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Joint General Session Speakers

Arne Sorenson

President & CEO

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Arne M. Sorenson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc., the largest lodging company in the world. Following Marriott’s September 2016 acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the company includes nearly 6,000 properties across 30 brands in 120 countries and territories. In fiscal year 2015, Marriott reported revenues of more than $14 billion.

Mr. Sorenson joined Marriott in 1996. He became the third CEO in the company’s history in 2012 – and the first without the Marriott surname. Prior to that, he served as Marriott’s President and Chief Operating Officer. He has held a number of positions, including Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and President of Continental European Lodging. He was elected to Marriott’s Board of Directors in 2011.

Additionally, Mr. Sorenson serves as Vice Chair of the President’s Export Council. He is the immediate past Board Chair for Brand USA and continues as a member of the board. Other affiliations include: Chair, U.S. Travel Association CEO Roundtable; member of the Luther College Board of Regents; Stewardship Board of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Mobility; and member of the Board of Trustees for The Brookings Institution. Mr. Sorenson’s Influencer blog, which appears on LinkedIn, has more than 400,000 followers.

Marriott’s Global Sustainability Council was co-founded by Mr. Sorenson in 2007. The following year, he launched Marriott’s rainforest preservation partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation in Brazil.

Mr. Sorenson chairs Marriott’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council. The Council, along with the Marriott Board of Directors’ Committee for Excellence, monitors and evaluates Marriott’s strategy to promote a diverse workforce, as well as ownership, customer and vendor communities around the world.

Before he joined Marriott, Mr. Sorenson was a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions litigation.

He is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and the University of Minnesota Law School. He and his wife Ruth live in the Washington, D.C. area, where they raised their four children.

David A. Rodriguez

Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer

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David A. Rodriguez assumed the role of executive vice president and global chief human resources officer for Marriott International in 2006. Dr. Rodriguez was appointed a corporate officer in 2000, and in 2004, to the board of directors’ Committee for Excellence that focuses on advancing employee wellbeing and inclusion in the company.

Dr. Rodriguez joined Marriott International and assumed the role of senior vice president – human resources in 1998. In 2003, he was appointed executive vice president with corporate-wide responsibility for various human resources functions as well as for the Marriott Lodging division. Prior to joining Marriott International, Dr. Rodriguez held various human resources leadership positions at Citicorp (now Citigroup).

Dr. Rodriguez graduated from New York University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts and in 1987 with a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology.  He is on the Board of Directors for Human Resources Policy Association and the Board of Governors for the Health Transformation Alliance, is a vice chair of the American Health Policy Institute and a member of the HR People + Strategy Executive Advisory Council.  Dr. Rodriguez was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources in 2014 

Stephanie Linnartz

Global Chief Commercial Officer

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Stephanie Linnartz is one of the most influential players in the travel, leisure, and lifestyle space, overseeing a wide range of critical business functions at Marriott, the world’s largest hospitality company with over one million rooms, 30 brands, and 500,000 employees in more than 100 countries. As Global Chief Commercial Officer, Stephanie oversees consumer interaction with some of the world’s most venerable brands, including: The Ritz-Carlton®,   St. Regis® Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection®,   Marriott Hotels®,   Sheraton®,    W® Hotels Worldwide, Courtyard®,   Residence Inn®,    Westin®,  Renaissance® Hotels, and Le Méridien®.

Growing up in a hotel industry family, Stephanie started her career at Hilton Hotels Corporation. She joined Marriott in 1997 as a financial analyst, working her way up in a wide range of positions with increasing scope, and is now one of the company’s highest-ranking executives, responsible for all aspects of marketing, ecommerce, digital, sales, reservations, revenue management, information technology, and consumer insight functions worldwide. A penchant for technology and trends drives her passion for predicting and managing against important shifts and disruptors in the dynamic travel industry. 

Named one of the world’s most influential marketing executives by Forbes, Stephanie has a unique perspective on consumer sentiment and spending across the globe. She has been a speaker at the World Economic Forum and is a sought-after conference panelist. Her professional ascent has been covered by multiple media outlets, including FORTUNE, where she also contributes commentary for the magazine’s popular ‘Most Powerful Women’ series. Additional bylined thought-leadership pieces can be found on Overheard@Marriott.

