Supervisor Mary Adams has led a 30-year career of public service solving problems for local families. Elected in 2016 as the Fifth District Supervisor of Monterey County, Mary Adams has been called to serve and lead again.
During Mary’s 14 years as CEO of United Way Monterey County, she helped raise $50 million to provide crucial services for thousands of local people. She worked with the County on many of these issues, helping homeless children, providing meals for seniors, preventing gang violence, and increasing economic opportunity for working families. She solved these problems by bringing people together.
Under her leadership, United Way launched the 2-1-1 hotline, providing free information on local health and human services for working families in 174 different languages in the County.
She spearheaded the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program, offering free tax services to many working families who were unaware of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax refunds, helping local families increase their long-term economic security.
She also led the implementation of a program which provides new, fully stocked backpacks to many of the thousands of homeless students in Monterey County, allowing them to start school ready to learn. And during the mortgage crisis in 2008, Mary convened federal and local elected officials and local businesses to help residents stay in their homes. These programs made a difference for Monterey County residents who were dealing with serious, real-life challenges.
Mary Adams was recognized for this work with Woman of the Year Awards from the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women and CSU Monterey Bay School of Business.
Prior to leading United Way Monterey County, Mary held senior leadership positions at the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Foundation, where she took on Big Tobacco, helped save hundreds of millions in funding for public health programs, and reduced tobacco-related illness and death in California. When revenue for these health programs was later threatened, Mary was brought back to save the funding, and received the American Heart Association’s Time, Feeling Focus Award for her work. Mary Adams earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Saint Mary’s College.
Dr. Atzori is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Hospitality Management at CSUMB, College of Business. She currently teaches Ecotourism Management and Sustainable Event Management and is involved in several sustainability-focused projects with her students.
She earned her Ph.D. in Hospitality Management at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida. She taught various Tourism Management and Event Management courses for 4 years during her Ph.D. studies. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Atzori obtained both her B.S. in Economics and Business Administration and her M.S. in Tourism Planning and Management at the University of Cagliari, Italy.
Roberta, a native of Sardinia, worked in the professional event organization industry for several years in Italy. She speaks Italian, Spanish, and English fluently.
Her research interests include sustainable tourism and hospitality, and climate change mitigation and adaptation in tourism destinations and hospitality businesses. Her doctoral dissertation focused on tourists’ responses to climate change impacts on coastal destinations. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has spoken at various international conferences in Europe and the United States.
John’s background includes 45 years of human resource development and operations experience in the hospitality industry. He has been Vice President of Human Resources for Marriott Corporation, The Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. He was also the Human Resource Director at the 2002 Olympics for all food service facilities. He worked for the Cleveland Browns Stadium to open their upscale food facilities in 1999 and has been the Director of Human Resources for the US Tennis Open food facilities. John is presently the Executive Director of Sustainable Hospitality Management Program at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. John has developed a degree in Sustainable Hospitality Management, which commenced on August 2015. He has conducted extensive research in the field of Sustainable Hospitality to develop this cutting-edge degree. He is also President of EQ International Perspectives (New York and Monterey). Their clients include: Google, Coca Cola, Toyota, Columbia University, New Jersey Restaurant Association, Sony Pictures, and Metro-North Railways, to mention a few. He has a Doctoral degree from Columbia University, with a concentration in Adult and Organizational Learning. His research focused on the application of Emotional Intelligence to Guest service training. Dr. Avella has spoken nationally and internationally about the application of Emotional Intelligence to Customer loyalty and leadership. John is also a Master Trainer for the EQi 2.0 and 360, the most validated assessment instrument that measures Emotional Intelligence skills. John has coached senior executives from many national and international organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors for California Travel Association and the Monterey County Hospitality Association. As a member of the MCHA Education Committee, John helped develop My Monterey, a seminar designed to give guests the highest quality experience, designed for hospitality industry employees who interact with guests. John has also competed nationally and internationally in Triathlons for the past 24 years.
