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2017 Tourism Congress Speakers 



Having joined WTTC in 2012, Helen Marano serves as a conduit for the advocacy efforts of WTTC in representing the industry perspective to government leaders and organisations. She heralds the importance of Travel & Tourism for the economic and social benefits the sector contributes to the world community. She works to ensure government and private sector efforts improve and protect the sustainability of the sector.

Helen is a seasoned leader, having previously led the National Travel & Tourism Office of the United States for over a decade. Her legacy includes the establishment of the Travel and Tourism Satellite Account for the USA, overseeing the negotiations for the opening of Chinese group leisure travel to the USA, helping to establish the national tourism marketing organisation, Brand USA and being engaged in the establishment of the electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) which supported the creation of Brand USA.


Greg Oates is executive editor of the SkiftX strategy and content group, exploring the convergence of trends reshaping how global travel brands drive growth, engagement, and diversity.

His breadth of knowledge across various travel industry sectors has continually helped Skift envision new disruptive trends before the rest of the industry fully acknowledges and embraces them. As such, Greg is often asked to speak and advise on brand strategy, pulling insight from the full scope of leading industry intelligence developed by Skift’s research and editorial departments. 

Speakers and Moderators

Charlotte_Bell2_jpg.jpegCharlotte Bell
President and CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada


Charlotte became President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada in April, 2015. With more than 25 years of experience in regulatory, corporate and government affairs, Charlotte is a seasoned executive bringing a wealth of experience and proven track record of success leading regulatory change in the broadcast sector.

As an experienced advisor and advocate, Charlotte spearheaded regulatory and public affairs strategies leading to successful acquisitions of major media properties and was pivotal in obtaining policy and regulatory reform in the broadcast industry by building strategic partnerships and alliances. She also more recently led Corporate Affairs strategies for Atlantic Lottery Corporation overseeing stakeholder and community relations as well as corporate reputation. 


New_Ben_Cownan_RVC2017a-001.jpgBen Cowan-Dewar 
Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Destination Canada


Ben is the owner of Cabot Links golf course, and a tourism entrepreneur. A past Chair of the Board for Nova Scotia Tourism, he is a member of the Board of The Golf Canada Foundation and the Young Presidents Organization.


David GoldsteinDavidFGoldstein-crop.jpg
President and Chief Executive Officer
Destination Canada


David has had a long and distinguished career in Canada’s tourism and media sectors. He has extensive experience in national leadership and strategic business planning as well as deep knowledge of communications and stakeholder (government, media and investors) relations.

Before joining the CTC in December 2014 as President and CEO, David led the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) from April 2010. Previous to his work at TIAC, David spent over 14 years in the broadcast and media industry. From 2007 to 2010, David was CTVglobemedia’s Senior Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, directing key elements of the strategic shift from analogue to digital media, driving the change from conventional TV advertising revenue to a subscription-based model and directing all CTVglobemedia’s major regulatory and public-policy submissions.


Kevin-Howlett.jpgKevin Howlett 
Senior Vice President Regional Markets & Government Relations
Air Canada


Kevin Howlett was appointed Senior Vice President, Regional Markets and Government Relations in May, 2016. In this role, Kevin has overall responsibility for the strategic direction of Air Canada’s regional operations and the relationship with current and future regional carriers operating on Air Canada’s behalf. Additionally, Kevin has oversight for all relationships between the airline and federal, provincial and municipal governments, and he also works to strengthen the airline’s North American regional business and community relationships. Based in Vancouver, BC, Kevin is Air Canada’s senior executive in western Canada.


Laura PallottaLaura_Pallotta_Head_Shot.png
Regional Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Marriott Hotels of Canada


As Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Laura leads Marriott Hotels of Canada’s overall Revenue Generation and Sales Strategy and works side by side with Corporate Marketing, Revenue Management and Global Sales to pull through all of Marriott’s Sales and Marketing platforms and programs to Marriott’s 220+ Canadian hotels.

