Hospitality Summit

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Reimagining Hospitality: People, Passion & Purpose

2022 JWU Hospitality Summit logo

JWU Providence’s Hospitality Summit: Reimagining Hospitality brings together students, faculty, alumni and industry leaders to explore global and local trends influencing the industry and shaping its future.

Keynote: Reimagining Hospitality Organizations & the Workforce

Roger Dow is one of the most influential leaders in the hospitality industry. After 34 years with Marriott International and 17 years as president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, he is taking on the challenges of staffing in the industry. In a conversation with President Bernardo-Sousa, he will demystify the complexities of the global hospitality industry and offer insights for hospitality professionals.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Pepsi Forum, Wales Hall

Panel: Increasing Ownership Diversity in the Hotel Industry

As the hotel industry evolves, a focus on increasing the diversity in ownership has emerged.

This panel discussion will share the ways in which diversity ownership initiatives are being established and explore the challenges and opportunities involved.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Bowen Presentation Room, Bowen Center for Bowen Center for Science & Innovation

To RSVP for one or both of these events, send an email to by Wednesday, October 4.

Keynote Speaker: Roger Dow '09 Hon.

Roger DowRoger Dow co-founded FutureWrx Solutions, which was formed to address the travel industry’s workforce shortage. In addition, he advises international tourism organizations on strategies to increase travel and tourism to their countries.

From 2005 to 2022, Dow served as the president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Travel Association, representing all segments of nationwide travel. Dow’s efforts have resulted in major legislative victories, including securing pandemic-related relief, establishing and renewing Brand USA, and procuring funds to maintain America’s treasured national parks. Dow and U.S. Travel also initiated the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and the Let’s Go There Coalition.

Dow has received multiple honors and awards for his efforts to unify the travel industry and increase its effectiveness on Capitol Hill. Dow has also held seats on several boards, including ASAE, GWSAE, MPI Foundation, PCMA, Tourism Diversity Matters, RE/MAX International, the Forbes Travel Guide, the Travel Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, among others.

Before joining U.S. Travel in 2005, Dow spent 34 years at Marriott International, where he headed up Marketing and Global Sales. Dow served in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, receiving the Bronze Star and other citations. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Seton Hall University and was honored as a Most Distinguished Alumnus in 2012. In addition, he holds an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University.

Presenter Bios

Brandon Booker

Brandon BookerBrandon Booker serves as director for Lodging Development (East) for Marriott Select Brands. His areas of responsibility include the growth and development of new Marriott Select and Extended Stay branded hotels (Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, AC Hotel, Moxy, Aloft, Element, and Four Points) in the Eastern United States.

Booker began his Marriott International career in Owner & Franchise Services (OFS) in 2018. While in OFS, he was responsible for Franchise Transactions and Product Integrity. He began his hotel career at Choice Hotels International in 2014, holding team roles in finance and accounting, global sales (market strategy), and real estate investment and asset management.

Booker holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.S. in Real Estate (Finance) from Georgetown University.

Gerald A. Fernandez '86, '98 Hon.

Gerald A. Fernandez '86, '98 Hon.Gerry Fernandez serves as the president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), which he formed in 1995 while an executive at General Mills to advance diversity leadership in the food service and hospitality industry.

Today, the MFHA has become a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) thought leader, providing tailored solutions that draw from a broad range of best practices, research and partnerships.

As an affiliate of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), MFHA’s mission includes expanding economic prosperity and equality for minorities through workforce development and restaurant ownership. Its expertise is sought by more than 50 member companies that represent the most well-known brands in the industry. Before forming MFHA, Fernandez held leadership positions with The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, the Capital Grille and General Mills.

A former Johnson & Wales University trustee, Fernandez holds a bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management; he also earned a Culinary Arts degree and an honorary doctorate in Business Administration from JWU.

Fernandez is an honorary board member of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. He is also a life member of the NAACP and the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF). He has been recognized as a leader and innovator by Nation’s Restaurant News, the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Lodging Magazine, the Black Culinary Alliance, the Rainbow/P.U.S.H. Coalition and Black Meetings & Tourism.

Larry W. Foster '16

Larry Foster '16For the past 11 years, Larry Foster has worked for such esteemed hospitality brands as Marriott International, Hyatt Corporation, Kimpton Hotels, Forbes Travel Guide, and Wyndham.

Throughout his career, Foster has cultivated trusted relationships with clients, owners, staff, and vendors while working in sales and catering, human resources, housekeeping, front office operations, and franchise development.

Foster earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel & Lodging Management with a minor in Golf Resort Management from JWU.

Related Events

The following two events are co-branded between the Summit and Experiential Education & Career Services (EE&CS). To attend, you must register separately via Handshake for each event — the links are below. Open to the JWU community only.

Hospitality Career Panel

October 12, 2023

Learn from hiring professionals how best to promote yourself and the abilities you acquired through your college experience to start your career with an eye toward building your future.


  • Marcos Colon: Universal Parks & Resorts executive chef, Orlando, Florida
  • Brenna Hart: Compass Group USA university relations recruiter
  • Michael Panasuk '87: Boston Marriott Copley executive chef
  • Robert Mellwig '97: Auberge Resorts senior vice president, talent & culture
  • David Lanterman '98: White Lodging chief operating officer
Reserve Your Spot
Industry & Student Networking Reception

October 12, 2023
Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence (CCCE)

Meet executives and recruiters from many of the companies attending the Career Expo on October 12. It’s a great way to make a first impression while discussing opportunities in a social setting. This event will take place in the CCCE lobby. Open to the JWU community only.

Reserve Your Spot