Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

August 24 + 25, 2021

virtual conference speakers

Adam Farmerie

Design Trends Update – The New Normal

Founded by 4 original partners – Greg Bradshaw, Adam Farmerie, Kristina O’Neal, and William Harris – New York-based AvroKO has established a new paradigm in the hospitality industry.Today, AvroKO has studios in New York City, Bangkok, San Francisco and London with over 200 design staff across the globe. Their growing portfolio of critically hailed interior design work expresses a humming conversation between the ideals of the past and off-beat sensibilities that point to the future, between cultural memory and social interaction, and between the physical, emotional, and psychological realms. 

Adam Rolston

Design Trends Update – The New Normal

Adam Rolston has been engaged in the practice of architecture since 1985, was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended Syracuse University School of Architecture, where he studied both in Syracuse and in Italy under the influence of the northern Italian Rationalists. Adam has served as the Senior Designer and Project Architect for many large-scale, commercial office, residential condominium, private residential, hospitality, and retail projects in Southeast Asia, Europe and New York. He is known for his keen attention to detail, his ability to tackle the design and planning of complex projects at a variety of scales and for his careful attention to client and user needs. Adam is a registered architect in the State of New York, a member of the AIA New York chapter and the USGBC.  INC is an open source, multi-disciplinary, architecture and design studio, with experience in a wide range of project types from big to small that specializes in the integration of the design disciplines.


Allison Reid

Owners’ POV – Insight, Investment, Resiliency

Allison Reid is a tenured hotelier, with a history of success in development, real estate investment, finance, brand management and operations. Reid currently serves as Kimpton’s Chief Development Officer, leading a team of dedicated and knowledgeable development executives to sign new management agreements.

Amar Lalvani

CEO Lifestyle Brands Talk – Rethinking What’s Next

Amar Lalvani is CEO of Standard International (the parent company of Standard Hotels) and CEO of Bunkhouse Group. Prior to leading the investment and formation of Standard International he was Chief Investment Officer for Andre Balazs Properties and held various executive roles with Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts including leading the global development of W Hotels. Prior to that, Amar worked for The Blackstone Group and began his career with Starwood Capital Group. In addition to serving on the Boards of Standard International and Bunkhouse Group, he was a founding investor and Board member of Peloton Interactive, and partnered with Chef Alex Stupak to form and launch the Empellon restaurant group. Amar has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Zobler

CEO Lifestyle Brands Talk – Rethinking What’s Next

Andrew  Zobler is the Founder & CEO of the Sydell Group, known for creating and managing unique hotels deeply rooted in location and architecture. A pioneer in the hospitality sphere, Zobler’s core expertise is an ability to identify and collaborate with original talent within the    world of design, food & beverage, and retail and bring them together in the creation of compelling new hotels that engage the communities around them.

Ashley Wilkins

Emerging Trends: Leading – Edge Concepts in Wellbeing

Ashley Wilkins founded Islyn in 2017 as a way to shift design into a kinder, more meaningful place. With a decade of experience at a wide swath of design firms, including Ace Hotel Group, Rockwell, Avroko and Creme Design, Ashley is well-versed in the inner workings of large-scale hospitality, retail and commercial projects.

Brad Nichols

Owners’ POV – Insight, Investment, Resiliency

Mr. Nichols oversees all design, capital improvement, and new development initiatives for Geolo Capital. With 14+ years specializing in commercial development and project management, Mr. Nichols has overseen the design, construction, and opening efforts for a wide range of assets.

Brad Wilson

CEO Lifestyle Brands Talk – Rethinking What’s Next

Brad is President and co-partner of Atelier Ace and the Ace Hotel Group, where he oversees growth and operations, and helps create new hotels and collaborative projects. Back to his roots, surrounded by innovative energy, he joins the Atelier team in developing projects, developing culture and creative processes that seek to transform the industry.

Bruce Ford

How to Be in Business in the Hospitality Business: A Paradigm of Thought for the Future in a Post-Coronavirus Environment

Bruce is a recognized expert in lodging market intelligence and development trends, with in-depth knowledge of global markets and brands. Since 1995 he has collaborated with most of LE’s global client base and has helped them develop sales strategies and market penetration programs necessary for their success.

Carl Long

Ask the Purchasers

Carl Long, Senior Vice President of PMI, earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from TCU. His is a member of the Founding and Allied Executive Member Committee for AAHOA. He is active in children’s ministry and is an advocate for foster children.

Christina Zimmer

Owner Update and Outlook

Christina Zimmer is an architect, designer and an industry-leading expert in the hospitality field.  As Highgate Hotels Senior Vice President of Design, Christina works on a variety of projects all over the US and Europe in various stages of the development process.  