Al Budris is a 33 year bicycle industry veteran, having spent his entire adult life learning the industry from the bottom up as a competitor, retailer, professional mechanic, product manager, brand manager, marketing executive, business development executive, controller and President at various companies. Al established Alpha Sports Associates in 2006, with a goal of providing maximum value for his clients by helping them create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, sustainable competitive advantage and successful go-to market strategies. Al has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Golden Gate University and a Master’s of Business Administration from San Jose State University. When not lecturing, Al is always pursuing new business and he is a board member for the Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Al enjoys hiking, trail running and cooking, and in between various restoration projects on old Volkswagens and Alfa Romeos, Al was a nationally-ranked cyclocrosser “in his day” and now just rides for the sheer love of it.
Tammy Blount is a tourism professional with a career of nearly 30 years, starting in the hotel industry in her home city of Vancouver, BC to her current role as the President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tammy’s career has included participation in a variety of state, regional and national tourism initiatives leading to her current place on the Executive Committee of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). Tammy will be DMAI’s Chair in 2017, only the fifth woman to do so in more than 100 years. She currently serves as DMAI’s Chair-Elect and co-chairs its Destination Next Task Force. She serves on the board of US Travel, and Visit California’s CEO Destinations Council and International Committee. Tammy was recently recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, one of the top 25 Most Influential Women in the industry, and as 2015 CEO of the Year. Her background includes the executive leadership position as CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau where she was also the architect and inaugural Chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance. Tammy was also on the leadership team of Tourism Vancouver for more than a decade. She holds Fellow Certified Destination Marketing Executive (FCDME) certification and in addition to spending every day focused on driving visitation for Monterey County, she also seeks ways to support the overall development and enhancement of the community she serves.
Janine Chicourrat’s career has encompassed successful tenures at some of California’s most renowned hospitality companies, including Pebble Beach Resorts and the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. She now brings nearly 20+years of operations and management leadership to her position as general manager of the Portola Hotel & Spa, where she spearheaded their U.S. Green Building Council LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. Chicourrat spent eight years at the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts, rapidly moving up through the ranks from room division manager to general manager of Casa Palermo & The Spa at Pebble Beach, and later The Lodge at Pebble Beach. She led the opening team for Casa Palermo, and in 1999 was tapped to take over the operations for the 22,000-square-foot Spa at Pebble Beach. While serving as general manager of The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Chicourrat was involved in all aspects of running the Lodge Division as well as assisting in the coordination of such high-profile events as the AT&T Pro-Am and Concours d’Elegance car show. Under her guidance, The Lodge was touted as the Top Resort in Mainland U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2003 Readers’ Choice Awards Poll, one of the most prestigious honors in the hospitality industry. Chicourrat began her career in the hospitality industry in 1993 as a sales manager for the Kimpton Group’s Monticello Inn. Seeking to establish herself at the San Francisco-based hospitality management company, she worked in several capacities across various properties before moving up to general manager of Monticello Inn. After seven years with the Kimpton Group, Chicourrat moved to Lake Tahoe to take on the role of Director of Lodging Operations for Northstar at Tahoe, where she oversaw the operations of 260 privately-owned homes and condominiums. Along with her responsibilities at the Portola Hotel & Spa, Chicourrat currently serves on the board of the Monterey County Hospitality Association, the board for the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the board of The Offset Project, the Foundation board for CSU Monterey Bay, the board of Managers for Community Health Innovations and on the board of the Carmel Residents Association. She also served as a hospitality representative for the United States Agency and International Development (USAID) program, working with the City of Monterey,Country of Croatia and The City of Dubrovnik on economic development. Chicourrat currently resides in Carmel with her husband and City Mayor, Dave Potter.
Jeff serves as Program Manager for the Monterey Regional Stormwater Management Program (MRSWMP). Prior to coming to MRSMWP, he worked at the City of Monterey where he developed and launched their Green Building Program and Sustainable Energy Program. Jeff’s background includes non-profit and business management positions focused on green infrastructure and community engagement, with Masters Degrees in International Environmental Policy and Business Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Tiffany DiTullio joined Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System in March of 2010. She is the Director of Community Development & Programs. In this role Tiffany works closely with the business community, local school districts, non-profit groups and volunteers in a way that helps to build a better community. Prior to working in the Health Care industry, Tiffany worked in non-profit management for 12 years.Her non-profit role enabled her to work closely with local government on business and economic development issues, coordinating community events, facilitating numerous committees aimed at supporting business and nonprofits through collaboration.
