Paula Perkins: Spa, Wellness & Hospitality Consultant

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My Native Admission Statement: With extensive global experience in the 5-star luxury hotel, wellness and spa sector, I am a passionate consultant comprehensively covering all phases of spa and wellness development and ongoing operational management. I am dedicated to creating inspiring spa facilities whilst integrating wellness opportunities throughout a hotel or resort to ensure individuals can experience wellbeing throughout their stay, whilst ensuring my clients benefit from a healthy return on their investment. Small or large, my approach is wholly tailored to the individual projects needs and aims. Whether an owner or operator of a hotel, spa or wellness resort, my consultancy services ensure focus, collaboration and unwavering commitment to excellence. The result? A comprehensive and dependable business strategy to optimise the brand and project, ensuring the realisation of the property’s full potential.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I decided to launch my own consultancy company as I had a burning desire to be able to experience more diversity in the projects I was working on, with the opportunity to collaborate with others that would bring specific expertise and flair to the development in hand. From concept creation of a resort, guiding the development of a natural skincare product range to turning a failing wellness strategy in a profitable business …. I love the challenge and making the difference. I am working on some really exciting large international developments at the moment, delving even deeper into integrative medical wellness combined with holistic lifestyle solutions, nourishing cuisine and advanced fitness concepts. I believe it is essential for any project to start with how a facility is going to “physically and subconsciously” make a guest feel, therefore air and water quality, maximizing exposure to nature and less environmental impact is just as important as is the facility and service offering. Excitingly I find myself being approached by more of these advanced and progressive projects.

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Aileen Canta: AF Canta Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: Life is a journey and I give my whole heart and soul in everything that I do. Whether it’s cooking, working out, especially being present and always listening before I speak. Think twice before responding will always have a better result. A F Canta specializes in Hotel Development from inception through completion, a true turn key. This includes brand committee approval, construction management and negotiating a management company match. A F Canta routinely delivers ahead of time and within or less than budget expectations. I motivate others by encouraging them to be involved in creating ideas and synergies. To lead by defining a vision and then let your associates take that future statement and let them add their thoughts and best ways to achieve that end goal. Allowing them to use their creativity and talents for a better product. Empowering them to find the best answer to the problem.

My favorite places/destinations?

The British Virgin Islands is one I love to visit. My experiences with some of my favorite people sailing the Islands has to be up there. Another is exploring Eastern Europe’s non tourist destinations via train and car. Truly immersing myself in the history and lifestyle of the region by visiting churches, castles, hiking, enjoying the food, drinking and classical music.

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Cara Federici: The Madison Melle Agency Founder

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My Native Admission Statement: As the founder of The MADISON MELLE Agency, my team and I serve as a boutique consultancy specializing in hotel and residential mixed-use properties across the globe. My passion and enthusiasm for what I do has been described as infectious. I hand-pick my team to have that same energy and encourage us to learn and create with one another – I’m a big advocate of leading from behind, while also charting the course. I believe this combination of leadership and collaboration motivates my team to take great pride and accountability in all they do. We work to create bespoke brands hand-in-hand with owners and builds a launchpad for success - utilizing creative branding, programing and design to make each project unique. With 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry informing me, I have first-hand insights and experience within the industry that allow me provide strategic consulting.

How did you get into the industry?

I spent the first decade of my career working in-house at some of the world’s top hospitality and real estate companies. My passion and drive for each project allowed me to excel in each position, training me to be fully-versed in every aspect of the industries – from ideation, creation to implementation and operation. Once I realized I had effectively reached the top of my position at each role, I was ready to take that experience and start my own agency. This allowed to specialize in projects at every phase – whether it’s a launch or coming in partway through to optimize or refresh existing initiatives.

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Blaze Arizanov: StayUncle CMO, Bestselling Author & Keynote Speaker

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My Native Admission Statement: I propel brands and revenues into new, uncharted territories, without being marked as the enemy of the state. I co-founded hotel booking website for couples, StayUncle, in 2015. I developed the content and marketed StayUncle, taking it from a landing page with no revenue to a multi-million dollar company. It was named as one of the 10 startups to watch by Forbes India in 2018. Aside from StayUncle, I am also a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and angel investor with a keen eye for identifying strong stories and trends and converting them into engaging brand campaigns. I have great intuition and find I am often right about the few big things that matter in marketing and am always reinventing myself whether it be through re-educating my mindset or assessing new techniques I could employ to achieve maximum campaign traction.

How did you get into the marketing industry?

I had been ‘marketing’ since my early childhood. In a country with little to no opportunities, marketing became a crucial survival skill for me, and was a craft I learned myself. You had to fight off a large number of candidates for a single chance at success. Recognizing influencer marketing as the next big thing, I developed a blog at the age of 16, which I managed to sell one year later to a local job search portal in Macedonia. It was a career interview tips blog, which I sold for $1700 - a big paycheck for a 17 year old student. Through this, I discovered my passion and talent for content and branding, which allowed me to work with prospects as unlikely as VC funds in India, Miss India 2017, and some politicians.

