Jim has a track record of driving change and business process improvements through strategies that streamline operations, drive brand awareness, and increase customer satisfaction. Jim's work at Hilton included leading teams to delivering record-breaking performance in highly competitive business markets and integrating operations post-merger/acquisition.Jim earned a B.A. in Public Relations from The University of Memphis. He has served Chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation West TN board and is currently a Board Member for WKNO, Memphis' public broadcast station.Read More
Jim is a highly accomplished Senior Executive and Board Member with 25 years of success in hospitality, lodging, resort, hotel, gaming, restaurant, spa, food & beverage, airline, and franchise. Leveraging extensive experience in international business, brand management, and product development, he is a valuable asset for a range of hospitality-related companies looking for turnaround, global branding, loyalty programs, and new products/services. His broad areas of expertise include leadership; board/investor relations; business analysis, strategy, planning, and development; operations and P&L management; brand creation and management; marketing strategy; consumer insight and data research; franchising; licensing; restructure; reorganization; transformation; plant and facilities upgrades and management; process improvement; change management; customer satisfaction; and team building. In his executive career, Jim has held several leadership positions at Hilton, including EVP, Global Brands, Marketing and Loyalty; SVP, Global Full-Service Brands; and SVP, Brand Management.
As EVP for Hilton, Jim was responsible for a $36B international portfolio of 13 leading consumer, full-service, and luxury/lifestyle hotel brands covering 5,000 locations across 105 countries. He directed worldwide brand marketing; product development (branded prototypes, food and beverage concepts, spa and fitness services, and guest technology). Globally Jim spearheaded development and launch of 4 major brands and instituted multiple series of high-impact digital innovations and apps system-wide. Jim earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in Economics and Political Science from University of Louisville. He has served on boards and advisory councils, including for American Lodging Association (Executive Committee), and multiple credit unions, hotels, and nonprofits. Jim is multilingual.Read More
S. Kirk Kinsell
Kirk is a Principal for Panther Ridge Partners, LLC, an investment and advisory group. His distinguished career includes time spent serving as President and CEO for Loews Hotels and 19 years with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where he held several leadership positions including President of IHG Americas. As president, IHG Americas, Kirk oversaw the management of more than 3,700 hotels and was responsible for development and performance of all IHG hotel brands and properties in the Americas. He was also president for IHG in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and served as executive director for IHG, PLC. Kirk's career also includes time spent in various executive positions with ITT Sheraton, Micell Technologies, Avado Brands and the Trammell Crow Hotel Company.
Kirk earned a B.A. degree in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Professional Studies degree from the Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration (SHA). He also completed the Senior Executive Program at the London Business School. He serves on the Board of Directors for Sonic Corporation and the Georgia Aquarium and is a Board Advisor to Oasis Collections and HP Hotels. Additionally, Kirk is Vice-Chair and Trustee for the AH&LA Educational Foundation.Read More
Raman (R. P.) Rama, B. Com, CHA Emeritus, CHAE, CHTP
R.P. is Principal and President of Sarona Holdings, an entity that is part of what was formerly JHM Hotels, one of the nation's largest privately owned hotel owner/operators. With over 37 years of hotel operations and management experience, R.P. previously served as Partner, EVP and Chief Technology Officer/Chief Information Officer for JHM Hotels. R.P. is past President of Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals (HFTP), an international organization with over 5,000 members worldwide, for which he also currently sits on the Board of Directors. He has received the organization's Paragon Award, its highest award given to hospitality industry leaders for their contributions to the industry and the organization. R.P. has also earned a variety of additional prestigious industry awards including the Global Most Valued CIO, awarded by China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA), in 2017 and the AAHOA RLH Corporation Technology Innovation Award in 2018.
R.P. earned a Baccalaureate Degree in Business and Accounting from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University (MSU) in Vadodara, India. He holds CHA, CHTP and CHAE designations and serves on the IHG Owners Association Council and the Marriott International IT Advisory Board. As a contribution to the industry, The Rama brothers set up a scholarship fund with AH&LA called the Rama Scholarship fund, of which 10 Universities are the beneficiaries. R. P. was has also started a Young Turks HFTP Student's Scholarship fund to bring students to HITEC and HFTP events. Recently they built 140 houses for the poor farm workers in their village, Sarona, near Pera Gurukul Supa in India. Guiding and mentoring students has been R.P.'s passion as he himself was a teacher teaching Economics and Business Management at St. Francis of Assisi Convent School in Navsari, India.Read More