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Over 500 Attendees at the 7th Annual Women in Leadership Forum

Media Contact: DP&A, Inc / David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /

Over 500 Attendees at the 7th Annual Women in Leadership Forum 
Hailed as “Renaissance Coming”

Hotel Council of San Francisco Event to Empower Women in the Hospitality Field Featured Keynote Address by Eleni KounalakisLieutenant Governor of California Among Other Industry Leaders

29 June 2023 – San Francisco, CA: To paraphrase the famous Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox duet, “Sisters did it for themselves” on Friday, June 23 at the Women in Leadership Forum from the Hotel Council of San Francisco ( The 7th annual event at The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco was an overflow crowd of “woman power” cheered on by such luminaries as Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of CaliforniaLinkedIn Career Expert; Catherine FisherBrooke Jenkins, San Francisco District Attorney; Marisa Rodriguez of Union Square Alliance; Papia Gambelin of United Airlines; Jyoti Sarolia of Ellis Hospitality; Carla Murray and Keri Robinson of Marriott International. Moderating the event was award winning journalist Ella Sogomonian of KRON 4. Theevent was sponsored by Alaska Airlines with additional support from sponsors Expedia Group, United Airlines, Fisher Phillips, and Big Bus San Francisco

“Diversity, equity and inclusion is not a nice to have, it’s a must have and the reason that San Francisco’s hospitality industry is the best in the world,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “In a country where 55 % of the population is female, putting women’s concerns and women’s wisdom at the forefront of our agenda is smart business.”

The event featured keynote speeches, fireside chats, panel discussions on topics such as combatting imposter syndrome, creating a healthy work-life balance, understanding and leveraging one’s network, broadening communication and negotiation skills, and finding passion and clarifying career goals. 

This year, the event raised over $ 2400 for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco in support of their mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible,and caring citizens. 

“Women leaders intuitively understand the power of giving back which is what the partnership with the Boys & Girls Club is all about,” said Bastian. “It was so inspiring to hear the many personal and professional stories shared this year. The energy was palpable. This is the first wave of the Renaissance coming to San Francisco’s hospitality and tourism economy.”

The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.

Below is a full list (alphabetical by last name) of the speakers and presenters at this year’s Women in Leadership Forum.

Nina Bankar, Vice President of Customer Success, Calm

Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco

Andrea Card, Senior Winemaker Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Judy Cronkhite, Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Americas, Hyatt Hotels

Tiffany DeHaan, Vice President, Strategic Planning, Alaska Airlines

Franco Finn, Community and Activations Lead, Alaska Airlines

Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn Career Expert

Jean Fraser, CEO, Presidio Trust

Papia Gambelin, Managing Director State and Local Government Affairs, United Airlines

Gail Isono, General Manager, Harbor Court Hotel

Brooke Jenkins, San Francisco District Attorney

Lisa Kershner, General Manager, SFO Waterfront Marriott

Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of California

Jill Kuehler, Founder & CEO, Freeland Spirits

Tazeen Lanani, Managing Director, Alaska Airlines

Terry Lewis, Complex General Manager, Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco

Carla Murray, President, US Full Service Western Region, Marriott International

Anna Marie Presutti, Vice President and General Manager, Hotel Nikko San Francisco

Mary Rezek, The No Bullsh*t Executive Coach, TED Speaker Coach

Nicole RitthalerAgent Sales Manager, Big Bus Tours

Keri Robinson, Area Vice President, Marriott International

Marisa Rodriguez, CEO, Union Square Alliance

Jyoti Sarolia, President & CEO, Ellis Hospitality Group

Alexandra (Ally) Siegel, Vice President & Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion- Talent, Expedia Group

Ella Sogomonian, Anchor, KRON4