The judges

Bertil Fabre

General Manager at Le Centre Sheraton Montréal

Experienced General Manager of the Centre Sheraton Montréal with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. Skilled in Sales, Budgeting, Food & Beverage and Front Office. Strong sales professional with a DEC focused in Hotel Management from ITHQ. He also plays tennis and does tournaments during the summer. He loves visiting and enjoying our beautiful city of Montreal.

Bill Stone

President of Knightstone Hotel Group

Bill Stone leads Knightstone Hotel Group in its acquisition, development and asset management of high-quality hotel assets across Canada and abroad. He brings tremendous experience in structuring and negotiating hotel transactions, particularly complex opportunities with the brand, management, land lease and transactional encumbrances. 

Prior to joining Knightstone Hotel Group, Bill held the position of Executive Vice President of CBRE Hotels, where since 2010, he established and led one of the largest hotel brokerages and advisory firms in Canada. Previously, Bill was Executive Managing Director at Colliers International Hotels and worked as a hotel real estate advisor at Laventhol & Horwath. Over the past 30 years, Bill has been successfully involved in over 350 hotel transactions, valued at over $6B, comprised of single asset and portfolio sales of both independent and branded properties across the country. He is a respected advisor when assessing hotel values and during management contract and franchise agreement negotiations. 

Bill is an alumnus of the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. He sat on the Board of Directors for the York School and chaired its Premises Committee.

Christina Poon

General Manager at Hotel W New York - Union Square

After being the general manager of W Montreal for more than 4 years, Christina Poon undertakes in 2021 a new role as general manager of W New York Union Square. She completed her studies in hotel management at the ITHQ. With more than 15 years of experience in the hotel industry, holding various management positions in the city of Montreal, first as Director of Operations at Delta, then as General Manager of the Hilton Bonaventure as well as CEO of student residences EVO. Christina therefore joins the management team of the luxurious Hotel W located in the heart of the island of Montreal in addition to serving on the board of directors of Destination Center-Ville as vice-president.

It is her passion for the world of events, fashion and creativity that drives her career. From a young age, Christina was immersed in the hotel and restaurant industry, since her father had indeed been a chef in Montreal kitchens, notably in those of the famous Jardin Tiki.

Passionate about social engagement, she joined the circle of ITHQ ambassadors, the Montreal Fashion Foundation (before being named honorary spokesperson), the association of hotels in greater Montreal and the Terry Fox Foundation. Christina Poon is distinguished by her leadership, her love of the profession and her hospitality which contribute to the success of the industry and its teams.

Daniel Gallant

Vice President at Épik Collection | President at Iceberg Consultants

Throughout his 35-year career in the hotel industry, Daniel Gallant has held a number of administrative and management positions, including those of the general manager and regional director for several hotel brands, including Le Méridien and Starwood.

Today, as the owner and co-director of hospitality and food service consulting and training firm, he works closely with several international chains. Through his in-depth knowledge of varying hotel environments, he has developed a broad overview and knowledge of the hospitality industry.

He understands change in customer expectations and behaviors and his innovative customer experience programs have proven that people are more important than the product.  

Daniel’s success in the Advanced Studies in International Hotel Management Program at ITHQ is largely due to his ability to align, motivate and mobilize new generations to face the challenges of tomorrow through innovation and creative thinking.  In exchange, his students stimulate and motivate him to build brands that make a difference, that stand out, that are audacious.  

This is why he has surrounded himself with former students at Epik Collection and together, they make magic.

“MTLHC is an opportunity for students to work on a real project, and an opportunity for us to bring added value to a project that is altogether based on partnerships, exchange of ideas and innovative thinking.”

Épik Collection

David Connor

RVP – Eastern Canada Accor Hospitality | GM at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

He is a graduate of LaSalle College in Montreal and he has an MBA from Concordia University.

