Introducing the HEC 94 Speakers!
Valerie Ann Wilson
CEO & Chairman
Valerie Wilson Travel
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Leading Hotels of the World
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
Chief Development Officer
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
Jan A. deRoos
Cornell S.C. Johnson College of Business
Senior Vice President, Development & Owner Relations
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
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.
Ted Teng is the president and chief executive officer of The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. Since joining the company in 2008, Mr. Teng has been dedicated to reigniting the 90-year-old brand. Holding firm to his motto, "Preserve, Enhance, and Invent,” Mr. Teng has honored Leading Hotels’ commitment to the art of independent hotel-keeping and core values of excellence, while creating an innovative and modern Leading Hotels.
He has focused on reimagining and redefining a differentiated business model to successfully lead the company into the future. Through a collaborative approach with the collection’s more than 400 hotel members, the model fosters co-creation and innovation opportunities with passionate and like-minded hoteliers.
Mr. Teng’s nearly 40-year career is rooted in the global hospitality industry. Prior to joining The Leading Hotels of the World, he led the growth of some of the world’s most prominent hotel brands, serving as President, Chief Operating Officer of Wyndham International, Inc., and president, Asia-Pacific, for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., following the merger of Starwood Lodging, Westin, and Sheraton.
During his career Mr. Teng has received numerous awards including: Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, Cornell University, Spirit of Asian America Award, Asian American Federation, Honoree, Cornell Asian Alumni Association, AABDC Pinnacle Award, and the Asian American Business Development Center.
A graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Mr. Teng has an MBA from the University of Hawaii. A global citizen, he was born in Shanghai, China, grew up in Hong Kong, and emigrated to the U.S. at age 13 becoming a U.S. citizen soon after.
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.
Kimpton’s Chief Development Officer is responsible for overseeing real estate development and management contracts across the brand. This is accomplished through leading a team of dedicated and knowledgeable development executives to sign new management agreements. Allison Reid is a tenured hotelier, with a history of success in development, real estate investment, finance, brand management and operations.
Prior to Kimpton, Allison worked for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Most recently, Allison served as the senior vice president of North America Development overseeing development and acquisition efforts for all 11 Starwood brands in North America, the Caribbean and French Polynesia. During her tenure, Allison was instrumental in the launch of three new brands at Starwood, signing 600+ new hotel deals.
Over the course of her career, Allison has been involved in strategic asset management responsible for the repositioning and/or sale of a $3.5 billion-dollar global joint venture and leasehold portfolio. Allison also stepped into the role of chief financial officer for W Hotels, driving strategic operating and brand growth initiatives. She has a deep bench of experience across owner relations, investor relations, and creative financing for new brand launches to established lifestyle brands.
Prior to Starwood, Allison worked at Interstate Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in various regional and property level finance and operating roles. Allison is a graduate of Bryant University where she majored in Accounting/Finance and Hospitality Management. She and her husband Gene live in New Canaan, CT. They can be found at the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Jan A. deRoos is the HVS Professor of Hotel Finance and Real Estate at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. He has devoted his career to teaching and research related to hospitality real estate, with a focus on the valuation, financing, development, and control of lodging, timeshare, and restaurant assets.
DeRoos has developed two online executive education programs for real estate professionals; one with a broad real estate industry perspective and a second that focuses on lodging. He co-developed a free web-based tool, the Hotel Valuation Software, with Stephen Rushmore of HVS International. His book on hotel management agreements, co-authored with the late James Eyster, is the seminal academic publication on the topic.
Prior to joining Cornell, deRoos worked extensively in the hotel industry as a construction and engineering manager.
Mrs. Smith is Senior Vice President Development & Owner Relations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation where she is responsible for the franchised and managed development of Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels in the United States and Canada. Previously, Smith served as Vice President of Real Estate and Development where she oversaw the growth of Hyatt’s select service brands throughout the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Prior to joining Hyatt in 2005, Smith held several positions within Marriott International’s Lodging Development group in Bethesda, MD and Newport Beach, CA.
Mrs. Smith is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She is an active member in several hospitality industry organizations including AH&LA’s Women in Lodging Group and AAHOA. Mrs. Smith is on the Board of Kaleidoscope, a non-profit based in Chicago, and a volunteer with Child Life Services at the Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago’s Medical Center. She currently resides in the city of Chicago with her husband and two children.