Stephanie is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, holds an MBA from William & Mary, and has completed additional graduate studies at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Development. She remains involved in academic circles through guest lectures and commence-ment addresses. An active member of the Marriott Board of Director’s Committee for Excellence and the company Diversity and Inclusion and Green Councils, she also serves on the board of Fair Chance, a non-profit focused on transforming the lives of children living in poverty. Stephanie travels the world extensively, is an avid runner, and resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and two young children.

Tina Edmundson

Global Brand Officer

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Tina Edmundson is Global Brand Officer for Marriott International’s 30 diverse and experiential hotel brands, including the prestigious luxury portfolio of eight of the world’s most desirable and coveted luxury hotel brands; The Ritz Carlton, Ritz Carlton Reserve, BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, EDITION, The Luxury Collection, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts and W Hotels Worldwide.

Edmundson’s leadership includes re-defining and executing innovative, industry-leading and change-making global brand strategies for the company’s expanded portfolio.

Edmundson plays a central role in the future development and sustainability of the company’s 30 hotel brands around the world. Working closely with the company's global development team, she is setting a new industry standard for creativity and innovation in experiential luxury and lifestyle travel. She plays a crucial role in helping ensure that each brand remains culturally relevant and resonates with the diverse and evolving mindsets of guests around the world.

Edmundson served in numerous leadership roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts before joining Marriott International, including serving as senior vice president of brand operations for Starwood’s Luxury and Lifestyle division. 

Drew Brees

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Drew Brees is the 2009 Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. A native of Austin, TX, Brees attended Westlake High School and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball and as a senior in 1996 led his football team to a perfect 16-0 record and the 5A State Championship while garnering 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors. He attended Purdue University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from the prestigious Krannert School of Management while lettering in football from 1997-2000. A two-time Heisman finalist, Brees led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance during the 2000 season. In that same year he won the Maxwell Award as the nation's top collegiate player as well as being named Academic All-American Player of the Year and was a recipient of the National Football Foundation's post-graduate scholarship. In Brees' five years with the San Diego Chargers and nine years with the New Orleans Saints, he has been elected to ten Pro Bowls while being named 2004 Comeback Player of the Year, 2006 All-Pro Team, 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, 2008 and 2011 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP.

As much pride as Brees takes in his on-field performance, he takes even more pride in his community service endeavors. Drew and his wife, Brittany, established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 and since then have contributed over $25,000,000 to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Brees has also proudly participated in five USO trips to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Turkey, Djibouti, Dubai, Okinawa, and Guantanamo Bay. 

Drew currently lives with his wife Brittany and children Baylen, Bowen, Callen and Rylen in New Orleans, LA.

To learn more about Drew Brees visit www.DrewBrees.com
Follow Drew on Twitter at @drewbrees

Janis Milham

Senior Vice President, Marriott Classic Select Brands

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Janis Milham is Senior Vice President for Marriott’s Classic Select Brands which includes Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, TownPlace Suites, Four Points and Protea Hotels in South Africa.   She has overall responsibility for brand positioning, long range strategic brand planning and product development globally for the eight brands.

Janis has been with Marriott for 28 years and has held various positions in the field and at Headquarters. 

Janis is a graduate of the University of Kansas and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.  Janis and her husband, Allan, 17 year old daughter, Kate, 17 year old nephew, Trent and dog Gracie Rose currently reside in Kensington, Maryland.  

Toni Stoeckl

Vice President, Marriott Distinctive Select Brands

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Toni Stoeckl is the Vice President of Lifestyle Brands for Marriott International, Inc. including responsibility for Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott and Moxy Hotels. In his role, Toni defines and executes global brand strategy and signature programming for more than 225 hotels around the world. He also plays an integral role in the future development and global growth of each brand, and plays an essential role in defining the direction of the global marketing strategy for the brand, helping to ensure that each brand remains firmly rooted in the lifestyle category.

Toni began his extraordinary career in hospitality at his family’s business near Frankfurt, Germany and joined the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel in 1996 before making the move to the U.S.. Prior to joining Renaissance Hotels in 2009, Toni served as the Global Brand Director of Starwood's Luxury & Design Brands based in New York City.

Renaissance Hotels is designed around making business travel fun again and helping its guests to discover unexpected surprises with every stay. It is a sophisticated hotel brand whose mission is to encourage today’s modern business traveler to Live Life to DiscoverSM and make every business trip an opportunity to experience a new story that can be shared.