Laura has over 25 years of hotel experience, 12 of which were spent in rapidly progressive leadership positions at Delta Hotels and Resorts till Marriott’s acquisition of Delta in 2015. Since 2015 Laura has been working on the sales  integration of Delta Hotels and Starwood Hotels into Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in Canada.


VitoCuralli_20170608_TreyClark_6396_L.jpgVito Curalli, CHA
Executive Director of Sales, Canada, Latin America & International Sales
Hilton Worldwide


As the Executive Director of Sales for Canada, Latin America and the International Sales offices in the Americas, Vito oversees several teams with responsibilities for over $350 Million in revenue to the organization. Prior to joining Hilton Worldwide, Vito was the Vice President of Development for AFM Hospitality based in Toronto, overseeing a team of franchise development managers throughout Canada. AFM encompassed several brands including Ramada, Howard Johnson and Park Plaza hotels.


JohanneBelanger_2017.jpgJohanne Bélanger 
President & CEO
Tourism Toronto


Johanne Bélanger was appointed President & CEO of Tourism Toronto in September 2015. She leads Toronto’s Destination Marketing Organization representing and serving over 1,100 Association members and partners. An internationally-acclaimed Industry Builder, Johanne is a multiple-award-winning business leader, international speaker, tireless volunteer and mentor. 

President of Freeman Audio Visual Canada from September 2005 to June 2015, she received numerous industry accolades during her tenure, including the 2014 International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award and an induction into Meetings + Incentive Travel’s (M+IT) 2014 Hall of Fame. She also cofounded Freeman Women’s Development (FWD), a program established to advance women as leaders at Freeman and contribute to an environment where the best talent goes to succeed.


Keith_Henry_Pic_November_2016.jpgKeith Henry
President and CEO
Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada 


Mr. Keith Henry is a Métis person that was born in Thompson, Manitoba and raised in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. 

Mr. Henry has become an international Aboriginal cultural tourism leader receiving Aboriginal/Indigenous recognition as the former CEO for Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC). In April 2014, the inaugural World Indigenous Tourism Alliance award recognized the work of AtBC and Mr. Henry’s leadership. Mr. Henry has been spearheading the growth of authentic Aboriginal tourism in Canada as he worked to redevelop the national Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada as elected chair when this organization incorporated in April 2015. In October 2015 Mr. Henry took the full-time role as the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada’s CEO. 


MarisaMilton.pngMarisa Milton
Vice President, Human Resources
Marriott Hotels of Canada


Marisa Milton is the Regional Vice President, Human Resources for Marriott Hotels of Canada. She has responsibility for human resource execution and strategy for all managed hotels in Canada, which includes leading compensation, recruiting, development, employee relations, and employment law compliance.   

Her previous role with Marriott was Vice President of Talent Management for The Americas where she worked with HR Centers of Expertise (COE) to align Marriott’s global and Americas HR priorities.  The Americas Compensation, Acquisitions and Divestitures, Learning Delivery, and University Relations teams reported to her.  


Dawnn_color_crop1.jpgDawnn M. Repp
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal & Administration Officer


Dawnn Repp is executive vice president, chief legal & administrative officer for Freeman, the leading global provider of brand experiences.  She is also a member of the executive committee.  She is responsible for all legal issues affecting the company including drafting and negotiating contracts, litigation management, employment and labor issues, merger and acquisitions, commercial disputes, intellectual property, data security, government regulation, multiemployer pension plans, ESOP and other benefit plans, corporate governance, compliance and risk management.

Prior to joining Freeman as Freeman’s first in-house attorney in 2001, Dawnn was director of litigation management services for a large private insurance brokerage, and before that, she was in private practice.


Normand_pic_2017.jpgNormand St-Gelais
Director Diversity and Inclusion for Canada
Sodexo Canada Ltd

Normand was named the 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner of the Year by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI). Over the years, Normand developed and lead Sodexo’s Canadian Mentoring program and the Canadian Rising Star program. He founded and co-lead the Sodexo Pride Canada Employee Business resource group and co-lead the Global Sodexo Pride Worldwide Employee Business Resource group. He is also a member of Sodexo’s Women Business Resource Group and the Aboriginal Employee Business Resource Group. He is responsible for the design and creation of Sodexo Canada’s Diversity Council and serves on Sodexo’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Prior to Sodexo, Normand was the Owner/Operator of the Auberge la petite marmite Inn, Charlevoix Quebec.


