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Panelists/Invited Guests

Keynote Speaker

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Anna Liza Aves-Vergara
GM, Sheraton Manila
  • Participated in 3 countdowns namely JW Macau, JW, Southbeach and JW Phu Quoc

  • Conducted At The Helm courses across the continent Winner of Excellence in Driving Guest Experience (EDGE) 2011

  • A hotelier with solid experience gained over 25 years with Marriott International (since 1994) and with Hyatt Regency Manila.  

  • With experience in turnaround and growth environments and a track record of iimproved guest service, my capabilities include:

  • Hotel management, Small and large property management, Leading a Team, Budgeting/profit & loss management, Standards & procedures, Opening Hotels, and Training and Development

    Sheraton Manila, Philippines. November 2017 - Present

    Marriott Hotel Manila, Philippines. July 2012 – October 2017

    Marriott Hotel Manila, Philippines. May 2009 – July 2012

    Renaissance Makati City Hotel, Philippines. February 2006 –  May 2009

    New World Renaissance Makati City Hotel, Philippines. January 2002 – February  2006

    New World Renaissance Makati City Hotel, Philippines. March 1998 –  January 2002

    New World Makati City Hotel, Philippines. January 1996 –  March 1998

    New World Makati City Hotel, Philippines. April 1994 –  January 1996

    Hyatt Regency Manila, Philippines. October 1993 –  April 1994


APTA Panel Session

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Sara Otte Coleman
Director of the Tourism Division
North Dakota Department of Commerce

  Sara Otte Coleman has been with the North Dakota Department of Commerce as Director of the Tourism Division since 2003 and has over 3 decades of destination management, marketing and leadership experiences.  Her tourism career includes 15 years at the Bismarck-Mandan CVB. She proudly serves the state as Tourism-Marketing Director and focuses on growing the awareness of North Dakota through industry development, strategic planning, statewide branding, consumer marketing and media relations.  She attributes the improved awareness of North Dakota and the growth of tourism to strong partnerships with tourism providers, a smart marketing team and great visitor services. She has a bottom-line focus and has worked to use research and data to improve the state’s marketing and its ability to inform and motivate visitors to choose North Dakota. Sara also works to develop strategies to support workforce and business recruitment, leveraging the Be Legendary brand and marketing campaigns created for tourism to drive workforce development and strengthen North Dakota’s economy.

  Sara sits on several boards and commissions and is past president of the Destination Marketing Association of North Dakota. She received the Tourism Leadership award presented by the North Dakota tourism industry and the Governor’s award for Excellence in Public Service for administration and was awarded the 2018 State Tourism Director of the Year, by the National Council of State Tourism Directors.

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Laura Pallotta
Regional Vice President
Marriott Hotels of Canada

  As Vice President, Sales and Distribution, Laura leads Marriott Canada’s Revenue Generation and Sales Strategy focus. She partners with Corporate Marketing, Revenue Management and Global Sales to bring Marriott’s Sales and Distribution platforms and programs to Marriott’s 270+ Canadian hotels.    

  With over 30 years of hospitality experience, Laura spent 12 years in rapidly progressive leadership positions at Delta Hotels and Resorts until Marriott’s acquisition of Delta in 2015. In 2017 Laura led the transformation of the Marriott sales organization in Canada, integrating Delta Hotels and Starwood Hotels with Marriott’s portfolio of hotels.

  Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from McMaster University in Hamilton and a Certificate in Hospitality from George Brown College in Toronto. Laura serves on Industry Advisory Councils for Destination Canada and Ryerson University – Ted Rogers School of Hospitality. She is the Chair of Meetings Mean Business Canada coalition which advocates for the Canadian Business Events Industry. Laura is also the Canadian representative on Marriott International’s Diversity & Inclusion Council.

Prof. Emeritus  Dr. Carol Shanklin
Graduate School
Kansas State University

  Carol Shanklin, dean and professor emeritus, served as Dean of the Graduate School at K-State for 12 years.  She concurrently served as professor of dietetics and as a member of the research team for the Center for Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   She was engaged in higher education for more than 40 years.  She mentored more than 125 masters and doctoral students throughout her career and notes this was a highlight of her career.  Shanklin is author or co-author of more than 125 publications in peer reviewed publications.

  Shanklin has served in numerous leadership roles in community and professional organizations. During her tenure as Dean of the Graduate School, she served as chair of the Great Plains IDEA Graduate Deans and cabinet representative, Board Member of the Council of Graduate Schools, and Chair of the Kansas Graduate Deans Council and the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools.   She currently serving on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee and on the Cats Cupboard Advisory Council at Kansas State University. 

  Shanklin has received several awards from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She was named one of eight recipients of the American Dietetic Association's 2001 Medallion national award for her research, leadership, advancement of the profession and commitment to dietetic education.  In 2015, she received the Excellence in Practice for Dietetic Research Award. She was recognized as one of the 2017 Icons of Education by the Ingram’s Kansas Business Magazine. In 2018, she received the Flinchbaugh Family Wildcat Pride Award from the Kansas State University Alumni Association.

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Phyllis Chuang
Cathay Hospitality Management
  • President, Cathay Hospitality Management

  • Board of Director, Cathay Hospitality Management

  • Board of Director, Cathay Real Estate Foundation


  • BSc in Hotel Management, University of Surrey, UK


  • Cathay Hospitality Management / President

HOTEL COZZI: Taipei Minsheong, Taipei Zhongxiao, Tainan, Kaohsiung, COZZI blu, Madison Taipei Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Taipei Downtown

  • Leofoo Resort Guanshi and Kenting / GM

  • Yilan Sheraton Resort/ GM

  • The Westin Taipei / EAM Sales and Marketing

Honors& Awards

  • 2021 National Talent Development Award

  • 2021 100 MVP Managers in Taiwan - Marketing Innovation Award (Manager Today Magazine)

  • 2021 Taiwan Tourism Festival Awards - Outstanding GM Award in Hospitality

  • 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 HR Asia Awards

  • 2020 Taiwan Tourism Bureau Excellent Talent and Leader Award

  • 2019 Golden Peak Award of Outstanding Enterprise Leaders of the Year, ROC

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