Roberta Kathleen Nedry, President
Roberta Nedry, Founder and President of Hospitality Excellence, Inc., has spent her career exploring guest experience management, training techniques and impact, and exceptional service. Since launching her firm in 1999, Roberta and her team have trained over 30,000 employees, managers and students in all facets of service excellence and just what it takes to make moments memorable. She has consulted with executives and managers on transforming customer experiences and the evaluation, mapping and design of each experience touchpoint. The Hospitality Excellence Team is internationally recognized for its expertise in taking service to new levels of excellence and for implementing service excellence as a business success strategy in many industries. Roberta focuses on the link between experience delivery and revenue generation and provides competitive advantage strategies for driving loyalty and profitability.
Previously the General Manager for the International Concierge Institute and the International School of Tourism for the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Roberta writes an international business column on service excellence and guest service in the Hotel Business Review, serves on the editorial board of HotelExecutive.com and has been a guest columnist for The Triton, an international mega-yacht publication. She has held many training, marketing and communication leadership roles in a variety of business and professional service firms. Considered an expert in customer, client and guest service, Roberta’s expertise is also published and sought by the financial, retail, healthcare, transportation, call center, food service, commercial real estate and non-profit industries and she is frequently quoted in USA Today and other mainstream media.
She was awarded International Honorary Membership and gold keys in Les Clefs d ‘Or, the international association of professional concierges from top four and five star resorts worldwide and has been keynote speaker and training facilitator at their International, Pan American and European Congresses in Lisbon, Portugal, Washington DC, Toronto, Canada, and London, England, Germany, Las Vegas and many more, working with the top 3% of professional concierges representing 43 countries. Based on demand for her expertise, she designed and launched 3DServicesm —a New Dimension in Service Excellence, a unique online training and certification program, now available to a worldwide audience and has a book and other publishing projects under development. She was recently the featured expert on Guest Experience Management at the inaugural Boutique Lodging and Lifestyle Association Conference in Los Angeles.
Trained in Guest Relations through Walt Disney Productions and a two time Disney “Ambassador to the world” finalist, Roberta holds a B.A. In Linguistics from UCLA and is fluent in French, proficient in German and Spanish, with studies in Japanese and Italian. A former California’s Junior Miss, Roberta served the Florida’s Distinguished Young Women of America ( formerly Junior Miss) Scholarship Program as Mistress of Ceremonies for the State Finals and served on the Florida and California Junior Miss Board of Directors , the Florida Chamber of Commerce, numerous hospitality associations and led the statewide marketing efforts of the American Cancer Society. She served on the Advisory Council of Pine Crest School and resides in Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida in the United States.
Advisors / Faculty / Guest Experience Management Leaders
Pam Evans, Director of Training
Pam is a seasoned Learning and Development Professional with extensive experience in organizational diagnosis, and the design and facilitation of both large and small scale professional development events. She is a results driven team player with excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills.
Recognized for her energetic and engaging presentation style, she has over 20 years of experience designing, developing and facilitating leadership, customer service, team building, communication and employee recognition initiatives. Pam held senior leadership positions with organizations such as Marriott Host International, Hilton Hotels, Holiday Inn World Wide, Federated Department Stores and First Management Services. While in those positions, Pam developed and delivered training programs that led to improvement in management and leadership effectiveness, service delivery and employee engagement. She is also the co- designer and lead presenter for the highly successful SUNsational Service program in South Florida in which over 20,000 employees and managers have been trained to date and 250 employees have been certified as SUNsational Service Trainers.
Her experience in designing and delivering customized content in over 25 industries along with top evaluation scores and feedback from clients allow her to effectively lead the Training Team for Hospitality Excellence. Pam is also an executive and management coach and effectively facilitates conflict resolution and employee perception studies.
Pam received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the State University at Oneonta, New York. She is a Certified MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Practitioner. Pam is actively involved in numerous professional organizations such as the Coconut Creek and Coral Springs Chamber of Commerces, the Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County, and the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She currently sits on the board of ATD South Florida as the Vice President of Member Services.
Virginia Casale, Director of Global Education
Virginia Casale is an expert in ultimate guest service and an inspiring leader, teacher and guest lecturer of hospitality excellence. Her work and expertise in the hospitality and tourism industries for more than 30 years has placed her at the top of her profession.
