Speaker Summary 2014
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Vice President, Global Programs & Corporate Relations
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce®
Joseph Mark Pomper
Consul General of the United States Monterrey, Mexico
United States Consulate General in Monterrey
Highlighted Speakers 2014
In this event we have the best speakers yet. See below and make sure to attend!
Position: Travel Content - Editor
New York City-based editor and writer Mark Chesnut has more than 15 years of experience working with the travel and tourism segment, with a special focus on Latin America. For nearly nine years, he worked full-time as an editor and writer at Travel Weekly, the national newspaper of the travel industry. Since going freelance in 2003, his work has appeared in media including Business Traveler, Caribbean Travel + Life, The Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, Travel + Leisure Mexico and the infli... ght magazines of Aeromexico, AirTran, LAN Airlines and TACA, to name a few. He also contributed to the Brazil and Chile sections of Patricia Schultz\'s New York Times best-selling book \"1,000 Places to See Before You Die,\" and serves as contributing editor at Passport Magazine, the nation\'s largest gay travel magazine. In addition, he is the founder and director of LatinFlyer.com, a site that focuses on travel in Latin America. He has moderated panels and travel and journalism for The New York Times Travel Show, TravelAge Magazine, the Learning Annex, Passport Magazine, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and the International Conference on Lesbian and Gay Tourism.
Company: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Position: Managing Director LGBT Market
Richard Gray is the Managing Director for the LGBT market for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Born in London, England, Richard moved to New York in the US in 1981 as an Investment Banker. In 1991 he made Fort Lauderdale his home when he created the acclaimed Royal Palms Resort. In 1996 he developed the Greater Fort Lauderdaleï¿½s highly successful LGBT marketing initiative. An inductee in the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Associations Hall of Fame, a Fort Lauderdal... e Home Town Hero and a recipient of the gay + Award for Achievement from MTV/Logo, Richard is passionate about all aspects of travel.
Company: Marriott International, Inc
Position: Vice President, Multi-Cultural Markets and Alliances
Apoorva N. Gandhi
I am excited to be part of this important team working to accomplish business goals and to help position Marriott as a global diversity leader. Diversity is the one thing that we all have in common and I am proud to show how we at Marriott celebrate it everyday. As Vice President for Multi-Cultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International, Apoorva Gandhi is responsible for creating and executing an externally-focused global strategy that builds preference and loyalty from diverse custome... r segments for the Marriott portfolio of brands. He helps ensure the companys marketing, sales and operations consider and reflect multi-cultural markets and alliances as Marriott continues its aggressive growth throughout the world. Mr. Gandhi has nearly 20 years of proven strategy, business process, program management and organizational change skills, leadership and delivery expertise. He also has extensive management and delivery experience working with diverse business clients and a solid track record delivering measurable success to clients across various business disciplines. Prior to his current position, Mr. Gandhi was senior director for organizational capability where he led the companys global reorganization program in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He has held other positions with Marriott, beginning as a front desk associate when he first completed college. He also worked as vice president for global lodging services where he helped deliver critical brand initiatives. Before joining Marriott, Mr. Gandhi was a senior consulting manager in Accentures Communications and High Tech practice for more than a decade, where he managed merger and integration programs as well as process reengineering efforts for large telecom clients. He also led diversity programs at Accenture.
Company: American Express
Position: Director - Business Solutions and Analytics - Latin America
Fernando has 28 years of experience in restaurants, airlines, retail and wholesale travel agencies, and commercial areas of leading corporate service companies in Mexico. He has been responsible for developing and implementing commercial, marketing and customer service strategies at board level. During the past 8 years he has worked in different areas related to American Express Corporate Payment Solutions. His work has been prominent in the area of products being the head in charge for the laun... ching of the Gasoline Card and to create the Consulting and Implementation area to support corporate commercial structures. Since last year he is responsible for Business Performance and analysis area. Since four years ago, along with a group of employees of the LGBT community, decided to create the LGBT Employee Network at American Express Mexico and was concreted in February of 2010, and since then until today he is founder member and currently co-leader of the network. The network permits to implement several activities aimed at the employees of the network, the transformation of the workplace and the LGBT market.
