Industry News
December 7, 20236 min read

Leslie Hale, President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, to Headline the Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series at the 35th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference

Finance Events & Conferences Real Estate & Investment

ATLANTA – The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, Noble Investment Group, and Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration, Georgia State University, are pleased to announce Leslie Hale, President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, will join Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group, for the 10th Annual Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series.

Ms. Hale is the President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust (NYSE: RLJ), one of the premier public companies in the lodging and hospitality sector. Before joining RLJ in 2005, she held senior positions with GE in their Commercial Finance Group and Real Estate Strategic Capital Group. Previously, Ms. Hale was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, advising on mergers, acquisitions, and corporate finance. Ms. Hale earned a BBA from Howard University (summa cum laude) and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Goldman Sachs and Toigo Fellow.

A widely respected thought leader, Ms. Hale is the first African American woman to lead a publicly listed real estate investment trust. She serves on the board of directors for Delta Airlines, is a trustee of Howard University, and is a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She is currently the board chair for the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

I am honored to join Mit, Georgia State University, and the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference for the 10th Annual Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series. Reflecting on my professional journey, I have immense gratitude for the depth and breadth of experiences that have shaped me and the invaluable friends and mentors who have guided me along the way. I am excited to share a few of the many lessons I have learned with those who will lead us into the future, said Ms. Hale.

The Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series was established and endowed in honor of Dr. Bharat Shah at Georgia State’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration, J. Mack Robinson College of Business. An immigrant to the United States who was inspired by the transformative power of education, the vision for this series is to share the intimate and diverse personal journeys of icons whose stories of struggle, perseverance, commitment, and faith have led to the realization of the American Dream.

Leslie and I have been close friends for many years. She is a trailblazer who has continually shattered ceilings in the corporate world, epitomizing vision, resilience, and excellence. Her contributions continue to shape the hospitality industry and inspire our next generation of leaders, said Mit Shah.

Over the years, Mit has brought us into the living room for candid conversations with his father, Bharat Shah; the late Mark Elliott, President of Hodges Ward Elliott; Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Tom Baltimore, President, Chairman, and CEO of Park Hotels & Resorts; the late Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International; Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton; Vince Carter and Grant Hill, world-renowned NBA and NCAA basketball legends, business leaders, and philanthropists; Sara Blakely, Founder and Executive Chairwoman of SPANX, and Jesse Itzler, NY Times best-selling author and entrepreneur; and Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

With her remarkable journey in the hospitality industry and impactful leadership at RLJ, Leslie is a perfect fit for the 10th Annual Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series. We are thrilled to welcome her to the main stage at HUNTER, where she will undoubtedly inspire and enlighten our attendees with her story. As HUNTER approaches its 35th year, the Bharat Shah Leadership Speaker Series remains a cornerstone at the conference as it connects our industry by highlighting the diverse paths to success, said Lee Hunter, Chairman of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference and Chief Operating Officer of Hunter Hotel Advisors.

Leslie Hale and Mit Shah will take the main stage of the HUNTER Conference on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at 12:30 p.m. at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The session is open to registered attendees, special guests, and Georgia State University students.

About Noble Investment Group

Noble is an award-winning real estate investment manager specializing in the travel and hospitality sector. With a track record spanning three decades, the firm has invested over $5.0 billion in communities throughout the country, adding value across cycles and creating thousands of jobs. PERE has named Noble one of the Top 200 Global Investment Managers, and the firm has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work.

As a fiduciary to foremost pensions plans, endowments, and foundations, Noble's endeavors help to preserve and grow our limited partners' capital, which assists in providing retirement benefits for our country's teachers, law enforcement, firefighters, other pensioners, and financial resources for students to attend college. For more information, please visit

About Hunter Hotel Investment Conference

The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference is an education- and networking-focused event for hotel owners, developers, and investors. The 35th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference runs from March 19-21, 2024, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Long recognized as one of the top national hotel conferences, HUNTER aims to provide accurate industry performance and trend information alongside networking and educational opportunities. The conference is presented by Hunter Hotel Advisors, the nation’s leading investment advisory firm focused exclusively on the hotel industry. For additional information on the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, please visit

About Georgia State University

The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration within the J. Mack Robinson College of Business are co-founders of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference. Georgia State University provides its world-class faculty and more than 52,000 students from over 130 nations and territories with unsurpassed connections to opportunities in one of the 21st century’s great global cities. A national leader in graduating students from diverse backgrounds, including more than 3,000 international students, more African American students graduate each year from Georgia State than any other public or nonprofit higher education institution in the United States. Georgia State is the #1 public or nonprofit university in Georgia to confer undergraduate and graduate degrees to African Americans, Asians, and Latinos. It is ranked the #2 most innovative university and #1 public university for its strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Hunter Hotel Advisors

300 Galleria Parkway | Suite 620
Atlanta, GA 30339
United States

Phone: 770-916-0300
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