Past Speakers (2018)

Rich Clayton
Vice President, Digital User Experience

For over 20 years, Rich Clayton has been a digital creative director and user experience specialist. For the last 12 years, he’s led Hilton’s efforts to provide world–class digital design, user experience and optimization for all hotels in Hilton’s portfolio of brands, as well as shared functionality such as search, reservations, check–in, digital key and Hilton Honors.

In 2016, the internal creative team that Rich leads at Hilton was named In-House Agency of the Year by the In–House Agency Forum.

Rich holds degrees in English and History. He resides in Memphis with his wife, Joana, and 16-year old twins, Henry and Liv.

Tammy Lucas
Vice President, Marketing
Best Western
Scott Struletz
General Manager, Digital Content and Optimization
Delta Air Lines
Tammy Snow
Director, User Experience Research
Expedia, Inc.

Tammy Snow is the Director of UX Research for Brand Expedia Global product organization. She joined Expedia in 2012 as one of three researchers. As the leader of UX research, she has successfully grown the team to include 12 researchers who work across 3 global regions. The Expedia Research team is an industry leader in delivering user insights related to product functionality, usability, appeal & customer delight.

Snow started her career in User Experience in 1992. She spent several years working for WordPerfect, Novell, and Microsoft before leaving the corporate world to work as an independent UX consultant. After working on several unique and fun projects she made her way back to the corporate world at Expedia where she has had the good fortune of finding some of the most interesting research challenges of her career. Snow now fancies herself as a “finder of delight” which makes discussions about what she does very interesting!

Jenny Thomassian
Head of Industry, Travel
Michael Marino
Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer
Caesars Entertainment
Mark Molinari
Corporate Vice President, Revenue Management & eCommerce
Las Vegas Sands
Felicia Yukich
Vice President, Global Brand Marketing
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Robecta Ma
Vice President, Marketing
Cathay Pacific
Emmanuel Arnaud
Chief Executive Officer and GuesttoGuest
Jaron Millner
Head, Digital Platforms
Ahmed Elemam
Digital Transformation Consultant
Inderpreet Banga
Senior Director, eDistribution Strategy and Commissions Systems
Wyndham Hotel Group

Inderpreet Banga is Senior Director of eDistribution Strategy at Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG), the world’s largest and most diverse hotel business, with a global portfolio of more than 8,400 hotels and over 700,000 rooms in 79 countries. Inder focuses on setting company strategy with regards to online travel agencies and metasearch across the globe. Since joining distribution in 2015, Inder has led Wyndham Hotel Group to sizeable positive gains in central contribution by over 55% and increase in average property content score by 100% from the prior year. In addition, Inder has reduced the average cost of distribution by over 15% for WHG hotels and continues to seek ways throughout the organization to reduce costs and optimize share for WHG hotels.

Prior to distribution, Inder was in revenue management for 3 years impacting the lives of hotel owners, hotel employees and their guests. Inder excelled in both the franchisee and managed revenue management with initiatives surpassing double digit RevPAR growth and flowing more to the bottom line. His principal accomplishment with the managed portfolio was implementing a project with a cost of $300K which exceeded $4M in gross rooms’ revenue for the portfolio or an astounding 12x ROI and exceeding 100% RevPAR growth over 2 years.

Inder has been a key speaker for Distribution sessions for 200+ attendees at the Wyndham Hotel Group global conferences in Las Vegas. He is a principal board member of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association and an active member of AHLA’s Consumer Innovation Forum. Most recently, Inder was a finalist for HSMAI NY Chapter’s “Hospitality Professional of the Year” for 2017.

Inder holds an M.B.A. in Supply Chain Management and Marketing from the Rutgers Business School and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University.

Eric Yale
Senior Consultant, Marketing & Strategy Practice

Eric is a Senior Consultant and Manger in Forrester's Marketing & Strategy consulting practice. He works Marketing, CX, eCommerce, Digital, and Technology leaders across a variety of industries to help them develop strategies to better win, serve, and retain profitable customers.

Working alongside some the world’s largest organizations; Eric has provided guidance and support to clients across a number of disciplines that are top of mind to global firms looking to advance their business strategy and stay relevant in today’s complex world. Eric helps clients navigate the evolving marketing and digital landscape to drive profitable and sustainable growth.

Andrew Wilson
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Andrew Wilson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer,, guides all online and offline marketing initiatives of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB). Wilson has been with the organization since January 2009.

