2017 Speakers – Caribbean Tourism Marketing Conference  

Michael Kraabel
Michael KraabelVice President, Creative + User Experience, Bolin Marketing
Michael Kraabel has a deep passion for travel, which is rooted in his love of cinematic storytelling and vintage travel books. At an early age, films featuring exotic adventures captivated his heart and mind. As a young creative director, he found the production aspects of filmmaking to be a source of curiosity and worked tirelessly to hone his craft as a photographer and filmmaker. Over the years, he explored film making as a means to challenge his creative philosophy and approach, combining his talents as a writer with his love for adventure.

Kraabel has worked with Fortune 500 brands such as Microsoft, Honeywell, Ecolab, Target, and Cargill, directing and producing films, photography, content, and campaigns in over a dozen countries. He has been fortunate to combine his appetite for travel and tourism with his talents as a creative leader having worked with the Pilot Guide’s GlobeTrekker television series, Northwest Airlines, Delta Vacations, and Kauai Coffee Company. In his current role as Vice President, Creative + User Experience at Bolin Marketing, he has led the creative work for Discover Dominica Authority for several years, also creating and serving as the Executive Producer of the Dominica Film Challenge.

Kraabel believes in the power of moving pictures to tell emotional and visceral stories that connect with people on a deeper level than any other form of branding or advertising. His work is inspired by Pico Ayer’s belief that “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.”

Scott Wiseman
Scott WisemanPresident, Travel Impressions
A lifelong hospitality executive, Scott Wiseman leverages a uniquely balanced background in sales, marketing, and operations for his responsibilities as President of Travel Impressions. In what is one of North America’s largest and most prominent agent-only, high-end global tour operators, Wiseman’s deeply ingrained emphasis on customer service – developed throughout decades in leadership roles in hospitality – is one that resonates strongly with the brand and its customers.

Wiseman’s range of experience has spanned multiple decades and responsibilities. Past appointments have included executive positions at various luxury tour operators, his most recent role being President of Cox & Kings, The Americas. Prior to that, Wiseman served as President of luxury adventure safari provider Abercrombie & Kent USA. Under his stewardship, the company saw product development in over 80 countries, all while ensuring comfort through deep-rooted connections in every destination.

In the hotel arena, Wiseman dedicated many years to Accor Group’s North America Business and Leisure division, spending half of his tenure as Vice President, Marketing for Mexico, Canada, and the United States under the acclaimed Sofitel, Novotel, and Ibis brands. Here, he developed a rare understanding of property, regional, and corporate operations, while establishing a foundation in hospitality sales and marketing, generating high returns on pricing, and managing multiple distribution channel strategies. Wiseman’s medley of experience has made him a valuable board member for the United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) as well as an in-demand public speaker on matters of the industry.

Thomas Bacon
Thomas BaconTom Bacon Consulting, LLC

Tom Bacon is an airline industry consultant based in Denver, Colorado.  With 30 years experience in a variety of travel companies and business situations, he has a track record of dramatically improving profitability through innovative revenue strategies.

He has led successful restructuring initiatives at American Airlines, SABRE, American Eagle, Bombardier Flexjet, and, through bankruptcy, Frontier Airlines. His experience extends through a variety of airline industry sectors including travel agency distribution, regional airlines, fractional airlines, international airlines and domestic low cost carriers.

He is currently an independent consultant to airlines across the globe, helping airlines cope with the continuous change in markets, competition, and technology.

2017 Speakers – Tourism Industry Workshop  

Karen Kent
Karen KentChief Marketing Officer,
Leisure Brands, Flight Centre Travel Group, USA

Karen Kent, chief marketing officer, for the leisure brands within Flight Centre Travel Group, USA, takes an integrated, strategic approach to all she does. In her newest role, which she assumed January 2016, she is responsible for all of the creative, branding, marketing, advertising, digital, social media, store merchandising and partnership marketing across all leisure brands and platforms within the Flight Centre Travel Group, USA, spanning 6 brands, including both the iconic Liberty Travel and GOGO Vacations brands.

Previously Kent was senior vice president, strategic brand development and before that vice president of marketing services and corporate communications. Prior to the acquisition of LibGo Travel by FCTG in 2008, Kent was the director of multi-channel marketing, where she built the division from the ground up. In 2004, when she stepped into the newly-created role, Kent was the brainchild of a number of new marketing channels for both Liberty Travel and GOGO Worldwide Vacations. In 2008 Kent received a well-deserved promotion to vice president, marketing, of LibGo Travel and then took over the vice president of marketing services role with FCTG the following year, in 2009. In 2012 the addition of corporate communications became part of Kent’s responsibilities and department.

Kent is most proud of the opportunity that enabled her to spearhead the total transformation of LibGo Travel’s 50-plus year marketing strategy into FCTG’s current business model. Kent graduated with a double major from the University of Michigan with a B.A. degree both in Communications and Psychology. She currently resides in Montvale, NJ with her husband and two children.