David Connor had the pleasure of working in Canada and the United States over my 35-year career.  Now back in Montreal with Accor as the RVP – Eastern Canada, he represent 6 fantastic hotels in Quebec, made up of  resorts, city center hotels, and iconic properties such as Fairmont The Chateau Frontenac and Fairmont Château Montebello. The most interesting thing is that in almost every hotel they have its own unique ownership group.  This diversity gives the opportunity to learn what is important to different types of investors while operating their world-class property.

Edith Perreault

Founder & President - AFFIRMA Marketing & Communication & Executive Business coach for entrepreneurs with objectives and ambitions of growth, influence and impact.

Edith Perreault has more than 25 years of professional experience in multimedia, including fifteen years in management positions in large Canadian companies.

As Vice-President of TVA Group and RNC Media, as well as the Executive Vice-President of QUEBECOR Media, she oversaw the synergistic and multidisciplinary business units of marketing, sales, commercialization, market intelligence and research, pricing, commercial production and media creativity. (Conglomerate in television, newspapers, magazines, Internet, outdoor advertising and events).

Edith has led the transformation and convergence of multimedia advertising networks and created global sales management for integrated media solutions for global customers in regional, local, provincial and national markets.

Indeed, she knows and masters the traditional, digital and emerging distribution and publication channels as well as the environments that govern the multiple facets of influence and intervention with different audiences.

In the fall of 2016, she founded AFFIRMA, a consulting firm specializing in support and strategic orientations, brand positioning, marketing, income generation, integrated marketing and communication plans and strategies as well as media relations.

AFFIRMA aims to: Collaborate and contribute significantly to the growth, reputation and influence of entrepreneurs, people, their brands, projects and ambitions.

“I greatly appreciate collaborating in the success, growth and action of emerging organizations and vocations that have a great impact in the economic, ecological, social and technological spheres”.

Edith works as a business coach for start-ups, entrepreneurship acceleration and growth DEL Longueuil, Esplanade-Impact 8, Espace-Inc, IVEO-mobility.

Ghani Kolli

Partner & Strategic Designer at Credo

A change agent and an insatiable entrepreneur, Ghani Kolli understands that creativity and innovation are essential in creating sustainable and innovative business models. Sales Director, General Manager and then CEO in companies in North Africa as well as in Canada, he is recognized for his managerial qualities and his strategic design skills. Certified by Strategyzer / HEC Montréal in innovation by business models, he is also recognized for his mastery of innovative methodologies Blue Ocean strategy, Design a Better Business, Design Thinking , Lean Startup, Customer Development, Business Model Generation. He recently added Regenerative economy design to his skills.

Credo

Marie-Michèle Thibault

Vice-President at Lotus Marketing Inc. | Professor & Consultant at the Institut de Tourisme et d'Hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ)

Language and travel lover, Marie-Michèle discovered her passion for the hotel industry during her internship in the sales department at The Westin Hotel & Resort in Cancun as part of the Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at UQAM. She then continued her path in sales & marketing by carrying out numerous hotel openings and repositionings, which became one of her career specialties. Her career has included the opening of prestigious hotels such as the Hotel W Montreal, Hotel Le Crystal and Bisha Hotel Toronto. In 2018, she joined the New Builds & Transition team at Marriott International and became the first Canadian to guide all openings of properties managed by Marriott and several franchisees in Canada and the United States. Her career with Marriott has allowed her to open 22 properties from a dozen different brands including JW Marriott, W Hotels, Autograph Collection, Delta Hotels and several Select Service brands (Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Residence Inn, etc.). Her love for hospitality also brought her back to ITHQ in 2019 as a Professor in the Hautes Études Internationales program, as a marketing consultant at the Center of Expertise and as Professor for the new Applied Bachelor of Hospitality Management program at ITHQ. Marie-Michèle recently participated in the opening of the important project Humaniti Hotel Montreal from the Autograph Collection by Marriott as Director of Sales & Marketing and will transition in September to a new position of Vice-President at Lotus Marketing Inc., an agency specialized in hotel openings and conversions.