Chip Conley

New York Times bestselling author Chip Conley is the hospitality maverick who founded Joie de Vivre, and helped Airbnb’s founders turn their fast-growing tech start-up into a global hospitality brand. In Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder he shares his unexpected journey at midlife—from CEO to intern—learning about technology as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, while also mentoring CEO Brian Chesky. Chip is the founder of the Modern Elder Academy, where a new roadmap for midlife is offered at a beautiful oceanfront campus in Baja California Sur, Mexico. He serves on the board of and the advisory board for the Stanford Center for Longevity. For more on Chip, see

Clay Markham

Hospitality’s Future: The Hybrid

Clay Markham leads the hospitality sector with a dynamic design and management approach to architecture, interior design and construction management. Through more than 30 years in the industry, Clay has worked extensively on international projects, allowing him to apply diverse market experiences to a variety of project types from single-use environments to large-scale master plans to mixed-use projects. His compelling designs and successful project delivery skills have resulted in award-winning projects for top-tier clients including Marriott, Starwood Hotels and MGM Mirage.

Craig Amos

Owner Update and Outlook

Craig Amos serves as Executive Vice President Design + Construction for RLJ Lodging Trust, a self-advised, publicly traded real estate investment trust focused on owning premium-branded, focused-service and compact full-service hotels. RLJ’s portfolio consists of 103 hotels with approximately 22,570 rooms located in 23 states and the District of Columbia and an ownership interest in one unconsolidated hotel with 171 rooms.

David McCaslin

Owners’ POV – Insight, Investment, Resiliency

Mr. McCaslin has 42 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is a Co-Founder of the original CapStar Hotel Company in 1987. In 2015, Mr. McCaslin joined HHM as Executive Vice President.  There he oversees acquisitions for the firm’s private investments and heads up asset management of those assets.

David Rockwell

David Rockwell, FAIA, is the founder and President of Rockwell Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm based in New York with satellite offices in Los Angeles and Madrid that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project. Merging theater, performance and architecture to create extraordinary experiences and built environments across the globe. Notable projects include the Hayes Theater (New York); Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions (New York); TED Theater (Vancouver, BC); the headquarters for Warner Music Group (Los Angeles); Nobu restaurants and hotels worldwide, including Nobu Downtown and Nobu Hotel Barcelona; The Shed (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect); and set designs for more than 60 productions, including Kiss Me Kate, Tootsie, She Loves Me, Kinky Boots, and Hairspray. Honors include a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for She Loves Me; the 2015 AIANY President’s Award; the 2008 National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for outstanding achievement in Interior Design; the 2009 Pratt Legends Award; and the Presidential Design Award


Donnie Madia

Emerging Trends: F+B 2020 and Beyond

Among the world’s most acclaimed restaurateurs, Chicago-born Donnie J. Madia has mastered the art of collaboration to execute his unerring instincts for style, atmosphere and hospitality. His unique blend of visionary inspiration, attention to detail, and sense of unlimited possibilities informs all he touches, as evidenced in Blackbird, avec, The Publican, The Violet Hour, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Dove’s Luncheonette, Publican Quality Bread, Café Cancale, Publican Tavern O’Hare and Pacific Standard Time. His gift for connecting talented individuals and business acumen was recognized by the James Beard Foundation in 2015, when he was awarded Outstanding Restaurateur.

Dwayne MacEwen

Hospitality’s Future—The Hybrid

Dwayne MacEwen is the founder and creative director of DMAC Architecture, a Chicago-based studio specialized in architecture, interiors, product, and furniture design. Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, the firm’s work spans a wide range of typologies and scales—from hotels, health clubs, airport lounges, restaurants, casinos, sportsbooks and spas to custom furnishings, fixtures, and client branding.


The son of a builder from Prince Edward Island, Canada, Dwayne comes to architecture through construction. Dwayne’s pragmatic preparation for his career in architecture remains important in the structural and functional integrity of his designs. He consistently seeks and responds to opportunities for design innovation that are not confined by style. Instead, Dwayne takes a user-centered approach to create spaces that fulfill the client’s needs while maintaining the highest architectural standards.


Ian Schrager

He needs no introduction, but part visionary, part social scientist, part businessman—with a gift for integrating art and commentary—Ian Schrager has chronicled an unequivocally successful cultural narrative, from Studio 54 to the advent of the boutique hotel.

And now with his latest re-imagination, the PUBLIC and EDITION brands, he may be saving the best for last. In a rare appearance, hear him discuss his venerable career, the making of the Studio 54 documentary, and the importance of perseverance and taking chances.

Jason Maringola

Emerging Trends: F+B 2020 and Beyond

Jason, with his 15+ years of hospitality design, has always had an appetite for developing notable hotels and restaurants that are both nationally and internationally recognized. As the Hospitality Design Director at Streetsense, he provides mentorship to his staff, leading teams of creative thinkers to conceive thoughtful, evocative experiences for clients and guests, all the while keeping great service and attention to detail at the core of every design.

