Rocco is a passionate hotelier and energetic entrepreneur with a remarkable career of over 20 years. He studied hotel management at Westminster College in London and Cornell University in Singapore, and he has worked in some of the finest, world class properties in amazing destinations spanning three continents. He’s led pre-opening, rebranding, and repositioning projects, and he’s recognized as a turnaround expert. Keep Reading
Employee Recruitment & Retention
Ron Whitfield is an Executive General Manager with ResortQuest by Wyndham in Destin Florida. He earned his Associate of Arts Degree from the University of West Florida and a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University with an emphasis in Resort and Club Management.
Ron has been in the Vacation Rental Industry for more than two decades. He has had a Community Association Management License for 22 years and has been a Real Estate Broker for 11 years.
Joann V. Saucier, Ed.D. has 30 years experience in hospitality/tourism, government, education, and real estate management. She served as Director of Operations and Senior Regional Manager, ResortQuest, Destin, FL 1985–2005, and went on to serve as a Management Consultant for several companies and organizations, including the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association.
Joann earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Social Studies Education from Dominican College, New Orleans, LA, a Masters of Education in Counseling from Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Amanda is an entrepreneur, speaker and consultant who helps corporations develop strategies around attracting, retaining and engaging top millennial talent. She has spoken to Millennials over 800 times in the last 5 years. In fact, one group of college students dubbed her the “Millennial Translator” after speaking to them, so clearly she understands, and knows how to connect, with this generation.
Luis Fernandez, and his wife Yanin, own and operate two restaurants located in Historic Downtown Norcross, Georgia. In 2008, they opened their first restaurant, Mojitos Cuban American Bistro, offering authentic Cuban cuisine in a casual 50’s atmosphere. In 2014, they opened their second restaurant, The Crossing, in the more than a century old Norcross train depot. The casual, fine dining establishment offers steaks, chops, and a contemporary American menu. Both restaurants deliver amazing cuisine, great service, and quality live music.
John J. Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO is a career business professional and educator who has held senior leadership with responsibility in several organizations involving operational, academic and entrepreneurial enterprise. He has demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor and is frequently invited to speak at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events. He also acts as an expert witness in both research and testimony in hospitality industry related cases.
Karen has served as HR Coordinator at a 300 room downtown, full-service Sheraton hotel. She relocated to a 296 unit, all suite airport hotel that she helped open as the HR Director. Following these assignments she served for a number of years as General Manager for a 108 room select service hotel and then a 125 room branded, mid-market property. Keep Reading
Laura Lee Blake, JD is a lawyer and a Wealth Advisor with SunBright Wealth Management & Financial Planning, through Money Concepts Capital Corp., Member SIPC/FINRA. Laura Lee has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the legal industry. She has handled complex litigation, corporate transactional and business-related matters. Laura Lee is expanding into the financial planning sector, and her clients include individuals, families, and small business owners, with a focus on the hospitality, service, and manufacturing industries. Keep Reading
Geoff Smart, Ph.D. is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Who: The A Method for Hiring, which is ranked #1 on Amazon.com on the topic of hiring talented teams. He’s also Chairman & Founder of ghSMART, a leadership consulting firm with 12 offices in the U.S. and one in London whose mission is to use its expertise in business and human behavior to help CEOs, boards, and investors build valuable organizations. Keep Reading
Toral Desai, Psy.D. is a Principal at ghSMART, where she serves private equity and Fortune 500 clients in the areas of management assessment, talent planning and organizational change initiatives. She focuses on identifying an organization’s strategic objectives to attract, develop, and retain top talent. Keep Reading