Most recently she served as President of UICH “Les Clefs d’Or ”, the prestigious international association of the world’s best concierges. Madame Casale rose to this coveted leadership role as only the second woman to do so in 62 years and the first Canadian. Over 25 years, she promoted the management of guest service to levels beyond expectations and successfully orchestrated international congresses featuring global hospitality leaders and the top 3% of the concierge profession in Quebec City, Banff, Niagara Falls, Toronto, London and Queenstown, New Zealand. Upon completion of her term, Les Clefs d’Or Canada awarded her with honorary membership for her leadership and service.
Virginia’s hotel experience comes from many of Montreal’s premier hotels including Chef Concierge at the first boutique hotel in the city, the Loews Hotel Vogue. At the Delta Centre-Ville she overlooked the lobby and executive floor desk and most recently led guest service at the Sofitel Montreal, a five star property. She made her concierge debut at the Hyatt Regency after serving four years at Regie des Installations Olympiques, the 1976 Olympic games.
Madame Casale was a guest lecturer at the International Concierge Institute in Montreal and Quebec City and gave courses in Conflict Resolution as well as Ethics. She has been a featured speaker at the HORECAVA Event in Amsterdam on the She –Economy, in Mumbai, India at the second national Les Clefs d’Or Congress and at programs in Japan, Los Angeles, Miami and Qatar in the Middle East. She represented Montreal Tourism at the EIBTM Conference in Frankfurt and Barcelona.
Madame Casale is a graduate of McGill University in Languages and Literature, with honours in Italian and is fluent in four languages.
Elaine Oksner is Past President of Les Clefs D’Or, USA the professional concierge membership association representing the highest standards of service excellence and ultimate service. In this role, she traveled internationally representing the concierge profession to the business community and to business leaders worldwide. She is the former Chef Concierge of the Breakers Resort, Palm Beach, one of only two Five Star, Five Diamond hotel properties in the state of Florida. Previously she served as Chef Concierge for the Four Seasons in Palm Beach and the Park Hyatt in Washington, DC. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and has served as President of Washington, DC and Palm Beach, Florida concierge associations which she helped to establish.
Elaine was also one of 100 delegates selected by President Clinton to attend and participate in the first White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. Ms. Oksner is a frequent lecturer on “Managing the Guest Service Staff” and “The Ethics of Service Delivery” and remains an active teacher and leader in the concierge profession. She has been a lead instructor/trainer for the International Concierge Institute and provides guest and concierge service training, consulting, development and mystery shopper services for Hospitality Excellence, Inc. She also remains on the concierge staff of the Four Seasons, Palm Beach. She has a BA from Adelphi University and did postgraduate work at George Washington University.
Alex Santos, M.S., M.B.A., S.P.H.R., is a senior human resources and training executive with over 17 years of progressive experience. Alex’s work in private industry has focused heavily on the development of learning systems that transform employee performance from ordinary, to remarkable. Alex’s expertise lies in building systems that support and reward service excellence at every level of the organization. He accomplishes this by combining organizational development strategies and tactics to blended learning programs with line of sight alignment to clearly defined performance goals.
He earned his Master of Science in Instructional Systems from The Florida State University, and his Master of Business Administration from The University of Miami. In addition, he holds the coveted Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Human Capital Institute. Alex has developed courses for use by the U.S. Navy, CSX Transportation, Visa International, Ocean Bank, Fontainebleau Resorts, and the Ritter Academy. Additionally, Alex is the VP of Programs for South Florida ASTD’s Miami GIG, a chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.
Ellen Crane Schulman, APR
Ellen Schulman, who has worked extensively in the area of strategic marketing and public relations for physician groups, accountable care organizations and other health care organizations, leads the Hospitality Excellence Health Care Division. She shares the Hospitality Excellence philosophy that exceptional customer service is the critical first step in any marketing program. Ellen focuses on guiding healthcare organizations in patient satisfaction issues and opportunities with programs and training to enhance the patient experience.
Accredited in public relations (APR), she has spent more than three decades working with multi-national and small organizations to growing their businesses. Her areas of expertise include crisis planning, media relations, strategic communications planning, community relations and strategic corporate contributions and programs for nonprofits, corporate writing, marketing communications, and business-to-business marketing.
