Meet Our Team
HHM is made up of industry leaders who blend capability and experience to drive results each and every day.
HHM is made up of industry leaders who blend capability and experience to drive results each and every day.
Naveen Kakarla is HHM’s President and Chief Executive Officer and serves on its Board of Directors. Naveen has worked across all disciplines since 2005, and currently spends focused time on our investment and development platform, our Independent Collection of managed hotels, finance and accounting, human resources and capital projects. He previously led our New York City operational region, our construction division, and each of our centralized shared service departments.
Prior to joining HHM, Naveen worked with a private equity firm and its portfolio companies on early stage investments and “roll ups” in various industries. He was previously a partner specializing in corporate and securities law at Jenkens & Gilchrist, and prior to that was associated with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. Naveen holds a Bachelor of Arts from Austin College and a law degree from Cornell Law School.
Naveen spent equal time growing up in India, New York City, and Dallas… though he recalls the move to Texas as requiring the most agility
As Chief Operating Officer, Mike Murray is responsible for HHM’s operational functions at the corporate and property levels. Mike is a 30+ year hospitality veteran with an in-depth operations expertise throughout the United States and Caribbean markets. Prior to HHM, Mike was the operations leader at Sage Hospitality Resources with responsibility for 48 hotels, $600 million in annual revenue and 6,000 associates across the United States. Mike’s early years were spent operating full-service hotels, resorts, and casinos in Florida, California and the Caribbean. During a break from his college pre-law studies, Mike spent six months as the Chief Steward at the renowned Caneel Bay Resort on St. John in the USVI. That one “vacation” would cause him to pull out of that pre-law program upon his return to college and switch to a hospitality business major, leading him to where he is today.
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Greg works very closely with our Chief Operating Office in overseeing all of the company’s operational functions at the corporate and property levels. He has over 30 years of experience in the hotel industry and previously was the Chief Operating Officer for Millennium Hotels Europe, based out of their Global Headquarters in London. Greg has worked in hotels throughout 13 different countries during his hospitality career.
As Executive Vice President, Jim leads HHM’s independent lifestyle and luxury hotels, also known as the Independent Collection. Jim has over 30 years of hotel industry experience and has worked across major brands and segments of independent lifestyle hotels and resorts. He served most recently as President of SIXTY Hotels, where he launched a new lifestyle brand and oversaw existing lifestyle hotels in New York, Miami and Beverly Hills. Jim spent ten years prior with Interstate Hotels, concluding as their Executive Vice President with oversight of 85 full-service branded and independent hotels. Service and hard work came naturally to Jim, he launched his career in hospitality by joining his family’s hotel and restaurant business right out of college.
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Dani Elhachem leads HHM’s portfolio with a focus on New York City and the West Coast. Dani oversees the New York City portfolio, which includes 19 hotels with approximately 3,000 rooms, along with seven luxury, branded, and independent hotels throughout California and Seattle, Washington. Additionally, Dani manages a number of new projects in development as well as HHM’s expanded Manhattan Corporate Office and its broad functions and services to the hotels and investors. With 26 years of experience, Dani joined HHM from Denihan Hospitality Group where he served as Corporate Vice President of Operations. During his tenure, the portfolio doubled in size and expanded in key urban markets, including lifestyle hotel openings in Washington DC and the award-winning James Royal Palm in South Beach. Dani has held positions in private equity and publicly traded companies, as well as, leadership roles at Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International. He earned his bachelor’s in Hospitality and Tourism Administration from Centennial College. Raised in Canada, he enjoys travel and experiencing new cultures with his family. Dani started his hospitality career as a Mini-Bar Attendant at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Canada at the age of 17.
As Senior Vice President of Operations, Steve has 35 years of full-service operations experience and currently oversees 55 properties for HHM on the East and West Coast as well as in Texas. Previously, Steve was RDO for 12 upscale full-service properties at Procaccianti Hotels. Steve began his illustrious hospitality career in the food and beverage sector as an apprentice chef in an authentic German bakery.
As Executive Vice President, David helps lead our investment efforts and our asset management business. He has over 40 years of hotel industry experience, most recently as President of Northwood Hospitality, where he helped execute on investment and business plans for highly successful investments such as The Palace New York, London West Hollywood, Revere Boston, Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys, and Parrot Key in Key West. David started as a busboy at an independent restaurant and has been a member of two different NYSE board of directors.
As Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Development, Shawn Tuli is responsible for leading and executing HHM’s growth and investment strategy. Shawn rejoined HHM in 2014, after receiving an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He started his career at Goldman Sachs, most recently in the Real Estate, Gaming & Lodging Investment Banking Division. Today, Shawn sits on the board of the Please Touch Museum and is an advisor to Maidbot, a hospitality robotics company. Shawn found his love for hospitality during family travels in his youth, whether on a family trip to a New Hampshire lodge or staying with relatives in London and India, he discovered that true hospitality enabled unforgettable memories.
As Vice President of Development and Capital Planning, Sandra is responsible for overseeing the Capital Planning Department on development, construction and complex renovation projects. She has over 20 years of experience in architecture and project management, specializing in hospitality. Prior to joining Hersha, she worked for William B.Tabler Architects, a renowned NYC-based hospitality architectural firm, where she played a critical role as an architect on several large scale renovations and ground-up branded and independent projects. Sandra also served as an architect for Gene Kaufman Architect, as Creative Director for Richardson Sadeki Design Group and as Design Director for Datumzero Design Office. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
Joann joined HHM in August of 2011 and is now the Senior Vice President of People Support. Previously, she spent eight years leading the human resources team at Foxwoods Resort Casino and – prior to that – in various HR leadership roles at Carnival (formerly Continental) Hotels and Casinos for 12 years. Joann attended college on a sports scholarship and made her first foray into hospitality through various restaurant jobs, supporting herself as she pursued a degree in Labor Relations.
Stephanie Esposito, Senior Vice President of Sales, has over 21 years of experience in hospitality sales and marketing. Since the company’s inception, Stephanie has been integral in the development of the HHM’s sales organization, which she now oversees. Over the past 11 years, she has assisted in the development and implementation of company-wide sales initiatives affecting key market segments for HHM’s portfolio of hotels. Stephanie began her career as an administrative assistant at the Clarion Suites in Philadelphia, an HHM hotel, and worked her way up to her current role.
Lisa Zandee joined HHM as senior vice president of marketing and branding in 2018. In this newly-created position, HHM tasked Lisa with the oversight of all functions of marketing within the company focusing heavily on the company’s Independent Collection of luxury and lifestyle hotels.
Lisa joined HHM from her most recent role as the senior vice president of marketing for 1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotel, where she aided in positioning and strengthening the platform for expansion. Additionally, Lisa was a founding member of The James brand and senior vice president of brand management and marketing at Denihan. Lisa has also served as a vice president of brand marketing for W Hotels Worldwide where she played a pivotal role in Starwood’s global launch of the brand, opening 20 hotels in 15 cities.
As Senior Vice President of Restaurants and BARS, Josh focuses on establishing a deliberate food and beverage program comprised of inspired restaurants and BARS which connect guests to the hotel and the location the hotel is in, creating memorable experiences and leaving lasting impressions that appeal to the independent traveler. Previously, he served as Vice President of Operations for STARR Restaurants, where he was responsible for the performance of 34 restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. Josh developed his palette and passion for great food from his mother and grandmother. They ate “mom-to-table” meals together as a family most nights of the week.
As Vice President of eCommerce, James leads a team of eCommerce and hospitality digital marketing specialists to support HHM’s variety of branded and independent lifestyle hotels in the digital space. A 16-year HHM veteran, James has held several Regional Director roles in Sales, Marketing and Revenue. He earned his degree from Hersha School of Hospitality Management at HACC, where he has served on the Advisory Committee for the Hospitality and Lodging program for 12 years. In the early ‘90s, James got his start in the industry as a lifeguard at a resort hotel.
Sameer “Sam” Mehra, Chief Revenue Officer, oversees all revenue and distribution management for HHM’s portfolio of hotels. Sam brings with him more than 20 years of hospitality experience in both the United States and India – most recently as Vice President of Revenue & Distribution for Highgate Hotels, where he led the revenue function for a large portfolio of branded and independent hotels, in and around New York City. As a hotelier, Sameer is able to indulge his self-proclaimed foodie side – capturing photos of every meal he eats out.
As Vice President of Revenue Management, Bill Winzer is responsible for leading all the revenue management efforts for 90 branded and independent properties. Prior to joining HHM, he had worked for Marriott International for 26 years. He previously held senior regional revenue management positions in the United States, Canada and China. Bill got his start in the hospitality business as a valet car parker at the Omni Hotel in Detroit.
As VP of Information Technology, Jason Shane leads HHM’s global technology functions, focused on strategy and innovation. He provides business and technology alignment through the coordination of business systems, hotel technology, infrastructure, IT security and IT support functions. Prior to joining Hersha in 2004, Jason spent his earlier career leading DataWare, Inc, an IT consulting and services firm in York, Pennsylvania. Jason loves the hospitality industry for the challenging work of using technology to engage guests’ changing wants while driving value to stakeholders.