Below are the speakers from HEC 94.
Valerie Ann Wilson
CEO & Chairman
Valerie Wilson Travel
Andrea Bonilla '97
Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality
Steve Haggerty '90
Trinity Investments, LLC
Adam F. Weissenberg '85
Global Transportation, Hospitality & Services Leader
Kristen McNamara ‘10
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Diego Bonet ‘11
Co Founder and Managing Partner
Global Director, Travel and Transportation
Senior Consultant, Strategic Support Services
Henry Ford Health System
Valerie Ann Wilson, Founder, Chairman & CEO, started Valerie Wilson Travel in 1981. She has earned a reputation for discerning advice and impeccable customer service. Under her leadership, with her two daughters, Valerie Wilson Travel, is one of the largest women-owned and family managed travel consulting firms. VWT is a proud member of Virtuoso since 1998. A recipient of numerous travel industry awards, she serves on prestigious travel advisory boards including Abercrombie & Kent, Four Seasons Hotels, Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Chairman Emeritus of Virtuoso’s Member Advisory Board. Valerie is passionate about travel and sharing her knowledge, expertise and stories. Valerie Wilson Travel celebrated our 35th Anniversary in 2016.
Born and raised in Costa Rica, Andrea grew up in a family who shared a love for nature and an interest in the well-being of others. Her family loved to travel too, which led Andrea to develop a passion for the hospitality industry. On a mission to explore new boundaries and pursue a career in the industry, Andrea sought to attend the #1 Hotel School in the US. She came across Cornell and joined their School of Hotel Administration.
Following her graduation in 1997, Andrea returned to Costa Rica and delved into the real estate business. But it wasn’t long before her love for hotels started calling her. Soon enough, Andrea found herself in Zanzibar, working for and with some of her closest friend from Cornell. After a year, she moved back to Costa Rica to work with her now-business partner, Hans Pfister (Cornell Hotel School ’95), at Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula.
In 2003, Andrea and Hans founded Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, a company dedicated to managing and developing small, sustainable luxury hotels, resorts and lodges in Latin America. Fast forward to today, Cayuga is based in San Jose and proudly manages ecolodges and boutique hotels across Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.
At Cayuga, Andrea is in charge of developing new properties. Following the company mission to redefine the symbiosis of luxury and sustainability, she ensures that “the Cayuga Way” remains the uniting philosophy throughout all of the Collection’s hotels. She enjoys working alongside a talented team of young, creative Latin Americans, and watching them grow into world class hospitality professionals with Cayuga.
In her free time, Andrea likes to hang out with her loved ones, travel, and horseback ride. She is also curious about local food, artists and artisanal beer.
Mr. Haggerty has significant experience and expertise in leading capital strategy, real estate development and growth-related functions for global hospitality organizations around the world. In his role as a Managing Partner, Mr. Haggerty adds strategic focus to further expanding Trinity’s platform on a global basis.
Mr. Haggerty was most recently the Global Head of Capital Strategy, Franchising and Select Service at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. He was responsible for implementing Hyatt’s overall capital and franchising strategy and overseeing the Select Service business. He joined Hyatt in 2007, first as Global Head of Real Estate and Development, where he oversaw Hyatt’s Global Development, Feasibility and Development Finance, and Asset Management teams. He then served as Hyatt’s Executive Vice President, Global Head of Real Estate and Capital Strategy beginning in 2012. His responsibilities as EVP included implementing Hyatt’s capital strategy, managing Hyatt’s hotel asset base and providing support to the teams of development professionals on a global scale.
Prior to his tenure at Hyatt, Mr. Haggerty spent 13 years working with Marriott International, Inc. in various roles in the finance, asset management and development departments around the world, including Hong Kong and London.
Mr. Haggerty holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University. He serves as a Member of the Board of Directors for Playa Hotels & Resorts (NASDAQ: PLYA) and is an Advisory Board Member for the University of Denver Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.