Developed following extensive research and created with the next generation traveler in mind, Moxy Hotels debuted in Europe in September at Milan’s Malpensa Airport in Italy. A fresh and innovative lifestyle hotel brand combining stylish design and approachable service at a reasonable price, the brand is set to open additional locations in key cities throughout Europe by the end of 2016. Early growth estimates predict the brand could reach 150 hotels within the next ten years.  

AC Hotels by Marriott, launched in Europe in 2011 as a joint venture with Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan and plans to open its first hotel in the U.S. this fall at the Cotton Exchange Building in New Orleans. AC Hotels by Marriott currently offers a portfolio of more than 72 hotels in Spain, Italy, Portugal and France. A sleek and modern approach to design combined with unique elements which embody the character of each destination; growth plans for the brand include more than 30 hotels set to open within the next three years throughout the U.S. and Latin America.

Moxy Hotels debuted September 2014 with the opening of the new Moxy Milan. A boutique hotel concept for the budget savvy traveller, Moxy is fresh and innovative brand combining stylish design and approachable service at an affordable price. With tech-enabled rooms, vibrant lobby spaces, unique amenities and warm, modern service, Moxy aims to surprise budget-conscious travelers with a thoughtful, spirited and fun guest experience. Moxy Milan will quickly be followed by locations in Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and England, with Moxy Tempe and Moxy New Orleans having opened Spring 2016. Early growth estimates suggest that Moxy Hotels could grow to include nearly 150 hotels around the world in the next ten years. Each hotel will be lively, uncompromising and young at heart – just like its target guests.

Marriott International’s luxury and lifestyle brand portfolio includes The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, EDITION Hotels, BVLGARI Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels and Moxy Hotels – totaling over 550 properties worldwide. By the end of 2016, the portfolio is expected to grow to 650 hotels with new locations in Geneva, Switzerland; Paris, France; Guadalajara, Mexico; Panama City, Panama; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; Santa Fe, Argentina, and Sanya, China. Future plans call for more than 250 additional luxury and lifestyle hotel projects over the next several years.

A true global executive, Toni grew up in Europe, but considers the lifestyle and cultural arena to be his true home. Educated in Frankfurt and in New York, Toni currently resides in downtown Washington, D.C.  

Brand General Session Speakers

Diane Mayer

Vice President, Brand Management

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Diane began her career with Marriott International, Inc. in 1994, leading market research for the Senior Living Services division through a period of rapid growth and transformation. In 1999, she transitioned to Marriott’s lodging group, where she worked in various brand management and strategy roles in support of the company’s select service & extended stay brands.  Her responsibilities included defining brand targets, positioning, guiding design and innovation, creating strategies for global growth and identifying new opportunities for business leadership across the CFRST brands.  

Diane assumed her role as vice president and global brand manager for Residence Inn in 2011, and added Marriott Executive Apartments to her scope in 2014.   

Prior to joining Marriott, Diane worked for Verizon, Inc. where she was responsible for the design and marketing of innovations such as Caller ID.  Prior to that worked in consulting at Harlan Brown & Company, Inc.

Diane earned her MBA in International Business from the George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Virginia. 

Callette Nielsen

Vice President, Brand Management – Courtyard, Four Points, SpringHill Suites, and Fairfield

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Callette assumed her current position as Vice President & Global Brand Leader, Classic Select Brands. In this role, she is responsible for the overall strategy and development of the following brands: Courtyard, Fairfield, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton. Callette is focused on ensuring the brand is positioned to win with the Millennial target consumer, as well as growing the pipeline of hotels domestically and internationally.

Callette joined Marriott in 1997 at the Sandy, Utah Residence Inn. During her time with Marriott she has held various positions, including General Manager, Regional Senior Director and VP of Brand Management for SpringHill Suites and AC Hotels.  Callette most recently held the position of Vice President and Global Brand Manager for the Courtyard brand.  

With nearly two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Callette brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of on-property and field operations. In her numerous roles, her energy, passion for the business, expertise in sales, revenue management, marketing and keen business acumen have resulted in building successful teams and delivering outstanding results.

Callette is a native of Utah and has enjoyed living in Seattle, Denver, and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her curiosity and enthusiasm keeps her seeking new adventures, traveling, enjoying all types of music, and spending time with her family and friends.

