former President, North America
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Denise M. Coll—the former President, North America at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.—offers a wide range of performance-driven expertise. She embodies all of the essential leadership traits that generate widespread success, from financial oversight and succession planning to corporate branding and public speaking. An award-winning, Master’s-level executive, Denise’s decisive, empowering approach to management drives positive change at all levels. She leads by example, developing talent in the process.
Hired by Starwood Hotels in 2004 as the Regional Vice President of Operations for the New England region, Denise’s scope of responsibility expanded to include all of North America in 2006. In December 2007, she was chosen as President of the $11B North America Division, which is Starwood’s largest, with 500+ hotels across the U.S., Canada, Virgin Islands, French Polynesia, Bahamas, and the British West Indies. Six Sigma methodologies are at the core of how Denise has run the business, and the productivity performance at Starwood is now at unprecedented levels. All continuous improvements were made without once sacrificing the top-notch service the customers rely on. Launching two new brands, Aloft and Element, Denise provided entry into the uncultivated niche of specialty select service hotels and hired a dedicated team to focus on segment growth. The highlight of her tenure at Starwood has been her ability to navigate the hotels through the 2008/09 challenging economic climate. During that time, she increased the portfolio from 447 to 553 hotels, earned record guest satisfaction scores, and reached double-digit growth.
From 1998 to 2004, Denise served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Seaport Companies in Boston. Recruited primarily to put this start-up on the map, Denise made tremendous strides in establishing and elevating their reputation. Through extensive brand and product repositioning, she increased market share, attained a 90+% “customer intent to return” rating, strengthened group business, and the Seaport Hotel achieved AAA Four Diamond status.
Joining ITT Sheraton Corporation in 1977 as a Reservation Manager, Denise was singled out for her potential and rapidly progressed to positions of increasing responsibility in the information technology, operations, and executive realms. In 1995, she was promoted to Senior Vice President and Area Director of Operations for the North America Division, which generated $115M in annual revenues and had gross operating profits of up to 42%. Throughout nearly two decades with ITT Sheraton, Denise’s clear vision ensured the swift realization of ambitious strategic objectives.
Denise’s contributions to the hospitality industry cannot be understated. In each role, she cultivated and upheld the tenants of corporate missions and branding initiatives on both a national and global scale. This led to unified operational processes that enabled aggressive revenue and growth goals. She has been recognized for her exceptional leadership, professionalism, and overall impact with numerous prestigious awards, including the 2011 Rappaport Award for Distinguished Alumnae at Simmons College, the Chancellor’s Medal and HRTA Alumni of the Year from University of Massachusetts in 1998, and YWCA Academy of Women Achievers in 1997. In 2009, she was inducted into the Massachusetts Lodging Association’s Hall of Fame.
Denise earned her Master of Business Administration from the Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston in 1995. Prior to her tenure at ITT Sheraton, Denise obtained her Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration (HRTA) from the University of Massachusetts. A lifelong learner, she continues to stay abreast of emerging industry trends and is committed to the continued development of her knowledge base. Passionate about the advancement of women in senior roles and giving back to the community, Denise has devoted her time and energies while serving in leadership positions at many organizations and non-profits. Her active and prior involvement includes numerous Board and Committee appointments at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), University of Massachusetts, Boston University School of Hospitality, Massachusetts Lodging Association, Boys and Girls Club of Boston, South Boston Neighborhood House, Bessie Tart Wilson Children’s Foundation, and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.