Jeremy Levitt

Emerging Trends: F+B 2020 and Beyond

Jeremy Levitt is the principal and owner of New York City-based architecture and design firm Parts and Labor Design. Levitt and longtime friend Andrew Cohen decided to open their own firm in 2009 in order to push the bounds of creativity and to produce highly customized interior spaces, furniture, and lighting.

Jim Merkel

Owners’ POV: Insight, Investment, Resileincy

Rockbridge CEO James ‘Jim’ Merkel has two decades of experience building hospitality, investment, and operating brands. Jim has always focused on creating great teams while providing the vision for how to grow, lead, and strategically take advantage of an always evolving landscape.

Joan Cardy

Ask the Purchasers

Joan Cardy founded The Cardy Group in 1999 and continues to oversee the company’s project and procurement activities. Her extensive industry experience, lasting relationships with clients and vendors, and her team’s proven procurement skills and project management expertise, provide clients with valuable service and quality products from a global resource base. As a time-tested procurement source for furniture, fixtures, equipment, operating supplies, and consumables, The Cardy Group collectively has more than 200 years of global development experience in the hotel, resort, spa and vacation ownership industry.

Joe Eikelberner

Ask the Purchasers

Joe Eikelberner joined the Benjamin West team as Chief Financial Officer in December 2012 and promoted to Chief Operating Officer in March 2015. He is responsible for the day-to-day leadership and general management of the company.  He previously held the role of CFO at Crestcom International, a global franchisor of management training with franchises in over 50 countries. In this role, Joe led the finance, strategic planning, technology and human resource functions. In addition, he managed relationships with the company’s private equity owners and other lending institutions.

John Cooper

Owner Update and Outlook

John Cooper’s 28+ year career in hotel development, renovation, and design has included positions as VP of Design & Construction of Stormont Trice Corporation, Principal & EVP of Noble Development Group, LLC, Senior VP Design & Development of Rockbridge Hotel Development, and now back with Stormont Hospitality as Principal & EVP of Design and Construction.

Josh Wyatt

Hospitality’s Future – The Hybrid

A highly engaged and driven entrepreneur, organizational leader, and investor in hospitality, leisure, wellness and real estate asset classes, Josh Wyatt is currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of NeueHouse, and credited with creating and scaling the world’s first design-led, global hostel business—Generator Hostels. Josh recently led the $30 million round of funding for NeueHouse in order to invest further into its existing operations and programming platform and to scale by adding new locations across North America. Previous to NeueHouse, after a successful $550m exit for Generator Hostels in May 2017, as well as leading the initial launch of Equinox Hotels, Josh launched a consultancy business in the hospitality and lifestyle space focusing on the intersection of hospitality, brand, wellness and community-driven business models. During 2017-2018, his projects have included assembling the luxury lifestyle hotel strategy for Meyer Bergman’s £500m Whiteleys project in London culminating in the signing of Six Senses, assisting Gaw Capital in the $335m purchase of the Standard Highline, and serving as an advisor to the NeueHouse Board of Directors in 2018, leading to the successful recap of the business by Gaw Capital and Barry Diller’s family office.

Joshua Radoff

NEWH Green Voice: Technology for Healthy Buildings

Josh is a Senior Vice President with WSP and leads WPS’s Built Ecology practice. Josh works on a range of horizontal and vertical sustainable buildings and infrastructure projects, including those pursuing high level sustainability goals such as Net Zero Energy, WELL and LEED certification.

Kane Sarhan

Emerging Trends: Leading-Edge Concepts in Wellbeing

Kane Sarhan is the CoFounder & CCO of THE WELL. Prior to THE WELL, he was Head of Brand of SH Group, Starwood Capital Group’s hotel brand management company that oversees the development and management of the Firm’s two luxury lifestyle hotel and residence brands, 1 Hotels & Homes and Baccarat Hotels & Residences.

Kevin Boehm

Emerging Trends: Leading-Edge Concepts in Wellbeing

Kevin Boehm is the co-founder of Boka Restaurant Group in Chicago, Illinois. Over the past 27 years he has opened 30 restaurants and is a 3 time finalist for Best Restaurateur in America at The James Beard Awards.

Linda Laucirica

Design Trends Update—The New Normal

Linda Laucirica’s passion for experiential design, coupled with a love for travel and story-crafting, has fueled her distinct perspective of interior design through a narrative lens. As the Americas’ continent Senior Director of Design and Project Management for Marriott International’s full-service Lifestyle Brands, Linda is currently involved in Property Improvement Plans (PIPs), operating property renovations, and new development projects including Le Meridien Clayton, St. Louis (MO); Autograph Collection, Halifax, Nova Scotia (CN); and Renaissance Milwaukee West (WI), to name a few.

