30 Aug 2018

“No Interest in Being the Only”

African-American woman first to head a publicly-traded REIT


Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post

Raised in Los Angeles, Leslie Hale (MBA 2001) grew up cleaning her parents’ day-care centers. The granddaughter of a Tennessee sharecropper, Hale cites extended family support and a well-developed work ethic as contributing factors to her career success: recently, the mother of four was named CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, a Bethesda hotel company with a market cap of $3.8 billion.

“I am humbled and honored to be the first, but I have no interest in being the only,” Hale told the Washington Post.

Hale, who joined RLJ in 2005, has also worked at GE Capital in M&A and real estate. “I loved the fact that real estate was so tangible,” she said. “We all stay in hotels, we shop in malls, we work in offices. It’s an asset that you can touch and feel and understand.”

“My grandfather hoboed from Tennessee to California,” Hale said. “My dad was the sixth of 12 children. As you can imagine, when I just compare that to where I am today, it’s very meaningful to my family.”


Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2001, Section H

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