Shelley Cresswell Walker, CEO of Delta Lodging Group, LLC, was recently honored at an awards event in Jackson as one of the top CEOs in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Business Journal recognized leaders around the state who demonstrate excellence in their fields, have helped their companies achieve strong growth and success and have made a profound impact on their companies and communities. Honorees were selected in categories of Nonprofit CEOs, Rising Stars, Large Companies, Medium Companies and Small Companies.
Delta Lodging Group, LLC, with a corporate office in Itta Bena, is the largest privately owned limited-service hotel management company in Mississippi. Walker is responsible for working with hotel ownership to oversee and lead a management team for 12 properties in six cities consisting of a diverse portfolio of Hilton, IHG and Choice Hotels. The company employs more than 200 people across the Mississippi Delta. Walker is responsible for managing the day-to-day business operations and providing leadership and support to all company functions and departments.
During her time in the CEO role, she has recently created a new corporate structure to drive more efficient operations, including geographic directors and hotel brand directors.
She has implemented revenue management strategies that have increased business and profitability across the company from the previous year. Her primary focus has been to enhance the employee team work culture and guest experience throughout all hotels in the portfolio.
"Shelley has put together a strong corporate team that was improving sales and improving efficiency since she started in this position last year,” said Suresh Chawla, the company’s president. “This is why she is so deserving of this huge CEO award; she is an upcoming star in the corporate business world.
“Now, her organizational skills and ability to adapt have been key since the COVID-19 era literally has cut our sales in half. She has responded well with her team and has positioned our company to not only survive this crisis but to emerge eventually as a stronger company. She deserves all the kudos in the world for what she has done.”
Before joining the company, Walker had experience in hospitality and tourism, manufacturing operations, workforce education, economic development, and on-campus university housing in executive positions held at the Greenwood Tourism Commission, Milwaukee Tool, Georgia-Pacific, East Central Community College, and Mississippi State University. During her career she has managed hundreds of employees and has had oversight of business operations, human resources, financial forecasts, budgets, continuous improvement initiatives, and marketing and sales strategies for various companies.
Walker is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she holds a Master of Science degree in student affairs administration in higher education and a Bachelor of Science degree in educational psychology.
She is a Certified John Maxwell Team Business Coach, Trainer, and Professional Public Speaker. She is a graduate of the 2019 Leadership Mississippi Class through Mississippi Economic Council and was selected as one of the Top 50 Leading Business Women and one of the Top 50 Under 40 Business Leaders by the Mississippi Business Journal.
She graduated from the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Greenwood program and was honored as one of Greenwood’s Top 30 Under 40 and Cleveland’s Top 50 Under 50.
She is a member of various community and civic organizations and serves in leadership roles including executive boards of directors. In her spare time, she facilitates leadership development training for various businesses and organizations.