Noah Cappe

Host, actor, and voice artist

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Host, actor and voice artist, Noah Cappe has a lot of characters up his sleeve. He’s the ravenous emcee on Food Network and Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats, the affable police chief on Hallmark Channel, and W Network’s The Good Witch, and the bearer of romantic news (aka host) on W Network’s much anticipated The Bachelorette Canada. And that’s just what he’s doing this minute.

Born and raised in Toronto, Noah took to the stage at thirteen and never left. A graduate of Second City’s improv program, and the acting conservatory at York University, Noah jettisoned from theatre school and landed in his first film opposite Scott Speedman. Since then he’s been all over the screen, from MTV’s Degrassi to ABC/Global’s Rookie Blue to A&E’s Breakout Kings to CBC’s Being Erica, among other hit shows. He’s acted in features like Rub & Tug with Don McKellar (TIFF 2002), and critically acclaimed indie shorts like On that Day with Michael Ironside. And he doesn’t neglect his thespian roots, either. Most recently, Noah played Buff in two productions of Eric Bogosian’s modern classic play, Suburbia.

So, it’s fair to say that Noah’s been busy. But for a guy on the go as much as he is, Noah’s a happy homebody when time permits. In case you’re looking for him on his next day off, check his house. You’ll probably find him in a pair of sweatpants, hanging out with his wife and two cats, prepping for his next adventure.

Jimmy Johnson

TV broadcaster, and former football coach

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Jimmy Johnson is a television broadcaster and former football player, coach and executive. Johnson is known for being an extraordinary head football coach, being just one of three coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl. He led the University of Miami Hurricanes football team to an undefeated season and national championship in 1987. Johnson would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

In 1989, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and former teammate of Johnson’s at the University of Arkansas, asked him to be the new head football coach. Johnson served as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 through 1993 and led the team to two consecutive Super Bowl victories, winning Super Bowl XXVII in 1992 and Super Bowl XXVIII in 1993.

Johnson is currently an on-air staff member on Fox NFL Sunday and pens a column on Foxsports.com. Aside from football, he currently owns a bar and restaurant in Key Largo, Florida called “JJ’s Big Chill.” 

Vinh Giang

Entrepreneur, Magician, and International Speaker

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Vinh Giang (pronounced Jang) is first and foremost a businessperson and entrepreneur. While in his 20s, he started an online business with two good friends; all of them had decided to leave their careers in accounting and pharmacy, to pursue their dream of building a successful business. Their online platform, Encyclopedia of Magic, now teaches magic to almost 50,000 students around the world. For this innovative and successful business idea, Vinh and his friends were awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Danny Bader

International Trainer and Speaker

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Danny Bader, an international trainer and speaker, brings his exceptional interpersonal skills and enthusiasm to help people really understand themselves and create a powerful vision for their life. His passion and energy are contagious. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, three children, and their dog, Nova.

Johnny Cupcakes

Entrepreneur, Artist, Creative Consultant

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Why have thousands of customers from around the world chosen to get the Johnny Cupcakes' logos tattooed on themselves? And how does Johnny get hundreds of people to camp outside his fake bakeries? Over the past decade Johnny Cupcakes, founded by speaker Johnny Earle, has grown from a "joke" to a multi-million dollar, highly exclusive t-shirt brand driven by a community of world-wide collectors. Johnny shares his story of how he took his t-shirt brand from the trunk of his rusty car at age 19, with a learning disability, to some of the world's most sought after retail locations.

In this session, Johnny will piece together how his success reinforces the power of details, experience and loyalty. Through his inspiring, and certainly unpredictable journey, Johnny exudes the fundamental connection between the person and the brand. Johnny's presentation provides comprehensive blueprints for getting any small business, passion or idea off the ground, while also expanding the way existing creators think.

