New York City, during his inaugural speech at The Sheraton New York & Towers, 2001 American Hotel & Motel Association (AH&MA) Chairman John Russell, executive director, Cendant Travel Division, pledged to advance external and internal awareness of the hotel industry through å“bold initiatives aimed at increasing membership, inclusiveness, and community involvement.”
During the next year, Russell vowed to focus on the importance of reaching out to the youth of America. Through a partnership with the General Colin Powell-led America’s Promise - The Alliance for Youth, AH&MA hopes to give its members the opportunity to do good works in their communities, while at the same time introducing young people to the various career opportunities available in the hospitality industry. “What we must do to cultivate the future greatness of this industry is to reach out into the community, to grow and nurture our relationship with America’s youth,” Russell told a capacity audience.
Russell also discussed the changing nature of the hospitality industry. He cited the importance of creating alliances with other travel industry associations to address common concerns, and the importance of embracing new hybrids of lodging properties. The 24-year industry veteran examined the increasing need for inclusiveness, stating that “As we embark upon this new century, we need to make sure we embrace all of these segments, to help them educate their workers, to be their advocate on Capitol Hill, and to advise their leaders.”
Finally, Russell announced the formation of a new Chairman’s CEO Council to encourage the industry’s top executives to take part in AH&MA industry-wide initiatives. “By engaging these people, we will be able to benefit from their wisdom, while they will have an up-close opportunity to learn about the features and benefits of AH&MA.”