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2024 Speakers, Moderators & Guests
 

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Colby Bracy – Nonantum Resort

Colby Marvin Bracy is the Director of People & Operations at The Nonantum Resort and Owner of Hello Humans HR Consulting. Colby cares deeply for others, and strives to live by The Nonantum's mission, Raising People Up, every day. Colby was recently awarded the Innovator of the Year award by New England Inns and Resorts Association and the North Star award from the American Hotels and Lodging Association for her work in developing an inclusive work environment, which has involved employing a diverse group of people such as those with profound disabilities, formerly incarcerated individuals, and people in recovery from substance use disorder. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair and DEI Committee Chair of the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Board of Directors for Recovery Friendly Workplace Maine. Through birth and foster care, Colby and her husband are raising three girls ages 1, 2, and 15.

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Matthew Burzon – The Source and Recruit Company

Matt, a seasoned recruitment strategist and innovator, is the Founder of The Source and Recruit Company. His consultancy redefines talent acquisition with its trio of services: expert fractional recruiting, comprehensive retained search, and bespoke advisory solutions. At its core, Matt's approach integrates top-tier processes, cutting-edge technology, and advanced training to secure exceptional talent for diverse industries.

 

Additionally, Matt spearheads The Source and Recruit Forum, an inclusive and dynamic platform dedicated to discussions on talent acquisition and recruitment trends. He currently resides in Southern Vermont where he brings his passion for recruitment excellence to diverse organizations throughout the United States.

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Mindy Fox – Mindy Fox Public Relations

Mindy Fox is a food and communications specialist whose work has encompassed editorial, branded content and public relations. Her writing and recipes have appeared in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, The London Times and more. Her cookbooks include the New York Times bestseller, Antoni in the Kitchen, with Queer Eye all-star, Antoni Porowski. Mindy’s reputation as a multifaceted storyteller and creative strategist in the food publishing sector made for a natural shift into public relations, where, since 2019, she’s been helping to get the word out about some of today’s most innovative food companies, with clients that include Atlantic Sea Farms, Fed By Blue, Patagonia Provisions, Jovial, Big Picture Foods and Rancho Meladuco Date Farm. Mindy has a special interest and expertise in promoting place-based economies, local foodways, and regenerative farming practices at land and sea. She is based in Portland, Maine.

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Danny Guerrero – The Culturist Group

Danny Guerrero is a passionate travel marketing executive and thought leader, and is a trailblazer and force for good in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries. Danny’s efforts have activated crucial conversations and actions with travel brands to better reflect underrepresented audience needs and shifts in culture within brand marketing and communications rooted in multicultural consumer research.

 

Danny possesses over 20 years of executive-level leadership in advertising, marketing, and communications for hospitality, destinations, and travel brands. Danny received the David Martin Small Business Fellowship from the International LGBTQ Travel Association (IGLTA) in 2022;  the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for advancing DEI in the tourism industry and the 2021 Chairman's Award by the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals for his work. The Culturist Group is a proud member of IGLTA and Destinations International. Danny is a 2024 Executive MBA candidate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and lives in Los Angeles with his husband Jaime.

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Colleen Floyd – Coraggio Group

As an Associate Principal within Coraggio’s Travel and Tourism practice, Colleen is naturally curious and empathetic, which dovetails with her passion for taking complex problems or data, finding the unifying themes, and crystallizing them into actionable initiatives, while also prioritizing communicating data in an approachable and engaging way.


Colleen has 16 years of public service experience working in community justice services, courts, public relations, and tourism. She spent eight years with the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), five of those as the Director of Research. In this role, Colleen oversaw the industry and marketing research program that drives the agency’s strategy as well as the agency’s performance management activities.

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Steve Lyons – Maine Office of Tourism

Steve has been with the Maine Office of Tourism for more than 20 years, being named Director in July 2017. He is responsible for overall operations of the Maine Office of Tourism, having moved into this position following nine years as Director of Marketing. In that capacity, he played a critical role in developing a tourism marketing strategy for the state of Maine.  In 2018, he led the development of the Maine Office of Tourism’s Five-Year Strategic Plan.

 

Throughout his tenure at the Office of Tourism, Steve managed the division’s marketing research, tourism marketing campaigns, web site development, group tour marketing, fulfillment operations and contracts for visitor information centers, publications and PR.

 

Steve is an At-Large member of the U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors, serves on the Board of Directors for Discover New England, a regional international marketing collaborative; and represents the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development on the Board of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which operates the Amtrak service between Boston and Maine.

 

Steve was born in Vermont where he earned a BS in Marketing from Castleton State College.  He began his tourism marketing career at Stowe Ski Resort in Vermont. Following 5 years at Stowe, he worked in hospitality positions in Glacier National Park and Portland, Oregon before returning to New England where he held positions as Director of Marketing at Mt. Cranmore Ski Resort in New Hampshire, and Public Information Specialist at the Vermont Department of Tourism.

 

In his spare time you can often find Steve day-hiking, paddling, snowshoeing or skiing somewhere in Maine.

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Peter Lindberg – Further Magazine

A prize-winning journalist, editor, and professional leaver-of-town, Peter is a two-time James Beard Award nominee, and was named Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. Prior to launching the new travel & lifestyle magazine Further, Peter served as Executive Editor of Condé Nast Traveler and as the longtime Editor-at-Large for Travel + Leisure.