In his position, Wilson works with bureau members and the city's key organizations to integrate content and grow Atlanta's official destination presence. In addition, he is charged with expanding ecommerce initiatives and increasing advertising revenue for ACVB.

Wilson began his career at consumer marketing giant, Procter & Gamble, where he spent more than a decade managing product development based on consumer insights. Following, he held leadership positions in business development, marketing, corporate branding and product positioning with companies such as Cap Gemini and Alliance Consulting. Wilson has also served as a consultant for CibaVision Corporation.

He later took the role of chief operating officer for Brand Atlanta, a not-for-profit city-led initiative to develop and promote a singular brand identity for Atlanta. Five years later, Wilson transitioned his destination marketing experience to his current role at ACVB. Wilson serves on the board of directors for 7 Stages Theatre and not-for-profit organization #weloveatl.

A resident of Atlanta since 2002, he has also lived and worked on four continents which has given him a broad perspective to critically evaluate the destination product. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and has dual citizenship in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Debra Smith
Vice President, Digital Marketing & Visitor Services
Nashville Conventions and Visitors Corporation

Debra Smith serves as the Vice President of Digital Marketing and Visitor Services for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. She is responsible for overseeing the strategy of the visitor experience and communicating directly to Nashville’s 14.5 million visitors through both traditional and digital channels. She has been with the Nashville CVC since 2002 and has led the charge for digital tools and personalized customer service which play key roles in Music City’s visitor development strategies.

Debra is responsible for the strategic leadership and implementation of all digital marketing efforts including website, SEM, email marketing, social media, mobile tools and digital partnerships. Her team was recognized by SKIFT in 2016 when was named one of the Top 25 websites in the world.

She also oversees the Visitor Services team who is charged with managing city inquiries, developing vacation packages, booking leisure rooms, selling attraction tickets and managing storefront and digital retail sales.

Her broad experience that includes focusing on the traveler’s process of choosing a destination and how to fulfill visitor expectations has given her a valuable perspective on what creates memorable trip experiences. Her teams are deeply engaged with Nashville’s visitors throughout their journey.

Debra is a 29-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has held key management roles in sales and marketing for a variety of travel related businesses. She holds a BA in Advertising/Marketing from the University of Alabama.

Colleen Coulter
Industry Manager, Travel Suppliers

Colleen Coulter is Industry Manager for Travel Suppliers at Facebook. She’s responsible for developing partnerships with hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and tourism boards to help them connect with travelers and ultimately achieve their goals in a mobile-first world.

Previously, she was the Business Lead to Facebook’s Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships, focused on strategy and communications to advance Facebook’s marketing solutions, deepen client engagement, and scale global teams. Prior to joining Facebook, she worked at the Boston Consulting Group, working across industries on consumer-focused growth strategies and profitability and process improvement.

Colleen earned her master’s in business administration from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Billy Sanez
Amanda Johnson
Director, Media & Digital Marketing
Herschend Family Entertainment

A 20-year thrill ride in advertising, digital marketing and technology implementation has fueled Amanda’s passion to pair unique consumer insights and database analytics with unique brand offerings to drive business. She has delivered winning B2B and B2C strategies in Fortune 500 public, private and non-profit environments alike.

Amanda is currently enriching American summer fun by driving personalized, behavior-based marketing programs for Herschend Family Entertainment’s 26 theme park and attractions across the U.S. When she is not analyzing or strategizing, she is making memories with her own family in Atlanta.

Martin MacDonald
Founder of Martin MacDonald, Inc, and Former Head of Content Marketing & SEO
Jonathan Stephen
Manager of Digital Engagement
Norwegian Cruise Line
Dan Towvim
Senior Director, eCommerce
Sonesta Hotels

Dan is Senior Director of eCommerce and Digital Marketing at Sonesta Hotels. Sonesta is a growing global hotel brand with 80 properties worldwide, whose US portfolio has grown over 15x in the last five years. In his role at Sonesta Dan is responsible for digital advertising,, email marketing, and CRM for the company’s collection of global brands, including Royal Sonesta, Sonesta Hotels & Resorts, Sonesta ES Suites, Sonesta Posadas Del Inca, and Sonesta Cruise Collection.

Dan has over 20 years of experience building consumer brands and driving growth through cross-channel customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty. His experience ranges from early stage startups to Fortune 100 companies across multiple industries including hospitality, automotive, entertainment, and gaming.

