A woman in a black jacket, representing the RI Hospitality Association, standing in a field.

Business Beat: Heather R. Singleton, now Interim President/CEO of RI Hospitality Association

Heather R. Singleton, Interim President/CEO – RI Hospitality Association (RIHA)/RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF)

The Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) is excited to announce that Heather R. Singleton has officially taken on the role of interim President/CEO as of March 1st, 2024. With a distinguished career spanning over 25 years in the hospitality industry, Singleton steps into her new position ready to lead, innovate, and advocate for the future of hospitality in Rhode Island.


Heather R. Singleton, a seasoned leader and a resident of Chepachet, Rhode Island, has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of Rhode Island’s hospitality scene through her long-standing role as chief operating officer of RIHA and RIHEF. Singleton’s vast experience includes significant contributions to the Association’s education, training, and policy development. Notably in 2023, she was appointed to the State of Rhode Island’s Special Legislative Commission to Review & Provide Recommendations for Policies dealing with Economic & Social Short-Term Rentals Issues, showcasing her expertise and commitment to addressing key industry challenges.

Expertise & Achievements:

Singleton’s leadership is backed by her extensive experience in staff management, operations, membership services, and educational programming. Her role with industry-related local, regional, and national boards and committees underscores her proactive approach to navigating the complexities of the hospitality industry, especially in areas that directly impact tourism and community well-being in Rhode Island.

Singleton currently serves on the board of directors for the International Society of Hotel Associations, the William M. Davies Jr. Career & Technical High School Board of Trustees, and on the Governor’s Workforce Board Local Area Advisory Committee as its vice-chair. She is also the chair of the National Restaurant Association Certification Governing Committee.  

Her accolades include recognition on the 2007 Women of Influence list in New England Foodservice and being featured by Providence Business News for her contributions to the business community. Singleton’s educational background is equally impressive, with degrees from Johnson & Wales University, including a BS in International Business and an MBA from the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School. She has also taught travel and tourism courses at the Community College of Rhode Island and Johnson & Wales University.

Some of the range of topics affecting the hospitality industry, that Singleton will be addressing, include:

●        Economic Impact of Hospitality on Local Communities: Analysis of how the hospitality sector contributes to local economies, including job creation, tourism revenue, and community development.

●        Navigating Regulatory Challenges: Strategies for hospitality businesses to effectively navigate regulatory challenges and leverage policy changes for sustainable growth.

●        Diversity and Inclusion in Hospitality: Initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the hospitality industry, and the impact of such efforts on service excellence and community engagement.

●        Trends in Hospitality and Tourism: Insights into emerging trends shaping the future of the hospitality and tourism sectors, including technology adoption, customer service innovations, and sustainable practices.

●        Hospitality Education and Training: The importance of education and continuous professional development in building a skilled workforce ready to meet the evolving demands of the hospitality industry.

●        Crisis Management and Recovery Strategies: Lessons learned from managing crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and strategies for building resilience and recovery in the hospitality sector.

●        Innovations in Customer Experience: The role of innovation in enhancing the customer experience, from digital advancements to personalized services, and how businesses can adapt to changing consumer expectations.

●        Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship: The importance of sustainability in hospitality, including efforts to reduce environmental impact and promote sustainable tourism practices.

About the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF):

The RI Hospitality Education Foundation’s mission is to develop, support and promote career growth opportunities within the hospitality industry to benefit students, organizations, and the economy. This mission is achieved through the foundation’s work with youth, unemployed adults, and incumbent employees. RIHEF’s focus is on career awareness, providing work-readiness training and offering occupational skills training. For more information, visit

About the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA):

With more than 900 foodservice, hotel, vendor, and other hospitality members in Rhode Island, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) has been the voice of the hospitality industry in the state since 1963.  For more information on RIHA, please call (401) 223-1120, or write to: RI Hospitality Association, 94 Sabra Street, Cranston, RI, 02910, or visit

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