Laura Mandala

Founder of Women in Travel and Tourism International
Managing Director of Mandala Research

Laura Mandala has been helping the tourism industry unlock, decode and harness the power of travel data and trends for nearly two decades. As the head of Mandala Research, one of the leading travel and tourism research firms in the world, she spends considerable time evaluating important emerging developments and that help destinations and travel companies make the right decisions to attract the right travellers.

She is founder of Women in Travel and Tourism International, an organization committed to the promotion, support, and advocacy for women’s leadership in the travel industry. Laura is a former candidate for State Delegate in Virginia’s 45th District and has served two Virginia Governor’s on the State Council on Women. In 2014 she was named one of the 14 Most Influential Women in Group Travel.


Steve Sammut

Rocky Mountaineer


Based in Vancouver, BC, he is the President of Rocky Mountaineer, the largest privately owned luxury tourist train business in the world, the 2015 TIAC Tourism Business of the Year and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.  Rocky Mountaineer offers over 65 unique Canadian vacation packages and four distinctive rail routes showcasing the Pacific Northwest and Alberta.  As President, Steve owns the company’s vision, leads its strategic planning, oversees and delivers its performance, and champions its culture. Prior to joining Rocky Mountaineer four years ago, he held the position of CFO with Intracorp Projects, a leading Canadian urban real estate development firm.  He is proud to serve on the Board of Directors as Chair for TIAC.


Dave_McKenna.jpgDavid McKenna
Pursuit/Banff Jasper Collection


David Charles McKenna is president of the Banff Jasper Collection (Brewster Travel Canada) which is based out of Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Starting in 2008, David led the Brewster Hospitality and Attractions team as Vice President of Hotels and Attractions. He has played a critical role in projects including the approval and construction of the Glacier Skywalk, the Banff Gondola expansion and the acquisition and integration of the Banff Lake Cruise, Elk & Avenue Hotel (formerly Banff International Hotel) and Maligne Lake Tours. David is a dedicated member of the Canadian Tourism and Rocky Mountain communities and serves on the Board of Directors for many groups including the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Canadian Passenger Vessel Association, the Association for Mountain Parks Protection & Enjoyment, and the Banff Community Foundation.


MuneebMushtaq_profile.jpgMuneeb Mushtaq
Co-founder, CEO


Muneeb is the CEO and co-founder of AskforTask.com.  AskforTask is the largest online marketplace for services in Canada. Think of it as Uber for home services. With over 200,000 service providers registered across 100 cities, we have offered Canadians a unique and efficient way to earn money if they are in between jobs, struggling to make ends meet or simply saving up for a family vacation. Since its inception in Toronto in 2012, AskforTask has grown from a basement in Mississauga to now a head office in Toronto with multiple offices globally.  AskforTask has been awarded one of the fastest growing companies in Canada and is featured in some of the global prestigious media outlets like CNN, Forbes, CBC, CP24 and more.

Muneeb is a huge advocate of sharing economy and have shared stages with some of the world renowned thought leaders, policy makers and CEOs to discuss this topic.


Headshot_June2017.jpgEropa Stein
Founder, CEO


Eropa Stein graduated from Carleton University with a Masters in Psychology. Following her studies, she delved into the corporate world and used her academic background to quickly advance to management positions within reputable HR companies as well as consulting firms. After a few years in the corporate world, soaking up a great deal of knowledge, Eropa yearned for something more. So, she took a leap of faith and used her academic background, experience in HR, and entrepreneurial spirit to build Hyre, an online marketplace designed to efficiently connect between event organizers (banquet managers and catering companies) and contracted event staff (waitstaff, barstaff, etc.). As the CEO of Hyre, Eropa has been the recipient of many entrepreneurial awards.


