The International Hospitality Institute is the only organization representing all stakeholders in the global hospitality industry including hotels, resorts, restaurants, casinos, clubs, senior living centers, retirement communities, spas, bed and breakfasts, peer-to-peer lodging, cruise ships, theme parks, hospitality schools, hospitality students, hotel management companies, REITS, airlines, event planners, transportation companies, entertainment companies, and industry vendors and partners.
IHI is partnered with its sister organization, the American Hospitality Institute (AHI), to foster excellence in the hospitality industry. IHI and AHI have launched the Julian Star Award to recognize excellence in the hospitality industry. The Julian Star is awarded to hospitality establishments and hospitality practitioners who demonstrate exceptional customer service. Less than 1% of nominees will receive the award yearly. Covering all segments of the global hospitality industry, the Julian Star is the first and only award of its kind.
IHI and AHI offer training and certification to hospitality practitioners working at both the property and corporate level.
IHI seeks to improve working conditions for hospitality practitioners by creating awareness and using advocacy efforts. As a think-thank, our research aims to influence government and corporate policies.
Board Members and Global Partners
Andy Lee, MBA, CHA, CHGM, CSW, CMM
Board Member and Global Partner, Canada
Andy is an experienced strategic senior hospitality executive who has managed international 5-Star luxury properties, Relais Chateau properties, and 2 and 1 Starred Michelin restaurants. He has worked as COO, Managing Director, and Chief Resort Officer at hospitality operations that include 4 and 5-Star hotels/resorts, golf clubs, private member clubs, ski clubs, as well as one of North America`s renowned privately owned wineries. Internationally trained with extensive management experience in England and Canada, Andy holds an MBA from Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland.
An accomplished wine expert, his wine studies include Court of Master Sommeliers Certification, International Sommelier Guild Level 1, Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Advanced Sommelier, Wine and Spirit Educational Trust Higher Certificate, Italian Wine Diploma, and Certified Specialist of Wine. A Chef by training, Andy is a graduate of Cornell University General Management Program and a Certified Hotel Administrator from the American Hotel and Lodging Association and holds his CMM designation from Meeting Planners International. Andy is currently working towards his French Wine Scholar Certification and a MA in Human Resources Management.
Brendan Dugan, CHGM
Board Member and Global Partner, Australia
Brendan Dugan currently serves as the Managing Director of Directions Hospitality in Australia. A hospitality veteran with over 25 years of sales and operations experience in Australia and Asia, Brendan has dedicated the last five years to training hospitality professionals in Australia and Asia. Prior to transitioning to training, Brendan worked in various positions including General Manager, and Food and Beverage Director.
Brendan possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality, and several other certifications and qualifications. Brendan is a member of the Australian Institute of Management and the Bali Hotels Association. He is an accredited facilitator for Click Colours International. Brendan has served as the Chair of Judges in Western Australia for the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia, WA Tourism Awards and the Clubs WA Annual Awards for Excellence. He is a Certified Hotel General Manager (CHGM) from the International Hospitality Institute.
Chris Puntureri, CHIA, CHEx
Board Member and Global Partner, USA
Chris Puntureri is the COO of Iridescent Hotels, USA, and the CEO/President of Nacre Group. Iridescent Hotels, one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the USA, operates several hotel properties. Nacre Group offers a scalable suite of support services to the hotel industry including construction services, development, revenue management, recruiting, engineering support, and sales and marketing.
Chris has worked in various capacities including Regional Director of Operations at GF Hotels, and Regional Director of Operations and Sales at NewcrestImage Hotels. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas Pan American. He holds certifications from Cornell University and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Dr. Elisha Attai
Board Member & Global Partner, Africa
Dr. Attai is the Founder of the African Women in Leadership Organization (AWLO) and the initiator/organizer of the famed African Women in Leadership Conference (AWLC), a global movement of women of African descent changing the narratives of leadership in the world. He is the CEO of Studio 115 Integrated Services, a Media/Public Relations and brand development company. Elisha Attai holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and an honorary doctorate degree.
Dr. Attai’s work in promoting women leadership and global hospitality has taken him to several countries where he has met and collaborated with national leaders. Dr. Attai is the recipient of numerous awards. He was honored as an Ambassador by the United Nations Women National Committee, Canada, for his contributions to gender equality and women empowerment. He is an honorary citizen of the State of Georgia, USA.
Jeffrey Obomeghie, PhD
IHI President and Board Member
Jeffrey is a seasoned CEO and educator with a passion for managing national and global hospitality organizations. He has managed an asset base valued in excess of one billion dollars, with annual portfolio revenues of $250 million. Working in various capacities including CEO, COO, and Divisional Vice President, he has overseen a panoply of hotel brands including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Sheraton, Renaissance, Radisson, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Indigo, as well as luxury independent properties. He is the CEO of Telacoach, America’s #1 Coaching, Therapy, and Advisor platform. He has served on several boards including Marriott International’s Room Advisory Board, and has coached senior executives on public speaking, executive presence, and strategic leadership.
Known professionally as Jeffrey O, he is a renowned coach, motivational speaker, and author who has published several books of fiction and nonfiction. Jeffrey earned his PhD in Leadership Studies from Johnson University. For more information, visit Jeffrey O at www.JeffreyO.com
Joseph Harvey, MBA
IHI Board Member and Global Partner, Turks and Caicos
Joseph is currently Vice President of Finance at Grace Bay Resorts located in the Turks and Caicos, British West Indies. An accomplished hospitality finance executive, Joseph worked in a series of executive roles including Chief Financial Officer at Ian Schrager Hotels, South Florida, President of Hospitality Experts, Director of Finance at Ritz Carlton Hotels, Director of Finance at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Director of Finance at the Conrad Miami. Joseph holds an MBA from California State University San Bernardino.
Tejal Patel, CHIA, CHO
Board Member/Global Partner, USA
Tejal is the President and CEO of Neem Tree Hospitality. A third-generation hotelier, she has worked in various areas in the hospitality industry including restaurants, events, hotel operations, and consulting.
Tejal currently serves as an Ambassador for the Southeast Texas region of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Board Member of the League City Convention & Visitors Bureau Advisory Board, and a Member of the Young Professionals Advisory Council for the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the Board of Directors for the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce since January 2021.
She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the Conrad Hilton College of the University of Houston. She is currently studying for her MBA in Finance at the University of Houston. She holds certificates in Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management, and Hotel Planning and Design, from Cornell University. She earned a certification in Hotel Industry Analytics from the AHLEI, and is a Certified Hotel Owner from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. Tejal was recognized on 2021’s Hospitality Power Index™ as one of the Top 50 Hospitality Influencers in the USA.