Lynette Montoya

President & CEO

Latino Hotel Association

Lynette Montoya, CEO of the Latino Hotel Association since 2015, is focused on providing Latino entrepreneurs hotel industry resources, education and training, and networking opportunities to build wealth through hotel ownership and investment.

Ms. Montoya has been actively involved in the hotel industry for 20 years, working as a broker for properties throughout the United States. Ms. Montoya is the founder of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Santa Fe, New Mexico and served as its founding executive director. She is also a board member of Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank tackling climate change through the design of the built environment. As director of economic development for the City of Santa Fe, Ms. Montoya was instrumental in many integral projects including the development and construction of a new convention center.

Lynette serves on the Advisory Council of the California State University Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Alliance and volunteers extensively in her community, where she has been a key member of charities serving homeless use, battered women, and other vulnerable populations. She is currently a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters gala committee.

Please reach out to Lynette to learn more about hotel ownership.


Walter Barela

Executive Vice President

Peak Hospitality​

Walter Barela has over thirty-five years of experience in the hospitality industry with recognized international branded hotels and Boutique properties. He has earned a reputation for successful hotel turnarounds having taken under performing hotel properties and successfully renovated and re-positioned them to profitability and/or successful sale of the property.  In 2000, Mr. Barela co-founded Peak Hospitality which serves in the various roles of hotel acquisition; development, asset management, project consulting and management of full and select-service hotels throughout the United States. Peak Hospitality’s focus is maximizing return on investment.


Francisco Arocha


HES Group

Francisco is a prominent and innovative Venezuelan entrepreneur who has conquered the South Florida market with his expertise in the areas of hospitality, entertainment, sports, and real estate.


Arocha possesses multiple degrees including an MBA from Columbia University, an MBA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a DESS from the Universite Pantheon Sorbonne in Paris. He also serves as Director, Managing Partner, President, and Owner of several exclusive hotels and restaurants. His outstanding success as Managing Partner at Aloft Miami Brickell, a vision of W Hotels backed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has forged a powerful partnership between HES Group and Sunview Companies, a Miami based construction and engineering firm.


Benito Irastorza

President & CEO

IRAS Group

Benito Irastorza has been developing real estate for more than 25 years. His attention to detail and his ability to identify emergent submarkets has been paramount to the success of the company. His firm has implemented an impressive array of projects including upscale residential communities, select-service hotels, and multifaceted office and retail complexes.

For over 15 years, his company has focused on commercial projects in Doral, including the 103-room Best Western Inn & Suites, the 92-room Baymont Inn and Suites, the 55,000 square-foot Doral 107 Shoppes and Professional Center, and the 90,000 square-foot mixed-use Doral Park Centre. His firm also currently owns and operates a 155-room Best Western Airport Suites south of the Fort Lauderdale Airport and a 103-room Four Points by Sheraton in Coral Gables.

Benito is well-versed in all facets of commercial real estate, which has enabled him to have a vertical control of the business. This shrewd understanding has enabled him to make the appropriate strategic decisions, regardless of the asset’s stage within the investment cycle. Aside from his occupational background in commercial real estate development, he has also developed over 200 residential homes.

Benito sits on the Board of Directors for the Latino Hotel Association and the Doral Building Department Advisory Task Force. Benito graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture and completed studies in the Urban Planning and Development Master’s Program.


Carlos J. Rodriguez (Vice Chairman)

President & CEO

Driftwood Acquisitions and Development

 As President and CEO of Driftwood Acquisitions and Development (DAD, LP), Carlos J. Rodriguez has successfully built on his 30+ years of experience in finance, real estate and the lodging industry. When his Wall Street investment-banking career was cut short due to a death in his family, Rodriguez moved to his native Costa Rica to head up the Aurola Hotels group (1986 – 1996). Between 1991 and 1995 Rodriguez also served the Costa Rican government as Vice Chairman of the country’s pension, hospitals and social security system and represented his country as its Director of the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (1990-1991). In 1996, Rodriguez relocated to Miami, FL with his family to form Cardel Hotels, a development company, and Cardel Hospitality Group, specializing in hotel management. After opening several successful hotels in the area as well as developing a bank and two restaurant parcels, the Miami Doral-Airport West Chamber of Commerce named Rodriguez its “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2000.