Company: San Francisco Travel Association
Position: Executive Vice President, Tourism
Tom Kiely oversees a seven-person department and 14 international representation offices in 13 countries. He joined the staff of San Francisco Travel on Oct. 1, 2010 as Vice President of Tourism Development. Tom oversees tour operator and travel agency business in international and domestic markets.Â This includes developing business from new clients, growing business from existing clients, and working in partnership with San Francisco International Airport (SFO), U.S. Travel Association ... and Visit California. Tom was previously with the California Academy of Sciences, where he was director of business development and a key member of the pre- and post-opening team. He has more than 25 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, including executive management roles with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Universal Studios Hollywood, Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and Atlantis the Palm theme parks in Dubai.Â
Company: Human Rights Campaign Foundation
Position: Director, Workplace Equality Program
Director, HRC Foundation Workplace Equality Program DeenaÂ Â leads the corporate programs of the Workplace Equality Program, including the Corporate Equality Index survey and annual report. She also leads the Human Rights Campaign Foundation\'s published research on the experiences of LGBT workers nationwide, including the seminal Degrees of Equality study that found over half of LGBT workers remain closeted on the job. Fidas has consulted directly with dozens of Fortune 500 and other majo... r businesses on the implementation of equitable policies and benefits for diverse employee populations. Most recently Fidas expanded the work of the Corporate Equality Programs to include global LGBT workforce best practices. In this capacity, she has conducted trainings in the US and abroad on Â workforce diversity and best practices for inclusion before corporate and public sector audiences. Fidas has been featured in The Washington Post, Mexico\'s Reforma, Pacifica Radio and she has been a quoted source for the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes,Fortune and other news outlets. Formerly working in political fundraising, she joined HRC in 2007. Fidas holds a master\'s degree in sociology from American University in Washington, D.C. Â
Company: Out Now
Described as a global LGBT thought leader, Ian Johnson is CEO of Out Now - and has for two decades dedicated his professional life to constantly redefining the next level in the specialist field of LGBT marketing. With backgrounds in marketing, law and strategic research, Johnson is one of the world\\\'s most in-demand LGBT marketing specialists. In 2014 his company, Out Now, celebrates 22 years of leadership in lesbian and gay markets worldwide....
Company: Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Position: Senior Development Manager
Daniel Lawrence Smith
With over a decade of experience dedicated within the LGBT non-profit sector, Daniel joined Out & Equal in April 2013 and manages relationships with top Fortune 500 companies, lead individual supporters and institutional partners. Daniel brings a diversity of fundraising, event management and operations experience paired with a strong business background and takes pride in maintaining the relationships that fuel Out & Equalâs vision of global workplace equality. A native New Yorker, Daniel lov... es living in his adopted hometown of San Francisco. While in New York, Daniel worked as Director of Individual Giving at the Empire State Pride Agenda, New Yorkâs foremost LGBT advocacy group. Daniel volunteers his time on several local non-profit boards and committees.
