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Senior VP of Sales Hotel & Resort Division
Benjamin Powers is the founder of Visiting Media, the premier provider of visual sales and marketing solutions for the hospitality and event industries. Powers developed and launched TrueTour™, a visual sales enablement and digital asset management platform, which is the world’s leading enterprise immersive selling application for the hospitality industry. Touted as a “game-changer, redefining sales and marketing as we know it, the truest definition of the word ‘revolutionary,’” TrueTour technology is used by many of the world’s largest brands, management companies and ownership groups including IHG Hotels & Resorts, Concord Hospitality, Aimbridge Hotels & Resorts and many more.
Powers is recognized as an expert on immersive visuals and a leading inventor of technologies which apply these visuals, including 360°, 3D, virtual reality and computer-generated imagery. He is a regular keynote speaker for a variety of cross-industry events, teaching corporations and sales teams how to leverage modern technology at every stage of the customer buying cycle to deliver extraordinary returns.
Ben studied business and economics at Santa Clara University before becoming a serial entrepreneur, building more than 6 successful businesses before returning to his home town of Carlton, Oregon, to raise a family. Recently Visiting Media’s world headquarters moved to Carlton partially to promote Ben’s strong commitment to promoting rural economic growth.
Star Performance Inc.
Bob is a business coach, a results-driven trainer, and a new business development consultant to the hospitality industry and has been in business for over 25 years.
His unique approach to sales training through his Building the Sales Pipeline, 4-C Squared Sales Shop Program, Building the Culture of Service, and Reservations Sales Training systems are producing measurable and profitable results for his many customers.
A featured speaker whose entertaining and upbeat presentation style has earned him rave reviews by many hospitality organizations, Bob develops and implements all training programs for Star Performance, Inc.
Bob was awarded the honor of being selected as one of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Management by HSMAI in 2015, and is currently a member of the HSMAI Sales Advisory Board.
Recently, The International Hospitality Institute selected and awarded Bob as a Global Top 15 Trainer in Hospitality for 2021.
Bob has been married for over 35 years and has three wonderful children and one new grandchild. When not conducting training seminars and webinars, he likes to read, work out and watch hockey…Go Minnesota Wild!!!!!
Senior Managing Partner
Carrie Russell is a Senior Managing Partner with HVS Canada based in Vancouver. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction. Carrie joined HVS as an associate almost 25 years ago. During this time, Carrie has been influential in establishing HVS’s presence in Canada as the leading hospitality consulting and valuation firm.
Over the course of her career, Carrie has provided hospitality consulting services including appraisals, feasibility and market studies, and other specialized consulting services including asset management guidance for over 1,000 hotel properties throughout Canada and the United States. She has authored several articles on various topics relevant to the industry and is a highly sought-after speaker. Carrie is a regular speaker at several conferences including the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference and the Western Canadian Hotel & Resort Investment Conference.
Carrie has attained designation in both Canada and the United States, having completed the requirements to obtain the AACI designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada and the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute in the United States. As well, Carrie is a member of the Real Estate Institute of BC (RIBC) and the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC). She currently sits on the National Board for the Appraisal Institute of Canada after several years as serving as co-Chair on the AIC Vancouver Chapter Board.
Rickys Group of Family-Style Restaurants
Goldie is an 18-year veteran of Indian cuisine, and has mastered the art of eating well. Hailing from the small village of Punjab, India, her passion for food, cooking, hospitality, and innovation has lead her through some of the best Indian kitchens.
Goldie has assembled a well experienced culinary team and front of house team not just for Monsoon, her most recent endeavour, but also runs two successful Ricky’s All Day Grill franchises, as well as Goldie's Kitchen and Bar. Goldie does not just stop at her four restaurants, she also oversees the Catering Department for the Holiday Inn Conference Edmonton South.
Having worked with famous chefs and hospitality gurus, Goldie has found influence amongst the masters while cultivating a unique style of her own. Appearances across television, newspapers, and magazines are a testament to her craft and commitment to the hospitality industry that are truly designed to delight.
JOHN P. HOWARD
Director Brand Performance - Americas
In his capacity as Director of Brand Performance with Hilton Worldwide, as part of Hilton’s owner relations, he works closely to manage and develop relationships with 46 key partners to align strategies and provide support through various interactions.
Prior, he was with a team in Brand Performance where he was responsible for 50 full-service hotels. He was also a Hilton General Manager for 10 years where him and his teams won numerous Hilton awards.
While in school, he got his start in the hotel business as a bartender and graduated from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
In his spare time, he enjoys flipping houses, fishing, skiing, boating and spending time with his family traveling.
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts (IHG®) Canada
With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry in both Canada and England, Jonathan Lund is the Regional Vice-President at the InterContinental Hotels Group and Resorts (IHG®), Canada. Jonathan leads the Franchise Performance support Organization driving Commercial performance, Brand and Guest satisfaction initiatives and building hotels and owner relations. He also in oversees Company Managed Hotels in Canada and acts as the senior leader for IHG. Growth through acquisition and repositioning has strengthened IHG”s Canadian portfolio of 191 hotels and eight Brands including Intercontinental Hotels. Kimpton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood suites and soon to open Avid. In addition to the Canadian estate Jonathan oversees a region in Washington state along with assets owned by Canadian owners in the USA bringing the total portfolio to over 250 Hotels. Jonathan was the previous Chairman of the IHG Owners Association Canada and is the current chair of the Hotel Association of Canada (H.A.C).
