About Us

We achieve measurable success through a
culture-focused, values-centered approach
to business. Mandala Holdings
understands how to work with nuanced
and unique opportunities. Our versatility
and creativity in all things we do are
bound together with the common
objective to succeed — no matter what the
challenge or circumstance.

Headquartered in Miami, Mandala Holdings is quickly becoming one of the nation’s
premier investment platforms with a focus on developing hotels, restaurants and
entertainment assets. Leveraging its South Florida base, Mandala Holdings is actively
acquiring land for hotel development throughout the southeastern United States while
expanding its activities in the food and beverage space.


Innovative and adaptable, our
entrepreneurial team excels in all facets of
the hospitality industry.

Vinay Rama

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Vinay is a lifelong hotelier with experience in hotel investments, development, operations and brokerage. After growing up in a family of hoteliers and getting a formal education in the industry, he spent a number of years with Hodges Ward Elliott, one of the most successful hotel brokerage / investment banking teams in the United States. Under Mark Elliott and his team, Vinay developed an in-depth understanding of the real estate valuation components of the hotel industry and the associated capital markets.

At the age of 25, Vinay took his skills overseas to establish JHM International, in Mumbai, India. With his passion for international business, he helped grow the investments significantly, including starting the first third-party management company in India and developing a university from the ground up on a 117-acre parcel. Intent on creating something very special based on everything he had learned, Vinay returned to the U.S. to found Mandala Holdings in 2013.

Vinay has a hands-on approach to managing and decision-making, overseeing all activities at Mandala Holdings. He holds a B.S. degree from the Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Lee Babcock

Chief Investment Officer

Lee’s career in commercial real estate includes experience in office, retail and multifamily assets, with a focus on hospitality. He also worked in hospitality development for Gaylord Entertainment and the $1 billion private equity fund, RLJ Development, where he held the title of vice president. Lee joined Mandala Holdings as CIO in 2014.

At Mandala Holdings, Lee focuses on ensuring acquisition and development projects unfold smoothly and expeditiously. He directs the activities of Mandala Holdings’ attorneys, architects, engineers, contractors and accountants to achieve outcomes that best serve the interests of the platform’s investors and partners. Lee holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Brittany Vaughn

Director of Asset Management

Brittany has extensive experience in the food service and retail industries, where she focused on operations and financial reporting. Prior to joining Mandala Holdings, Brittany worked at Ruby Tuesday, Inc. as an accountant, tax specialist and franchisee relationship manager.

In her current role as director of asset management, Brittany draws on her financial analysis and accounting expertise to ensure that all of Mandala Holdings’ investments are evaluated and monitored consistently. Brittany’s value-add as an asset manager stems from her experience with the key factors that drive profitability in franchise operations. Brittany holds a BBA in accounting from East Tennessee State University.

Howard Isaacson

VP of Asset Management

Howard Isaacson’s responsibilities include overseeing all asset management activities for Mandala Holdings. Prior to joining Mandala, Mr. Isaacson was the Senior Vice President of Asset Management at the publicly traded REIT RLJ Lodging Trust. At RLJ, he was responsible for all asset management and risk management functions. Prior to RLJ, Howard served as the Vice President of Finance for HEI Hospitality and also held several positions with MeriStar Hotels & Resorts. Howard also served as the Chief Financial Officer of CapStar Hotels, a predecessor via merger with MeriStar. As CFO, he oversaw the financial activities of a 46-hotel company that generated approximately $160 million in revenues.

Howard has over 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  He earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College in 1975, and is a Certified Public Accountant. Howard was elected as the International President of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals in 1995 and co-authored the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry – Ninth and Eleventh Editions.

John Edwards

Director of Design & Construction

John is a highly experienced development, design and construction professional with over 40 years in the industry. He is a licensed architect who began his professional career in 1977. Over the course of his career he practiced architecture for 23 years, 21 of which were focused on and specialized in the hospitality design & construction industry.

His reputation as a service driven professional with extensive understanding of and expertise in hotel planning and design led to his recruitment by Gaylord Hotels to lead the company’s planning and design process for the roll out of their new resort and convention center brand. Over the last 17 years John has continued his career in hospitality development, design and the construction industry managing projects valued in excess of $12 billion with the following companies.