GregKlassen_cropped.pngGreg Klassen
Twenty31 Consulting


A travel and tourism industry strategist with 20+years of leadership experience with blue chip organisations, including Canada’s national destination marketing agency, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), AT&T and TELUS, Greg is an expert in the development and execution of marketing strategies leveraging new technologies.

At Twenty31 he advises senior leadership teams on competitive destination marketing strategies, brand positioning and investment opportunities. He is a renowned thought leader on disruption in destination marketing and the links between travel and tourism and economic development.


RoukyaAbdiAden.pngRoukya Abdi Aden
Manager, National Consultations on Economic Development and Employability
RDÉE Canada


Born in Djibouti, Roukya Abdi Aden currently lives in Ontario. She has held the position of Manager, National Consultations at RDÉE Canada since September 2012. Among other things, her responsibilities include all activities pertaining to RDÉE Canada’s priority economic issues as well as those of its members: tourism, economic immigration, etc.

Prior to joining RDÉE Canada, Roukya worked for such international organizations as UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). She has also held several positions in French Canada. She was an economic development officer at the Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario (CCO), and Assistant Director of Immigration at the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada (FCFA) (2002-2012). She holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Applied Foreign Languages.


Colin_headshot.jpgColin Sines
Executive Director
Travel Gay Canada


Colin is the Executive Director of Travel Gay Canada, Canada’s only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Tourism Association. Colin has been involved with Travel Gay Canada since its inception in 2004, first as Vice President then President for 6 years. Has been ED for the past 3 years.

Colin is Editor in Chief of OUTVisions a lifestyle magazine for the LGBT professional, this on-line magazine posts editorial features on travel, news updates, fashion, entertainment, people and events. He has spent over 40 years in the hotel industry, which included Director of Marketing positions in small luxury properties to international companies such as Four Seasons Hotels, and has opened two AAA/CAA 5 diamond properties in western Canada.


Rebecca_Colour.jpgRebecca Mackenzie
President & CEO
Culinary Tourism Alliance


Rebecca loves Canada and local edibles and that her career enables her to explore Canada and the globe, connecting people across the agriculture and tourism industries to grow “taste of place”. Passionate about the interrelation between food, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and the CTA’s Feast On program.

Rebecca contributes her expertise to a variety of industry Boards including the Terroir Hospitality Symposium,  the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Gastronomic Tourism Network. Born and raised in Toronto, Rebecca spent her summers in rural Ontario. In her grade 12 year of high school, Rebecca sailed on a 156-foot tall ship to 20 countries in Europe and Africa – an experience that rooted her passion for travel and adventure! She still splits her time between Toronto and Prince Edward County, and practices her craft for food tourism with her own experience – the Terroir Run.


JonMamela-crop.jpgJon Mamela
Chief Marketing Officer
Destination Canada


Jon Mamela considers himself to have the best marketing role in the entire country.  He puts on the “Team Canada” jersey everyday leading a dynamic team based in 11 international markets that are responsible for building Canada’s tourism brand and inspiring travelers in those markets to make Canada their must-visit destination.  

Jon joined Destination Canada in 2013 and is guiding the organization’s marketing transformation towards it becoming a media enterprise by engaging and connecting travelers to tourism experiences from coast to coast to coast through integrated storytelling strategies, creating compelling content, and leveraging digital centric eco-systems.  He currently has management responsibilities for Global Marketing & Communications, International Business Development, Consumer & Market Intelligence and Brand Partnerships.


Stewart_Beck.jpgStewart Beck
President and CEO
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Stewart Beck is the President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Prior to joining APF Canada, Mr. Beck served as the Canadian High Commissioner to the Republic of India with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to Nepal.

He joined Canada's Department of External Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) in 1982 and served abroad in the United States, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China. In Ottawa, he held a number of progressively more senior positions, including Director General of the North Asia Bureau, Director General Responsible for Senior Management and Rotational Assignments, and Assistant Deputy Minister for International Business Development, Investment, and Innovation. He was Consul General in Shanghai and prior to his posting to India, he was Consul General in San Francisco.