Born in Yorkshire, England, Jonathan is a graduate of Huddersfield University in Hotel Administration. His career started with Kingsmead and Trust House Forte Hotels in England. He later immigrated to Canada to join Commonwealth Hospitality. He held progressively senior roles with IHG Company managed hotels until he joined Fortis Properties in 2003 culminating in his role as Director of Hospitality Operations.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Global Brand Head
Leonard Gooz serves as Global Brand Head of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. In this role, Gooz is responsible for global brand strategy, portfolio-wide execution, customer experience, and the overall financial and commercial performance of the company’s flagship brand.
Gooz has been with Hilton since 2016 and moves to his new role from his position as Global Brand Head of Home2 Suites By Hilton. Under his leadership, Home2 Suites expanded into new global markets, became the #1 brand in guest experience relative to its compset, the #1 brand in the US hotel construction pipeline, and has earned several awards, including being recognized as the #1 extended stay brand by the Entrepreneur magazine. In his previous roles at Hilton, Gooz led the Customer Experience and Innovation function where he was responsible for brand prototype and product development, food & beverage, brand innovation, brand service delivery, communications, and events for Hilton’s Suites and Focused Service brands with a distribution of 4,700 hotels globally.
Prior to Hilton, Gooz served as the Market Leader at Ernst & Young (EY) where he led go to market strategy, quality and execution in EY’s Mid-Atlantic market and as a Senior Managing Consultant with Gallup Consulting, where he led client engagements with Fortune 500 organizations, including Hilton. His insights have guided organizations in enhancing internal systems, processes, and produced top industry benchmarks in customer loyalty and related earnings growth.
Gooz’s studies include an M.B.A. from American University’s Kogod School of Business in Washington D.C., Asset Management from Cornell University, and a B.A. from Dordt College, IA, in Political Science.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Director Brand Management
Marina Nicholson serves as Director, Brand Management for Hilton Hotels & Resorts. In this role, she supports the brand strategy creation and portfolio- wide strategy implementation for Hilton’s flagship brand.
Marina joined Hilton in 2018, holding various strategy positions on the Customer Experience & Innovation and Brand Innovation & Planning teams. In these roles she was responsible for updating and scaling the meetings & events product for Full Service brands, creating and launching the enterprise strategy for electric vehicle charging, and developing brand pillars for the newly introduced Signia by Hilton brand.
Prior to her time at Hilton, Marina worked in program strategy roles. At WeWork she led the company’s female founder and real estate development initiatives and supported the rollout of the company’s Veteran founder program. She is also an experienced digital communications strategist, having worked in digital communications for the Public Affairs & Crisis practice at Burson-Marsteller (now Burson Cohn & Wolf) and as the Digital Director for the Indiana Republican Party.
Marina holds an MBA from Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, in Washington, D.C., as well as a BA from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she majored in History and Spanish.
InterContinental Hotels and Resorts (IHG®) Canada
Director, Franchise Performance Support
Mark has spent 23 of his 31 year career in the business of the hospitality experience with IHG. Over this time Mark developed his acumen in Revenue Management for several Holiday Inn’s across Ontario, and further in revenue and sales as Director of Transient Sales specializing in the wholesale and crew segments and leading transient sales efforts with a team of call center agents representing 6 hotels in Ontario. In 2010 Mark joined IHG’s Revenue Management for Hire Department as a Portfolio Revenue Manager with the Comprehensive Revenue Management team, leading a diverse portfolio including luxury and mid-scale multi-segmented hotels in Toronto and in Pittsburgh. Over the last 10 years, Mark has been a pivotal part of the Franchise Performance Support team offering his expertise, building trust, and engaging in purposeful interaction supporting Owners and Operators across Canada and the USA in achieving superior asset performance in the areas of Service, Sales and Revenue.
Prior to IHG, Mark started his career defining his discipline in front office/room division operations including creating on line training programs for Delta Hotels and Resorts and moved on to Rooms Division and General Management positions with several Choice Hotels across Ontario with recognition for superior guest service excellence, optimizing housekeeping efficiency, and negotiating collective agreements/union contracts.
Mark earned his Bachelor of Commerce with honours from the University of Guelph. Mark lives in Oakville and enjoys home improvement projects, cycling, rollerblading & improving his culinary skills in the kitchen. He enjoys spending holidays with Sister, Brother-in-law, nieces and nephew in Orlando.
Marriott Hotels of Canada
AVP Owners & Franchise Services
As the leader of Owner and Franchise (OFS) Account Management across Full-service and Select Service franchisees and management companies, Roz Winegrad is a strategic business leader leveraging Marriott’s system tools and resources for franchisees to optimize revenue and operate on-strategy hotels. Managing Owner Relations across Canada, Roz also works closely with the Canadian Development team, providing support and expertise on due diligence, operational excellence, and the design process.
For the last 15 years, Roz has worked in Full Service Franchising; Owner Services account leadership and most recently led the Business Engagement and Service team in providing owner and franchise communications, initiative management, development marketing tools, OASIS support and Product Integrity leadership. Roz was responsible for creating the Initiative Management framework, launched MI360 for owner and franchisee communications, and led various strategic projects including the annual FDD Update process, MINA meetings and the Owner and Franchise Survey.
Prior to her corporate roles, Roz spent several years working on-property in leadership roles in culinary, F&B, operations and Director of Catering at the New York Marquis.