Tiffany has a passion for working with volunteers and is an avid volunteer herself. A member of the Salinas Rotary Club, with the motto “Service Above Self”, Tiffany enjoys volunteering in her community, especially when she can do so with her family.
Tiffany graduated from California State University Chico where she earned a bachelors degree in Business Management, with an emphasis in Human Resources and Psychology.
Dr. Daniel M. Fernandez teaches classes in first-year physics, Sustainability Systems, Environmental Studies Capstone, and Infrastructure Systems. He also co-coordinates the Environmental Studies program at CSUMB.
Dr. Fernandez research focuses on the collection of water from fog, studying techniques to assess the presence of fog and to maximize the collection of fog water. Dr. Fernandez is also engaged with campus-wide sustainability initiatives, and he manages the incipient Sustainable City Year Program.
Mato Franković is the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and was born February 23, 1982. He received his education from the Rochester Institute of Technology, with an Associate in Applied Science. Mr. Franković’s work experience includes being Head of the Generalturist Dubrovnik branch office from 2005 to 2009. Then from 2007 to 2009 Mato served as Executive Director of Lanta Generalturist in Budva, Montenegro. He was also President of the Supervisory Board of Hotel Maestral d.d., from 2005 to 2012. In more recent years Mr. Franković was Regional Marine Coordinator for the South Adriatic from 2013 to 2014 and Member of the Supervisory Board of ACI d.d. on behalf of the Workers’ Council from 2016 to 2017. Mato Franković has been Director of ACI Marine Dubrovnik since 2009, and has served as Mayor of Dubrovnik since late 2017. He lives in Dubrovnik with his wife and two children.
Mike Freed is co-founder and Managing Director of Passport Resorts LLC. In the late 1980s, Mike had the vision to create Post Ranch Inn and was primarily responsible for overseeing it from the entitlement process through construction process and hotel opening. Mike also managed the acquisition and renovation of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort and the Lodge at Skylonda (both former Passport Resorts’ projects). Also, he had a lead role in Passport Resorts work with its developer partner on the development and initial hotel launch in July 2008 of Cavallo Point, the Lodge at the Golden Gate.
Zach Friend serves as Second District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County. The beautiful and diverse Second District includes the coastal communities of Aptos, La Selva Beach, Seacliff and Rio Del Mar, along with some of the most productive agricultural land in the country in the communities of Corralitos, Freedom and the Pajaro River basin. Portions of the cities of Capitola and Watsonville are also included in the district. Zach was originally elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2012 and reelected in 2016.
Prior to his election to the Board, Zach worked for the White House Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and for nearly a decade with the Santa Cruz Police Department as a press information officer and crime analyst. Additionally, Zach has served on Barack Obama and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns as a battleground press secretary, spokesman and campaign strategist.
Turner Publishing released his book On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed in late 2013. On Message became an Amazon best seller in the Marketing category and won a prestigious Axiom Business Book Award in the Networking/Communications category. He has written for the Huffington Post and Business Insider and has been quoted by ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, National Public Radio, the LA Times, New York Times and others. In 2017, Zach was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Film Commission.
Zach has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Zach lives in Aptos with his wife and son.
A native of the Netherlands Jeroen Gerrese received his Bachelor of Hotel Administration from the University of Hotel Management in Maastricht with a Post Graduate Degree from Cornell University. Jeroen spent 5 years with Holland America (3x worldcruises) before settling in New York City for 15 years opening up an 770 room Intercontinental Hotel as Hotel Manager followed by being appointed as General Manager of the prestigious Waldorf Towers (hosting the UN Delegations for 4x consecutive years) and finally as the General Manager of the Swiss Drake Hotel.
