Teamwork makes the (American) dream work


When I reflect on my three-decade career in hospitality, I often think about the folks who were in charge and what their leadership philosophy looked like. Having strong direction and influence from someone who truly cares makes a huge difference.

As I drop the interim title and become AAHOA’s President & CEO, I’m humbled by the prospect of working alongside our AAHOA Officers, Board of Directors, and the AAHOA Team to help guide the organization to new heights.

I like to lead by example, and I’m also a strong believer in teamwork. Everyone should participate in the process, and nothing gets accomplished alone. You might have noticed in our Daily Digest that my signoff quickly became, “We are Team AAHOA, and we have so much more to accomplish together.”

It was easy to come up with that closing, since I intend to share responsibility for our ambitious accomplishments and goals with Team AAHOA. I have strong roots in the organization, and it’s obvious how far AAHOA has come during the past three decades and counting. Throughout my stint as Interim President & CEO, I hit the ground running, working closely with the Board, team, and members to get input on how AAHOA can grow and evolve during the next 30 years.

We may have connected if you attended AAHOA’s events during the past few months or maybe you’ve seen pictures on social media. Not only do I plan to lead by example, but I intend to continue attending as many events as possible. After all, we’re all in the business of people and hospitality is what we’re all about.

In the short term, I’m learning about the immediate needs of AAHOA and its members, and through many conversations, we’re together strategizing what’s working and what needs improvement. I’m taking the time every day to get a better understanding of our community outreach, advocacy goals, membership needs, education, and the list goes on.

But overall, long-term thinking is our short-term strategy. I’m working closely with my team to determine how the decisions we’re making today will impact AAHOA five or 10 years from now. We’re setting goals and analyzing trends now to ensure future growth in the long term.

The hospitality industry has faced tremendous setbacks during the past year and a half, and it could get worse before it gets better. Right now, we indeed live and operate our businesses in unpredictable times. I’m excited to step up to the plate to help challenge the status quo, enhance communication and outreach, and bring new ideas and new thinking to the table. AAHOA is prepared to evolve with the fast-changing industry and lead the way as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and consider the long-term implications of living in a world – and operating businesses – where uncertainty is the new normal.

AAHOA has always been a leader in the industry and will continue to play a huge role in shaping how the industry develops, changes, grows, and adapts. As you may have heard, our recent Oxford study showed AAHOA represents more than 60% of the hotels in the United States. And by leaning into our vision to be the foremost resource and advocate for America’s hotel owners, we strive together to grow that representation even more in the coming years.

We want to continue to be a trusted information source by monitoring trends and constantly improving. AAHOA strives to be innovative and adaptable, and our long-term strategy includes partnerships and collaboration with other industry leaders.

I plan on listening, inspiring others, and encouraging creative thinking and solutions to take AAHOA into the future. I’ve always encouraged my team to reach out to me whenever they need me, as I’ve made it clear that I want to be approachable and supportive. I truly believe a team is only as strong as its leader, and working together is how we get results.

But this isn’t only for my team. Recently, at an event I spoke at, I looked out at the audience and saw many young professionals. I told them all to take out their cell phones and save my phone number and to reach out to me if they ever needed anything. I said, “The power of AAHOA starts in this room.”

Call me old-fashioned, but I assumed I would get some phone calls. Instead, I got flooded with text messages. But I meant what I said.

We all were once new at something, and it’s our job to pay it forward to inspire growth and influence chances of success. My hope is that by setting clear priorities and helping cultivate AAHOA’s vision, we can all work together to continue to grow our membership, leave our imprint on the industry, and be the foremost advocate and resource for America’s hotel owners.

I’m humbled to be in this role today – helping to lead AAHOA into the future and charting a path for our success over the long term.

We are Team AAHOA, and we have so much more to accomplish together.

Let’s get to work.

Ken Greene is President & CEO of AAHOA. Prior to joining in June of 2021, Ken’s career included successfully leading hospitality organizations for more than two decades in the United States and around the world. His leadership at global hotel brands like Radisson Hotel Group and Cendant Corporation (now Wyndham Hotel Group) resulted in significant positive change in culture, growth, and financial performance. His background in hospitality will help advance and protect the business interests of the nearly 20,000 AAHOA Members.


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