Company: Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority
Position: Diversity & Cultural Manager
Jim McMichael is currently the Diversity & Cultural Manager with the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority) handling the LGBT markets and cultural tourism programming. Â Previous to joining the LVCVA, Mr. McMichael spent 18 years in the shopping center industry with The Rouse Company and General Growth Properties in various marketing positions in South Florida and Las Vegas, most recently as the Sr. Marketing Manager at Fashion Show.Â His extensive marketing background covers ... a broad array of projects including coordinating in-mall events on the Fashion Show runway, dealing with retailer specific issues to drive awareness and sales, and working with area tourism partners to build marketing programs that drive traffic and increase brand awareness.Â PriorÂ to entering the shopping center industry, Mr. McMichael spent several years inÂ the travel industry holding positions at Windstar Cruises, Holland America Line and Costa Cruises.Â His tourism background provides a unique foundation to help develop creative ways to market a destination, attraction or shopping center to reach key target markets.Â A graduate of the University of Georgia, Mr. McMichael has a minor in Spanish and Portuguese, and studied aboard at the University of Paris (the Sorbonne).Â Mr. McMichael serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism at Valley High School and supports various community groups throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
Company: National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce®
Position: Vice President, Global Programs & Corporate Relations
Joanna Dees joined the NGLCC in May 2008 as the first Supplier Diversity Initiative Fellow. In 2009 she was promoted from Supplier Specialist Manager to Senior Manager and later to Director. Joanna now serves as Vice President of Global Programs and Corporate Relations, introducing NGLCC programs and connecting its members to corporate America around the globe.Prior to joining the NGLCC, Joanna was employed by the Noisette Foundation in Charleston, SC from 2005-2007. There she served as an Ameri... Corps VISTA dedicated to ex-offender reentry before being hired full-time as a job coach and eventually being appointed Acting Executive Director. In this role, Joanna supervised a full-time staff, established and directed a service-learning pilot program for state inmates called the Lowcountry Civic Justice Corps, and coached dozens of ex-offenders into successful long-term employment. Joanna has additional experience as a researcher for DC VOICE and represented American University at the 2008 CoRAL Network Conference panel as a result of this research project. She currently volunteers at Jubilee Jobs helping the unemployed prepare resumes and complete online job applications.Joanna was raised in southeastern Virginia and received her BA in Sociology and Psychology from the College of William & Mary in 2005. She recently earned a Master of Arts degree in Public Sociology at American University in August 2010.
Company: United States Consulate General in Monterrey
Position: Consul General of the United States Monterrey, Mexico
Joseph Mark Pomper
Joseph M. Pomper has been a consular officer for most of his 28 years in the Foreign Service. Â Prior to his arrival, he completed his assignment as the Senior Consular Representative at the United States Mission to the European Union (USEU). Joe was the Chief of the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, one of the busiest visa sections in the world, from 2007-2009.Prior to his tour in Mexico City, Joe served overseas in Mumbai, Brussels (U.S. Embassy to Belgium), Kingston,... London, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong. Â In Washington, D.C., Joe worked in the International Organizations Bureau and the Western Hemisphere Bureau. Â He was also Pearson Fellow at the United States Senate, working on the staff of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration.Before joining the State Department, Joe worked at the Department of Commerce. Â He holds an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a JD from Tulane Law School, and an AB from Brandeis University. Â Joe speaks Spanish, French, and Hebrew, and is a native of Connecticut. Â Joe is pleased to be back in Mexico and is looking forward to his assignment as the Consul General at the United States Consulate General in Monterrey.
Position: Senior Account Manager
Alicia is a Silicon Valley-trained emerging technologies enthusiast. She specializes in marketing intelligence for new markets, and has held jobs in custom online behavioral data science at comScore, social platform integration at Nokia, and currently is dedicated to the digitalization of the travel industry in Mexico & Latin America as a Senior Account Manager. She is a founder of the Gayglers employee group based in Mexico City and has been involved in LGBT activism since 2000....
Position: Director of Communications & Operations
Jonathan D. Lovitz
Jonathan D. Lovitz is a born communicator. Having come to New York after years of touring with some of the biggest hit musicals, he began a career in television and hosting work that has changed him forever by being open about his sexuality. A regular commentator on MSNBC, NPR, The Advocate, Out, among others; Jonathan began using his public profile to advocate and directly work with the causes he cherishes most. He has spoken, fundraised, and advocated for StartOut, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, B... roadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, GLSEN, Arts for America, and more. Jonathan has traveled the country, speaking everywhere from colleges and universities to packed ballrooms of business and political leaders, inspiring crowds to make a difference. While LGBT youth causes are his primary focus, Jonathan looks for any chance to serve any community in need of a voice. Jonathan is currently a communications director and social media strategist in New York, advising major companies on ways to benefit diverse communities. He aspired to political officer in the near future. Jonathan graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Florida in 2006.