Then Jeroen started his international career with Marriott spending time in London-Singapore and Moscow where he oversaw 3 Marriott Hotels including the award winning Marriott Royal next door to the world famous Bolshoi Theatre. State side Jeroen managed the 4 diamond Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Southern CA for 6x years before starting his own development and asset management business in Sacramento, The Shiraz Group, for the next 12 years
In late 2017 Jeroen joined the Sanctuary Beach Resort and Spa here in the Peninsula as General Manager overseeing a massive repositioning and expansion plan.
Jill Heymsfield, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator at Asilomar Conference Grounds, has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. She spent her first few years out of college working in, and being inspired by, National Parks and protected areas. Her specialty is in how to incorporate sustainability and conservation practices within business operations. When not at work she likes to spend her free time running marathons and climbing big mountains. If you would like contact Jill, please email her at Heymsfield-Jill@aramark.com.
Martha Honey is co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), which is headquartered in Washington, DC. Over the last two decades, she has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers’ Philanthropy, cruise and resort tourism, coastal and marine tourism, climate change, and certification issues. Her books include Coastal Tourism, Sustainability, and Climate Change in the Caribbean, Vol. 1 & 2, and Marine Tourism, Climate Change, and Resilience in the Caribbean, Vol. 1 & 2 (Business Expert Press, 2017), Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press, 1999 and 2008) and Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). She is Executive Producer of CREST’s film, Caribbean ‘Green’ Travel: Your Choices Make a Difference, released in May 2016. Most recently, she has been an editor and author of a new study on cruise tourism, published in April 2018 by Ediciones Temas in Havana (Por el Mar de las Antillas: 50 Años de Turismo de Cruceros en el Caribe) and to be published by Routledge Press in late 2018 (Selling Sunshine: Lessons Learned from a Half Century of Cruise Tourism in the Caribbean.) Previously, Martha worked for 20 years as a journalist based in East Africa and Central America. She holds a Ph.D. in African history from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.”
Hunter Harvath, AICP, is the Assistant General Manager at Monterey-Salinas Transit on the Central Coast of California. In that role, he oversees the transit district’s:
• finance, accounting, budget, grants and procurement;
• facilities and real estate;
• route planning and scheduling;
• public relations, marketing and ad sales;
• customer service and information; and
• governmental relations at the local, state and federal levels.
Before joining MST in late 2003, he worked for three years at the Regional Transit Authority in New Orleans, and, previous to that, for a private planning consulting firm.
Hervé Houdré is among Europe’s and America’s most respected hoteliers. He was born in an inn in France’s historic Loire Valley, known for its Renaissance architecture, lush gardens and world-famous wineries. He has enjoyed a rewarding hospitality career managing prestigious hotels such as the Plaza Athénée-New York, the Hôtel de Crillon-Paris, the Plaza Athénée-Paris, the Willard InterContinental-Washington D.C. and the InterContinental Barclay-New York. Houdré was recognized as the 2006 Independent Hotelier of the World by HOTELS magazine readers.
Shyam Kamath, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar and educator who has gained recognition as a global innovator and expert in the area of business management, experiential learning and business program innovation. He is the founding Dean of the College of Business at CSU, Monterey Bay and has held academic and administrative positions at leading universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. He is the recipient of numerous international teaching and research awards. Previously, he was an entrepreneur as a co-founder of three start- ups,has pioneered a number of academic start-ups and has worked for leading international firms in the energy equipment and consumer goods areas. He has been a consultant to four governments and over 100 companies and non-profits worldwide. He has published over 80 articles in leading peer-reviewed scholarly and trade journals and is the author or co-author of three books. In addition to his academic responsibilities and work, Dean Kamath serves on the boards of three non-profits and one for-profit company, including being the CEO of a Monterey- based non-profit organization.
As a result of my 15 years as a senior executive I have developed comprehensive experience in start up, on-going management, and improving efficiencies of program operations. I have been successful in growing both large and small organizations through my abilities in: fundraising (individuals/grants/corporate), strategic planning, community engagement, advocacy for policy change, contract negotiation, budget development and financial analysis, non-profit collaboration, hiring and supervision of staff, long and short term planning, data management and analysis, policy formulation, upgrading technologies to improve workflow and team building. Since 2016, I started my own consulting practice so that I could share what I’ve learned in my experience with other organizations. I am always looking for exciting new projects and the opportunity to work with good people. I have moved from Northern California and am now based in Southern California so that I can live near family. I am looking to build my practice here and also happy to take on projects outside the area. My experience lends itself to working with non-profits as well as government agencies to increase their impact in the community.
