Niki Leondakis

2023 ICON Award Winner, Chief Executive Officer, CorePower Yoga

With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, building lifestyle brands and creating award-winning workplace cultures to drive innovation and customer loyalty, Leondakis has consistently built and led some of the most diverse and customer-centric teams in the industry.  Currently, she is the CEO of CorePower Yoga, the largest yoga studio chain in the United States with over 200 studios.   

Prior to joining CorePower Yoga, Leondakis was President at The Wolff Company, a multifamily-focused real estate private equity firm. Prior to joining Wolff, Leondakis was CEO of multiple companies including Equinox Fitness Clubs, Two Roads Hospitality, and Commune Hotels & Resorts.  

One of the leading women executives in hospitality, Leondakis joined Commune Hotels & Resorts in November 2012 as its CEO to lead the expansion for its global growth. In 2016 it was named #9 on Travel and Leisure Magazine’s top 15 hotel brands in the world.  Leondakis expanded the company’s Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre Hotel brands and introduced the Singapore-based Alila Hotels & Resorts to the Commune portfolio. Previous to Commune, Leondakis led Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants as their President and Chief Operating Officer, where she started in 1993 and was a key member of the executive team that led the growth of the company from 15 hotels to 50.  Under her leadership, Kimpton was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. 

Leondakis also held various leadership roles with the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company from 1985 to 1993. She began her hospitality career for Marriott Hotels in 1982 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Her goal of creating a workplace culture that instills pride and ownership among employees has led to numerous awards and accolades including Commune Hotels & Resorts being recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Crain’s New York and rankings on both the San Francisco Business Times’ “Best Place to Work” and Chicago Tribunes’ “Chicago’s Top Workplaces” lists. Individually, Leondakis has received numerous industry awards, including being cited in 2015 by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs. A recipient of the Leadership Excellence award from and LEAD2016, Leondakis has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Women” by the San Francisco Business Times annually since 2002. She was recognized as one of “30 Women Power Players” by Nation’s Restaurant News and named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Travel Agent Magazine. She was the recipient of the International Food Service Manufacturer’s Association Silver Plate Award for Operator of the Year, the Fred Tibbits Hospitality Award for Lifetime Excellence, and Penn State’s Hotel and Restaurant Society Hospitality Executive of the Year. Further, Leondakis’ alma mater, the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism, awarded her its Stephen E. Elmont Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011, and in 2012 she was honored with Hospitality Design’s Platinum Circle Award. In 2014 she was awarded the Horst Schulze Award for Excellence in Hospitality.  

Tempering business with community stewardship, Leondakis served as Chair of the Dress for Success Worldwide Board of Directors from 2009 to 2011. Dress for Success is an international nonprofit that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women. Leondakis continues to serve as a board member for the organization, where she chairs the Strategic Planning Committee. 

A native of West Springfield, Massachusetts, Leondakis divides her time between Denver, Colorado, and Sonoma, California. 

Press Release: Boston University School of Hospitality Administration Bestows Icon Award to Niki Leondakis, CEO of CorePower Yoga, at 2023 Hospitality Leadership Summit