Dan graduated from Connecticut College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

David Tutin
Manager, SEO
Darren Skomorowsky
Director, Revenue Management
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Edward Perry
Head of Partnerships, Americas
Donnie Schumann
Manager, Strategic Partnerships - EMEA

At HotelTonight Donnie is responsible for developing relationships with top global hotel brands while fueling the company's international supply growth.

Previously serving as a manager for HotelTonight's strategic accounts in North America, Donnie launched new destinations and developed expansion strategies for key markets as the company reached profitability in early 2016. Outside of HotelTonight, Donnie serves as the Mobile Working Group Chair for HEDNA and a published co-author of their White Paper "Mobility, Distribution and Customer Friction," in which he led the discussion surrounding mobile best practices in the industry.

Prior to his 4-year tenure at HT, he received his Masters in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and worked for Apple developing sales and customer service teams across the US Southwest.

Adam Miller
Senior Manager, Mobile Marketing – Growth & Analytics
Claudia Infante
Head of Revenue Strategy
Oscar Guerrero
Manager, Brand & Consumer Insights
Crystal Cruises
Mamie Peers
Vice President, Digital, Social, eCommerce
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Mamie Peers serves as Vice President of Digital Marketing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the 3,005-room resort located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. She oversees the resort’s digital communications strategy, which includes the redesign and mobilization of the resort’s website, a revamp of its social media channels, and an inspired approach to online advertising. The new website features a clean, simple yet compelling layout that guests can easily navigate to book reservations and entertainment options from their mobile phones. Most recently Peers launched Rose, a mischief-making SMS chatbot who helps guests have more fun on their trips to Vegas by dishing out insider tips in a playful tone distinct to The Cosmopolitan.

Before leading the resort’s digital communication efforts, Peers served as Senior Director of Internal Communications and Identity Membership where she created innovative communication initiatives to keep The Cosmopolitan’s most loyal groups, including 5,000 employees known as CoStars, informed, engaged, motivated and inspired. In this role, Peers created the resort’s intranet, Clive, a social business network that changed the way CoStars interact and communicate with each other. Composed of hundreds of pages of critical information and videos documents direct to employees, Clive provides CoStars with the most up-to-date information on guests, programs and services and resort happenings.

Prior to joining The Cosmopolitan, Peers was an English teacher in the Clark County School District at Mojave High School for four years and an IT Communications Manager at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for seven years. In these two positions, she launched advanced technologies and communication techniques to improve teaching and learning within the classroom and at an enterprise level. These skills have not only contributed to her success at The Cosmopolitan, but have molded her into the dynamic and respected leader she is today.

Peers received a Master of Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor’s of Science from Pittsburg State University. Peers is actively involved in the community and volunteers with Communities In Schools of Nevada and the Las Vegas Rescue Mission.

Jeff Russell
Director, eBusiness
Globus Family of Brands
Working in various fields, from telecommunications to financial planning, Jeff Russell has been in the digital marketing field for nearly 20 years. The last 12 years, he's been working in the travel industry growing online efforts for a global travel company - the Globus family of brands. He oversees all web-related projects, initiatives and strategies for an integrated, company-wide approach that encompasses all travelers for Globus and Cosmos tours, Monograms packages and Avalon Waterways cruises. In addition to managing technology projects, he's also responsible for all online marketing efforts, including SEM, email marketing, display and social media.
Jereme Carlisle
Senior Manager, Digital Marketing Strategy
Apple Leisure Group
Angela Blanchard
Director, Travel Operations – Infrastructure & Support
The Walt Disney Company
Jeffrey Harmon
Senior Manager, Disney Travel Operations, Project Development and Integration
The Walt Disney Company
David Shenman
Director, Sales & Marketing
Lotte New York Palace Hotel
Cheryl Booker
Senior Manager, Digital & eCommerce
Jose Canelos
Senior Manager, Digital Product Development
Leading Hotels of The World
Jose Canelos is the Senior Manager of Digital Product Development for Leading Hotels of the World. In this role, he is responsible for driving optimization of core product features, innovation and platform development, as well as oversee the product development lifecycle. Prior to his role at LHW, Jose was a digital transformation consultant focusing on leading and implementing digital products and strategies for fortune 500 clients.
Chaney Kwak
Travel Editor
Dakota Smith
Head of Growth & Business

Dakota directs a cross-functional growth team and is responsible for aligning user growth with supply growth and business interests at Hopper. Hopper is the mobile-only company that uses big data to predict future prices for flights and accommodations and empower travelers to make smart travel decisions.