J.R. Killigrew serves as the Director of Communications & Energy Programs at Monterey Bay Community Power, the tri-county Community Choice Energy agency which serves 270,000 with carbon-free electricity. JR oversees marketing/communications, account services and energy programs. Prior to Monterey Bay Community Power, JR managed community development MCE, the first Community Choice Energy program out of Marin where he supported community expansion, business development, marketing and account services. Early on in JR’s career as a sustainability and climate professional, he served as Network Engagement Manager at ICLEI USA where he managed a network of local governments providing climate mitigation and adaptation technical support as well as worked on California’s Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) with NGO partners and the four investor owner utilities.
Ex Peace Corps volunteer & music teacher turned sustainable tourism pioneer, ambitious conservationist, avid ornithologist, founder of Lapa Rios, one of the most nature-immersed ecolodge experiences in the world, and recipient of the 2005 Award for Corporate Excellence. The outdoors had been our passion over the years, having been formed by childhood experiences with our parents and in our early marriage, and we just decided ‘let’s do something in a different culture we don’t know, in a language we don’t speak, that will make a difference with a community. And fundamental to it all was that it would be conservation big enough to make a difference in the world’s biosphere.
So in early 1990, with a passion for bird watching, we spent two weeks on a trip in Costa Rica. We had work experience with a rural community and wanted to work out how to conserve land with them and decided to invest the next part of our lives in this country dedicated to the environment. We suggested the idea to the directors at the Costa Rican-USAID development agency (CINDE), but they could not be involved with any tourism project with less than 150 rooms. For us, that size would create too large an environmental impact. A smaller scale was an unknown – and a reason for us to want to try.
We knew that Osa Peninsula’s forests were still pristine and that large tracts of land, contiguous to other primary growth, could be protected. We asked the government what was there and they said ‘nothing’. We were told no one would go because it was too far away, too dangerous, and almost impossible to access. So that was where we wanted to go. In December of 1991, we purchased almost 1,100 acres, mostly old growth forest, from the top of the Peninsula down to the Golfo Dulce.
We sold up and left Minnesota in 1993 and ploughed all our money into creating our dream and building a small ecolodge to support it, recognising a growing demand in the emerging nature travel industry and we wanted to prove ecotourism was a viable model and tool for conservation finance.
Jeff’s twenty-nine year career in the recycling industry has included work in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He earned a bachelor degree at Alfred University and a Master of Science in Public Affairs at UMass Boston. At the MRWMD, Jeff helped launch a food scrap compost program in 2008 and has worked closely with the local hospitality industry and special event promoters who were the driving force behind the program start-up. Today, he will provide a look at how the “District is Turning Waste into Resources” and highlight the soon to be operational $24 million Materials Recovery Facility improvement project.
Stephanie Locke is the Water Demand Manager for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), where she has been involved in all facets of water demand management and water policy on the Monterey Peninsula for over 30 years, overseeing water conservation, permitting, and public outreach programs. During her career, she has authored and implemented numerous ordinances and policies that apply to the Monterey Peninsula. Her professional experience ranges from field enforcement and permitting to managing consumer demand under a severely restricted water supply. As a result, the Monterey Peninsula has successfully reduced demand by over 50 percent and boasts a residential per-capita water use of less than 50 gallons per person per day – one of the lowest in the state. Stephanie has been an instrumental figure in developing regulations that benefit Peninsula home and business owners, adding much needed flexibility and opportunity for improvement of properties during water restrictions and a moratorium.
Robert J. Margevicius is Executive Vice President of Specialized Bicycle Components. A Morgan Hill, CA, based importer, distributor and manufacturer of bicycles and accessories. He leads the Specialized’s Asian Operations as well as strategic planning, product sourcing, product development and supplier relations. For 24 years he has been integral to the global growth at Specialized.
