The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation has taken a significant step towards empowering women in the hospitality industry with its latest initiative, ForWard. Designed to promote the advancement of women into leadership and ownership positions within the hotel sector, this initiative is set to reshape the landscape of hospitality leadership.
A Holistic Approach
ForWard represents the merger of two influential programs: ForWard and the Castell Project. While ForWard initially began as an AHLA event, the Castell Project focused on accelerating the advancement of women leaders in hospitality. The AHLA Foundation’s acquisition of the Castell Project last year paved the way for this powerful merger. The result is a holistic initiative offering a range of resources, events, professional development opportunities, and community-building forums.
Key Components of ForWard
The ForWard initiative is structured to offer comprehensive support to women in the hospitality industry. Here’s an overview of its key components:
1. ForWard BUILD & ELEVATE (formerly Castell BUILD & ELEVATE)
This year-long curriculum encompasses skills-based workshops, career coaching, and leadership coursework, all aimed at providing women with a robust foundation for career success. It’s an invaluable resource for those looking to climb the ranks within the industry.
2. ForWardThinking (formerly Castell@College)
Hospitality students often require inspiration to envision their future career opportunities. ForWardThinking, a speaker series, fulfills this role by offering insights into the myriad possibilities within the industry.
3. The ForWard Network
At the heart of the ForWard initiative is a community of women leaders. This network brings together ForWard Ambassadors, the Friends of Castell, and Castell Luminaries to foster an environment of support, mentorship, and collaboration.
4. The ForWard Conference
The ForWard Conference, initially launched as an AHLA Foundation event, will continue to be a prominent feature of the initiative. This annual gathering provides a platform for networking, learning, and celebrating the achievements of women in hospitality.
5. The Peggy Berg Castell Award (formerly the Castell Award)
In a tribute to the legacy and dedication of the Castell Project’s founder, this award recognizes remarkable women leaders in the hotel industry.
A Vision for the Future
Anna Blue, President of AHLA Foundation, emphasizes the immense potential for celebrating, championing, and creating communities for women within the hospitality industry. AHLA Foundation is uniquely positioned to promote collaboration across the industry and invest in women who are driving progress within hospitality.
The merger of ForWard and Castell aligns with AHLA Foundation’s broader commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It allows for more extensive programmatic impact and unified strategic oversight. The Foundation plans to expand the ForWard Network, offering professional development opportunities on both local and national levels. These opportunities will facilitate regular in-person and online connections among women in the industry.
Join the Movement
The ForWard initiative represents a pivotal moment for women in hospitality. It acknowledges the industry’s incredible female talent and aims to provide them with the resources, support, and recognition they deserve. By embracing ForWard, you’re joining a community dedicated to elevating women in hospitality.
To learn more about ForWard and to register for upcoming events, visit AHLA Foundation’s ForWard page.
About AHLA Foundation
The AHLA Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is dedicated to supporting the people who make the hotel and lodging industry thrive. Through connectivity between employees, employers, and communities, the Foundation fosters a culture of professional growth and belonging. When individuals in the industry prosper, so does the industry itself. The Foundation is made possible by grants and charitable contributions from individuals and organizations committed to helping individuals succeed in the hotel and lodging industry. Learn more at www.AHLAFoundation.org.
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