Under his leadership, Hopper has become one of the fastest growing travel apps ever with over 20 million installs since its launch in 2015. Hopper now sells over $1.5M of flights each day directly in the app and the company has raised $104M CAD in venture funding on the back of its success.

Prior to joining Hopper, Dakota was working in the online travel space in Hong Kong.

Tedd Evers
Founder & CEO

Tedd Evers (@teddevers) is Founder & CEO of TripTuner® ( an engaging way to discover personalized travel experiences by fine tuning addictive sliders, as you would a stereo equalizer. Conceived during a round-the-world trip 20 years ago, it’s a mix of his experience as a DJ, traveler to over 68 countries and 18 years in online marketing at Site59, Travelocity and eDreams.

TripTuner launched in 2011 as a bootstrapped startup, leveraging the Lean Startup methodology to reach profitability in 14 months. Since then it has grown each year, fine-tuned millions of preferences for travelers in over 192 countries and been featured in CNN, NBC News and The New York Times. Its patented technology powers the inspiration functionality for leading travel brands worldwide like ebookers, LATAM Airlines, Kempinski Hotels and VISIT FLORIDA.

Parag Vohra
Vice President, Travel Sales – US & Canada
Yeojoon Yoon
Executive Vice President, International Business

Yeojoon currently manages the International Business at XTrader, the largest independent programmatic media company in China. He is an industry veteran with 20-year experience in the digital media and advertising technology. Since 2007, he has worked primarily in the behavioral targeting and performance optimization of the programmatic media.

Most recently, Yeojoon led the Rocket Fuel's Japan business and the business expansion to the Asia-Pacific, Brazil and Australia. In 2010, Yeojoon launched a digital advertising agency, Cross Digital Media, targeting the rapidly growing mobile advertising market in US and Asia. Prior to that, Yeojoon built the Online Gift Registry at Toyrs R Us and Babies R Us. At Citibank, Yeojoon led the M&A Due-diligence team to complete the integration with KorAm bank which was acquired by Citibank for $3.2 billion USD. Prior to Citibank, Yeojoon was a software and systems engineer.

Yeojoon holds a BS in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and MBA from the Columbia University.

Mike Anderson
VP of Global Growth & Strategy
Mike Anderson is VP of Global Growth & Strategy at Stackla, the world's leading Enterprise User Generated Content marketing platform. Mike runs a global team which helps to ensure Stackla clients – such as Expedia, KLM, Outrigger Hotels, ClubMed and Air France – achieve the best possible ROI from their content strategy by putting customer stories at the heart of every digital touchpoint in their marketing mix.

Mike has been living and breathing the start-up life in the SaaS space for 12+ years in the London, Madrid, New York, Chicago and San Francisco with a focus on strategy, business development, growth and sales.

Mike was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, completed his undergraduate degree in Edinburgh, Scotland and achieved an MBA from Saïd Business School at Oxford University, England.  

Mike lives in San Francisco California, plays field hockey and is a passionate Ireland rugby fanatic.

Andrei Faji
Director of Marketing & Customer Experience

Andrei Faji is a brand strategist, marketer and user experience evangelist. For over a decade he’s served in brand marketing, communications, and creative roles. His career has ranged from marketing luxury tree houses in Costa Rica to driving brand awareness for high growth startups such as BloomSpot (acquired by Chase in 2013).

Andrei is currently the Head of Marketing and Customer Experience at WayBlazer, an AI-driven recommendation engine that enables travel brands to deliver an engaging customer shopping experience in messaging and voice channels. 

Born in Romania, his immigrant background has fostered a strong interest in the intersection of art, language, and music as a means to bridge seemingly disparate cultures. His love for travel is what inspires his work to make WayBlazer the most powerful travel recommendation engine.

Outside of work Andrei spends his free time as a writer, avid record collector and disc jockey. He currently resides in Austin, TX with his wife.

Sameer Patel
Chief Executive Officer
Sameer Patel is CEO at Kahuna, where he's focused on helping marketplace brands connect in relevant and meaningful ways with every customer at the individual level. Prior to Kahuna, he served as GM/SVP at SAP/SuccessFactors where he led the team responsible for making SAP a leading provider of customer and employee collaboration solutions, serving over 35 million subscribers. Sameer has keynoted over 50 industry and venture capital/private equity events and has been quoted in publications like The New York Times, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and HBR.
Ryan Deutsch
Senior Vice President, Global Customer Success
Ryan Deutsch is SVP of Global Customer Success at Persado, responsible for advancing the adoption and growth of Persado’s Marketing Language Cloud among its largest enterprise customers on an international scale. He joined the company from Sears Holding Corporation, a long-time Persado customer, where he led one of the largest and most sophisticated digital direct response programs in North America. A 17-year veteran of the digital marketing space, he most recently served as the DVP, Digital Addressable Marketing at Sears, focused on the use of data to personalize digital experiences. Prior to that Ryan was VP of Emerging Media at StrongView (formerly StrongMail), and VP of Marketing Automation Solutions for collaboration and conferencing platform PGi.
Angie Arnspiger
Vice President, Business Development