Martin Lessard

General Manager at MT Lab

Martin Lessard is the general manager of MT Lab, an incubator of innovations and accelerator of opportunities in tourism, culture, and entertainment, that opened its doors in 2017. For 25 years now, M. Lessard has participated in the digital revolution at the beginning as a web site creator and as director of focus group in interactive advertising for a company named Cossette. Afterwards, as a social media strategist, blogger, podcaster and eventually as a lecturer at university. Furthermore, he also animated many conferences for the popularization of the digital industry and hosted many events in that same field. Passionate about what he does, M. Lessard was a radio columnist for the show La Sphère of Radio-Canada, for 10 years. Strong in is field, he was named by La Presse as one of the 8 influencers of Montreal.

Olena Zamkova

Director of Innovation and Experience Design at Épic Collection

Building better Business Models with unique value propositions is not for the weak, but Olena’s 20+ years as owner and manager of hotels and restaurants have made her fearless in the face of changes in both client expectations and business paradigms. Also a student in the Advances Studies in International Hotel Management program at ITHQ, her brilliant mind was noticed by a teacher who did not hesitate to take her under his wing: That teacher was Daniel Gallant. Together, they would both define the innovative path of Epik Collection. Olena understands the complexities of today’s business world and has the critical thinking needed to make smart, innovative choices in experience design with high impact on guest loyalty.

This critical thinking offers a clear path towards both profitability and long-term success for Epik Collection. Her ability to organize complex thought into a comprehensive path and then allow collaborators the creative freedom they need to obtain business objectives is one of the reasons for her success as Creative Director at Epik Collection. She is the Queen of multitasking, and the unrelentless force behind every Epik Collection project. Olena is both a teacher and an enabler at heart. Her nurturing nature allows her to bring out the best in those who work with her. She challenges the students who work side by side with us and is a catalyst for growth and making dreams come true.

Yves Lalumière

President and Chief Executive Officer at Tourisme Montréal

Yves Lalumière was appointed in August 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal. Active in the tourism industry since 1986, Mr. Lalumière holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Tourism from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Mr. Lalumière previously served for more than 20 years in management positions within American Express, particularly in the areas of business travel, air agreement negotiations and affairs with the Government of Canada. He joined Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) in 2006 as Vice President, Operations and Business Development, and was appointed Vice President, Distribution Network, in 2008. In November 2009, he was named Vice President and General Manager of Transat Distribution Canada and in 2011, assumed the role of President of Canada’s leading retail tour operator.

The Speakers

Valorie Kondos

Ted Talk Speaker

Valorie Kondos Field is the retired head coach of the  UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team.

During Valorie Kondos Field’s tenure, she led her team to seven NCAA Championships, was voted NCAA Coach of the Year four times and was voted the PAC 12 Coach of the Century for her solid track record as a preeminent head coach. During her life, Valorie Kondos was an inspiring source for everyone thanks to her extraordinary mentorship in gymnastics.

In this inspiring, brutally honest and, at times, gut-wrenching talk, she shares the secret to her success. Hint: it has nothing to do with “winning.”

Marie-Michèle Thibault

Vice-President at Lotus Marketing Inc. | Professor & Consultant at the Institut de Tourisme et d'Hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ)

Language and travel lover, Marie-Michèle discovered her passion for the hotel industry during her internship in the sales department at The Westin Hotel & Resort in Cancun as part of the Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at UQAM. She then continued her path in sales & marketing by carrying out numerous hotel openings and repositionings, which became one of her career specialties. Her career has included the opening of prestigious hotels such as the Hotel W Montreal, Hotel Le Crystal and Bisha Hotel Toronto. In 2018, she joined the New Builds & Transition team at Marriott International and became the first Canadian to guide all openings of properties managed by Marriott and several franchisees in Canada and the United States. Her career with Marriott has allowed her to open 22 properties from a dozen different brands including JW Marriott, W Hotels, Autograph Collection, Delta Hotels and several Select Service brands (Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Residence Inn, etc.). Her love for hospitality also brought her back to ITHQ in 2019 as a Professor in the Hautes Études Internationales program, as a marketing consultant at the Center of Expertise and as Professor for the new Applied Bachelor of Hospitality Management program at ITHQ. Marie-Michèle recently participated in the opening of the important project Humaniti Hotel Montreal from the Autograph Collection by Marriott as Director of Sales & Marketing and will transition in September to a new position of Vice-President at Lotus Marketing Inc., an agency specialized in hotel openings and conversions.