Roger Hill ‘87
The Gettys Group
Chief Innovation Officer
The Gettys Group
Dominick H. Purnomo
Wine Director/ Owner
Yono’s Restaurant/ dp An American Brasserie
Director of Sales and Marketing
Mill House Brewing Company
President of Global Development and Chief Development Officer
Senior Vice President Global Development
MGM Resorts International
With the guiding mantra of “beautiful design is great business,” Roger co-founded The Gettys Group, an award-winning and influential global hospitality design, procurement, branding and development firm serving clients from offices in the U.S., Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
As a seasoned industry speaker, Roger frequently shares his insights on the development, renovation and repositioning of hospitality real estate, and regularly contributes to publications and media outlets including: Bloomberg TV, Crain’s Chicago, Hospitality Design, Boutique Design, Hotel Business and The Wall Street Journal.
Roger holds a Bachelor of Science from the prestigious Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and is active in many industry and civic organizations such as the International Society for Hospitality Consultants, the Hotel Counsel of the Urban Land Institute, the AHLA Hospitality Investment Roundtable, the YPO executive network, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Roger was inducted into the coveted Platinum Circle for his exceptional achievements in hospitality design in 2005.
With a passion for pioneering ideas and new approaches to hospitality design, Ron identifies new strategic growth initiatives for the whole company. He also serves as the lead in charge of the Branding Group, where he directs the planning, design and strategic thinking for projects ranging from boutique properties, large-scale events and international brands.
A collaborative and an innovative thinker, Ron has shaped dozens of hotel, resort and brand initiatives during his three decades at The Gettys Group.
Ron’s vision also helped create Gettys ONE, the design and procurement division for branded hotels, and the Hotel of Tomorrow (H.O.T.™), an industry-leading think tank comprised of more than 100 companies, including hotel brands, investors, operators, consultants, media and manufacturers envisioning the future of the hospitality industry through collaboration.
He is frequently asked to speak at industry events and has been quoted in numerous publications featuring his hospitality, design and branding expertise. Ron received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and is affiliated with the Hospitality Leadership Advisory Board at Kendall College; and the DePaul University, Driehaus College of Business Advisory Board. He also serves as a guest practitioner at Kendall College School of Hospitality; Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France; EM Lyon in Shanghai; and Haaga Helia University in Helsinki, Finland.
Dominick Purnomo, Wine Director & Co Owner of Yono’s & dp An American Brasserie, grew up in his family’s restaurant working alongside his parents at an early age before going on to State University of New York at Morrisville to pursue a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management.
Upon finishing Morrisville in 2000, Purnomo came back to Albany to work in the family business and took over the day to day operations. It was then that he discovered a true passion for wine. After having dined in some of the worlds finest restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Aureole in Las Vegas, and Lespinasse in New York, Purnomo wanted to bring a world class wine program to Albany, more specifically to Yono’s.
In 2005 Purnomo was elected to his first of two, two year terms as the President of the Greater Capital District of the New York State Restaurant Association, the youngest President in the history of the state organization.
Dominick was a national finalist for the Best Young Sommelier Competition, has been nominated for a James Beard Award for his wine program on 3 occasions. His wine list has been praised by Wine Spectator since 2004 as a Best of Award of Excellence winner and has recently been named one of the 300 greatest wine lists in the world, receiving the 3 star award from The World of Fine Wine. Under his direction, Yono’s was named one of the Top 100 restaurants in America by OpenTable for two consecutive years. Dominick was generously recognized for his leadership and business achievements as a 40 Under 40 by the Albany Business Journal and for his sartorial efforts as one of the #BestDressedSomms by GQ Magazine.
Mr Purnomo has presented at the Desmond American Wine Festival, Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts, Nantucket Wine Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival and the Finger Lakes Wine Festival. He has served on the esteemed wine teams for the James Beard House, Burdigala, Reboule de Rhône, La Tablée & Wine on Wheels alongside the most accomplished sommeliers in America.
