2017 EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
JORGE COLONA, CIS
Melia Hotels International
Currently Director of Group Sales for Melia Hotels International Global Collection, Jorge Colona’s passion for the hospitality industry brings, to SITE Florida and the Caribbean, over 29 years of strong background in incentive groups sales and meeting industry (MICE); as well as, Convention Bureau (Meet Puerto Rico) and Cruise Line Sales (CCL – International Groups). Also, for the past 13 years Jorge has been involved with the University of Miami – Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, previously as Constituency Board member and currently as Co-chair for their annual signature fund raising event “Tropical Nights”. These funds provide free assistance to more than 7,000 families with children affected with Autism in South Florida. In addition to 15 years as Team Captain “WALKING FOR AUTISM” (Autism Speaks).
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Curacao
Maura Dominguez-Zhang was born in the Dominican Republic and has Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from FIU. She has over 15 years-experience in the luxury hotels segment of the Hospitality Industry. Maura has worked for the top South Florida hotels including The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, Biltmore Coral Gables and EPIC downtown Miami. She is currently Director of National Accounts for the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Curacao, a Benchmark Resort, where she was awarded the 2014 Benchmark Attitude and Determination Award & 2015 Platinum Club for record sales achievements. Maura has been a member of SITE since 2007 and in 2013 completed the Incentive Project Management Certificate program.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Senior Sales Manager
With 26 years of Hospitality sales management experience, Paula Carlson has been a member of SITE since 1992. SITE has been the foundation of her passion for the Incentive Industry. Honored to serve as 2016 President of Florida & Caribbean Chapter Board of Directors.
Director of Business Development
Direct Line: 786-347-4444
Karen started her career in the travel industry arranging exciting trips for leisure clients, while managing the Florida division of a NY based travel agency. In 1997, Karen began a new adventure as a Flight Attendant traveling the world. In her current role as Director of Business Development for XTRA Airways, Karen shares her passion for incentive travel attending various industry events and face to face meetings. Through her membership and active role in SITE Florida & Caribbean, Karen has experienced both personal and professional growth and was the SITE Florida & Caribbean President in 2015.
President/CEO Alliance Incentives & Meetings, LLC
Millie has been a SITE member since the late 70’s, and was provided with education and networking opportunities that helped her business grow. She was active in Global on several committees and served as Crystal Awards Chairman as well as won an award. She was the special Advisory Committee and chaired The Signet Awards event in Stockholm celebrating 25 years of Incentive Travel. Since moving to Florida from Kansas City, she has been involved with the SITE Chapter Board as Secretary, VP Membership and Treasurer. She has seen SITE Florida & Caribbean Chapter grow with dedicated professionals interested in contributing and learning to better the industry and community.
2017 BOARD DIRECTORS
Eco Destination Management Services (Aruba/Curacao)
Wichita has a true passion for the hospitality industry for the past 30 years, and loves the art of service and providing customers with beautiful and creative experiences in her beloved Aruba and Curacao. She is all about the details in everything that she does, and getting it right the first time!
Francis W. Purvey brings years of successes in tourism and hospitality management, sales and marketing focused on upscale and luxury resorts and destinations.
Respected as an entrepreneurial innovator and keen marketer, speaker, panelist and educational contributor at industry events and trade shows, in addition is frequently quoted by trade publications.
Key lifetime accomplishments include his role as Assistant Director of Tourism in Bermuda. Currently Executive Vice President of Sunlark Associates LLC, a tourism and hospitality consulting/project enterprise specializing in Sales & Marketing in Florida and the Caribbean.
He was Vice Chair for Visit Florida’s Meetings & Travel Trade Advisory Committee and member of that public-private entity’s Marketing Steering Committee. He was also Vice Chair of the Host Committee for the SITE Global 2013 Conference in Orlando.
SUZANNE SCULLY, CDME
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Suzanne started her hospitality career as a room service waiter while going to college and got bit by the hotel bug. She continued to excel in the hospitality field and now, 20 years later, she is the Director of Meetings and Conventions for Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater and continues to be passionate about all things tourism and loves to go to work every day. She looks forward to putting her passion and dedication in to an organization that is so well respected and is excited to be a member of the 2016 Board of Directors.
