Hilina D. Ajakaiye
Executive Vice President, MeetBoston
Hilina D. Ajakaiye is an accomplished and dedicated Executive Vice President at Meet Boston, leveraging over 15 years of expertise in sales, marketing, and operations, accompanied by a global perspective. Originally hailing from Ethiopia, Hilina immigrated to the United States in 1987, mastering English as her second language and achieving her high school diploma and associate degree concurrently at the young age of 17. Her educational journey extended to the University of Massachusetts, where she pursued her undergraduate studies, and in 2017, she attained her MBA in International Marketing Management from Northeastern University.
In her pivotal role at Meet Boston, Hilina leads a variety of initiatives to expand Boston’s tourism and hospitality industry. Her responsibilities encompass diverse areas, including human resources, membership development, financial strategy, leisure destination services, marketing and operations, and revenue generation. Her current initiatives focus on partnership strategy, workforce development, supplier diversity, eco-tourism, and sustainability.
Prior to her role at Meet Boston, Hilina accumulated over 15 years of invaluable experience at Ahold Delhaize, a prominent international grocery retail giant. Managing 150+ direct reports across 22 stores, she led a team of 3,600+ employees and oversaw an annual revenue budget of $805 million. Her exceptional leadership skills earned national recognition, solidifying her position as a trailblazer in the industry.
Beyond her professional achievements, Hilina is deeply committed to initiatives promoting women’s empowerment, particularly in underserved communities. She actively serves on prestigious boards, including her new role as Chair of The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, The Network of Executive Women (NEW), and the Woodward School for Girls. Currently, she co-chairs the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee for Destination International. Her contributions have garnered widespread acclaim, leading to her induction into the Big Brothers Big Sisters “People We Admire” program and the honor of being named the 2019 “Rhode Islander of the Year” by Rhode Island Monthly for founding the R.I.S.E. Women’s Leadership Conference. She actively engages with community-driven organizations such as Boston NBC and Telemundo Community Council, The Boston Arts Academy Foundation, and Save the Harbor.
Hilina also treasures moments with her husband and two children, indulging her passion for travel.