Johnny has been named Americas #1 Young Entrepreneur by BusinessWeek, one of the top innovative people in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe, he has been recognized 4 years in a row for making it into the INC 500/5000 fastest growing independent companies in America, and has been featured on MTV, NPR, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and as a case study in several branding and business books

Jason Huddlestun

Grill Ambassador – Barrington, IL

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Jason Pruitt

Grill Specialist – Vidalia, GA

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Tyler Selhorst

Grill Specialist – Cincinnati, OH

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Workshop Facilitators

Dr. Kim Bercovitz

President and Chief Exercise Officer

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Dr. Kim is President and Chief Exercise Officer of X bytes, a wellness company that creates video fitness micro-breaks and wellness programs for conferences and workplaces to keep participants alert and energized.  Her byte-size approach makes it easy for people to fit wellness into their busy lives – one-step or byte at a time.  Trained in mindfulness based stress reduction, Dr. Kim has a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science & Health and a M.S. in Exercise/Health Studies.  She was an adjunct professor in public health at the University of Toronto and York University, research scientist at Toronto teaching hospitals, and a National Cancer Institute of Canada postdoctoral fellow.  Author of a blog called “Sitting is the New Smoking,” Dr. Kim lives in Potomac, Maryland with her husband, 2 kids and a dog.

Jeffrey Blake

Senior Director – Customer Experience Advisor

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Jeff has been with Marriott for four years, and for the past three years he has been focused on customer experience strategy for all 30 of the Marriott and Starwood brands.  Jeff began his career at Marriott working in Global Operations.  He joined Marriott from The Boston Consulting Group, where he was a Consultant focused on corporate strategy for a variety of Fortune 500 firms.  Jeff received his MBA from Duke University and a BS from Canisius College. Outside of work, Jeff lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Genevieve. 

Steve Curtin

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Steve Curtin was rated #4 by Global Guru on its 2015 listing of the Top 30 experts in the world on the topic of customer service.

Steve is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary, now in its fifth printing. He wrote the book in response to a nagging observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers.

After a 20-year career with Marriott International working in hotel operations, sales and marketing, and training and development, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service. He lives in Denver with his wife, four children, and a Goldendoodle named Nugget.

Sue Hershkowitz-Coore

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Founder and President of High Impact Presentations, an international consultancy providing customized training solutions that result in measurable improvements in performance, productivity and talent retention, Sue Hershkowitz-Coore (SpeakerSue) is an award winning presenter and author.  Sue’s books, Power Sales Writing (McGraw Hill) and How to Say it to Sell It! have earned five stars on Amazon.com, have been translated into multiple languages and have been named as Best Business Books through Sales Power magazine.

Within the past three years, Sue has presented her sales, communication and business building strategies in the USA, Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland and more. You’ll be impressed with her energy, on-trend, powerful content and practical, engaging delivery style.

Judi Holler

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Judi is an expert on personal branding who helps Event Professionals learn how to expand their network, embrace fear and get a competitive edge. Judi has spent over 15 years working in Sales and Marketing for companies like Marriott, Omni, Starwood, and most recently the St. Louis CVB. She was recently selected as one of Connect Magazines 40 under 40 in the Hospitality Industry and is the immediate Past President of MPI Chicago. Judi also works as an event emcee and live marketing host at tradeshows. As a professionally trained improviser and Second City Alumni with a Radio / Television degree, Judi uses her training every day to create authentic and memorable experiences for her clients. Judi imagines a world where everyone believes that what they have is good enough and where you have the confidence to pick yourself.
She will show you how!

Jennifer Hsieh

Vice President of Insights, Strategy and Innovation

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Jennifer Hsieh is Vice President of Insights, Strategy and Innovation.  In her role, she brings together innovation, business strategy, and a deep understanding of consumers to develop innovative concepts for our portfolio of brands and hotels. Since joining Marriott, Jennifer has created and brought to market industry leading concepts in Meetings, developed innovation strategies for our luxury brands, reimagined how guests experience food & beverage in their room, tested brand extensions for new revenue growth and defined how our full-service brands go to market with their meeting offerings.  She is a frequent speaker on the topics of Innovation, Meeting Trends, Next Generation Consumers and Business Strategy.  During her work on Future of Meetings, she was named one of the Top 25 most influential people in the meetings industry in 2014.

Prior to Marriott, Jenny was part of Target Corporation’s Strategy & Innovation Team, leading teams responsible for developing growth opportunities for the $67B retailer.  She also has nine years of experience in management consulting, most recently with Deloitte Consulting specializing in Customer and Market Strategies.  

Jennifer received her MBA from Darden Business School and BA from the University of Virginia.  She resides in Bethesda, MD with her husband and three sons.