Jane is the General Manager of AlliedPRA in Southeast Florida. She grew up in Jamaica and went to boarding school in England before moving to the United States in the late 70’s. Jane has worked in most travel and tourism disciplines while living in the US and Caribbean. She was the Vice President of Entertainment for a dinner attraction, worked in several incentive travel companies as a Program Manager, handled groups and events for a Convention and Visitors Bureau, managed groups and events for a golf resort and villas, owned her own luxury yacht charter business, and served as the Executive Director for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
CMP, CIS, dynamic, very involved and passionate advocate of the Site vision, Ben Sauvage benefit of 25 years of experience in being of service to the travel industry. Throughout these years he acquired a great understanding of both suppliers and planners goals and expectations. Since the last 16 years Ben is the CEO of Connect – DMC and is highly dedicated on promoting and delivering creative, out of the box and highest quality services and solutions to the Incentives and Meetings Industry.
Partner, Central Florida
J.B. leads the ACCESS Florida team in Central Florida. He began is travel career in 1991 with Wide World of Golf. He led golf groups to Scotland, Ireland and Pebble Beach as a travel director. In 1993, J.B. moved to Florida and began his destination management career. He has worked with many of the top incentive and corporate clients in the industry. He is active in SITE, ADMEI and FICP holding local and national Board seats with several industry associations. When he is not working, you can find him on the Windermere little league baseball fields Coaching one of his three sons.
Rita brings to SITE Florida and Caribbean, over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Her background in hotel, brand, and destination sales is a great asset to the SITE BOD. Rita is the Senior Sales Manager at the Riverside Hotel, on Las Olas Boulevard. She has dedicated the last 15 years of her career to the group and incentive market, especially in the Northeast.
SHALISE DeMOTT, CIS
Currently Vice President, Media Sales for Northstar Meetings Group, Shalise brings over 20 years of sales and marketing experience to SITE Florida and Caribbean. With the past 10 years being dedicated to tourism related marketing and events primarily centered on the meetings market, she is a conduit between the supplier and planner conversation.
Miami Air International
Dan Polulak began his career in the travel and hospitality industry as a Social Host/Club O2 Director onboard 5 cruise ships in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet. After obtaining his Bachelors degree in Resort and Hospitality Management at Florida Gulf Coast University and a brief stint in working landside in full-service Marriott properties, Dan decided to follow his next passion – aviation by taking a position with American Airlines. Currently, Dan serves as Marketing Manager for Miami Air International – the premiere charter airline operating a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft with 168 economy or 68 VIP seats specializing in large group transportation supporting the corporate incentive industry. Dan has is also a member of the SITE Global Young Leaders Committee as the Communications Chair and is looking forward to becoming more involved with Young Leaders in the SITE Florida & Caribbean chapter.
DAHLTON BENNINGTON, CMP, CMM
Director, Meetings and Incentives
As a tenured meeting and incentive professional, Dahlton leads a number of Fortune 500 companies’ meetings and incentive programs. Providing strategic input on themes, communications, marketing and overall program agendas. Sourcing, evaluating and negotiating with all required partners including hotel, venue, activities, entertainment and decor.
As a six-year Incentive Research Foundation Trustee, Executive Board Member and now strong supporter, Dahlton focuses on education and continues to be an advocate for the incentive industry. Additional industry involvement includes: Commissioner for Association of Destination Management Executives’ Accredited Destination Management Company (ADMC) Commission and former Vice President of Education & Advocacy for Society of Incentive Travel Excellence Florida & Caribbean Chapter. Dahlton is also a featured in Prevue Magazine as a travel writer featuring destination highlights for meeting and incentive planners.
Dahlton was named Collaborate Magazines Top 40 under 40 in 2012, Incentive Travel Council’s Advocate of the Year in 2010. Additional Industry awards include South Florida Meeting Professionals Internationals Meeting Planner of the year for 2012, 2004 and 2002 Committee Person of the Year 2006, and the 2002 President’s Award. In 2005 Dahlton was Award Biz Bash Florida’s Corporate Planner of the Year and in 2004 was a selected finalist for Event Solutions’ Corporate Planner of the Year.
Dahlton was formerly the Director of Meeting Services for Randstad, a $2.2 billion global provider of HR and staffing services, Dahlton established the scope and direction of meetings and events, executed all the strategy, contracts and logistics, fulfilling each meeting to exceed the company’s goals, stakeholders and delegates’ expectations.
Director of Sales and Marketing
Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort
A seasoned hotel veteran, David started his career in Food and Beverage with Hyatt Hotels, moving from Catering and Convention Services into Sales and Marketing early in his career. In 1991 David took a position with a family owned global travel agency and travel wholesaler in Bogota’ Colombia as Vice President of Development and International Operations before moving to Miami in 1996. For the last 21 years, he has been based in Miami and focused on his specialty of Task Forcing Acquisitions and New Builds for both Starwood and Wyndham Hotels operating in the United States (New York and Miami) and Caribbean. Currently, David is the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Please feel free to connect with and learn more about him at linkedin.com/in/davidhkrech.