Eusi Skeete
Eusi SkeeteVice Counsel/Senior Business Dev. Manager, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Eusi Skeete brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Tourism and Hospitality industry having served at various levels in the industry for the past twenty-one years. He currently serves as Vice Consul/Senior Business Development Manager with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) working closely with the Director USA to develop and implement strategic initiatives to increase destination awareness, visitor arrivals and increased spend from US travelers. Since joining the BTA in 2004 initially on an internship, his energies have been directed to leveraging his knowledge and expertise to successfully identify new opportunities, forge strong partnerships and strategic alliances with key partners ultimately resulting in the development of new business and ensuring that Barbados is at the forefront amongst consumers in the USA market.

His love for the industry and its continued success is evident in the level of passion, creativity and focus that he dedicates to fulfilling his role with Barbados and volunteering his time to impart his knowledge through mentorship to students interested in pursuing careers in Tourism and Hospitality. His willingness to make a contribution to the industry is also evident in his continued engagement with and support of the Caribbean Tourism Organization on various initiatives including serving as the Chair of the Rum & Rhythm Benefit Committee. Eusi served in this capacity for the past five years and is a strong advocate for the funding of scholarships for Caribbean students to pursue higher education in Tourism, Hospitality and related disciplines.

Eusi embarked on his academic career in New York City and has attained degrees in Hospitality Management, Tourism and Travel Management as well as Global Affairs. He was college valedictorian, CTO Foundation award recipient and holds the distinction of being recognized by Travel Agent Magazine as “Top Supplier Sales Representative in the International Tourist Board category” in 2012 and 2014.

Gai A. Spann
Gai A. SpannFounder & Travel Artist, SPANNING the Globe Tours

In the summer of 2002 Gai A. Spann realized her dream to live in Paris. During her four months stay her life was forever changed. Traveling abroad, visiting other countries, learning about different cultures, languages and cuisines ignited a passion for unique travel experiences. SPANNing the Globe Tours (STG Tours) is the realization of that passion.  Gai is dedicated to helping others travel the world and realize their dreams of traveling to places far and wide.

Gai is a certified travel agent with specialty certifications for South Africa, Egypt, Western Europe, Barbados, Mexico, St. Lucia, Destination Wedding & Honeymoon travel and was recently awarded Top 50 Travel Agent for the Jamaica Travel Specialist program. She also holds a Marketing Degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Economics and has over 20 years experience in Marketing, PR and Sales.

Keynote – Students Colloquium

Randy Alleyne
Randy AlleynePresident, Liberty Travel
Randy Alleyne, president of Liberty Travel, came into the travel industry in January 2013 with a fresh perspective on the industry that has proven to be quite successful for the brands within Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), USA, which he has worked with. He joined FCTG as the VP of sales for GOGO Vacations and quickly rose the ranks just over a year later to be named president of the leading wholesale brand. Alleyne has been decisive in his decision making, and has become and strong and powerful voice in the industry.

In his previous role Alleyne strengthened the GOGO brand, accelerated the growth of GO Groups, championed the growth of Worldwide Traveler, and introduced GOGO Español, all of which positioned and the long-time wholesaler very well for future expansion and success. His external business expertise made his transition to taking over the iconic Liberty Travel brand virtually seamless. Alleyne has an impressive resume in retailing, having held senior leadership roles in Circuit City and Walmart.

While Alleyne was a new name to the travel industry when he joined the company four years ago, he brought with him an incredible depth of executive-level sales experience and a passion to embrace the hospitality world that have served him and brands within FCTG very well.

Alleyne quickly applied his expertise to make positive impacts on the brand while immersing himself in all things travel. Alleyne had a proven record in sales growth initiatives and operational optimization of retail businesses when he came to GOGO. During his time at GOGO Alleyne achieved measurable market share growth, strengthened travel agent relationships, increased sales revenue and more. He has also had a focus on both talent acquisition and training, which have been extremely beneficial.

Alleyne’s entrepreneurial style, coupled with his impeccable record in elevating organizations into top revenue-generators, were two of the standout characteristics that made him a natural fit for FCTG from the start. He brings tremendous knowledge and hands-on knowhow in retail merchandising, marketing, online services, multi-unit operations and customer experience platforms to the table. His strategic brand-building campaigns, in tandem with his best practice applications, have proven marked, measurable results for the companies that he has worked with.

Before joining FCTG Alleyne was an executive vice president, sales and strategy, with RSG Alliance, where he also sat on its board. Prior to that Alleyne held VP spots with well-known brands such as Cydcor, Banfield/PetSmart and Circuit City. He began his sales tenure with Walmart, where he was a regional sales manager.

Alleyne’s strong work ethic and team spirit is attributed to his time in the US Army, where he served at the USAR Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for eight years.

