Maui Hotel & Lodging Association executive director honored with multiple accolades : Maui Now

Lisa Paulson, executive director of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, has received multiple accolades this year, including Hospitality Executive of the Year by Pacific Edge magazine in September, a mention in the magazine’s “Women in Business” issue in November, and Most Admired Leader in Hawaiʻi by Pacific Business News.

L-R: Maui Hotel & Lodging Association’s Director of Communication Naomi Cooper and Executive Director Lisa Paulson at the Pacific Edge magazine awards ceremony in September 2023. PC: Dave Livingston

In June, Lisa was asked to present the lodging association’s “Faces of Aloha” campaign at the Public Relations Society of America’s “Changing the Conversation About Tourism” at the 2023 Travel & Tourism Section Conference in Wisconsin. The campaign showed the many benefits the visitor industry offers to residents of Maui.

She also was an industry expert on the Vegas Chamber Business Panel in October and will be on the Maui Business Panel put on Dec. 7 by Pacific Business News.

As a registered lobbyist, Paulson advocates for hotel properties, tourism and foodservice related entities, nonprofits and their employees, and navigating economic and cultural impacts on Maui.


While working for Maui County as tourism liaison, her expertise in legislation, marketing, public relations and business played a crucial role in supporting Maui County during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paulson returned to the lodging association as its executive director in December 2021. She also had served in that role for seven years prior to joining Maui County.

She currently sits on the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan, the Women in Lodging & Tourism Advisory Council and the boards of Maui Economic Development Board and Maui Chamber of Commerce.


She also serves on the board of directors for Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center and took part in many advisory groups supporting Maui’s wildfire recovery including the state Housing Working Group and Maui County Economic Recovery Working Group.

“Most importantly, Lisa leads with heart,” said Karen Wataru Nakaoka, senior director of member and community engagement for the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau, in a press release. “She is a leader with integrity who approaches all issues with empathy and a sincere desire to find positive solutions.”

Looking ahead, Paulson and the lodging association plan to focus on sustainable practices and responsible tourism to benefit Maui’s future generations and its industry and community.


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