Angie started her career on the agency side spending nearly 14 years with the Hibbert Group and Sterling Rice; both ad agencies focused on integrated marketing strategies, specifically database services, customer engagement, print, digital, global fulfillment, brand building and professional services.

Most recently, Angie spent nine years with Datalogix/Oracle Data Cloud as VP Client Services, managing a sales team within the retail/consumer vertical, selling and executing on data-driven comprehensive omni channel marketing solutions.

In her current role as VP of Business Development for NaviStone, Angie focuses on data-driven consultative marketing strategy to brands who can benefit from the opportunity to retarget their web browsers via the high response and proven channel of direct mail.

Angie holds a bachelor’s degree in business management/marketing from Franklin University of Ohio.

Debbie Johnsen
Digital Marketing Director
The Watergate Hotel

Debbie Johnsen is currently Digital Marketing Director for The Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC. She has worked on both the client and agency side in digital marketing for travel, arts and entertainment brands since 2000.

She is also Adjunct Faculty at N.Y.U., and teaches E-Commerce Marketing in the School of Professional Studies Integrated Marketing Master’s degree program.

Debbie is a native New Yorker and an N.Y.U graduate. She has appeared as a speaker on the topics of Multi-Channel Marketing and Luxury Marketing at Luxury Interactive, Internet Retailer, e-Tail and other industry conferences.

Jamey Bainer
Director, Strategy & Planning

Jamey Bainer is Global Strategy Director at PACIFIC. Over the past decade, he’s led award-winning brand and social media strategies for some of the biggest names in travel, retail, and technology. As a member of the Forbes Agency Council, his areas of focus include Digital Strategy, Content Marketing, Social Media, and SEO.

Jamey brings his expertise to PACIFIC's biggest travel clients, by helping them increase sales, revenue, and global market share. He believes that only by tying multiple marketing channels and customer touchpoints can brands truly serve their customers a connected, personalized, and memorable experience.

“For too long we've been fed these narratives that creatives should be at war with data scientists, or that brand marketing should be completely siloed from performance marketing. That type of thinking will almost guarantee you won't be relevant to your customer. I love finding ways to be useful, to answer questions, and deliver a great experience every step of the way."

Hussein Ebied
Senior Director, Search

Hussein is Senior Director of Search at PACIFIC. He brings over 11 years of digital marketing experience to the team and serves as our global strategy lead.

Prior to PACIFIC, Hussein worked for agencies such as Acronym Media, TMP Directional Marketing, and 360i. This granted him the opportunity to work with major travel brands including Expedia, Travelocity, eBookers and Prior to years of building content strategies, analyzing data, and determining penguins from pandas, Hussein was a member of the U.S armed forces and a newsroom assistant at CNN. With his broadcast media experience, he made his way into the Digital Marketing industry and has been an asset in the field ever since.

Nowadays, Hussein uses his experience and discipline to guide PACIFIC’s Search and Strategic Communications practitioners. When he’s not leading the charge on optimization, he’s spending time with his wife and two young sons, trying to find San Diego’s best pizza joint, or catching up on “Game of Thrones.”

Geoff Dodge
Chief Growth Officer

Geoff Dodge is Chief Growth Officer at PebblePost and oversees sales, customer success and marketing as the company grows its footprint and solution set for brands across verticals. Geoff is a seasoned sales and marketing executive with experience in offline media, SaaS based CRM, digital advertising and analytics technology.

Prior to PebblePost, Geoff was Head of Sales Productivity at AOL and responsible for building the sales enablement and training organization to support the media sales, platform sales, and account management. He also led AOL’s initiative to reconstruct a global CRM system. Geoff joined AOL after two years as EVP of Sales and Marketing at Demand Side Platform, DataXu. From 2007 to 2011 he was with SaaS platform pioneer as Senior Vice President of The Media and Communications vertical team. Before his move into technology, Geoff served in a number of leadership roles in the media industry, including Senior Vice President and Publisher of BusinessWeek, CEO of MediaSpace Solutions, and Publisher of Time Inc.’s Money Magazine.