Adam Weissenberg is the Global Leader of the Transportation, Hospitality & Services (“THS”) segment at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. In his global role, Adam is responsible for overseeing one of the largest global industry practices at Deloitte that includes more than 1,500 professionals. He heads the strategic direction, operational execution and overall leadership of the THS industry. He actively serves as a senior advisor to many of Deloitte's largest Fortune
500 hospitality, gaming and food service clients. Adam was also the Lead Client Service Partner to one of the firm’s top 20 audit accounts, and is an Advisory Partner for several hospitality accounts.
Based in New York, Adam is a preeminent spokesperson and author on travel and hospitality trends. He is quoted regularly in national publications including, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure. He has also been a guest on CNBC, Fox Business News and Bloomberg.
With over 25 years in the THS marketplace, Adam speaks frequently at national industry conferences and summits including, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (“ALIS”) and the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, where he serves on their steering committee. He is also a frequent speaker at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and he serves on the Center for Hospitality Research Advisory Board. In 2012, Adam was named one of the top 90 Influential Hotelies from Cornell University’s Hotel School.
Outside of Deloitte, Adam serves on the board and Audit Committee of the UJA of New York and as Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Cancer Hope Network. Adam received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University where he majored in accounting and finance. He is married with two daughters and resides in Short Hills, New Jersey.
Kristen McNamara is a Vice President at J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in Chicago. In her role, Kristen works closely with ultra-high net worth clients to provide strategic wealth management advice across investment management, tax and estate planning, philanthropy, credit and specialty wealth advisory services.
Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Kristen’s work experience was in hotel real estate and development, and she has worked for Goldman Sachs in New York City, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler in Chicago, and the Financial Times in London.
Kristen earned her BS in Hospitality from Cornell University’s Hotel School with a Minor in Real Estate, and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Economics, and Entrepreneurship.
Kristen is a member of Chicago Women in Business, Cornell University’s Hotel Society Chicago Chapter, and a board member of the Cambodia-based nonprofit EGBOK Mission.
Diego is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lineaire Group. His responsibilities include analyzing and structuring Lineaire Group’s investments and supervising all asset management activities for LG's portfolio. Prior to joining LG, Diego worked at The Carlyle Group in the US Real Estate fund, where he was involved in over $2 billion of development and investment projects, including the development of 700+ high-end residential units in the New York City area. Prior to that, Diego worked as an Associate in the Real Estate Finance team at Goldman Sachs & Co., where he was involved in the repositioning of the $500M Conrad Hotel in NYC and the development and investment analysis for several of Goldman Sachs’ real estate assets. Diego received his M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as a Wharton Fellowship Scholar, with a triple major in Real Estate, Finance, and Management, and a Certificate in Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Cornell University. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional and has consulted with the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) on Resilience and Climate Change.
Michael Anthony is Executive Chef Gramercy Tavern. Mike grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Business, French, and Japanese. He embarked on his culinary career under the guidance of Shizuyo Shima in Tokyo, Japan. Mike fell in love with the simple, seasonal Japanese approach to food.
Mike moved to France in 1992 and spent five years training and working in several renowned kitchens. Mike returned to the United States, working first in the kitchen of Restaurant Daniel and then as the Chef de Cuisine at March Restaurant. Subsequently, Mike joined the team of Blue Hill as co-Chef of the Manhattan restaurant and later as the Executive Chef at Blue Hill Stone Barns.
In September 2006 Mike took the position of Executive Chef at Gramercy Tavern. In this role he leads the restaurant into its next chapter while staying true to its original vision: to honor the rich tradition of American cooking and bring guests together in a convivial spirit of community to enjoy exceptional, seasonal food.
Passionate about using ingredients that can be traced to their sources, Mike forges strong ties between the restaurant and local farmers. He arranges visits to local farms for his staff so they can learn first-hand how and where the food they serve each day is grown. Mike also invites outstanding local producers to Gramercy Tavern to share their knowledge with staff and guests through tastings and presentations. The Main Dining Room and the Tavern menus highlight these relationships and Mike’s farm-fresh, thoughtful cuisine.
