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Choice Hotels announces two new leaders to help fuel small business ownership in underrepresented communities

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Lodging franchisor continues commitment to increasing diversity across hospitality industry.

ROCKVILLE, MD. - Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced two new franchise development directors have joined the company's emerging markets team: Jacquelyn Peterson and Marcus Thomas.

Together, Peterson and Thomas bring more than three decades of hospitality expertise to Choice, where they will help further the company's longstanding efforts to extend hotel ownership opportunities to underrepresented populations.

Jacquelyn Peterson joins Choice Hotels as an Emerging Markets Director. In this role, she will build on her successful tenure of empowering small business ownership by focusing specifically on bridging the gaps between veteran and female entrepreneurs and hotel ownership. Peterson earned her bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from the University of South Carolina and a master's degree in leisure studies from the University of Georgia.

Marcus Thomas also joins Choice as an Emerging Markets Director, where he will be responsible for driving new development and expansion opportunities for the company's African American, Latin American and Native American emerging market segments. Thomas brings more than 10 years of sales and business consulting experience in the hospitality, technology and real estate industries to the position, most recently serving as a senior consultant for Konica Minolta, a Tokyo-based multinational technology company. Thomas earned a degree in business administration and international business from Sam Houston State University, and is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

"At Choice Hotels, optimizing the right brands in the right markets – and equipping our owners with the right tools to succeed in any environment – is only part of how we deliver on our commitment to fuel their profitability and success. Equally important, is efforts to enhance opportunities for minority-owned businesses," said John Lancaster, vice president, emerging markets, franchise development and owner relations, Choice Hotels. "Since forming the industry's first emerging markets-focused development team, Choice has awarded and financially supported more than 300 franchise agreements with under-represented minorities and seasoned entrepreneurs, including nearly 30 contracts last year alone. Jacquelyn and Marcus are both results-driven, charismatic leaders whose wealth of industry experience will help the company build on its commitment to supporting a diverse franchise base."

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