Q+A with Aimbridge’s Emily Gerstner

In July, management company Aimbridge Hospitality appointed Emily Gerstner to the role of VP, philanthropic partnerships & community outreach, where she is tasked with overseeing the company’s charitable foundation initiatives including fundraising, donor relations and community engagement and visibility. Prior to joining Aimbridge, she served as VP, development for the American Heart Association, where she led the Go Red for Women movement in Dallas.

Hotel Business caught up with Gerstner to discuss her new position as well as how Aimbridge and its associates give back to the communities it serves.

This is your first position at a hospitality company. What attracted you to Aimbridge?
I was fortunate to be introduced to Aimbridge Hospitality while working in the non-profit sector. In my previous role, I established a long-lasting partnership with Aimbridge—one that impacted our community while also exemplifying Aimbridge’s value of THINK WE. NOT ME. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with associates at all levels and was continually impressed and motivated by their passion to make a genuine difference. There is so much energy, excitement and growth happening at Aimbridge, and I am looking forward to supporting our employees and the many communities we represent.

How does your previous experience help you in this new job?
My experiences with two amazing national non-profit organizations truly aligned with Aimbridge’s historic focus on philanthropy and community outreach. My career has afforded me vast experiences ranging from the field to the office. As a fundraiser in the field, it gave me an appreciation of how valuable our resources are, be it time, treasure, or talent. In operations, I learned how to navigate complex structures, manage expectations from multiple avenues, and set and exceed goals.

What are some of the ways Aimbridge gives back to the communities in which it serves, as well as its associates?
From national partnerships to local support, Aimbridge and its associates are some of the most giving organizations and people I have known. I am touched by the stories I constantly receive from our hotel properties of how our associates are supporting their communities, from back-to-school supply drives, food drives and support of their many local initiatives. In addition, Aimbridge established Aimbridge Aid, a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit foundation, in 2020 as a direct response to the pandemic and to support our associates during times of need. Whether it is a family emergency or natural disaster, Aimbridge Aid has supported more than 2,000 associates with more than $500,000 since its inception, and we are looking to do even more in the future.

What new initiatives is Aimbridge working on?
As a leader in the hospitality industry, Aimbridge is committed to efforts in preventing human trafficking. We are laser-focused on awareness and training with our associates, from the property level all the way up to our corporate leaders. We have recently committed support to organizations focused on recognizing and understanding the primary drivers that make women and girls vulnerable to exploitation and helping break the cycle. While we are working hard to identify and report what we see in our hotels, these organizations are focused on ensuring survivors feel empowered and supported during their time of transition, all while providing aftercare and opportunities to gain skills to move into employment, providing a more healthy and economically stable life.