Dale Venturini

Amidst all the changes and challenges in Rhode Island’s hospitality industry over the past three decades, the leadership of Rhode Island Hospitality Association CEO and President Dale Venturini has been a constant.

She was hired to lead the association in 1988. Since then, its member outreach and advocacy efforts have grown with the local industry, which before the COVID-19 pandemic employed more than 87,000. According to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, more than 40% of those jobs were at least temporarily lost in 2020.

In response, Venturini and her team worked around the clock connecting members to government support, providing free training sessions and launching the R.I. Hospitality Relief Fund to aid struggling employees in the industry.

“We simply cannot afford to not recover,” the Pawtucket native told PBN in July 2020.

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Behind the scenes, the association for months lobbied state leaders to help employers determined to survive the pandemic to get people back to work. In 2021 state leaders responded by approving unemployment changes allowing recipients to work more while continuing to collect government benefits – a limited but crucial step in ensuring the industry could take the first steps in its eventual recovery that summer.

The association at the same time unveiled a new online jobs board to help connect employers and job applicants.

Venturini, a commissioner for the R.I. Convention Center Authority, is also a national voice in her industry. In 2021 she was elected to the board of trustees of the National Restaurant Association ­Educational ­Foundation.