Sébastien Trottier

Vice-President at Morin Relations Publiques

With more than 20 years of experience, Sébastien Trottier has strong skills in strategic planning and issue management, but he also excels in managing complex projects. It is therefore a resource of choice both for its strategic contribution and for the excellence of the customer service it provides to its customers. For each project he has completed during his career, he has managed to combine his correct understanding of the client’s needs with the skill, thoroughness and finesse that characterizes him. The clients he serves know they can count on an accountable professional who will meet deadlines and budgets and who will ensure deliverables are of high quality.

With Morin RP since 2006, over the years he has carried out a wide variety of mandates for cities and other clients in the public and parapublic sectors. Sébastien is now one of the agency’s main trainers, particularly in media relations and public speaking. He enjoys analyzing and dissecting the media interviews he sees and hears every day. In training, he shares this passion for the media world with the participants who appreciate his dynamism and his sound advice.

Christiaan Uittenbosch

Founder of Smart Travel Lab

Christiaan is one of the co-founders of Smart Travel Lab & The Regeneration Collection, both dedicated  to accelerating the sustainable transition in hospitality and travel. 

With a background in strategy, innovation and sustainability, Christiaan will show you what the future of hospitality will look like and what are the exciting opportunities that come with it.

Smart Travel Lab

The Regeneration Collection

Willy Legrand

Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef

Willy Legrand has been a professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef – Bonn, Germany since 2003. Over the past 15 years, he established over two dozen undergraduate and graduate courses on sustainable development in tourism and hospitality management in Germany and as a visiting professor at universities in China, Dubai, Singapore, France, India, Peru and the United States. He is the lead author of Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Principles of Sustainable Operations, a leading textbook with a 4th edition planned for 2021. Social Entrepreneurship in the Hospitality Industry: Principles and Strategies for Change is its latest textbook, a timely addition tackling the many challenges facing the industry in the coming challenging decade. 

He is honored to be the Guest Chief Editor of the Hotel Yearbook Sustainable Hospitality 2018 and 2020 Special Editions and since 2019 he is co-chair of the HospitalityNet World Panel on Sustainability in Hospitality.

Daniel Gallant

Vice President at Épik Collection | President at Iceberg Consultants

Throughout his 35-year career in the hotel industry, Daniel Gallant has held a number of administrative and management positions, including those of the general manager and regional director for several hotel brands, including Le Méridien and Starwood.

Today, as the owner and co-director of hospitality and food service consulting and training firm, he works closely with several international chains. Through his in-depth knowledge of varying hotel environments, he has developed a broad overview and knowledge of the hospitality industry.

He understands change in customer expectations and behaviors and his innovative customer experience programs have proven that people are more important than the product.  

Daniel’s success in the Advanced Studies in International Hotel Management Program at ITHQ is largely due to his ability to align, motivate and mobilize new generations to face the challenges of tomorrow through innovation and creative thinking.  In exchange, his students stimulate and motivate him to build brands that make a difference, that stand out, that are audacious.  

This is why he has surrounded himself with former students at Epik Collection and together, they make magic.

“MTLHC is an opportunity for students to work on a real project, and an opportunity for us to bring added value to a project that is altogether based on partnerships, exchange of ideas and innovative thinking.”

Épik Collection

Brian Proulx

Owner at La Maison Boire

Owner of the restaurant “La Maison Boire”, Brian Proulx has an inspiring and ambitious background. Granby’s Maison Boire was recognized at the third Tourism Excellence Awards by the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec.

François Émond

Commissioner at the Quebec Energy Board

François Émond holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Université de Laval and a master’s degree in management and sustainable development from HEC-Montréal. He has worked in various federal and provincial ministerial offices and managed those of international relations, Environment and Sustainable development, energy and natural resources and Treasury Board.

MTLHC