IHIF names Ben Justus Young Leader of 2016

Ben Justus

The International Hotel Investment Forum, working with the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, has named Ben Justus as the recipient of the IHIF 2016 Young Leader Award. Justus is the founder of EGBOK (Everything’s Gonna be OK), a charitable non-profit that helps underprivileged young adults in Cambodia to be self-supporting by providing education, training and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry and utilizing a comprehensive approach with an emphasis on life skills. Since founding EGBOK in 2009, Justus has moved to Cambodia to establish a non-profit hospitality training school and manage the expanding business operations of the organization. 


A photo posted by egbokmission (@egbokmission) on

“I first visited Cambodia in 2006 and was instantly struck by the warmth and hospitality of the country’s people,” Justus said, noting that in spite of “booming tourism and economic growth,” the country is also still rebuilding itself in the wake of the Cambodian genocide. “I wanted to explore how this growing hospitality industry could be utilized to alleviate poverty in local communities. The launch and successful development of EGBOK to date has been a humbling and satisfying journey that I am proud to be a part of. I’m delighted to have been awarded the IHIF 2016 Young Leader award and look forward to meeting the teams from IHIF and the ISHC at the event.”

“Our continued commitment to showcasing and supporting the young leaders of our industry is very important to everyone at Questex,” Kerry Gumas, president & CEO of Questex Media Group, hosts of IHIF, said in a statement. “Ben’s entrepreneurial spirit and community-mindedness are characteristics often found in the brightest of the next generation of hospitality leaders. We send our warmest congratulations and look forward to welcoming him to IHIF next month.”

“The Young Leader Award is an opportunity to recognize and encourage emerging talent for the advancement of the hospitality industry,” Andrea Belfanti, executive director at the ISHC, commented. “[Justus] is shaping a future of other young hospitality leaders in Cambodia that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn and obtain the skills they need for employment.” The award will be presented during the afternoon of March 7, between 4:15 PM and 4:45 PM. 

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