The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management will host the first Women’s Hospitality & Tourism Leadership Forum (WHTLF) on Friday, March 20, 2015. In celebration of Women’s History Month, this premier event will bring together industry leaders, professionals and students to promote leadership excellence among women in the hospitality and tourism management industries.

This year’s theme will center on professional advancement for women in hospitality and tourism management. Speakers include:

  • Nancy Johnson, President, Johnson Hospitality Motivation, LLC
  • Sarah King, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Wyndham Vacation Ownership
  • Barbara Bowden, Managing Director of Operations, Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando
  • Vail Brown, CMHS, Vice President, Global Business Development & Marketing, STR
  • LaShawn Cartwright, Recruitment Manager, Talent Acquisition, Chick-fil-A
  • Thea Sargent, Director, Destination Sales, The Walt Disney Company
  • Salli Setta, President, Red Lobster
  • The Forum was conceived and organized through a joint effort of the UCF National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) student group and Rosen College faculty and staff.

    “We’re very excited about spotlighting successful female leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry and bringing them face to face with students and rising professionals,” said Dr. Cynthia Mejia, an assistant professor at Rosen College and member of the WHTLF Planning Committee. “Our hope is to make this an annual event that brings women of all ages and experience levels together to discuss the issues that matter to them as they develop their careers.”

    The Forum will offer networking opportunities, a luncheon and career inspiration. Admission is open to students and hospitality, tourism and event management professionals. Visit to register.

    For questions or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dr. Cynthia Mejia at 407-903-8191 or