He was formerly President at Service Cycle Bicycle Corporation, a leading importer of Mongoose juvenile and adult bicycles. Robert joined Service Cycle Bicycle in 1986 and was responsible for the re-organization of the company’s product development, marketing and sales operations. Robert started his bicycle industry career in 1979 as the Vice President of Purchasing and Marketing for West Coast Cycle Supply, the designer, importer and distributor of Nishiki, Azuki, Cycle Pro and Haro bicycles.
He received his BS from the La Salle University in political science and economics, Philadelphia Pa, is a Stanford MBA graduate and Wharton EDP graduate.
Robert is former professional cyclist, and currently a very active cyclist, runner, swimmer and triathlete.
He currently serves on several industry and corporate Board of Directors. Robert serves as a USA Industry Trade Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce (Wilbur Ross) and the USA Trade Ambassador (Robert Lighthizer)
Barbara Meister joined the Monterey Bay Aquarium as Public Affairs Director in May 2011. She is responsible for managing the relationships between the
aquarium and Cannery Row, city and county officials, the hospitality industry and various organizations in the broader tri-county regional community.
Barbara is actively engaged in the regional policy issues that affect aquarium visitors and operations, including transportation, water and community development.
She also oversees the aquarium’s affordable access programs, Free to Learn, Shelf to Shore and Student Ocean Stewards.
Prior to the aquarium, Barbara worked as communications manager for SureHarvest, a sustainable agriculture company in Soquel, CA. Her work experience also
includes five years as a community organizer, a political appointment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1994 to 1997, and positions in the state
departments of agriculture in Texas and her home state of Nebraska.
She received her master of public policy degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1994, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science
from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Denise was born in Cairo, Egypt where she lived for half of her childhood before moving to Michigan, Minnesota, and finally Oregon. She attended the University of Oregon, earning a Bachelors of Science in Geography with an emphasis on biological and human impacts on the environment. After graduating, Denise became involved with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society as a Program Director, implementing environmental education programs at various locations.
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the medical device industry. Skilled in Entrepreneurship, Public Speaking, Environmental Awareness, Sustainable Design, and Database Design and Project Management. Strong business development professional with a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Honors, from Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business.
Rob is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau and responsible for developing marketing programs that support the managed growth of the destination’s tourism economy. Central to Rob’s role is the development and evolution of MCCVB’s Sustainable Moments initiative which is designed to promote balanced, responsible tourism.
Rob is an accomplished marketing strategist with 20 years’ experience in successfully growing brands. He is noted for innovation, leadership and creativity. Above all, he is passionate about conceiving new ideas to deliver uncommon success. His experience includes being a top strategist for the Las Vegas tourism program including guiding the development of the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign and he co-created Vegas Uncork’d which Eater.com called “the world’s most innovative” culinary festival.
A native of Argentina, Eduardo M. Ochoa has been president of Cal State University, Monterey Bay since 2012. He has a B.A. in physics and philosophy from Reed College, a M.S. in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research. Dr. Ochoa has worked for 29 years as a faculty member and administrator at campuses in the Cal State system, including Fresno State, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona and Sonoma State University. At Sonoma State, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2003-2010. From 2010 to 2012, he was Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education in the Obama administration, acting as the chief advisor on higher-education matters to the Secretary of Education and heading the Office of Postsecondary Education, which administers most of the Department of Education’s higher education programs. Dr.Ochoa’s wife Holly Byers Ochoa is a historian, writer and editor. They have two sons, Michael and Eric.
Today I proudly oversee the marketing efforts for a Four Diamond, U.S. Green Building Council LEED® Certified Hotel with 379 guest rooms, over 60,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and three on-site restaurants. Stepping into the marketing role at the Portola Hotel & Spa was and continues to be a learning experience. I feel that continual learning and growth are pivotal to making a difference in your organization. Travel trends, social media, and avenues we use to market to our guests are always evolving, and it is vital to stay ahead of the trends and the competition.
The connections I have made throughout my life have all contributed to my career and the path I am on today. I graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor’s degree in History and before my current role in hospitality marketing, I had devoted a few years to working with children with special needs. Regardless of the industry, I am in, I believe firmly in owning what you do and putting your best foot forward with the initiatives you have in place. In hospitality and every other industry, the brand promise is vitally important. I believe in delivering on that promise above and beyond the expectation of the consumer.