Raised in New England, Peter began his travel career at 22 as Managing Editor of Harvard’s bestselling Let’s Go guidebook series. His work has since been featured in New York, Details, Saveur, Food & Wine, and The New York Times, and was nominated for a National Magazine Award and showcased in The Best American Magazine Writing.


When not escaping to his beloved Maine Coast, Peter can usually be found in New York City, where he lives with his wife (and Further co-founder) Nilou Motamed.

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Sara Meaney – Coraggio Group

As Managing Partner of Coraggio, Sara leverages her nearly 30 years of experience leading strategy and solving organizational challenges in her leadership of the organization and client strategy engagements. Prior to joining Coraggio, Sara served as Secretary of Tourism for the State of Wisconsin, leading the state’s $22+ billion industry to its largest year on record, and when COVID-19 halted travel and paralyzed the industry in early 2020, she led the advocacy and support for the rapid statewide disbursement of nearly $200 million in U.S. federal CARES Act funding and relief for that state’s tourism and tourism-adjacent businesses. Her strategic consulting perspective is informed by her diverse professional experience, which includes executive leadership roles in marketing and communications agencies, a nonprofit film organization, client services management in the healthcare logistics sector, marketing strategy for a mergers & acquisitions firm, and corporate sales training.

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Rick Meinking – Efficiency Maine

Rick Meinking is the Senior Program Manager for the Efficiency Maine Trust. Efficiency Maine is an independent trust dedicated to promoting the efficient and cost-effective use of energy in order to save money for Maine residents and businesses, grow the economy, and create jobs. T The Trust’s programs provide a combination of technical assistance, cost-sharing, training, information and quality assurance.
Rick is a certified Building Analyst through the Building Performance Institute and a Certified Building Operator Level I & II through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council with over 25 years' experience as a Commercial Building Facility Manager. Additionally, Rick spent 9 years on active duty and 11 years in the Reserve with the United States Navy. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, running and riding his Harley. During baseball & volleyball season he can usually be found umpiring a high school game or volleyball game.

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Tristan Noyes – Maine Grain Alliance

Raised by a farming family in northern Maine, Tristan developed an early passion for agriculture. While a student at Bowdoin College, Tristan co-founded the Bowdoin Organic Garden. He began his professional career as a Director at EF Education, where his love for education and travel took him around the world. He returned to Maine in 2013, starting Gromaine Organic Farm with his brother. Tristan became Executive Director of the Maine Grain Alliance in 2016, and has spent the last 8 years working to grow local grain economies, including initiatives such as the Kneading Conference, which attracts a global audience. Tristan teamed up with O’Maine Studios in Portland, Maine beginning in 2017 and has helped launch the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration, the Chef Summit and Taste Maine initiatives. He has also helped to produce the Maker’s Way television show and virtual programming.

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Sherry L. Rupert – AIANTA

Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe) has nearly two decades of executive-level experience managing and promoting Native American tourism. As CEO of the only national association dedicated to indigenous tourism, she is the leading voice when it comes to advocating for travel and tourism as a significant economic driver in tribal nations. She also holds leadership positions on various national boards including the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association, the America250 Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Committee and the National Park Service Advisory Board Tourism Committee. She is a former member of the Business Advisory Council under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. 

Under her leadership, she has launched the Economic Impact of U.S. Indigenous Tourism Businesses, the first-ever ever study of its kind. She also curates a robust educational program for tribes and indigenous- owned hospitality enterprises around the country. Prior to assuming the role of CEO, she served as President of AIANTA’s Board of Directors since 2012. During that time, she was instrumental in working with Congress to pass the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act. 

Sherry has won numerous awards and accolades for her work, including for her work in preserving the site of the Stewart Indian School as a museum and cultural center and coordination of the popular Stewart Father’s Day Powwow, the largest three-day Powwow in Northern Nevada. She successfully raised $5.7 million in state appropriations to establish a museum and cultural center at the historic site. She led the development and implementation of the Stewart Indian School Master Plan (Interpretive Plan, Market Study, and Business Strategic Plan) for the State of Nevada. Sherry also created and implemented the award-winning Stewart Indian School Trail, a self-guided cell phone walking tour of the Stewart Indian School campus in 2008. 

 

Sherry holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Finance Major from the University of Nevada, Reno and has completed professional training courses and programs to support her work in advancing cultural tourism in the United States. 

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Charlene Virgilio – Four Directions Development Corportation

A citizen of the Penobscot Nation, Charlene joined Four Directions Development Corporation in January 2019 as its first Community Development Program Manager. In 2020, she was promoted to the Director of Operations and is responsible for managing FDDC’s Programs and Operations, Building Organizational Capacity, Marketing and Portfolio Growth. Prior to FDDC, Charlene worked 37-years with International Business Machines, where she held several management roles and led transformational projects. She also served on the Penobscot Tribal Council for eight years. Charlene enjoys hiking, skiing and boating.

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Charlene Williams – Marshall Communications

Charlene is President of Marshall Communications, a Maine-based boutique marketing and public relations agency that handles PR and media relations for the Maine Office of Tourism and several other clients. Charlene has been a part of the Office of Maine Tourism account team since she joined Marshall Communications in 1997. She is passionate about the tourism industry in Maine, the diversity of experiences Maine provides, and the stories that can be told from them. Throughout her career, Charlene has worked with hundreds of travel media worldwide in telling Maine’s story. Since joining Marshall Communications, she has worked with the Maine Office of Tourism, Discover New England, Cruise Maine, The Maine Highlands, Maine Office of Business Development, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry.

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