Christine Kettmer

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Christine A. Kettmer is a Senior Director with the Customer Experience & Innovation (CX) team, as part of the Consumer Insight Advisory Services group at Marriott International.  She supports the development of consumer needs and synthesizing research insights into usable and actionable steps for The Americas, the largest Continent within Marriott International’s portfolio of over 5,700 hotels and 30 brands.  In this role Christine partners with the CX Analytics, CRM, Strategy and Innovation teams to determine the client need and right CX capability area. 

Prior to Marriott International, Christine worked in brand management at Johnson & Johnson in their Consumer division on the JOHNSON’S® Baby and AVEENO® Body Care teams, responsible for marketing and forecasting brands valued at $285MM.  She also held public relations and marketing positions at Hager Sharp, Inc. in Washington, DC, and served as the Communications Coordinator for Franciscans International in Geneva, Switzerland.  

Christine holds an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University with concentrations in Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship and a certificate in Health Sector Management.   She received a BA from The College of the Holy Cross, where she majored in English and Spanish.

Dan Klaussen

Vice President of IT Strategy and Innovation

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Dan Klaussen currently serves as Marriott’s VP of IT Strategy and Innovation. He’s responsible for helping Marriott understand and explore how emerging technologies are enabling the future of disruptive business models, changing user behaviors and enterprise architecture. Dan and his team partner with enterprise software vendors, startups, solution vendors and internal stakeholders to find solutions that not only deliver a great experience but can be implemented at scale. 

Before working at Marriott, Dan worked at 3Pillar Global, a design and development agency, where he led Product Strategy and Product Management. His work led to partnerships with clients like Carfax, Geico, K12, and Hobsons, and included embedding for three years at PBS to create their overall mobile video strategy and creation of the PBS iPhone and Webby Award winning iPad app, the PBS Kids iPad app, and a website creation/management platform that manages authoring, publishing and hosting the content for all PBS shows.

Mr. Klaussen served as the Director of Knowledge Management for iXL, and before that was a Group Product Manager at Netscape Communications where he managed a team of five senior product managers. While there, he worked closely with the executive team to deliver multiple release of the Navigator and Communicator products, and ultimately converting the browser to open source. 

Mr. Klaussen studied Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Joseph Ogden

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Joseph is a change agent with a proven record of achieving measurable results. Influencing how hotel contracts are sold, how people choose a vacation destination, how mortgages are marketed, how schools raise money, and how students learn communications strategy are a few of his successes. 

In addition to being a sought-after consultant and presenter, he is a professor of communications at Brigham Young University and co-author of the best-selling Strategic Communications Planning textbook—adopted by more than 200 universities. Joseph is an expert in message design, social media strategy, and creating data-driven campaigns. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University with a minor in music and an MBA in marketing from BYU’s Marriott School of Management. He also completed a non-degree program in negotiations at Harvard and MIT. Joseph has consulted with leading companies in a variety of industries including hospitality, financial services, technology, higher-education, and politics.  

A creative thinker who is constantly evolving, he enjoys looking at things differently. He also enjoys being a writer, musician, outdoor enthusiast, skier, hiker and some-time experimental chef.

Tom Onken

Senior Vice President, Marriott Select Brands

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Tom Onken is Senior Vice President, Marriott Select Brands. He is responsible for the development of all Marriott Select Service and Extended Stay lodging brands east of the Mississippi U.S. and oversees offices in Orlando, Chicago, Boston, Richmond, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta and Washington DC.
Marriott International is one of the world’s leading lodging companies with more than 4,500 properties in 88 countries and territories. The company’s Select Service and Extended Stay lodging brands include Residence Inn, Courtyard, AC by Marriott, Moxy, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, SpringHill Suites, Aloft, Element, and Four Points.    

Mr. Onken began his Marriott International career in 1982 as a Hotel Operations Management Trainee. Between 1982 and 2004, he held numerous positions in Operations Management to include Regional Director of Operations of Select Service and Extended Stay Hotels and Regional Director of Rooms Operations for Marriott and Renaissance Hotels. In early 2004 he switched to the hotel development side of the business when he became Area Vice President of Select Service and Extended Stay Hotels for the Southeast Region.   

