Michelle S. Russo, CHAM, MAI, CHA, has more than 25 years of practical, hands-on experience with hotels, restaurants, resorts, convention centers, real estate, and finance. In 2003, she founded Hotel Asset Value Enhancement, 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. 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, Morgans board of directors, and the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship advisory board at Cornell University.