Company: Evolve Vegas NYE
Mya Reyes is President of the Las Vegas Gay Visitors Bureau and producer of Evolve Vegas 2015, Las Vegas\' first International Gay New Yearâs Eve celebration. Mya was responsible for initiating the LGBT initiative in Las Vegas, and has booked both leisure and business clients to hotels throughout the destination. She has 14 years experience in LGBT travel, is a Certified LGBT Travel Specialist and a Certified Meeting Planner....
Company: Pride Enterprises Ltd.
Rick has been actively involved with the gay community from age 19. While attending Torontoâs Ryerson University in 1980, he helped found the campus group, Ryerson Lesbians & Gay Men. Moving to Edmonton in 1982, he is also co-founder of Gays & Lesbians on Campus at the University of Alberta. His volunteer work includes board positions with the Gay & Lesbian Business Association of BC, the Davie Village Business Improvement Association, the Vancouver Pride Society and the Bob Loblaw Queer A... rts Society. He received a BA in Recreation and Leisure Studies from U of A, specializing in Community Development, and later formal training as a Travel Consultant at Grant MacEwan University. After 20 years in retail travel, including 5 years operating his own travel agency, Rick has moved into gay travel journalism, specializing in business-to-business news gathering and commentary. He has regularly been interviewed by the gay press on matters related to gay and lesbian travel, tourism and community development; and participated in LGBT marketing focus groups with Tourism Vancouver. In recognition of work to promote GLBT tourism, Rick was selected as a Grand Marshall of the 2001 Vancouver Pride Parade, and had received additional recognition for his work from a variety of gay community organizations. He has lived in Vancouver since 1991 with Dan, his partner of 32 years.
Company: Jose Cuervo
Position: Director of Public Relations and Promotions
Araceli Ramos Rosaldo
Lic. Araceli Ramos Rosaldo is a graduate of the University of Guadalajara and earned a Masters Degree in Languages at the UniversitÃ¤t Duisburg Gesamthochschule studying German, English and French and later another Masters Degree in Senior Management from at the Institute of Superior Studies of Monterrey at the Guadalajara Campus. Recently, Araceli was awarded the title of Certified Meetings Specialist, one of the most important certifications for Professionals in the Meetings and Tourism indus... try segment. Career Highlights Araceli began her career as a Public Relations Manager, promoting tourism Genovese. Later she became Director of Public Relations for the General Coordination of Culture in the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Government of the State of Jalisco, Mexico. She later moved to the position of Hotel Public Relations Manager and also served as the Manager of Groups and Conventions for the Hotel Camino Real (Guadalajara). While working with Groups and Conventions, Araceli was invited to join Casa Cuervo where she has developed and advanced steadily in her role for more than 18 years. Araceli currently serves as Director of Public Relations & Promotions for Jose Cuervo and Mundo Cuervo. Jose Cuervo and Mundo Cuervo Under Casa Jose Cuervo and as Director of Promotion and Public Relations for Casa Cuervo, Araceli is very proud of having started and developed the concept and brand, Mundo Cuervo, which was born with the purpose of giving the world the most relevant aspects of our Mexican roots, history and traditions and she has been instrumental to position it as the best of tourist products of the State of Jalisco and MÃ©xico. For Mundo Cuervo, Jalisco and MÃ©xico, Araceli has organized events of international importance, such as: the visit of the First Ladies during III Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean and European Union in 2005, as well as numerous visits of Presidents, Secretaries of State and Ambassadors from Mexico and from many other countries.
Company: Premio Maguey
Position: Director of Content and Programming
Company: Proyecto Moda