He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, the New York State Restaurant Association and The Palace Performing Arts Center, is a member of the Society of Fellows at the Culinary Institute of America, the American Sommelier Association, the Chevalier du Tastevin, a founding board member of the Albany Food & Wine Festival, the founder of the Sommelier Society of Albany.
Currently Larry Stock is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie, New York. Along with his partners they brought their vision to life in November of 2013 and have continued to grow the business at an alarming pace.
A 2001 graduate of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Larry’s schooling led him to hire out of college with Towers Perrin, A leading global human resources consulting firm. Most notably Larry worked on the team that merged Pfizer and Pharmacia into a unified HR unit. To get closer to home in the Hudson Valley he attempted a transfer to the New York City office. That decision ultimately displaced him from the company as he had trained his replacement in Philadelphia and lost his desk in New York City as a result of the post 9/11 economic downturn.
Larry returned to the Hudson Valley and began working in a family construction company B/T General Contractors. He sold and managed modular construction projects. That experience led him to work in a very architecturally focused construction company, Benjamin Fiering Construction. Benjamin had great relations with many notable NYC Architects and that allowed Larry to manage high end, architectural projects in prominent Westchester County neighborhoods.
In 2005 Larry began a project with a life long friend, Jamie Bishop. Larry managed the construction of a new home for Jamie in Highland, New York that would be the home of the future brewers first operation, Bilco Brewery. As hobbyist home brewers the two embarked on a many year journey which in its peak was more of a half time job than a hobby. The thirst to create drinkable beers and hone the craft led to the opportunity to be founding partners in Mill House Brewing Company which opened in November of 2013.
Larry’s operational and logistical talents combined with the many talents of his partners led to the construction of 250+ seat brewpub. The first in the City of Poughkeepsie post prohibition. It houses a 7-barrel brewery with 42 barrels of fermentation space and 15 house made beer offerings flowing daily. The Brewpub was met with great success from the start and has received many awards. Most notably being awarded one of “The Top 100 Hot Spots in the United Sates” by OpenTable.
Two years later the team began construction of a 20-barrel production facility a few blocks from the restaurant. An 8000 square foot warehouse that holds 360 barrels of fermentation space where both draft and canned products are created and packaged. Currently Mill House Brewing Companies products are distributed through out the entire state of New York. The brands launch in Connecticut is planned for the spring of 2019. Mill House beers have won numerous regional and international awards.
Currently Larry’s work focuses on marketing and sales with the desire to become a Northeast Regional brewery fueling his fire. His tireless efforts never take away from the smile on his face or the passion for the liquid. Larry feels as though he has found his final professional calling and when his work is done at Mill House he desires to open a small, unsuccessful brewery on a beach somewhere where he can spend his days boating, snorkeling and surfing.
Marco Roca is President of Global Development and Chief Development Officer for Caesars Entertainment. He leads development efforts to expand Caesars’ gaming business and develop hotel opportunities.
Immediately prior to joining Caesars, Roca was Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Hard Rock International. He has also served in executive leadership and property operations roles with companies including Realogy, Wyndham, Starwood, Marriott and Hilton. Over his career, he has been involved in closing more than 1,500 deals which equates to approximately $50 billion in development expansion.
Roca is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Psychology from University of The Americas in Mexico and a Master’s of Science in Management and Organizational Development from the United States International University in Mexico City.
Jacob Oberman is Senior Vice President Global Development for MGM Resorts International. In addition to evaluating and engaging in the Company's strategic development opportunities, Jacob is responsible for working with departments throughout the Company to identify, evaluate and execute upon transformative value creation opportunities.
Since joining MGM Resorts, Mr. Oberman has participated in the Company’s development efforts in the U.S., Asia and in the emerging sports betting space. He played an instrumental role in identifying and executing the development of MGM National Harbor – a $1.4 billion destination resort located just outside of Washington D.C.
Mr. Oberman previously served as the Director of Gaming Research & Analysis with CBRE where he was the co-head of the group providing consulting services to the gaming and investment community. In this role, he conducted gaming market assessments and feasibility studies for commercial casino, tribal casino, and racino projects in a variety of markets including Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Singapore and various regional markets.
In the community, Mr. Oberman is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation and is a Member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
Mr. Oberman holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.