zox &
Dunn Co., LPA where she represented businesses in litigation and disputes.


Nikki’s career started with Donatos at our Brice Road location when she was just 15 years
old. With a passion for people and operations she moved through many positions including
Restaurant General Manager, District Manager and Director of People and Culture. Nikki is now
leading a dynamic People Services Team that is focused on building and supporting a diverse

Air Force One

Twenty-five years of building automation programming and implementation experience with
consistently increasing responsibilities in design management and process control design;
project needs analysis, presentation and product development; instrumentation. Proven
ability to effectively manage large-scale projects and develop strategies for project flow and

Sandler Training

Lewis VanLandingham, a Sandler Training franchisee in metro Columbus, Ohio, is a highly
acclaimed speaker and trainer who works with business leaders, professionals and salespeople
to help them learn new ways to communicate more effectively, sell more strategically and
lead more intentionally. With over 25 years of professional sales and management experience,
he has won numerous awards for sales achievement.. Sandler Training is the largest training
organization in the world and has been helping business leaders and salespeople achieve more
success for over 50 years. He and his wife have six children and two grandchildren.


Vogelmeier Consulting, LLC

Dana Vogelmeier launched Vogelmeier Consulting in 2016 after working for 33 years for a
Fortune 500 company. During her tenure she worked for more than 25 years leading teams.
She currently takes that leadership experience and her education to serve other teams develop
workplaces that people love. Her area of expertise is in employee engagement. Dana holds
an undergraduate degree in Business, a master’s degree in Leadership, a designation of
Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) and is a facilitator for The Association
of Talent Development (ATD). She is actively involved at the local and national level with the
Association of Talent Development and with Rotary International.


Shelly Weir serves as Senior Vice President of Career Development for the American Hotel &
Lodging Association and its 501c3 Educational Foundation where she oversees the strategic
vision of workforce development. She supports the AHLA and Foundation agenda through
career development to help strengthen the lodging industry workforce, and leads efforts to
direct employee recruitment, retention, and upskilling programs while promoting the industry’s
career pathways. In her role, Shelly also drives the lodging industry strategy and oversight
of AHLA’s apprenticeship programming. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Committee
on Attracting Businesses to Apprenticeship under President Trump’s federal task force on
apprenticeship expansion. In 2018, she orchestrated a groundbreaking initiative to enable a
cost-free college degree for hotel associates nationwide—the first of its kind industry wide
program. Prior to joining AHLA, Shelly spent seven years with the American Hotel & Lodging
Educational Institute where she led workforce development, post-secondary, and high school
market sales for certification and curriculum programs.

Weirick Communications

Prior to starting Weirick Communications, Amy Weirick honed her storytelling skills—
working in the media trenches—during more than 10 years at the editor’s desk. She served
as Television News Producer and Broadcast Reporter in radio and television newsrooms in
Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In 1991, Amy was awarded television’s celebrated Emmy Award
for Best Newscast. A frequently published author, Amy’s book, “Daytrips from Cincinnati,” is
in its fourth edition. Amy is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society
of American Travel Writers and the Midwest Travel Writers Association. In May, 2006 Amy
was awarded the prestigious Blake-Whidden Award for excellence in tourism public relations
by the active members of the Society of American Travel Writers. Amy managed the Public
Relations Office of the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism. There, she was responsible for
communications planning and management of all day-to-day public relations, industry
relations, promotion and communications activities for Ohio’s tourism office.

Experience Columbus

Dan Williams is the Vice President of Sales at Experience Columbus. In this role, he is
responsible for overseeing the convention sales and services departments, including satellite
offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C. He also develops short- and long-term sales strategies
and coordinates efforts with Columbus hotels and facilities. Prior to joining Experience
Columbus, Dan was Vice President of Sales at Destination Cleveland. Dan is a Certified Tourism
Ambassador (CTA) and an active member of Destinations International (DI), Professional
Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Society of Association Executive
(ASAE) and the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP). In addition to his
professional commitments, Williams visits schools and works to engage students of diverse
backgrounds to consider careers in the hospitality industry.


2020 Exhibitor Toolkit -

Anything and everything you would need to know about exhibiting at the 2020 OHLA Annual Conference all in one place!

Download the 2020 Toolkit Here!

Exhibitors at the 2020 OHLA Annual Conference & Gala





CareWorks Comp



Evolution Energy Partners




IGS Energy




Motive CBD

Segar Consulting 

Signature Worldwide

Spectrum Enterprise


WVC RubixCloud

​2020 OHLA Annual Conference Sponsors -- Thank you for your support!


Presented by

Upshift Logo



Segar Consulting Logo Innovative Displays




CareWorks Comp TPA LandCare Logo
Spectrum New Logo




Heartland IGS Energy August 2020


Receptions & Activities

Eep 2 Color Logo No Tagline CareWorks Comp TPA
Motive CBD



Psav Rlogo Color


Ohio Stars of the Industry Naming Rights 

Afo Tm Logo Horz Tag Cmyk R Bms Cat Logo
Heartland Signature Worldwide
Procter & Gamble Motive CBD



Interested in being a Sponsor for our Annual Conference?

Help us prove that safe, compliant events can happen in person and be a part of the event itself! We have many sponsorship opportunities still available. Contact halle@ohla.org for more information!