UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State School of Hospitality Management named Nancy Johnson, executive vice president, industry relations Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as the Spring 2014 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. Conti Professors visit the School of Hospitality Management to interact with students and faculty members, to present guest lectures in hospitality management and to speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia.
“Conti Professors are hospitality industry thought leaders, and Nancy is one of the industry’s greatest thought leaders,” said John O’Neill, director of the school. “She is among the field’s best advocates, and her efforts have resulted in so many people becoming engaged in the industry and driving it forward.”
Johnson will be on campus in April to interact with students and faculty members. She will discuss topics, including hotel development, asset management, operations, strategy, political advocacy and women’s leadership. She also serves on the School of Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board.
Johnson’s primary area of focus will be supporting Carlson’s position in the travel industry with hospitality trade associations, industry conferences and hospitality schools. In addition to her many years of leadership in development for Carlson Hotels, she previously led the company's franchise operations for full-service hotels and has served as executive vice president and brand leader for the company's select service brands.
Before joining Carlson Rezidor, Johnson was vice president and chief operating officer at Hospitality Development Corporation, and she was employed with Brutger Companies Inc., where she held various leadership positions.
Johnson serves on the board of directors for The Travel Partnership Corporation, a consortium of travel industry organizations representing all key segments of the industry. The organization enables the travel industry to have its own dedicated domain on the Internet. In addition, she is the founding chairwoman of the Women in Lodging Council for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Johnson has been named one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent magazine. In 2002, she received a Carlson Fellows award for individual sales achievement. The Carlson Fellows award represents Carlson Rezidor's highest career achievement honor and is presented to employees who best exemplify the qualities of leadership, creativity and dedication, and who are considered to be true builders of the company.
Johnson attended St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., majoring in business marketing, and St. Benedict College in St. Joseph, Minn., where she studied business management. She became a Certified Hotel Administrator in 1985 and received her Minnesota Real Estate License in 1988.
Walter J. Conti, for whom the Conti Professorship is named, is a well-known restaurateur and industry leader from Doylestown, Pa. He is the retired owner and chief executive officer of Conti Cross Keys Inn and the Historic Piper Tavern (formerly Conti's Pipersville Inn), both located in Bucks County, Pa. Conti has held various leadership positions in the National Restaurant Association, including a term as chairman from 1981 to 1982, and he is a "diplomat" of the association's educational foundation. The Conti Professorship Program was established by alumni and friends of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 1987 to honor Walter J. Conti for his contributions to the school, to Penn State and to the hospitality profession.