Women assume leadership roles

Hospitality companies are adding women to their leadership rosters, filling four of five positions at Virgin Hotels, Sonder and Crescent Hotels & Resorts.

Virgin Hotels adds two to corporate team
Virgin Hotels, the luxury-lifestyle hotel brand by Sir Richard Branson, has added Liza Stone as general counsel and Jodi Forslund as director of sales.

As the chief legal officer of the company, Stone oversees Virgin Hotels’ domestic and international legal affairs, including corporate governance, regulatory compliance, labor and employment, intellectual property and litigation matters. She brings more than 25 years of legal experience in domestic and cross-border hospitality transactions.

Prior to joining Virgin Hotels, she was a senior member of the global hospitality group at Sidley Austin LLP, an internationally recognized law firm. At Sidley, she represented institutional owners, investors and lenders, as well as major hotel brands in connection with acquisitions and dispositions; financings; joint ventures; and mergers and acquisitions for hospitality assets. Prior to Sidley, she worked at internationally recognized law firms, and served as associate general counsel of the real estate healthcare lending group of a publicly traded commercial finance company.

Forslund, based in Miami, is responsible for leveraging revenue opportunities and analyzing current financial initiatives across the brand, while working with the commercial sales teams at all hotels. She will formulate targeted incentive plans and KPIs to meet company goals, while nurturing current relationships with high profile clientele to maintain consistent brand trust and loyalty.

Prior to joining Virgin Hotels, she was the VP, marketing and development at Forssa Group. She has also held positions including regional VP, sales & marketing at Benchmark Hospitality International, and regional sales director at MTM Luxury Lodging.

Sonder Holdings Inc. appoints COO and chief accounting officer
Sonder Holdings Inc. has appointed Deeksha Hebbar as COO, and Chris Berry as SVP/chief accounting officer.

Sonder recently consolidated its operations teams, streamlining frontline market-level operations and its centralized support service operations. In the role of COO, Hebbar will lead this combined team, overseeing all Sonder operations including turning over units, opening and maintaining properties and delivering service to guests. She was previously SVP of operations at Sonder, and prior to Sonder held roles at technology and consulting businesses including Google Inc. and McKinsey & Company.

Berry joins the company as chief accounting officer, overseeing all accounting functions as well as procurement. He previously served as chief accounting officer at Alaska Air Group, Inc., where he scaled the accounting function, implementing new systems, leading a large team and successfully managing the balance sheet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barone joins Crescent Hotels & Resorts as VP, global sales
Hotel management company Crescent Hotels & Resorts has appointed Kathleen Barone as VP of global sales.

She brings more than 25 years of hotel sales and revenue management experience to the company and its portfolio of more than 100 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada. In her new role, she further develops sales from a global perspective and serves as the direct report for both regional and national sales employees within the organization. She also ensures leadership aligns for success in motivating and inspiring team members to optimal performance.

Barone was most recently a senior account executive at Marriott International. Prior to the role with Marriott, she was responsible for the sales and marketing initiatives of the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Hotel.