SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest hotel companies, announced Simone Wu, senior vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer of Choice Hotels, has received the 2013 Asian American Legal Defense Education Fund Justice in Action Award for leadership and dedication to promote diversity in the legal profession. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130222/PH64777) "Simone is a true leader in the area of corporate diversity and inclusion. We are so proud of all that she has accomplished within her field and now within our industry," said Stephen P. Joyce, president & CEO of Choice Hotels International. "At Choice Hotels, she ensures our business practices always put fairness first – for associates, potential associates, our franchisees and business partners. This includes our policies for inclusion and diversity which are considered in the decisions we make every day as a company." Ms. Wu was honored Tuesday night at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City alongside United States Representative John Lewis (D- Georgia) and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define American, an immigration policy awareness non-profit organization. "Lawyers have a unique role in society because we serve as a voice for others. In that capacity, among our responsibilities is to contribute to our communities, deliver justice and to pave the way for others to do the same," Ms. Wu said in her remarks at the awards dinner. "Today we have the opportunity to heighten our efforts to pursue these goals in the area of diversity and inclusion. Yet here we are well into the 21 st century and we still have many pockets where the voices of some are still underrepresented or barely heard." Prior to joining Choice Hotels, Ms. Wu served as executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary for XO Communications, a leading nationwide telecommunications corporation. She is currently chairperson-elect of the board of directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and co-Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Through her more than 20 years of legal experience, Ms. Wu has been committed to advancing diversity and mentoring Asian-American attorneys as well as up and coming lawyers of all different diverse backgrounds. She has also served on the board of directors for the Washington Metropolitan Area Association of Corporate Counsel which has honored her as the Washington, D.C. area's outstanding chief legal officer. Ms. Wu received her law degree from Columbia University soon after which she joined the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom and has also worked for large corporations such as MCI and AOL. The AALDEF Justice in Action Awards recognize exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in advancing justice and equality. Past recipients include the late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu, David Henry Hwang, Fareed Zakaria, BD Wong, Sandra Leung, Harold Koh, Mira Nair, Ivan Fong, Deval Patrick, George Takei, Salman Rushdie, Seymour Hersh, Larry Tu, Charles Ogletree, Jr., Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl Wu Dunn, Javade Chaudhri, Harry Belafonte, Margaret Cho, and Yoko Ono. The awards were presented by Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, Tony award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly David Henry Hwang, and Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase. The co-emcees for the evening were Juju Chang, Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News Nightline, and Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University. About Choice Hotels Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises approximately 6,200 hotels, representing more than 499,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of December 31, 2012, 394 hotels, representing more than 31,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 88 hotels, representing approximately 7,800 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories. The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well at its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide. Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. website, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com. Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Hotel Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.