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AHLA Foundation Announces Expansion of Initiatives Aimed at Elevating Women in Hospitality

  • American Hotel & Lodging Association
  • 09.19.23
AHLA Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), today announced its new ForWard initiative to support the advancement of women into hotel industry leadership and ownership.

The ForWard initiative represents the merger of ForWard – which began as an AHLA event – and the Castell Project into one brand offering a suite of resources, events, professional development opportunities, and community-building forums to develop a pipeline of women leaders in hospitality. The Castell Project, a legacy brand focused on accelerating the advancement of women leaders in hospitality, was acquired by the Foundation last year.  

The ForWard initiative’s new portfolio includes: 

  • ForWard BUILD & ELEVATE (formerly Castell BUILD & ELEVATE): a year-long curriculum of skills-based workshops, career coaching, and leadership coursework to develop a foundation for career success. 
  • ForWardThinking (formerly Castell@College): a speaker series to help hospitality students envision future career opportunities. 
  • The ForWard Network: a community of women leaders that brings together ForWard Ambassadors with the Friends of Castell and Castell Luminaries.  
  • The ForWard Conference will continue under this combined initiative as an AHLA Foundation event.  
  • The Peggy Berg Castell Award (formerly the Castell Award) that celebrates remarkable women leaders in the hotel industry was renamed to give tribute to the legacy and commitment of the Castell Project’s founder.  

“There is tremendous opportunity for us to do more to celebrate, champion, and create community for women,” said Anna Blue, President of AHLA Foundation. “AHLA Foundation is uniquely positioned to collaborate across industry and invest in the women who are advancing hospitality.”  

The merger of ForWard and Castell complements AHLA Foundation’s industry-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and allows for unified strategic oversight and greater programmatic impact. The Foundation plans to grow the ForWard Network locally and nationally, expanding its professional development offerings to provide more regular opportunities for women to connect both in-person and online. To learn more about ForWard and register for upcoming events, visit www.AHLAFoundation.com/Forward.  


The AHLA Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, works to support the hotel and lodging industry’s greatest asset – our people. By connecting employees, employers, and their communities, we seek to continuously nurture a culture of professional growth and belonging. When the people who work in our industry thrive, the industry thrives along with them. The Foundation is funded by grants and charitable contributions from generous individuals and organizations who want to support individuals seeking opportunities to thrive in the hotel and lodging industry. Learn more at www.ahlafoundation.org

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