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David Shove-Brown: //3877 Partner

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My Native Admission Statement: I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement; I have worked for yellers and screamers and watched firm’s culture get destroyed by an “adult” throwing a temper tantrum. We help people learn from mistakes and apply that knowledge in the future, not berate them into submission so that they develop a fear of decision making and a loathing of coming to work. We want our teams to rise to the occasion and continue to elevate throughout their careers. I have a gift of gab; I enjoy speaking to clients, potential clients, our team and getting everyone excited for the task at hand. I enjoy rallying the troops and getting the best out of those around me. Simultaneously, I thoroughly enjoy one on one interaction with people learning about their experiences and expertise as we strive to make great designs.

Favorite People/Role Models?:

My wife, Maureen, my business partner, David Tracz, my parents Larry and Alice, my mentors Stanley Hallet, George Dove, Ann Cederna, Vyt Gureckas and Stephen Perkins and most importantly, my daughter Brighid Teagan.

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Dave Roberts: Professor of Hospitality & Tourism Management at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech & Former SVP, Revenue Strategy & Solutions at Marriott

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My Native Admission Statement: I just retired from Marriott, and I’m now immersed in academia. I have the great fortune to work at Virginia Tech! (aside: Va Tech has a wonderful Hospitality & Tourism program – I say that with no bias, as neither I nor anyone in my family went there). My aspirations are to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the program, and on the students that I have the privilege of teaching. I plan to do some consulting and some writing as well, but my focus is on teaching and mentoring.

My Motto?

Believe in people, and act on that belief. This was the final line of my retirement speech at Marriott. I feel very strongly about this. If you look for the good in people, the talent, the exceptional work, the creativity, the new perspectives, . . . you are very likely to find it. And if people believe in you, and act on that, you will surely be highly motivated, and deliver outstanding results.

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Christian Hassing: Mandarin Oriental, Singapore General Manager

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Read The Native Influence Full Q&A

How did you get into the industry? Prior to my final year in high school, a friend of mine who worked as a bellboy during the summer holidays, managed to convince me to join him at the hotel. The experience of working in the glamorous industry of a luxury hotel and interacting with senior business leaders and international leisure guests became a very enjoyable and enticing experience. Since the attraction of my summer job experience lingered with me, I ended up choosing the hotel industry after completing high school, rather than pursuing an earlier aspiration of becoming an electrical engineer. Looking back on a very rewarding career which has taken me around the world, the extensive experience and acquired knowledge of working amongst multiracial cultures throughout three continents has certainly been very stimulating.

Career Advice? Be true to your passion, maintain your discipline and the highest commitment to achieve your goals.

Mary Calderon: Kuoda Travel Founder & President

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Read The Native Influence Full Q&A

How did you get into the Industry? When I was eight years old, I used to accompany my mom to her souvenir shop in the main plaza. It was fun for me: I could meet people, learn about different cultures, make new friends. When time came to choose a career to study, I naturally looked to tourism at the national university in Cusco. One of my first jobs after university was as a trainee at what´s now Belmond Hotels. I learned a lot about customer service, and I was lucky enough that my bosses were from hotels around the world. They were direct, with high expectations. Working for them, I rediscovered how much I liked daily interaction with clients, like in the souvenir shop. After five years, I joined a luxury travel company, where we specialized in luxury travel experiences around the world. In 2003, I decided I wanted to do something smaller and more specialized on my own, and I started Kuoda. Since then, we have developed a passion for providing the ultimate travel experience for each and every guest we have the opportunity to serve.

Career Advice? Love what you do! Otherwise, learn how to love what you do. I feel so blessed that, from the very beginning, working in this industry was a pleasure for me. There is so much to learn every day! Also, build a strong network of highly qualified individuals, and try to be surrounded by the best in your industry—you will always learn something, and you will always teach something.

Barry Dry: Proprietor, Hole in The Wall Cafe, Sugar Momma & NEO Café

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Bio:

Barry Dry was born in Perth, Australia and studied Business Management and Economics at Notre Dame University in Australia. During his academic tenure, he ran a restaurant, working his way up from dishwasher, to General Manager. After graduating, he moved to New York City in 2011 to pursue a career in finance.

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Jeanne Mills: Chef Concierge, Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel

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Bio:

Jeanne Mills was born to be a concierge. Now, she practically breeds them. As Chef Concierge of Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel), Mills heads a concierge team of 14 including eight members of Les Clefs d’Or – literally, “keys of gold” – a professional organization for the cream of hotel concierges around the world.

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Lubosh Barta: GM, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

My Native AdVice:

Bio:

The name Four Seasons speaks for itself. But, as Lubosh Barta tells it, sometimes it is best to say it softly instead of shout it out loud. “We need to be humble and respectful of Korean hospitality and local brands,” says Barta of his role as opening General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. “Koreans have great admiration for their homegrown brands,

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Mahmoud El Keiy: GM, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence

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Bio:

There is a lot of action on the hotel scene in the capital of Egypt these days, with major international brands either opening or prepping new properties. There is a transformation underway at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence as well, and the General Manager is integral to the effort. “We are repositioning ourselves as the boutique product in the heart of the city,” says Mahmoud El Keiy

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Mauro Governato: General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Milano

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Bio:

“This is one of my dreams come true,” says Mauro Governato of taking the helm as General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Milano. Doubtless, he is not the first hotel professional at the top of the management ladder to say something like that, but in Governato’s case it really was a dream. And it really did come true.

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