In 2003, he merged the Cardel Group with Driftwood Hospitality Management where, as Executive Vice President he oversaw lodging real estate development and acquisitions. With his Driftwood Hospitality partners, he co-founded the group of DVI Cardel Investment Funds in 2006, specializing in hotel properties. His hotels have won numerous awards and accolades across all of the major hospitality franchises. In 2015, he and his son Carlos Jr. developed the blueprint for Driftwood Acquisitions and Development, designed to combine the best attributes of private equity funds, REITS and high-net worth family offices as a vehicle for highly profitable U.S. hotel investments. Since 2015, DAD has acquired 20 hotels with over $1 BN in assets and has several others in various stages of development. Rodriguez holds a degree in Finance from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. 


Rita Santillanes

Co-Owner & CEO

Peppertree Hospitality Group

Rita Santillanes- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Peppertree Hospitality Group. PHG owns and operates several Best Western Plus hotels, plaza shopping centers, and quick service restaurants. Rita sits on many boards such as the Latino Hotel Association, Visit Spokane, Spokane Sports Commission, Public Facility’s District, and has been a Best Western Governor for over 20 years.

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Marco Roca


Reveille Hospitality

Senior has 36 years of global experience developing over $50 billion of real estate across more than 1,500 hotels, casinos, and branded residences. As President of Global Development and Chief Development Officer for Caesars Entertainment, Roca grew the company’s casino and hotel footprint across multiple continents and launched a new hotel brand: Caesars Republic.  During his tenure at Caesars, Roca executed 10 hotel and casino deals and was responsible for activating more than 400 acres of non-profit generating, raw land adjacent to Caesars’s Casinos.  Immediately prior to joining Caesars, Marco was Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Hard Rock International, building the company to a dominant global entertainment brand by executing 36 new hotel and casino licensing agreements and developing a new hotel select-service brand: Reverb by Hard Rock. Marco has also served in other executive roles with Realogy, Wyndham, Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton. Through his career, he was engaged in the creation of the following brands: Holiday Inn Express, Microtel, Aloft, and Wyndham Garden.

Roca is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Psychology from University of The Americas in Mexico and a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Development from the United States International University in Mexico City.



Brian Resendez

Senior Advisor

Sperry Van Ness | Bluestone & Hockley

Brian Resendez serves as a Senior Advisor with Sperry Van Ness | Bluestone & Hockley in Portland, Oregon. He specializes in the sale of hospitality properties in the Pacific Northwest, United States by serving the needs of hotel owners.


An accomplished real estate broker since 2004, Brian began his real estate career in finance and by assisting with the acquisition of investment single family and multi-family property sales. He then started working in hotel brokerage in 2007 and has since become one of the leading experts in the local community for hotel sales and acquisition. He has been involved in the Purchase and Sale of multiple hotel properties in Oregon and Washington including branded and non-branded assets.


Brian holds a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree from the University of Houston Hilton College in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Lodging Administration. He also holds two Certifications from the Cornell Hotel School of Hotel Administration in Hotel Real Estate Investment and Development.


Previously, Brian worked as a hospitality manager in Central America and the United States with Westin, Doubletree and several Ski and Golf Resorts. Brian also worked as a loan officer and brings strong knowledge of real estate finance to make transactions work in today’s difficult lending environment.

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Gisela Levy

VP of  Acquisitions & RE Operations

AD1 Global

As VP of Acquisitions Gisela is responsible for the company’s daily operations, acquisitions, property negotiations and coordinates project renovations for acquired properties. She is an expert at inspecting, analyzing acquisitions and construction projects for viability and efficiency. Gisela joined the company in 2011 and has become an instrumental part of the AD1 Global team. Gisela received her BS in Civil Engineering from Andres Bello Catholic University in Venezuela. Since then she has been involved in construction projects and management operations for developers and commercial properties.     


Christopher Henry

Co-Founder & CEO

Majestic Hospitality

Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. Henry has led Majestic Hospitality on assignments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Over the years, personal and business experiences have created his well-rounded perspective on the tourism industry and his ardent support of a triple bottom line philosophy. Working within the realms of luxury, boutique, and lifestyle hotels Christopher has a passion for creating unique destinations properties which harness and promote authentic local experiences. He is currently involved with projects in California, North Carolina, Scotland, and Belize. In addition to his activities with Majestic, Christopher is a minority owner of the recently launch Hemingway Hotels & Resorts which is developing its first property.


Prior to launching Majestic, Mr. Henry has worked for Prince Hotels & Resorts, Mauna Kea Resort, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Vista del Sol Health Services, and TS Architects. He was also a founding partner of Senior Wellness Group and Red Diamond Hospitality. While working at Four Seasons Hotel – Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Christopher earned his Associate of Science degree in Food and Beverage Management from the California School of Culinary Arts. He then received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Lodging Management with a minor in Eco-tourism at Johnson & Wales University, Denver.