Denise was born in Cairo, Egypt where she lived for half of her childhood before moving to Michigan, Minnesota, and finally Oregon. She attended the University of Oregon, earning a Bachelors of Science in Geography with an emphasis on biological and human impacts on the environment. After graduating, Denise became involved with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society as a Program Director, implementing environmental education programs at various locations.
In 2005, Denise moved to the Cayman Islands to implement Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The program’s success led The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to sign a 10-year agreement with Jean-Michel Cousteau to implement these programs at various properties throughout the brand. Denise became the Corporate Director, Environmental Programs for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and led environmental strategy for the brand, as well as supporting the growth of the Cousteau program within The Ritz-Carlton.
In January 2010, Denise joined the Global Operations group at Marriott International and continued her work on sustainability strategy for all brands, as well as expansion of the Cousteau program. In 2012, Denise was named Vice President of Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, integrating both of these important subjects in the company’s global operations. After launching the company’s new Sustainability and Social Impact platform and goals in November 2017, Denise is working on a variety of projects including responsible sourcing, developing solutions for recycling and food waste, and supporting efforts to increase spend with diverse businesses globally.
Denise currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board for WEConnect International, the global organization supporting women businesses around the world, Chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Procurement Council, and on the Board of The Conference Board’s Sustainability Center. She most recently served as the Vice Chair of the Global Business Travel Association’s Sustainability Committee, and the Chair of The Conference Board’s Sustainability Council: Innovation and Growth.