AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston TX. AAHOA has more than 11,000 members owning more than 20,000 hotels that total $128 billion in property value. AAHOA is clearly one of the fastest-growing organizations in the hospitality industry and the largest membership-based Indian business organization in the United States. After India’s independence in 1947, many of that country’s young people immigrated to the United States to pursue their education and “the American Dream.” At first, many of these hoteliers met with resistance, to fight this problem, a group – the Midsouth Indemnity Association – was formed in Tennessee in 1985. Another group of Indian hoteliers came together in Atlanta in 1989, also with the goals of addressing discrimination issues and of increasing aware-ness of Asian Americans in the hospitality industry. They called themselves the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). This event was for 125 women but we had 200 female hotel owners in the room and their ages ranged from 25-65 years old. It was inspiring to watch them work together and talk about the strength in women. They sang songs from their home country during one of the activities that can be heard from the hallway where a crowd of people started to form. The activities brought laughter from the women
“This is so much fun, and I didn’t expect these women to open up like this. It was amazing.” – Nancy Patel the AAHOA WIHL Chair
Rescue Bear is a workshop that is designed to help people see the importance of matching a person with the right talent for the right role within the company. It helps participants identify the strengths of themselves and others and rely on those strengths when under pressure. As each group acquired different materials needed to build the stuffed animals, they realized that they needed each other to complete the task and the trading began. At the end of the workshop, the 125 stuffed animals that were put together and dressed in adorable outfits were donated to Houston Fire Department to ease the anxiety that children go through in a crisis. The Fire Chief spoke about also taking some of the bears to a local hospital and the police department.