Mike was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2002 and was also lauded in Bon Appetit’s “Next Generation” in 2003. Under Mike’s leadership, Blue Hill at Stone Barns received a three-star review in The New York Times, as well as a James Beard Foundation nomination for “Best New Restaurant” in 2005. In 2008, Gramercy Tavern earned the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Restaurant.” In 2011, he was named Chef-Partner of Gramercy Tavern. In 2012, Michael won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef in New York City” and in 2015, he won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Chef,” a national recognition. Under his leadership, Gramercy Tavern was awarded three stars from The New York Times in 2007 and again in 2016. Mike is also the author of The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, published by Clarkson Potter, and V is for Vegetables, published by Little, Brown and Company. In 2016, Michael’s V is for Vegetables won the James Beard Award for “Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian” cookbooks.
Shane O’Flaherty is the Global Director of Travel and Transportation for Microsoft and is focused on leading the hotel, airline, rental car, cruise and logistics industry in driving innovation that will enhance the customer and employee journey, while driving increased productivity and cost compression with the use of Microsoft’s technology and its eco-system of travel solution partners. Prior to joining Microsoft, Shane held many senior executive positions including CEO & President at Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide). At Forbes Travel Guide, Shane successfully modernized the hotel, restaurant and spa Five Star ratings system that defines the global consumer experience and spearheaded its global expansion around the world. In addition, he created and grew Forbes Travel Guide Consulting Services into the leading, global provider of customer experience measurement and training for the top hospitality brands in the world. Shane was also Director of Business and Leisure Marketing for Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. In that capacity, he orchestrated marketing programs for their luxury hotels worldwide and also directed Preferred’s hotel quality assurance program. Shane has spoken at many industry and client conferences globally and also appeared on Today Show, Fox and Friends, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia and quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY and many other global publications, highlighting the travel and hospitality space.
Named one of Windsor & Essex County’s top 40 community leaders under 40, and of Crain’s Detroit Business’s “20 in their 20s 2018”, Zain Ismail is a health innovator, connector, and intrapreneur, leading innovation in health systems in Canada and the United States.
Drawing on his background in, and affinity for hospitality, Zain is on a mission to humanize the health system through innovation by working to implement novel practices into the health system as a way to improve the patient experience and deliver value.
Currently, Zain serves as Senior Consultant, Strategic Support Services at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in Detroit, Michigan, United States, where he partners with HFHS’s executive and senior system leadership to execute on corporate strategic initiatives across HFHS’s five hospitals and health plan. Specific areas of focus include specialty service lines growth, digital health, and community health.
Prior to joining HFHS, Zain served as Manager of innovation, partnerships, communication, and development at Erie Shores Healthcare (ESH) in Leamington, Ontario, Canada, where he worked to improve local access to care, particularly in the area of mental health and addictions services, and positioned Erie Shores Healthcare as a leading and innovative rural community hospital in the province of Ontario by creating a “first in the province” community hub for mental health and addiction service, inspired by entrepreneurial coworking spaces.
He also served as a strategist at the International Center for Health Innovation at the Ivey Business School working on creating a digital platform to catalyze the health innovation community.
In addition, Zain is a founding member of the Detroit Windsor Med Health Innovation Cluster and a facilitator, mentor, and speaker for Hacking Health Windsor Detroit, and Hacking Health Global. Zain also provides independent advisory services to clients in Southeast Michigan, Southwestern Ontario and Guadalajara Mexico.
Zain holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor (Canada) and has completed an Executive Program in Health Systems Innovation at the Ivey Business School at Western University (Canada).
In 2015, Zain was awarded the inaugural Positive Professional of the Year Award by the Leamington Chamber of Commerce for his role leading stakeholder relations for Erie Shores Healthcare, the Erie Shores Health Foundation and the Hospice of Windsor Essex County’s Erie Shores Campus.