Previous Chefs

Chef Cheahan Burnham
Chef Cheahan BurnhamBarbados
“Cooking good food and keeping guests happy,” is the simple mantra for multi award-winning Chef Cheahan Burnham, Blue Sky Luxury’s Executive Chef. While Burnham is comfortable preparing five-star quality international dishes, he’s committed to winning over his villa guests at utilizing Barbados’ freshest ingredients. With over 25 years of experience, this Barbadian chef’s love for food started early and is still intact.
Chef Creig Greenidge
Chef Creig GreenidgeBarbados
Chef Creig Greenidge of C.M. Catering is one of Barbados’ most celebrated chefs. He has distinguished himself winning culinary awards locally and and internationally: Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association Chef of the Year 2004 and 2007; Barbados Culinary Team Member 2004-2010; American Chef Cook-Off Winner 2009 and Barbados Chef Ambassador Taste of New York 2007 to name a few. 
Chef Imran Ashton
Chef Imran AshtonBritish Virgin Islands
Chef Imran Ashton is one of the up-and-coming chefs of the British Virgin Islands. He was a member of the gold medal winning BVI National Culinary Team and the winning chef of the first ever BVI Cook Off Competition.  This chef/owner of Plumrose Restaurant is known for flavor, quality, inspiration and using the freshest ingredients.
James Murphy
James MurphyAntigua
Chef Murphy began his career working at hotels in Antigua including St. James’s Club and Blue Waters Hotel, where he catered to luminaries such as Joan Collins, Gregory Hines, Whitney Houston and Cyndi Lauper. He attended the NY Restaurant School and was the Catering Director for Metropolitan Food Services for the City University of NY for 14 years. He currently works closely on events with the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism.
Shorne Benjamin
Shorne BenjaminSaint Lucia
A graduate of the prestigious French Culinary Institute, Chef Shorne has crafted his culinary artform into what he now calls New Age Caribbean. Today his culinary career includes work with renowned Master Chef Jean Georges at the popular ABC Kitchen (NYC), at the award-winning restaurant Maloney & Porcelli with Executive Chef James Patterson, and the well-known Lower East Side (NYC) contemporary Italian restaurant Falai as well as private clients.
Yvette LaCrette
Yvette LaCretteGrenada
Chef Yvette Michelle LaCrette caught her passion to cook from her grandmother – one of Grenada’s most sought after cooks.  After technical training at the Institute of Culinary Education she worked at New York’s famed Le Madri Restaurant and served as Chef de Cuisine at Negril Village. She later became supermodel Naomi Campbell’s personal chef and currently runs her own catering company.
Rousseau Sisters
Rousseau SistersJamaica
Jamaican sisters and business partners, Suzanne Rousseau (right) and Michelle Rousseau (left), are former restaurateurs and award-winning caterers and are currently  airing the first season of their self-produced cooking show, “Two Sisters and a Meal” and are the executive producers and culinary hostesses for the web series “Island Potluck,” created in conjunction with the Jamaica Tourist Board. They published their first cookbook “Caribbean Potluck” in May 2014.
Devin Johnson
Devin JohnsonBahamas
 Devin E. Johnson is a Certified Professional Chef, as well as a Chef Trainer and Lecturer. He has received several culinary Gold Medal awards in regional and international competitions. He was a member of the Bahamas Culinary Olympic Team who captured three Bronze Medals in Germany 2002. He was the 2012-13 Cacique Award Winning Chef of the Year, and has served as Bahamas Culinary National Team Manager for the last four years.
Digby Stridiron
Digby StridironU.S. Virgin Islands
St. Croix native Digby Stridiron studied Baking and Pastry Arts at Johnson & Whales and Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu. He has created elegant events for clients including Vivica Fox, Katy Perry and other celebrities. In 2013, he was the featured chef at the Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism’s (CHANT) “Crucian Fusion – Traditional Gone Gourmet” event on his native St. Croix. In St. Croix he has luanched The Stridiron Group, under his unique “Farm-to-Table” philosophy.
Elsie Dubois Forde
Elsie Dubois FordeHaiti
Elsie Dubois Forde, an award winning chef, is now a chef at Waldorf Astoria and has worked with some of the great chefs in New York including Laurent Gras, Eddy Leroux, Michael Bordeaux and now David Garcelon. She is also a chef-instructor. She holds a degree in Culinary Arts from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, and attended the French Culinary Institute in New York. Elsie speaks 4 languages.
Kamal Rose
Kamal RoseSt. Vincent & the Grenadines

Kamal Rose is the executive chef of Tribeca Grill in New York.  He holds a diploma in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education. At Tribeca Grill he oversees a close-knit team and shares the vision of his mentors, former head chef Stephen Lewandowski and restaurateur Drew Nieporent.  His signature dishes reflect his Caribbean heritage. He cooked at many noteworthy events including the James Beard Foundation. He has competed against celebrity chef Bobby Flay on an episode of “Beat Bobby Flay” Food Network show.