A native of rural Poplarville, Mississippi, Joel Carver was the grandson of two hoteliers. In this small town in the early 1900s, there were two hostelries. The Orr Hotel and the Carver Hotel (now known as The Blueberry Inn), both owned by Joel’s great grandparents.
Entrepreneurship seemed to run in the family – Joel’s parents owned and operated a restaurant and a children’s clothing store, showing him at a young age, both the challenges and successes to small and growing businesses. Another thing Joel found out early on was that he would never make a very good waiter!
After college, Joel took his first hotel job as a sales manager at The Capitol House Hotel in Baton Rouge. The position set the stage for Joel’s lifelong love of the hotel industry and more specifically, marketing, sales and revenue management. This love led to a career spanning more than three decades and has taken Joel through positions including directors of sales, marketing, assistant vice president and corporate director of sales, vice president of sales and marketing, and senior vice president of marketing, sales and public relations. Today, as president and CEO of Atlanta-based The Carver Companies, he leads Carver Hotel Group, Carver World Temps and Carver-Olson Hospitality Search.
Considered a true “change agent” and “early adaptor,” Joel’s drive and commitment to sales performance resulted in moving an entire portfolio from 112% annualized market share to over 118% during one of the greatest recessionary times in history.
Recognition by his peers for his commitment to excellence and aggressive drive to shift share, resulted in Joel being named one of the “Top Twenty-Five Most Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing.” Additionally, he received the “Spirit to Serve” award from Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and the 2011 “Diversity in Business” award from the Minneapolis/Twin Cities Business Journal. After its launch, Carver Hotel Group was named one of the “Top Start-ups in Georgia.”
A dynamic public speaker, Joel’s career has taken him to 49 of the 50 states, all provinces of Canada and a significant part of the world, but his mind and heart never stray far from his hometown of Poplarville, Mississippi. He also remembers and honors the three major influences on his life – his dad Pete, mom Bertha and paternal grandmother Vivian. These three folks instilled major values that are incorporated into The Carver Companies today. From his dad, “When an opportunity comes take it, even if you’re not ready. It may not present itself again.” From his mom, with a brilliant business mind “Make sure your decisions make sense” and “Don’t ever judge people until you’ve walked in their shoes.” From a grandmother who was a pioneer for women, earning her Master’s Degree and working towards a Doctorate at a time when very few women graduated from college, “You can go anywhere and achieve anything you want, but don’t ever forget where you came from.”
Today, both Joel and The Carver Companies never forget where they came from and their beginnings. Joel has committed time and talent to giving back to the industry he loves. He has served as a board member to the Association of Starwood Franchise Owners Association and HSMAI as an America’s Board member 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Carver Companies continue to give back to the community through partnerships with The Point Foundation, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Human Rights Campaign Fund and through Backpack Buddies, helping to assure that “at risk” children have adequate food.
An active member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA, Joel continues to look for additional ways to serve the community.