He holds a B.S. in Management from Babson College.

Mario Ciabarra
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Quantum Metric

Mario is a 4x successful entrepreneur with previous exits in Enterprise APM and Mobile App spaces. Lobbying congress in 2009 for fair competition against Apple’s walled garden, Mario initiated the effort with EFF to successfully ensure a Library of Congress DMCA exemption for “jailbreak” for iOS devices and lead the most successful company in the alternative iPhone app market.

In 2011, Mario founded Quantum Metric, a digital customer experience and analytics platform, competing with products like IBM’s Tealeaf. Under Mario’s leadership, Quantum Metric has seen rapid adoption from Fortune 500 eCommerce and financial services companies. By 2017, Quantum Metric’s machine intelligence engine was monitoring over $20B of eCommerce and had discovered over $200M of revenue recovery for enterprises.

Mario lives in Colorado with his wife and 3 little mini-hackers. Mario holds a BS from Penn State.

Casey Martin
Senior Director, Client Partnerships
Oracle Data Cloud
Casey leads client partnerships at Oracle Data Cloud in the Travel, Financial Services and Telecom verticals. Prior to Oracle, Casey served as VP, Head of Sales at AddThis, helping a successful transition from a media business to DaaS business prior to acquisition by Oracle in 2016. With more than 14 years of experience in marketing and sales leadership, Casey remains focused on intersection of marketing and technology.
Christi Olson
Head of Evangelism
Christi is the Head of Evangelism for Bing at Microsoft and is a member of the board of SEMPO. For over a decade Christi has led Digital Marketing teams at Microsoft, Expedia, Harry & David, Pointmarc and Point It. She is passionate about search marketing and has spent her career helping businesses solve their marketing challenges and goals through studying and analyzing data to develop actionable insights and strategies. Christi has been recognized by PPC Hero and her peers as one of the top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Her deep love for digital has driven her to speak at hundreds of conferences and events globally including CES, AdWeek, DMEXCO, SMX, SEOktoberfest, PubCon, HeroConf and Search Insider Summit.
Stephanie Semaan
Head of Travel
Simon Lejeune
Head of User Acquisition

Simon is Head of User Acquisition at Hopper, a flights booking app that predicts the future price of airfare. He is crafting the user acquisition strategy with a strong focus on automation and performance metrics. Before Hopper, Simon was the Director of Marketing at Busbud, selling bus tickets online from hundreds of companies worldwide.

Sara Wyman
Vice President, Travel
Affirm Inc.

Sara Wyman oversees Affirm's travel business, where she enjoys building solutions for the always-innovating travel merchants. Prior to Affirm, Sara can the e-commerce team at Reformation and the payments initiative at Etsy. Before the move to technology, she spent five years in finance in New York. Sara holds a B.S. from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gilad Berenstein
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

In 2010, Gilad began planning a dream trip to Europe and spent untold hours researching his trip. He had an epiphany—there had to be a better way to plan the perfect trip. Upon returning to Seattle, he vowed to make his vision a reality and founded Utrip.

Gilad’s background includes leadership positions in business development (Watch2Help and GB Consulting), financial and asset management (PricewaterhouseCoopers and Harris Allison Buxbaum Group) and entrepreneurship as a founder, startup executive and corporate advisor.

He holds a BA in Business Administration, Accounting and Finance and a Masters in Taxation from the University of Washington.

Keith LaFerriere
Chief Creative Officer

From Creative Director to UX thought leader and back again, Keith has taken on just about every industry since he began creating and exploring in the 'digital' world over 18 years ago. At Verndale, he works across all accounts and is responsible for the creative and user experience practices.

Before Verndale, Keith spent time working with various agencies including R/GA for MasterCard Global and Arnold where he was SVP of User Experience across accounts including Ocean Spray, Jack Daniels, Dell, CVS, American Eagle Outfitters and many others. He's one of the founding members of the online design curriculum team for Bentley University and a former Board of Directors member for the American Marketing Association.

Sai Koppala
Head of Product and Marketing

Sai Koppala is the Chief Marketing Officer at SheerID, a digital verification SaaS company that enables major organizations such as Amazon, Spotify and Lowe's to offer omnichannel loyalty programs with little friction and reduced fraud. SheerID’s platform integrates seamlessly into any existing loyalty program or exclusive experience across channels, instantly verifying consumer credentials to ensure exclusive offers remain exclusive.

