Chief Executive Officer
Azim F. Saju, Esq.
Azim Saju is the CEO & President for HDG Hotels. HDG Hotels is a hotel management and development company which, develops and manages a portfolio of franchised hotels. HDG has a strong culture whose vision is to positively impact the people and world around us and whose mission is brilliance in the basics of hospitality.
Prior to joining HDG Hotels, Azim practiced law as a trial lawyer for over 9 years. He is a member of the Florida Bar and Federal Bar. Azim primarily practiced in the areas of employment law and civil rights cases. Academically, Azim holds an economics degree from Davidson College and a law degree from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida College of Law, Azim’s notable achievement was serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Journal of International Law.
Azim has been a member of the Choice Hotels Owners’ Council (CHOC) for 12 years. In this capacity, he has served in various positions, including Chairperson of CHOC for three years.
Azim also serves on the Advent Hospital Foundation Board as the Finance Committee Chair and the Davidson College Board of Visitors.
Lisa is the Chief Culture and Strategy Officer for HDG Hotels. Her go-to words include “onward” and “be bold.” She has worked in a leadership and mentoring capacity with nonprofits, financial institutions, arts organizations, televised and other high profile events, higher education institutions, start-ups, individual executives, and now hospitality.
Before joining the HDG Hotels team, Lisa worked in roles such as the Director of Development at the CF Foundation and Campaign Counsel for the Central Florida Y’s DeLuca YMCA, helping each raise their single largest charitable gifts at that time. As a consultant, she worked with a diverse roster of clients including Broadway based organizations; which fed her passion for the performing arts – a lifelong love that also motivated her co-founding a performing arts conservatory. She has also led organizations through overhauls of mission statements, global brand launches, conducted board development trainings, and represented brands throughout the state of Florida, nationally and internationally through partnerships such as the LPGA.
When asked what motivates her, she answers, “People.” She believes the first step toward progress is having clarity of purpose – knowing your “why”. As HDG’s Chief People and Culture Officer, she leads all things “engagement”. Internally, that means making sure the team members we onboard feel on board, especially with our vision, mission, and core values. Externally, that includes representing HDG within the industry, in government affairs, communications, and community outreach. Lisa received a bachelor of arts in Communication Studies from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and a master of arts in Public Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Chief Development & Finance Officer
Billy Gilchrist was born and raised in Ocala, Florida. After high school, he attended the University of Florida and graduated with his bachelor’s in finance and his masters in entrepreneurship. After several years in Jacksonville, Florida, he made his way back to Ocala and went to work in the banking industry.
In 2018, Billy decided to make a career switch and joined HDG Hotels. He is the chief development and finance officer. Billy is responsible for managing all new development, acquisitions, dispositions, accounting functions, lending relationships, insurance relationships, and assisting with shareholder relations. He is also involved in several community organizations including, being the President of the Ocala-Sunset Rotary Club, board member of the Marion County Literacy Council, and Chair of the Ocala Planning and Zoning Commission.
Billy is married to his beautiful wife, Cortnee, and is a proud father to his two daughters, Palmer and Payton.
Outside of work, Billy enjoys watching Gator sports, spending time with his family, is an avid fisherman, and enjoys the outdoors.
Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Bailey’s hospitality career began more than 30 years ago in South Florida. Before joining HDG, Jeff worked at more than a dozen full-service hotels in six states and also owned two restaurants. He has experience with a number of hotel brands including Marriott, IHG, and Hilton. His accolades include General Manager of the Year, Most Improved Marriott in the World (for Guest Service and Overall Satisfaction), and Best Customer Experience for two consecutive years.
“Together, we’re stronger!” is a quote that has guided much of Jeff’s career. A leader within several community and state hotel associations, Jeff has been engaged in government relations and other efforts to help secure local tourism funds and lead various hotel leaders toward a common goal locally and beyond.
Jeff understands the importance of using his talents and experience to help the overall industry. Adept at developing talent, his past team members continue to be recognized in their respective communities in high-level positions. Jeff’s desire to develop others has extended to organizing hospitality management high school programs and finding ways to help introduce the hotel industry to organizations who focus their efforts on special needs individuals.
Chief Innovation & Systems Officer
Raymond Manaois, chief innovations and systems officer, joined HDG Hotels in 2007. His main responsibility is the company’s information technology needs. When he is not analyzing complex data and transforming them into useful information, he is developing strategies that drive organizational and operational changes and promote efficiency and growth for the organization. Raymond also plays a pivotal role in opening new build hotels and acquisitions.
Before joining HDG Hotels, Raymond worked as an instructor at the University of the Philippines, Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, and at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, where he taught courses in Hotel Information Technology, Cost Control and Analysis, and Rooms Division Management. Raymond attributes his extensive knowledge and skills in hospitality management to his first job at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel Manila where he worked as an assistant IT manager after college. Raymond also worked as an assistant controller onboard the cruise ship Norwegian Sun, part of the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Raymond holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines.
Chief of Staff
Donna Arthur has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. In 1998, she joined HDG Hotels as a housekeeper. Donna’s hard work, efficiency, and heart made her stand out. Her leadership resume covers the hospitality spectrum. She has served at HDG as head housekeeper, general manager, regional director, and is currently vice president of hotel excellence.
Tammy Buckley began her hospitality career in 1982. Tammy started as a front desk clerk and worked her way up to general manager. She has experience in six different brands, as well as independently owned properties. In 2016, she joined HDG as a regional director. Tammy coaches leaders on the HDG way of people, policy, and property management.
.Sarah Chandler started in the hospitality industry over 20 years ago. She first joined HDG in 2009 as a full-time night auditor at HDG’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Silver Springs/Ocala. She has worked for several different brands throughout her career and in several positions such as front desk, accounting, general manager, and regional director.
Jerry Alnemat was born and raised in Jordan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics and served in the Jordanian Army as a Second Lieutenant for six years. After the Army, he worked as a construction project manager and restaurant manager. He then moved to the United States.
Jerry joined the HDG family in 2016 as the director of food and beverage at the Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center New Port Richey (QIR). In August 2017, he became the general manager. Jerry made a tremendous impact there and showed an interest in continuing to grow. in 2020, he became a regional director for HDG hotels.
Jerry is an award-winning, authentic, involved leader with a strong business sense, and engaging interpersonal skills. His approach to business might best be summed up with one of his favorite quotes, “Hard work wrapped with a positive approach can always lead a team to perform at their best.”
Director of Revenue Management
Jackie Lambert is HDG’s director of revenue management. In 2010, she started at HDG’s Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center (QIT) as a breakfast attendant. By 2012, she had become general manager.
In her current role, she is responsible for overseeing rates and inventory of HDG’s portfolio to maximize revenues, as well as providing training to her revenue management team members and hotel leaders. Jackie is Host Certified and is also a Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager (CHRM).
She also plays a key role in investor relations and new property acquisitions. Jackie is passionate about revenue management and continues to expand her knowledge. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of Coastal Georgia with her Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA).