Skip to Content

College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Keynote Speakers and Industry Panel

Keynote Speakers

Simon Hudson headshot

Dr. Simon Hudson

Professor, University of South Carolina

Simon Hudson is a part-time professor at the University of South Carolina and also consults for the tourism and hospitality industry. He has written 11 books and over 100 research articles and book chapters. With an eclectic background in the ski industry, retail, and academia, Simon is a fount of international experience and comprehensive business information. His cosmopolitan and creative ideas have been influenced by award-winning work at the University of South Carolina, University of Calgary and the University of Brighton, as well as visiting professorships in Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Simon has also taught three times on Semester at Sea, a floating university that circumnavigates the world. 

Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray headshot

Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray

Endowed Chair and Director, University of South Carolina

Lori Pennington-Gray is a leader in tourism crisis management. She currently is the director of the Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development. She has a strong commitment to enhancing the industry and aiding in strategic policy decisions. Pennington-Gray's work converts research into practice. She has experience working with a variety of stakeholders from the public and private sector to non-government and community-based organizations.

Dr. Hanqin Qiu headshot

Dr. Hanqin Qiu

Distinguished Professor and Dean, International School of Cultural Tourism, Zhejiang University City College

Professor Hanqin Qiu is Distinguished Professor and Dean of International School of Cultural Tourism at Zhejiang University City College. She is the Editor in Chief for Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism. She received her BA from Nankai University in Mainland China, her MA from University of Waterloo in Canada, and her PhD from University of Strathclyde in UK. Her research interests are tourism studies, tourist behaviour, and China hotel and tourism development and policy issues. She has published more than 100 refereed journal articles in major international journals (e.g. International Journal of Hospitality Management, Annuals of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Management, and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management). She is a regular speaker in leading international conferences in hospitality and Tourism.

Industry Panel

Sarah D'Angelo headshot

Sarah D'Angelo

Director, Talent Acquisition + University Recruitment, Marriott International

Sarah D’Angelo is the Director, Talent Acquisition + University Recruitment, for Marriott International’s University Relations + Recruiting Team. She leads Marriott’s recruitment efforts to attract and retain talent in the college and university space for the US/Canada and supports a team of 10 recruiting professionals. Sarah has had a 15-year career with Marriott International, all in Human Resources, starting at the New York Marriott Marquis as an HR generalist. She held various leadership positions in the New York City market before transitioning to Marriott International’s Corporate Headquarters in 2017. Sarah holds a B.A. in communication from Villanova University. She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Frank, and their two young children.

Passion Graham headshot

Passion Graham

Director of Clubhouse Operations, Governor's Club

With over 25 years of experience within the hospitality industry, Passion Graham has journeyed a road less traveled to reach the Director of Clubhouse Operations role at Governor’s Club.

Passion has a management background in hotels, restaurants and is an entrepreneur, having owned and operated Passionate Productions, an event planning and production company since 2008.

After deciding to return to higher education and attain her degree in Hospitality Management, she began her club career in 2014 at the Charlotte Country Club.  Working her way up and through various roles, she has been learning the business ever since.  Passion was recruited to Highland Country Club as the Director of Food & Beverage where she enthusiastically served the membership before being recruited to Scottsdale, AZ in 2018. Passion was tasked to manage the opening of Seven Desert Mountain, at the largest privately owned Club in North America. She credits this move for not only altering the trajectory of her career, but her life.  She managed 3 clubhouses at DM before moving into the role of Catering & Events Manager.

Passion now brings all of her experiences and spirit to serve back home to NC as the Director of Club Operation at Governor’s Club.

Maxine Taylor headshot

Maxine Taylor

Executive Vice President, CHMWarnick

Maxine Taylor is Executive Vice President of CHMWarnick, the leading provider of hotel asset management and owner advisory services. CHMWarnick is responsible for asset managing a client portfolio of more than 70 hotels and 29,000 guestrooms, collectively valued at over $15 billion. Based in San Francisco, she is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of hotels located in major markets on the west coast and in Hawaii. As asset manager, Maxine serves as fiduciary and owner representative for owner-related decisions and activities, management oversight, capital expenditure operation and budget review, disposition responsibility, renovation programming and oversight, management contract negotiation and investment strategies. She has a solid track record in the turnaround of underperforming assets and strategic repositioning of big-box hotels and resorts. She is a regular speaker at industry events, and is involved in a number of hospitality organizations, including serving as President on the Board of Directors for the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA). Prior to Maxine’s hospitality career, she spent three years in the military stationed overseas in Korea and Germany as a telecommunications specialist.



Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.