Soerke Peters is an award-winning international Chef whose far-reaching experience includes everything from a mastery of cuisine to corporate managerial experience.
Chef Soerke Peters born and raised in Germany always had an interest in cooking. He decided to become a chef at the age of five. He remembers cooking with his grandmother as a young boy, and followed this path his entire life to become a chef.
In 1991 Chef Peters moved to New York City and immediately started working for Mr. Pino Loungo’s Toscorp, Inc. Chef Peters’ timing could not have been better, and he fell in love with Italian cuisine and worked his way up to Corporate Chef overseeing 16 restaurants nationwide.
In 2001 Chef Peters decided to move to Los Angeles, while mastering Northern-Italian cuisine at Ca’del Sole in Hollywood Chef Peters opened Froma on Melrose in West Hollywood. He was also the Executive Chef at the Sunset Restaurant in Malibu before taking the opportunity to move to Carmel by the Sea taking over Basil Seasonal Dining. Chef Peters sold his shares of Basil in 2017 and moved on to the Village Corner in Carmel a 70 year landmark for locals. He purchased Lafayette Kitchen & Café in 2018.
He is also active in the American Culinary Federation Monterey Bay Chapter as Chair of the Green & Sustainable Committee and President and he serves as Vice Chair of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.
Ken Peterson is senior communications strategist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In that capacity, he’s responsible for developing messages about a public aquarium that’s recognized both as a the finest public aquarium in the world, and as a global leader in ocean conservation. The scope of its activities include policy advocacy, marine research and science education involving protection of marine ecosystems and wildlife, sustainable seafood, climate change and ocean plastic pollution.
Prior to joining the aquarium in 1989, Ken was a writer and editor for 15 years with California newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News and Monterey County Herald, with a focus on coastal, land use and environmental issues.
As a member of the Mercury News staff, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for contributing to coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. He’s also a past Jeopardy! champion.
John grew up in the Culver City area of Southern California. During his college and law school years, he worked with his dad at Fox Studios where his dad was a key grip for 20th Century Fox for 40 years.
He graduated from Long Beach State College in 1964 with a B.A. in Political Science. In 1968 he graduated from Boalt Hall Law School at Berkeley. After graduation from Law School he practiced Law in Oakland, CA for several years as a civil litigator for a private law firm.
After traveling throughout New Zealand and Australia for a year, John moved to the Monterey area and began his long career at the District Attorney’s office in 1971. He served as a Deputy D.A. from 1971 to 1975.
In 1975 he was appointed the Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Salinas office. He served as the Assistant District Attorney until he was appointed to the Monterey Superior Court Bench in 1984. He served on the Monterey County Bench for 21 years before retiring in 2004.
He served as presiding Judge of the Monterey Superior Court in 1989, 1996, 1998-2000. While on the Bench he created the Domestic Violence Court and was the first chairman of the Domestic Violence Council. He also was responsible for the development of the Mental Health Court. He devoted many years on the Bench to the Family Law Court and was responsible for many of its current innovative services.
In 2000 he, along with other concerned citizens, founded Rancho Cielo, a successful and innovative program for at risk youth. Since his retirement in 2004, he has devoted most of his time to the continued development of Rancho Cielo.
John and his wife, Patti, live in the Prunedale area. They have three grown children: Sara, a teacher in Livermore; Mike, Athlete Director at North Monterey County High School; and Ellen, Food & Beverage Director at Round Hill Golf Course. They have two grandchildren, Michael age 16 and Peyton age 10.
Throughout her career, Lacey has worked in the field of sustainability and environmental policy. First, as a U.S. Department of State Intern on international sustainable development in Washington, D. C., and later in Indonesia, where she was a Fulbright Scholar researching regional implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy.
Following her work at the City of Monterey, where she helped to develop the City’s first Climate Action Plan, Lacey started her career in higher education. She served as the University of California at Santa Cruz’s first Climate Action Manager and later became the Director of Sustainability for the campus. In 2016, Lacey continued her career becoming the first Sustainability Director at California State University, Monterey Bay. She also currently serves as Chair of the City of Seaside Environmental Committee.
