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SECSA Federation

Faizan Ali, President of the SECSA Federation


Faizan Ali is President of the SECSA Federation of ICHRIE and Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida.

2020 had been a very different year for most of us, having no personal interactions, no in-person classes, no graduation ceremonies, no sports arenas, and certainly no conferences. The better part of the year went through juggling between Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet etc. Covid-19 has brought a change to almost every part of life — how we live, where we live, where we work, what we do for work, what it means to be a faculty member (or a student), what family means, what is important in life. 

Having said that, we are at the brink of 2021 — the year when everything, and maybe nothing, happens. No one knows what 2021 will bring. Nobody knows what the "new normal" will look like. Will there be in-person classes? Will there be conferences with opportunities to learn together, laugh together? Will there be packed stadiums? Will the 2021 ICHRIE Conference happen? 

There are no clear answers. But there is at least hope. Let's all join together and hope for 2021 to be a year of "no more social distancing" and a year of (relative) normalcy. And while we do that, let's all be mindful of each other for the rest of 2020.

5th Annual ICHRIE-SECSA Federation Conference

Greetings from the ICHRIE-SECSA Federation Board and the University of Memphis! Please join us virtually for our 6th Annual ICHRIE-SECSA Conference Friday, February 26 – Saturday, February 27, 2021. Due to the concerns with regards to the Covid-19, this year the conference will be held virtually.

Please be advised that we are accepting abstracts for the 6th Annual ICHRIE-SECSA Federation Conference. We hope you will consider attending this event, and we hope you will consider presenting an abstract for the conference proceedings. Federation members are strongly encouraged, and all members of ICHRIE are invited.

We are excited to announce a two-pronged academic focus for this conference and program: Research and Pedagogy. 

Paper Submission and Notification Timeline:
Submission deadline – November 20, 2020
Notice of acceptance – January 10, 2021

Registration Deadlines:
Author per accepted abstract – January 20, 2021
For all other attendees – February 10, 2021
Final abstracts due – January 20, 2021

For more details, please visit our website: ICHRIE Federations – Southeast, Central & South American Federation.

I continue to appreciate the opportunity to serve our SECSA Federation members and welcome any questions, concerns, or ideas about building upon our success. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time. 

Faizan Ali, Ph.D.


From the Desk of Director of Marketing – SECSA-CHRIE

Hello, everyone!

I am Robert J. Thompson, the new Director of Marketing for the ICHRIE – SECSA Federation.  It is truly an honor to serve.  I look forward to working with everyone to promote the value of the ICHRIE-SECSA brand, along with the activities and accomplishments of our membership.  We are immensely proud of our members and would like to spotlight your accomplishments. If you have any academic, professional, program, or personal accolades you would like to share, we would love to promote them - brag on you!  Simply, email them to or 

A little bit about myself: I began my career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry in high school working as a bus boy at the Biloxi Hilton, in Biloxi, MS.  After receiving my undergraduate degree from the Univ. of Southern Mississippi, I moved to Las Vegas, NV. There, I worked in a variety of positions at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino in both the front and back of the house.  Later, I moved to Los Angeles, CA, where I worked as Assistant Manager of the Beverly Pavilion Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I moved back to Mississippi to help my father take care of her.  During her illness and after her passing, I worked as a Country Club Manager, Cruise Director, and Hotel Manager.  In 1995, I joined Wyndham Corporate capping my industry career with a twenty-year stint in the areas of field and regional marketing.

During my employment with Wyndham, I took advantage of the tuition reimbursement program to pursue my graduate degrees.  In 2009, I received my M.B.A. in Hospitality & Tourism Management from the University of Guelph in Canada, and I received my Ph.D. in Human Capital Development from The University of Southern Mississippi in the spring of 2016.  I joined the University of South Alabama (USA) as Assistant Professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in May of that same year. The following year, I began serving as Interim Chair of the Department and became Chair in August of 2018, of which I continue to serve today.  Besides teaching at the University of South Alabama, I have also taught adjunct at California State University – East Bay and The University of Southern Mississippi, while with Wyndham Corporate.  I have my C.H.A. (Certified Hotel Administrator) certification with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and hold a T.M.P. (Tourism Marketing Professional) certification through the Southeast Tourism Society.  My research Interests are: Hospitality Healthcare, Employee Work Engagement, and Employee Apathy. Although my transition to academia is fairly recent, I have presented my work at conferences such as Travel Tourism and Research Association (TTRA) Canada, Beryl Institute for Patient Experience, and the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD).

On a personal note, I enjoy cooking, entertaining, and gardening.  These are truly my passions!  Cooking, I picked up from both of my parents.  Each one was an excellent cook.  My mother was a Mississippi native and my Dad was from Maine.  Additionally, we lived in Germany during two tours of duty, as my father served in the U.S. Air Force.  Needless to say, we always had great variety when it came to family meals and dishes on the dinner table.   As far as entertaining, I am best known for my annual Christmas Open House during the holidays.  This past year marked the thirtieth consecutive year.  I am afraid that streak is in jeopardy this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic at play.  Lastly, gardening is my “therapy.”  The entire back yard of my home is a garden – not a single blade of grass.  I guess you could say, I do not enjoy mowing.  Personally, I would rather pull weeks, and trim a shrub than spend half a day mowing grass.  A garden is a place of peace and serenity.  Everyone needs a sanctuary and an escape, and my garden is that for me.  I hope you, too, have a place where you can escape to relax, release, and recharge, especially during these unprecedented times.  Stay safe and be well, my friends!


SECSA Member Highlight

Trishna G. Mistry
Assistant Professor, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Muma College of Business
University of South Florida

Dr. Trishna G. Mistry is an Assistant Professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Dr. Mistry received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida in Broadcast Journalism. She received her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Central Florida in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Dr. Mistry’s research interests include diversity management, human resources management, organizational behavior, and strategic management. Her research has been published in internationally refereed journals, including the International Journal of Hospitality Management and Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management. She has presented her research at various international conferences, including ICHRIE, Euro CHRIE, and Elsevier World Research Summit for Tourism and Hospitality. She has been invited as a keynote speaker to multiple international conferences. 

Dr. Mistry holds several professional memberships, including the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Her teaching interests include human resources management, strategic management, leadership, lodging management, and diversity management in the hospitality and tourism industry. Dr. Mistry joins the faculty at USF with several years of lodging industry and management experience with companies like BlueGreen Vacations and Wyndham Destinations. 



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