Sai is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years of experience leading Marketing and Product teams at global software companies including SAP, Google Cloud, & Sun Microsystems. His knowledge of facilitating customer growth through product innovation and customer loyalty best practices have made him an integral part of the SheerID team, working with Fortune 500 and 1000 retailers across the globe.

Brian Barth
Founder & CEO

Brian drives business and product strategy, forges and manages relationships with key partners and investors and sets the company’s cultural tone.

Prior to co-founding UpLift, Brian was a co-founder, CEO and Director of SideStep, which invented travel meta-search in 1999. SideStep was acquired by Kayak in 2007, which was acquired by Priceline for $1.8B in 2013.

Brian has been a board member and advisor of numerous startups and holds an M.S. and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

Kenneth Purcell
Founder & CEO

Kenneth Purcell is the Founder & CEO of iSeatz, a custom design and development company revolutionizing ancillary services through custom booking solutions. The award winning OneView platform powers trip extra and loyalty booking systems for IHG and American Express Travel among others.

In his hometown of New Orleans, Kenneth saw many hotels had difficulty making restaurant reservations for their guests. In 1999, Kenneth set out to streamline the restaurant reservation system by creating a booking system that hotels and restaurants could use to automate the reservation process. Since then, Kenneth has leveraged his knowledge and technology to offer a full range of ancillary booking systems to major hotel, airline and financial services companies including air, hotel, trip insurance, car, transportation, off-site dining, in-destination activities and food delivery that integrate into company’s unique brand and loyalty programs.

Kenneth is a graduate of Spring Hill College, is an active member of Vestige Group. When away from work, he corrals three lively boys, and enjoys fishing.

Eric Bamberger
SVP, Hospitality

SVP, Hospitality Eric Bamberger is responsible for the overall vision and strategic direction of the Travel and Hospitality vertical within IgnitionOne. Eric was previously Vice President of both Innovation Interactive and 360i. In particular, he led the Marketing Group that spearheaded advances in performance-based advertising for clients like Motel 6, La Quinta, and Extended Stay America. 

Eric also helped establish the Advertising Operations group at Net2Phone, one of the first providers of VoIP technology.

Ravi Raj
CEO & Co-Founder

Ravi N. Raj is the CEO and Co-founder of Passage.AI. In this role, he leads a team of AI and deep learning engineers that have created the industry-leading AI platform that businesses can use to create a conversational interface for their websites without a single line of code.

Prior to co-founding Passage.AI, he led product for @WalmartLabs, Walmart’s hub for innovation around social, mobile and retail. Raj came to Walmart through the acquisition of Kosmix, where he served as the VP and GM of Kosmix’s sites, which included, and, then the second largest health site on the Web.

Raj has also played leadership roles at Yahoo, AltaVista and Elance (now Upwork) and hold patents in search, social media, and retail.

He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, and a graduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Chris Lehman
Senior Vice President, Sales
Alex Sutton III
Director, Digital Acquisition
Avis Budget Group
James Johnson
Vice President, Account Planning

As Vice President of Account Planning at Exponential, Jim leverages consumer research and insights to develop holistic marketing strategies aimed at guiding clients toward their desired digital advertising outcomes.

With a journalistic background, Jim’s experience chasing leads has lent itself to uncovering valuable insights through data discovery and consumer research. Two years as a Media Planner afforded him the opportunity to bring the stories of global brands to life through digital media, while eight years with Exponential enabled him to partner with agencies and clients from all verticals and corners of the globe. Jim’s passion is pairing Exponential’s solutions with those client’s challenges to enable mutual success, as evidenced by his contributions toward year over year revenue growth in Exponential’s Los Angeles office.

Ashley Robinson
VP Travel

Ashley is a VP of Travel Accounts Globally for Rokt. Ashley joined the company in 2014 to help establish a US presence and grow the North American business. Her primary focus is working with industry leaders in Airlines, Hotels, OTAs and many more to develop customer focused strategies to target qualified consumers in the market for travel. Since joining Rokt, Ashley has helped grow the Travel Vertical in the business by over 104% YoY.

Working alongside some the world’s largest Travel organizations Ashley has provided guidance and support to clients across a number of disciplines. Ashely specialises in assisting global brands to optimize their customer experience and keeping them top of mind for consumers in a today's competitive media landscape. She helps clients navigate the evolving marketing and digital space to drive profitable and sustainable growth.

Prior to Rokt, Ashley worked for Triad Retail Media managing clients across multiple industries to maximize their return through display advertising.

