HSMAI Century Campaign: Building a Bridge to Our Brightest Future

By Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, President and CEO, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)    

For close to a century, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has stood as a guiding light for innovation, support, and community growth within the hotel sales, marketing, and revenue optimization fields. Now, as we begin the countdown to our momentous 100-year anniversary in 2027, we’re excited to unveil the Century Campaign for the HSMAI Foundation 

The Century Campaign is more than just a commemorative effort. It’s our commitment to the next generation — to attract, develop, and engage the very best talent that will push our association, and the industry at large, to new heights. To build a bridge between our storied past and a future full of potential, we need your help.  

Attracting Talent 

Every industry, including ours, thrives on the influx of fresh talent. The donations made to the Century Campaign will directly fund initiatives to attract the brightest minds from top hospitality and business schools to our association, ensuring a vibrant future. The Foundation provides and enhances cutting-edge instructional materials for faculty who teach sales, marketing, and revenue courses.  This includes showcasing pathways for successful careers in hospitality and developing research such as the HSMAI Foundation State of Talent Report. 

The beauty of HSMAI has always been the unique blend of seasoned professionals guiding the next generation of talent. In the span of a century, we’ve seen revolutions in technology and methodology. What remains constant, however, is the need to cultivate talent. That’s our pledge with the Century Campaign.  

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders 

But attracting talent is only the beginning. With funds from the Century Campaign, we will continue to develop these individuals into leaders. On capstone project of the HSMAI Foundation is to provide grants to fund the Rising Leaders Councils across the globe that cultivate the next generation of industry leaders. This unique opportunity provides emerging professionals the chance to advance their skill sets, shape the future of HSMAI, network with peers, and contribute to the industry and the Advisory Board via their insights and thought leadership. 

Consider Taylor Baca, one of nearly 70 Rising Leaders we support globally through the HSMAI Foundation’s efforts.  

“Thanks to the HSMAI Rising Leaders Council, I found a community of peers to grow and learn with and engage my passion. HSMAI connected me with a mentor that has helped build my skills and advance my career. The Century Campaign ensures that countless others like me will have the same invaluable experiences.” 

Engaging for a Lifetime 

Engagement is essential to any community. The Century Campaign seeks to fund programs that foster a sense of belonging, creating lifelong advocates for our industry and association. By funding collegiate case competitions, grants, faculty forms, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives and in person events for Rising Leaders, the HSMAI Foundation demonstrates and fosters commercial career paths and ensures they are open to underrepresented groups.  

Dorothy Dowling, an influential industry leader and Century Campaign donor, told me, “To me it is about paying it forward to the next generation of leaders in the sales, marketing, and revenue space. HSMAI has been and continues to be a foundation for my career development and learning and a rich resource for peer networking.  Through our century campaign we are ensuring this resource will be available to the next generation of leaders.” 

Building a Bridge to Our Brightest Future 

Every great journey begins with a single step. Today, as we embark on this five-year journey towards our century mark, we invite you to walk alongside us. With every donation, no matter how small, we take another step on our bridge to the future. 

Michelle Woodley, HSMAI Foundation’s Chair and President, shares, “The one thing all of us at HSMAI have in common is the invaluable support we received in our hospitality careers. The Century Campaign reflects our shared experiences, culminating in positive sentiment towards the industry, personal fulfillment, and tangible revenue for hoteliers.”  

This isn’t just about reaching a milestone, but about launching into the next century with the same enthusiasm, dedication, and vision that characterized HSMAI’s inception.  

Left: The site of the first meeting of the international Conference on Hotel Business Promotion September 22-24, 1927 

Right: 100 years later – HSMAI Foundation Leadership, Lori Kiel, Bob Gilbert, and Michelle Woodley at the site of the original meeting.  

Join us, and let’s build a bridge to our brightest future, together. 

Categories: Revenue Management, Talent and Leadership Development
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