Building on a career at award-winning design firms, Linda made the jump to the brand side, joining Marriott International in 2015 to deliver on the “Spontaneous Discovery” strategy for Renaissance Hotels, Marriott’s first Lifestyle brand. With the Starwood merger, in addition to Renaissance, Linda’s portfolio includes design direction for Le Meridien, Westin, Autograph Collection, and Tribute Portfolio. Marriott International, Inc. is the world’s largest travel company with 7,000+ properties in 134 countries and territories.

Maki Nakamura Bara

Owner Update and Outlook

Maki Nakamura Bara, President and Co-founder of The Chartres Lodging Group, is a leading expert in redeveloping and  repositioning luxury resorts, urban hotels, convention hotels and conference centers. Her expertise has involved over $1 billion of renovation initiatives with The  Chartres Lodging Group. Recently, in recognition of her extensive experience in the lodging sector, particularly in acquisitions, asset  management, development management, and her role in the growth of the companies, Maki was recognized as the top “40 Under 40” by M&A  Advisor. She also received the “Best Executive” Stevie Award for Women in business and was named a “Woman of Influence” in commercial  real estate by Real Estate Southern California magazine. Maki’s previous experience includes participating in the formation and growth of the  lodging activities of Lend Lease Real Estate and Strategic Hotel Capital. She has also worked at Oxford Capital Partners, Inc. and  PricewaterhouseCoopers, the hospitality industry’s leading consulting firm. Ms. Bara is a graduate of UCLA, fluent in Japanese and has  extensive hospitality industry experience throughout the United States and Japan.

Marion Emmanuelle

Emerging Trends: F+B 2020 and Beyond

Having worked with the AvroKO family for over 10 years, Marion brings to Brand Bureau a comprehensive and dynamic hospitality expertise including; restaurant development, operations, marketing and strategic growth.

Matt Berman

Design Trends Update – The New Normal

Matt Berman is a founding principal of New York City-based architecture and interior design firm Workshop/APD, established in 1999. Since founding the firm, Matt has built an enviable roster of work that runs the gamut from sleek urban lofts to luxurious family homes, high-end multi-family developments to trend-setting restaurants.

Michael Coolidge

Owner Update and Outlook


Mitch Parker

Ask the Purchasers


Neil Locke

Ask the Purchasers


Nicole Hammer

NEWH Green Voice: Technology for Healthy Buildings


Nina Etnier

Hospitality’s Future – The Hybrid


Raul Leal

CEO Lifestyle Brands Talk – Rethinking What’s Next

Shelly Lynch-Sparks

Emerging Trends: Leading-Edge Concepts in Wellbeing

Scott Ellis

SCOTT ELLIS has directed extensively from Broadway to TV.  Among his directorial credits on Broadway: Tootsie, Kiss Me, Kate, She Loves Me, You Can’t Take It With You, On the Twentieth Century, Elephant Man, Edwin Drood, Harvey, Curtains, Twelve Angry Men, 1776, Company, Steel Pier, Month in the Country, Picnic. Off-B’way: Amy and the Orphans, Dada Woof Papa Hot, Tom Durnin, Streamers, Good Boys And True, Waverly Gallery, Flora the Red Menace, World Goes ‘Round. TV: “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Divorce,” “Christmas Story Live,” “Weeds,” “30 Rock” (Emmy nom.). He has been nominated for 8 Tony Awards and is Associate Artistic Director of Roundabout Theatre Company.

Siobhan Barry

Design Trends Update – The New Normal

With 20 years of experience designing high-profile retail, restaurant, and hospitality environments, Siobhan has built a reputation for dynamic, modern interiors that delight the senses and capture the imagination. An innovative and passionate designer, Siobhan and her work have been featured in design publications around the globe and won numerous accolades. Her clients — among them the world’s leading developers, retailers, hoteliers, and restaurateurs — look to Siobhan for what they can’t find anyplace else: revolutionary interiors that prioritize the experiences of their guests and instantly raise the profile of their businesses. She leads clients to develop authentic, engaging brands through a fearless process of discovery, always focused on embracing bold solutions and thinking big.

Stacey Greene

Owners’ POV – Insight, Investment, Resiliency

Stacey Olson

NEWH Green Voice: Technology for Healthy Buildings

Stacey serves as the Southwest Regional Design Resilience leader and Director of Sustainable Design in the Newport Beach office, specializing in integrated sustainable design and strategic thinking for all practice areas. Her holistic approach includes facilitating eco-visioning sessions, managing third party certification; materials and health + wellbeing research, and development of both internal and external educational content.

Wade Fischer

Owner Update and Outlook

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