  1. Gaylord Hotels, Nashville, TN: Executive Director of Architecture & Planning
  2. Las Vegas Sands Corp., Las Vegas, NV: Recruited to lead the global planning and design process for LVS as the Executive Director of Architecture & Planning
  3. Omni Hotels, Dallas, TX: full time hotel project management, planning & design consultant

John has worked on projects nationally and internationally in Spain, Macau SAR China, Singapore, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Sarah Stoller

Senior Corporate Counsel

Sarah has extensive experience advising owners, developers, investors, retailers, restauranteurs and hoteliers of all sizes, including publicly-traded REITs, international hospitality companies, emerging restaurant groups, and family real estate trusts. Prior to joining Mandala Holdings, Sarah held in-house roles with leading commercial real estate developers and restaurant operators as well as boutique real estate law firms.

At Mandala Holdings, Sarah draws on her legal and business acumen to counsel senior management on legal rights and obligations, risk assessment and decision making. Sarah coordinates Mandala’s corporate legal functions and oversees outside counsel on matters including acquisitions, contracts, litigation, compliance and intellectual property.

Sarah received her Bachelor of the Arts in Government from Wesleyan University, and her Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.

Jessica Blakeley

Senior Accountant

Jessica brings experience in a wide variety of tax and financial reporting roles to her position as Senior Accountant. Prior to assuming this role with Mandala Holdings, Jessica worked with Ruby Tuesday, Inc. as a tax manager. Jessica has also served at the director and senior accountant levels with a number of accounting firms and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Jessica has particularly significant experience assisting start-ups, providing the support that they have needed to become successful entrepreneurial organizations.
In her current role, Jessica uses her accounting and communication skills to ensure that financial data is reported accurately. Mandala’s partners, lenders and other stakeholders rely on her abilities to maintain accounting systems for the company and its various projects and subsidiaries. Jessica holds a BBA in Accounting from East Tennessee State University and a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee.

Nicholas Castaldo

Chief Marketing Officer LIME

Mr. Castaldo’s career spans over thirty years in consumer service businesses with a focus on
chain restaurants.

Mr. Castaldo was an Equity Partner and member of the founding management team of Anthony’s
Coal Fired Pizza, a casual dining restaurant concept, and served as President, Senior Vice-
President/Chief Marketing Officer, and Board Member for 12 years. The company is based in
Ft. Lauderdale and grew from 1 store to 60 locations in six states during his tenure.

He served for eight years as President of Pollo Tropical, a Miami-based fast casual restaurant
chain. He led a successful turnaround of the company, and during his tenure, Pollo Tropical
doubled in sales and cash flow and ranked as the #1 concept in average store sales and profit in
its market segment.

Prior to joining Pollo Tropical, Mr. Castaldo held executive positions at a number of industry-
leading corporations. He was Vice President of Marketing of Denny’s, Inc., America’s largest
family restaurant chain. He was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development
at S&A Restaurant Corp., which included the Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale restaurant
companies. He has been Vice President of Marketing for Citicorp Savings of Florida, Vice
President of Advertising and Promotion for Burger King Corporation, and has held management
positions at Clairol and Federated Department Stores.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr.Castaldo graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s
University and earned his MBA from Harvard University.

John Tims

Director of Operations LIME

John Tims serves as the Director of Operations for LIME Fresh Mexican Grill where he oversees daily operations, construction/design services, development and implementation of menus and processes, overall quality control, and supply management. He has been intimately involved with LIME Fresh since the fast-casual tex-mex restaurant opened its first location in 2004, in Miami Beach, Florida. He was the integral to the conceptualization and creation of the brand.

Prior to joining LIME Fresh, after years of studying material science in college, John Tims was bored beyond belief, staring at a future sitting in front of a CAD screen. A self-described “tinkerer” with an insatiable curiosity, he decided to take up the art of baking and quickly found himself doing it for a well-known chain.

John started his career in the Food and Beverage as a baker for Einstein Bagels in Detroit, Michigan. He caught the eye of management who then tasked him with various managerial goals including but not limited to turning around underperforming restaurants. He quickly learned all facets of F&B operations, and was promoted to the role of Assistant Manager at the Einstein Bagels in South Beach. He was soon promoted to General Manager, and became the youngest General Manager system wide at the age of 21. He then moved to be on the conceptualization team for Taste Bakery Café in Miami.

John obtained his degree in Material Science from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.