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David Kong Inducted as 2010 AH&LA Chairman

Nancy Johnson, EVP and Chief Development Officer for Carlson
Hotels Worldwide, Elected Incoming Secretary/Treasurer

 New York, November 10, 2000 — During his inaugural speech last night at New York’s Waldorf=Astoria hotel, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) incoming chair David Kong, president/CEO of Best Western International, told an audience of industry leaders that his priorities lie in using the collective power of the industry players to emerge stronger and better in 2010.  The evening was also the kick-off to a year-long celebration of AH&LA’s centennial (1910-2010).
Kong noted that before the association was founded in 1910, it was every man for himself.  At the first meeting of the American Protective Association, a group of 60 maverick hoteliers met because they saw the need to collaborate.  “With so many specialized organizations having formed since then, we need to find a way to harness our power, to be better aligned, coordinated, and integrated for the voice of the industry to be heard in Washington.  There are many important battles ahead of us at the local and national level, and we need to synergize and find ways to work together more effectively to protect our industry,” said Kong.  
As someone who began his career as a busboy and dishwasher, David sees the importance of positioning the industry as a wise career choice for future leaders.  “To me it’s crucial to make an impact on people and to leave a legacy for having made a difference in someone’s life.”  AH&LA is using several events, including the Stars of the Industry awards competition and National Groundhog Job Shadow Day to celebrate industry legacies and reach out to 100 schools in 2010, respectively.  
“As we get ready to launch into 2010, I feel energized by the opportunities ahead for the hotel industry. For the past 100 years we have weathered world wars, depressions and many recessions, but we always emerge better and stronger and it will be this way again.  What a tremendous mile post it is to reach 100 years. A lot has changed since 1910, but the essence of our business has not,” concluded Kong.
The evening included a video highlighting AH&LA’s past, and each attendee received a copy of A Century of Hospitality, a book celebrating the growth of the association and the industry.   
With more than 39 years experience as a hospitality industry leader and innovator, Kong has served as president and CEO of Best Western International since 2004, spurring years of double-digit reservations system revenue growth and the brand’s highest member satisfaction levels. Before Best Western, Kong's managerial career spanned with top hotel brands, including Hyatt Hotels; Omni International; Regent International; and Hilton Hotels. Kong came to Best Western from KPMG Consulting's hospitality and real estate practice.
He is the 2007 recipient of the Lifetime Hotelier Leadership Award, presented by Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management for service to the hospitality industry.
November 9, 2000 — The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has elected Nancy Johnson, executive vice president and chief development officer for Carlson Hotels Worldwide – the Americas, Carlson Hotels Worldwide, as incoming secretary/treasurer of the board of directors.  Johnson will serve as association chair in 2012.
Johnson leads business development efforts for all of Carlson Hotels’ brands in the Americas including Regent Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and Park Inn.
Prior to leading franchise operations for full-service hotels and franchise development for Carlson hotels, Johnson served as executive vice president and brand leader for the company’s select service brands. Prior, she served as senior vice president of development, vice president of development, and senior director of franchise development for Country Inns & Suites.       
Before joining Carlson, Johnson was vice president/chief operating officer at Hospitality Development Corporation, and prior to that, held various leadership positions at Brutger Companies, Inc.
Johnson, a member of AH&LA since 1994, is the founding chair of AH&LA’s Women in Lodging Council.  Johnson also serves on the board of directors for The Travel Partnership Corporation (TTPC), a consortium of travel industry organizations representing key segments of the industry that provides the industry with a dedicated domain on the Internet, .travel.  
In 2002, Johnson received a Carlson Fellows award for individual sales achievement.  The Carlson Fellows award represents the company's highest career achievement honor and is presented to employees who best exemplify the qualities of leadership, creativity, and dedication, and who are considered to be true builders of the company.   She has also been named one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent magazine. 
Johnson attended St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., majoring in business marketing, and St. Benedict College in St. Joseph, Minn., where she studied business management.  She became a Certified Hotel Administrator in 1985.
“Nancy long ago broke the so-called glass ceiling in our industry and has served as a role model for women,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA. “As an active AH&LA member, I’m eager to have her expertise and insight at the executive level as begin the association’s next 100 years.”

Other 2010 AH&LA officers include Vice Chair John Campbell, general manager of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc.; Secretary/Treasurer Nancy Johnson, executive vice president/chief development officer, Carlson Hotels Worldwide; and Immediate Past Chair Joe Martin, owner/operator, Stillwater Hospitality.  These hoteliers are led by AH&LA President/CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA.  For more information on AH&LA and to receive a copy of Kong’s complete inaugural address, please contact Kathryn Potter at or (202) 289-3130.

Serving the hospitality industry for a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.


Kathryn Potter

Also See: Bjorn Gullaksen and Nancy Johnson Assume New Executive Vice President Roles at Carlson Hotels / January 2006

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