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Marketing from the University of South Florida.

Shannon Harrison
Director, eCommerce UX
United Airlines
Tom Stork
Senior Director, Digital Media
Tom Stork is the Senior Director, Digital Media for AccuWeather. Tom is based in our NYC office and has a unique background with roots in the mobile, big data, and the digital market space. He focuses on bringing together end to end media solutions for clients with a core focus of combining weather, time, location, and content to drive measurable results for brand and agency partners globally. He is a proud husband and father of 3 beautiful children and is a volunteer coach and board member in various youth sports in his hometown of Morristown, NJ.
Dirk Schreier
Senior Director, Online Sales UX Design & Analytics Lufthansa Hub Airlines

Dirk is responsible for user experience design and analytics for online sales at Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines since 2016.

Leading 3 teams of more than 30 digital experts across locations at Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna, he focuses and enjoys on optimizing conversion rates and user experience paired with data insights while orchestrating three brands and company cultures.

With over 30 years of airline experience, Dirk has worked in the digital arena holding various positons from ecommerce, marketing to distribution across the globe (New York, London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Istanbul) for Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.

Shanna Bogaty
Senior Manager, SEM Platform & Automation

At HomeAway, Shanna optimizes the mix of external tools and internal development to create scalable solutions that drive paid search buys across multiple brands, geographies and languages. She has been running highly automated search marketing programs for large online marketplaces for 15 years and is excited to be concentrating on travel after a few years focusing solely on the retail space.

Shanna has spent most of her career optimizing campaigns at scale, matching large product catalogs with customer intent in an ever-changing environment. Basically, her job is to solve a million tiny puzzles every day, and she wouldn't have it any other way

Russ Cohn
SVP Partnerships

Russ' career has spanned nearly 25 years in online marketing and media. 

Russ began his career in Cape Town, South Africa where he built up and ran his own marketing business. Following this Russ re-located to the UK where he has since helped grow the commercial footprint of some of the world's largest online companies, including Time Out where he ran their Global e-Commerce business and Local ad business. Russ has held multiple senior Sales and Commercial roles including 10 years at Google helping to build and grow their vertical markets to nearly half a billion pounds. Prior to this Russ held the position of Head of Sales at Overture where he was responsible for building teams. Russ has extensive media, search, commercial and management experience.

Russ is currently SVP Partnerships at Rokt where his focus is on EMEA and the Travel industry. Russ is based in London where he has a young family, dogs and loves playing Golf and Poker.

Nick Flynn
Chief Revenue Officer

Nick joined Rokt from Shutterstock where he served as Senior Vice President of Sales. During his time there, Shutterstock’s enterprise revenue performance grew by more than 450%. Prior to that, Nick held numerous sales roles with increasing responsibilities at UGO Entertainment, an online property of Hearst Communications. While there, Nick helped boost revenue by 7.5X, and played instrumental roles in many corporate developments, including UGO’s acquisition by Hearst.

Nick holds a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communications from Elon University, and certificates from several Vivendi Universal Management Training programs. Nick is based out of Rokt’s New York office.

Paul Hagenson
Director of Outbound Marketing

Paul Hagenson is Expedia's Director of Outbound Marketing and is responsible for email performance globally. Paul has been with Expedia for 3 years during which time there has been a transformation in email capabilities to support highly targeted, dynamic and personalized campaigns. Paul's background with email goes back to 1999 at where he launched a cutting edge html email. He then managed online marketing for including triggered and transactional emails, and most recently managing email strategy across many business teams. Paul is originally from Australia but has lived in the US for almost 20 years which hopefully explains his strange accent.

Kristin Heaney
Sales Director, Travel Industry

Kristin Heaney is the Sales Director leading the travel Industry at ContentSquare, a next-gen digital insights platform. She has significant experience in the marketing technology and customer experience space.  Before joining ContentSquare, she was a part of IBM's Watson Customer Engagement team working with the financial services industry. Kristin is fascinated by the shift to digital, and by the reinvention of customer service in the age of convenience. When she is not discussing online customer experience, you can find her chasing the sunshine either on the beach on or the golf course. Kristin graduated from Lafayette College and is based in New York City.

Charleen Ring
Program Director
Digital Travel

Our Speakers

We're already at work booking an industry-leading roster of speakers for 2018 - keep an eye on this page for updates.

If you would be interested in being a part of Digital Travel US, we would love to hear from you.

Click Here to view the list of speakers from our 2017 event.