She currently handles business development for the Health Care Practice Group for the Florida law firm Broad and Cassel and supports Cancer Treatment Centers’ public affairs initiatives. Among the companies for whom she has provided strategic public relations support are: Hill and Knowlton, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious public relations firms; Offerdahl’s Bagel Gourmet, during the company’s transition to the national Einstein Bros Bagels chain; the Fort Lauderdale law firm,Tripp, Scott, Conklin & Smith; American Airlines; and the Aluminum Company of America.
Schulman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, graduated from Leadership Broward, Leadership Boca Raton and Leadership Palm Beach and in 2009 chaired the Youth Leadership Broward Media Day. She currently serves as the Vice President of Communications for Leadership Broward and is a member of the Women Leading Broward committee. For seven years, she was the producer and co-host of the radio show, Forum for Nonprofits, on the Beasley Radio network.
She was named one of the Top 100 Women in Broward County in 2009, a 2007 Women of the Year by the Association of Women in Communications and a 2006 Woman of Distinction by the March of Dimes. In addition, she received the Miami Dolphin’s Community Quarterback Award in 2006 and the Salvation Army Advisory Board Member of the Year in 2005. A member of the Public Relations Society of America since 1981, she recently chaired the accreditation committee. She also serves on the Annual Fund at Pine Crest School.
Based in metro Washington DC area, Mr. Prasad runs a software start up. As of now, his operations evaluation software based on customer feedback has nearly 100 installations among hotels, restaurants, casinos, golf courses, auto-dealers and retail stores at locations in the US, the Caribbean, Latin America and India (www.hotelqms.com and www.restaurantqms.com). He is also an executive in residence at School of Business, George Washington University where he has taught graduate level courses in tourism and hospitality management and is a consultant to National Geographic Imaging. Mr. Prasad began his career as a member of faculty at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad after receiving MBA degree from Harvard Business School. Next he became Managing Director of a Royal Dutch Shell’s joint venture – Wavin India in Madras, India that manufactured and marketed plastic pipes for agriculture and rural development. Later he worked in New Delhi with Mr. P.R.S Oberoi, Chairman, Oberoi Hotels International (www.oberoihotels.com) as Vice President, Planning and Control with oversight responsibilities for hotels in India, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Bali. He returned to the US and worked with Promus Hotels owners of Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites brands with nearly 1200 hotels (now Hilton www.hilton.com) in research and strategy in Memphis, TN. He then became Director, Hotel Practice, J. D. Power and Associates in Southern California (www.jdpa.com) where his clients included Ritz Carlton, Disney World, Omni, Atlantis, Hyatt and others. His next assignment before locating in metro DC area was with Opinion Research, Princeton, NJ as Vice President, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Practice.
Mr. Prasad has co-authored a book on marketing concepts and cases published by Tata-McGraw Hill in India and articles for Cornell Hotel Quarterly and Cornell Hospitality Research Center.
Michael G. Platner, Chairman
Michael is a technology and media entrepreneur and corporate lawyer who heads the Corporate and Business practices groups at Lewis Brisbois, one of the 20 largest law firms in the US. During the last 2 decades Michael was a founder, CEO, board member or an early stage investor/advisor in a number of businesses connecting and serving people via the internet, including LifeFiles, LayeredTech, 3tera, Big Customer Network, and IPR International. Innovating enhanced customer experiences and service training roadmaps drives Michael’s passion as the lead strategic advisor to Hospitality Excellence.
Jim Faulhaber, Chief Technology Officer
Jim manages the technology experience for Hospitality Excellence clients and students on the web and a variety of LMS platforms including SCORM as well as newly innovative dynamic learning methods for multiple internet connected devices. Jim also facilitates client and employee surveys, graphics and production to enhance each client experience and program.
Jim has over 15 years of experience in media including the internet and print publications. His focus has been on marketing and technology at Worth International Media Group, Borrell Technology and Time-Warner, Inc. Jim has been involved with numerous media distribution projects throughout his career and is responsible for implementing brand maximization strategies and fulfilling technical requirements. Jim is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and also holds an MBA.
Guest Experience Management Leaders
Hospitality Excellence features relationships with a team of consultants and facilitators around the country with unique expertise in Management Development, Human Resources, Cultural Diversity and Training. Depending on project scope and consulting needs, these leaders may be added to the team.