HSMAI receives million dollar gift

Bob Gilbert, president and CEO of HSMAI Global. Mobile photo: Jarle Petterson

McLean, Va., USA (March 22, 2013) — The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the HSMAI Foundation today announced, in conjunction with the annual Leadership Conference, a USD 1.0 million donation from the Mike and Andrea Leven Family Foundation. Their gift, combined with a USD 500,000 gift from Las Vegas Sands Corp., results in USD 1.5 million going toward HSMAI leadership programming and the development of HSMAI’s presence in the Las Vegas area.

Michael Leven, the current president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, is a longtime industry leader, former international president of HSMAI, a past inductee into the HSMAI Hall of Fame, and has been previously named one of HSMAI’s “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing.” Prior to his current position, Leven served as the COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide and the president of Days Inn of America.

In honour of the substantial gift from the Leven Family Foundation, the annual HSMAI Leadership Conference has been renamed the HSMAI Mike Leven Leadership Conference. The conference, currently being held at The Peabody Orlando, brings together HSMAI chapter, board and student leaders for exclusive professional development opportunities.

“HSMAI is honoured to receive such a generous donation from the Leven family and Las Vegas Sands,” said Bob Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Mike’s ongoing dedication to HSMAI, the hospitality industry as a whole and the discipline of hotel sales make it a perfect fit to rename our annual Leadership Conference to be a namesake to the Leven family.”

A self-proclaimed “hotel sales guy,” Leven credits his success to his ability to develop relationships and always understanding the value proposition between two parties.

“I have a passion for supporting the hospitality sales profession and recognising sales professionals,” Leven said. “It is my hope that this gift for HSMAI helps develop HSMAI leaders, the importance of the sales discipline and creates a strong presence for HSMAI in the Las Vegas area.”

The combined gifts will provide major funding to support the HSMAI Foundation’s mission to develop knowledge and insights for the future of the industry. Additionally, the gift will have a substantial impact on the Las Vegas hospitality sales and marketing community. A portion of the gifts have been allocated toward the establishment of an HSMAI chapter in Las Vegas. HSMAI will hire a managing director in Las Vegas and plans to develop educational programmes there, focused on sales, marketing and revenue management.

Furthermore, the gift will fund initiatives to support future members of the hospitality industry through the establishment of a collegiate chapter of HSMAI at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and the HSMAI Foundation’s continued support of scholarships for students pursuing degrees in hospitality sales, marketing and revenue management.

“We are extremely grateful for the gifts, which will serve to further our mission to support today’s and tomorrow’s leaders through insights, research and scholarship,” said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI Foundation executive director.

The Leven and Las Vegas Sands gifts are the first of several expected Legacy Gifts to be announced in the coming year.

Photograph: Bob Gilbert, president and CEO of HSMAI Global. Mobile photo: Jarle Petterson