Mr. Onken earned his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration and Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Frank Perez


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Frank Perez, B.S., M.A., is an historian a tour guide, a public speaker, and a writer who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He has authored two books: In Exile: The History and Lore Surrounding New Orleans Gay Culture and Its Oldest Gay Bar (with Jeffrey Palmquist) and Treasures of the Vieux Carre: Ten Self-Guided Walking Tours of the French Quarter. He is also the co-editor of the anthology My Gay New Orleans: 28 Personal Reminiscences on LGBT+ Life in New Orleans. In addition, he writes a column on New Orleans history for Ambush Magazine. His publications also include a number of scholarly articles in academic journals as well as a number of poems and short stories in various literary journals.  When not writing or giving tours, Perez teaches history classes at Delgado Community College. Perez also owns a small business, the Crescent City Tour Booking Agency, and is a licensed tour guide. He currently serves as President of the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana.

Dana Pulley

Senior Consultant and Trainer

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Dana Pulley is a Senior Consultant and Trainer with Potential Project, the global leader in customized leadership and organizational training programs based on mindfulness. With a proven track record of enhancing individual and collective performance, resilience and creativity, Potential Project works with Fortune 500 companies such as Accenture, Nike, KPMG, Microsoft, EY and Sony among others across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  As a senior leader in large multi-national organizations for over 20 years, she learned first-hand how cultivating mindful awareness enables you to lead and live in a more effective and fulfilling way.  She is now a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator on mindfulness, mindful leadership and the intersection with neuroscience.  

Catherine Sanderson

Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology)

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Catherine Sanderson is the Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology) at Amherst College. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a specialization in Health and Development, from Stanford University, and received both masters and doctoral degrees in psychology from Princeton University.  Professor Sanderson's research examines how personality and social variables influence health-related behaviors such as safer sex and disordered eating, the development of persuasive messages and interventions to prevent unhealthy behavior, and the predictors of relationship satisfaction. This research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Professor Sanderson has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters in addition to four college textbooks, a high school health textbook, and a popular press book on parenting.  In 2012, she was named one of the country's top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.

Drew Shepard

Vice President, Consumer Insights Advisory - Global Brands

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Drew has been with Marriott International for over 10 years and is currently the Global Brand lead for customer insights. He is an Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Management at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, and holds a BA in World History from Boston University and a MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Drew previously worked for America Online and Forrester, and is a frequent participant and speaker at industry conferences. He enjoys live music and visiting art galleries worldwide, while not chasing after his two children. His passport has many stamps, but one day he would like to visit the JW Marriott Venice.

Rick Tamlyn

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Rick Tamlyn inspires people to be their best. His compelling purpose is to encourage and assist others so that when they reach the end of their lives they can say, “That was a great life!” rather than, “I wish I had done more.” In 2001, Rick co-created The Bigger Game: a tool that inspires people from all walks of life to get out of their comfort zones and invent the lives they want. Rick is the author of Play Your Bigger Game: 9 Minutes to Learn, a Lifetime to Live (Hay House, Oct. 2013) As a trusted advisor for Fortune 100 companies, small businesses, nonprots, and churches, he has built a global audience, speaking and conducting workshops in more than 17 countries. His current bigger game is “to activate millions of people around the world to play their own compelling bigger games.” Rick is a Certied Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and a Master Certied Coach (MCC) as designated by the International Coach Federation (ICF), and is a senior trainer for The Coaches Training Institute, a world-renowned coach training and leadership development organization. He has a B.A. in Communications from Hope College in Michigan and an MFA from the University of Connecticut.

Jakob Walker

Senior Manager, Operations—Social Media

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In his newly-created position of Senior Manager, Operations—Social Media for Marriott International in Asia Pacific, Jake works closely with property-level operations teams to optimize both hotel and F&B social reputation across a variety of platforms. He also provides training on social review strategy and solicitation. 

Prior to joining the continent office team in Asia, Jake worked as Project Manager on a social media partnership between Marriott International and Brigham Young University. The project focused on researching travel review site algorithms as well as developing social review training materials, review solicitation guidelines and best practice materials. 

Jake graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Communications—Public Relations. Prior to joining Marriott International, Jake worked at CooperKatz & Company, an award-winning public relations agency based in New York City, and at CODEWORD, a tech-focused PR agency with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Utah. 

In his spare time, Jake enjoys playing and watching football (soccer), running, and tennis. 

A native of Cambridgeshire, England, Jake and his wife Sydney currently reside in Hong Kong.