Lacey holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota, where she majored in Global Studies with a minor in Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Master of Arts from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in International Environmental Policy.
Transportation Engineer with over 20 years of experience in municipal traffic engineering, public works design and project management, transportation planning, development review, multi-modal design that includes policies and implementation, traffic calming, management of Federally and State funded grant projects, traffic signal design, operations and management, temporary traffic control and safe routes to school programs.
Since September 2015 Kate Roberts has been the President of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), a regional nonprofit, membership organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the Monterey Bay Region.
Prior to joining MBEP, Ms. Roberts spent seven years running her own independent management consultancy, The Wired Woman, that helped organizations solidify strategies and accelerate growth. Over her 25 years in the high-tech industry Ms. Roberts held leadership positions in sales, marketing, partner management, and corporate social responsibility. She spent a decade at Cisco Systems, Inc. leading strategic initiatives and creating successful partnerships with the United Nations, USAID and other global partners to further tech education and workforce development in the developing world.
Kate’s varied nonprofit board experience spans both the social and environmental spectrum at the regional and national level. As a volunteer ambassador with Save the Children, she led a women’s empowerment delegation to Ethiopia and Uganda, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with CARE to raise funds and awareness for their community-based programs in Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is an active community member, supporting a number of social and environmental causes.
Kate graduated with honors from the University of California at Irvine and received a post-graduate certificate in cross-sector partnership from Cambridge University in England. She is an avid traveler, speaks 4 languages, is an award-winning photographer, an accomplished knitter, and an intrepid hiker. A native Californian, Kate lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband of 26 years, Buz Roberts.
Katlyn Taylor is the manager for Discovery Whale Watch and J&M Sport Fishing on the Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, CA. She has worked in the whale watch industries in Oregon and California for 6 years. As a marine biologist by training, she has a different background than the typical business manager. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Biology and a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies from Oregon State University. She brings a new perspective on environmental and conservation best practices to the workplace in comparison to normal business models. Her passions for science communication and access to the ocean also help shape the way Discovery Whale Watch has developed since opening in 2017.
In her longtime roles in bilingual education and outreach at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Claudia has worked to empower students and teachers to take action on behalf of the ocean all the while facilitating activities and experiences to help them develop their own environmental identity. Claudia has been featured on local and national English and Spanish-language programing such as the Disney Channel and ¡Despierta América! on Univision. Claudia has served as a contributing writer for the National Resource Defense Council’s Spanish language blog, “La Onda Verde” and launched the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Spanish-language Facebook page, “Tu Monterey Bay Aquarium”, resulting in the first Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited institution to have a bilingual social media presence. Claudia has advised the Aquarium on culturally and developmentally appropriate messaging to maintain Spanish-language consistency, resulting in more powerful and emotional experiences for guests to deepen their connection to the ocean and further the aquarium’s reach on and off-site.
Before joining the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Claudia held various community outreach and multicultural education positions along the central coast of California. Claudia received her B.S. in Earth Systems, Science and Policy with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Ecology from the California State University, Monterey Bay. Claudia attributes her passion for environmental advocacy, environmental justice issues and passion for education to her high school science teacher, Ms. Stevens from South Gate High School.
Claudia is now the Conservation & Science Planning and Operations Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she oversees the organization’s progress towards more sustainable business operations and encouraging employee involvement in achieving sustainability goals related to zero carbon emissions and zero waste.
John Turner is the General Manager at the Intercontinental Hotel, The Clement, Monterey, CA. John is an experienced General Manager with a history of success in the hotel industry. Skilled professional in Rooms, F&B, Sales and Catering and overall Hotel Management.
Sean Wall is Operations Manager for Asilomar Conference Grounds overseeing the day to day across the property. He has over 29+ years of Hospitality and operations experience. He graduated from Lederwolffe Culinary Academy out of Sacramento, CA. He started in the back of the house and worked every position possible all the way through the front of the house and now into management. Sean has many strong ties within the Monterey Community and has participated in several committees and programs that promote safety and sustainability in the hospitality industry.