CEO & Founder, Hotel Asset Value Enhancement
Michelle S. Russo, CHAM, MAI, CHA, has more than 30 years of practical, hands-on experience with hotels, restaurants, resorts, convention centers, real estate, and finance. She has worked on thousands of hotel assets across the United States and, in 2003, founded Hotel Asset Value Enhancement, one of the largest hospitality asset management firm with a current asset management portfolio comprising over $5.5 billion, 22,000 rooms and over 30 different hotel operators. In addition to overseeing the practice, Russo is closely involved with strategic asset positioning, management contract negotiations, and interacting with senior-level brand and management executives on behalf of the portfolio. Ms. Russo has been named one of the 30 Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Management Magazine (October 2017) and one of 20 Women in Lodging by Lodging Magazine (September 2015).
Prior to founding hotelAVE, Russo was vice president, senior leisure analyst for Deutsche Banc Alex Brown and managed a $500 million portfolio for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, where she improved the portfolio and achieved 20 percent cash-on-cash returns. She is a regular guest lecturer at Cornell University and has appeared on CNBC and CNN to provide commentary on the hospitality and leisure industry. She serves on the dean’s advisory board for Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and is a member of ULI’s hotel council, Marriott’s distribution strategy advisory committee, the AHLA’s financial management committee, formerly on the Morgans board of directors, Johnson School and the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship advisory board at Cornell University.