InterContinental Hotels executive and West Virginia University alumna Lara Hernandez will appear on March 21 as part of the WVU College of Business and Economics 60th Anniversary Speaker Series. Hernandez is vice president of Distribution & Relationship Marketing, Americas, for IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) PLC.

The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center and is co-sponsored by the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, where Hernandez earned her undergraduate degree.

“We are honored to have Ms. Hernandez during our 60th Anniversary Speaker Series for a number of reasons,” said Dr. Jose Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean at B&E. “Lara’s background, experience and achievements make her exactly the kind of business executive we want our students — and all WVU students — to have access to here on campus.”

“The Davis College is pleased to collaborate with the College of Business and Economics to bring someone of Lara’s experiences and vision to the WVU campus,” said Dr. Rudolph P. Almasy, interim dean of the Davis College. “Her career reflects the opportunities that exist for WVU students who prepare themselves broadly for the job market. She is a great representative not only of the Davis College, but of WVU.”

Hernandez has excelled in building and leading high-performing teams in complex businesses and consistently driving profitable hotel revenue. She has deep understanding of the distribution landscape (web, voice, on-line travel agencies, global distribution systems), loyalty marketing and direct sales. Hernandez has demonstrated success in both launching and repositioning distribution strategies to deliver increased market share, greater audience engagement and increased revenue.

“We are particularly interested in Lara’s insight because of B&E’s burgeoning Hospitality & Tourism, and it will be fantastic to host someone with that kind of industry experience and success,” Sartarelli said. “Of course, we are privileged to partner with the Davis College, which has programs in leadership, enterprise development and design that support the hospitality and tourism disciplines. This was a natural fit.”

Previously, Hernandez served as the director of Business Travel within IHG’s Worldwide Sales team, where she was accountable for developing and maintaining IHG’s business travel segment strategy. She focused on innovating and improving sales programs and products to leverage IHG’s scale in the business travel segment while ensuring a consistent approach was executed with managed accounts globally.

Hernandez joined IHG in 2006 as the account director of Business Development, Distribution Marketing, for the Americas and shortly thereafter managed the Hotel Integration team in the Americas region responsible for developing revenue opportunities for IHG’s hotels. Her diverse career has progressed through multiple disciplines in the hospitality industry. After several years in hotel operations, she spent the last 17 years in leadership roles focused on sales and marketing within the hotel industry working, with a variety of brands and ownerships groups.

IHG’s family of brands includes InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Lara is responsible for the delivery of over $5.5 billion annually through IHG’s direct distribution channels and loyalty program, with a specific focus on more than 3,400 IHG hotels in the Americas.

For more information about the 60th Anniversary Speaker Series in the WVU College of Business and Economics, visit



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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics; 304.293.5131