Event & Hospitality Forum
This event starts on March 11th at 6:00 PM.
The Event & Hospitality Forum will bring together top executives and like-minded professionals from the event and hospitality industries.
The evening kicks off with dinner, drinks, and networking, where you’ll find fresh faces and reconnect with some familiar ones. Afterward, you will take a seat at a roundtable session where you will join in on a meaningful discussion regarding the event industry, new strategies within the industry, and how the industry is evolving.
The roundtable format is designed to create an open atmosphere for valuable group discussion. This is your opportunity to personally get to know some of the most talented and successful professionals within the industry.
Amir joined PRO EM as CEO in June 2011 and took over as Chairman of the Board in October 2016. He has recently resumed the role of CEO, and brings extensive experience as a Chief Executive Officer, Board Member and Entrepreneur.He has more than 25 years of experience in business turnarounds and growth management as well as experience in M&A transactions and private equity.
After serving in the Israeli Air Force as a Resources Allocation Coordination Officer, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from The College of Management in Rishon Le-Tzion, Israel. In 1993, he obtained his Certified Public Accountants License from The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is fluent in English, Hebrew and German. Amir serves as a member on the Board of Advisors of the Arizona Israel Technology Alliance, and a Founder and Managing Partner of Citrine Capital Partners.
Amir is a proud father to three beautiful daughters and has a passion for spiritual exploration, meditation, reading, hiking and dark chocolate.
Andrea Freeman is the founder and Principal designer for the New York City based event planning and production company – Andrea Freeman Events. For over a decade Andrea Freeman Events has created extraordinary celebrations around the globe for a diverse set of clients that have included private individuals, socialites, and red-carpet celebrities. Highly sought-after and in-demand Andrea is more than just a full-service event planner – she partners with her clients to not only turn their dreams into reality but exceed their expectations. She listens, responds, inspires, and creates events that strike the perfect balance between approachability and luxury. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in food, décor and entertainment, always focusing on the personalized details that make each event a one-of-a-kind experience. Her expertise and creative enthusiasm are why she enjoys such a loyal following among her clients.
Daniel H. Lesser, President & CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors has for more than forty years specialized in real estate appraisals, economic feasibility evaluations, investment counseling, asset management, and transactional services of hotels, resorts, conference centers, casinos, mixed use facilities, spa & wellness, and timeshare/fractional ownership properties on a worldwide basis. Mr. Lesser provides services to corporate, institutional, municipalities, and individual clients on all facets of hospitality real estate including: litigation support and expert testimony, site evaluation, highest and best use analysis, appraisals for mortgage, acquisition, and portfolio management, workout strategies, operational analysis, property tax assessment appeal evaluations, economic impact studies, market and feasibility analysis, asset management, strategic planning, management company selection and contract negotiation, franchise company selection and license agreement negotiation, deal structuring and fairness opinions. As a leading international authority with iron clad credibility on the topic of hotel feasibility and property valuation, Mr. Lesser has testified as an expert witness in U.S. federal and state courts, and arbitrations in connection with a wide variety of matters including: bankruptcy related including solvency, valuation dispute, and interest rate and plan confirmation feasibility, analysis, brand area of protection, condemnation, construction defect and/or delay damages, ground/property rent reset, management dispute, partnership/joint venture conflict, property tax certiorari, and lodging industry standards, customs and practices to evaluate legal liability. Mr. Lesser has balanced his practice with service as neutral panelist in commercial arbitration disputes.
Prior to his hospitality advisory experience, Mr. Lesser held operational and administrative positions with Hilton Hotels Corporation and Eurotels-Switzerland. He is highly sought after to speak at lodging and real estate events, as well as lectures at prestigious institutions of higher education, including American University Washington College of Law, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University and Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Lesser is widely published and quoted in major newspaper, internet, business, real estate and hospitality industry publications, and has served as a quarterly columnist for HotelNewsNow.com and HotelBusiness.com, and is currently the quarterly lodging columnist for GlobeSt.com and a bi-monthly blogger for Hotelsmag.com.
Mr. Lesser earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University, and also attended the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland and Baruch College- City University of New York. Mr. Lesser holds the following professional designations: MAI (Member of the Appraisal Institute), FRICS (Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), CRE (Counselor of Real Estate), and CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator).
Mr. Lesser is a member of and has served on numerous committees for the Counselors of Real Estate, the Appraisal Institute, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Board of Directors of the New York City Chapter of the Cornell Hotel Society. He is a former Advisory Board member and member of the Fundraising Subcommittee for the New York University Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. Mr. Lesser is a member of The Penn State School of Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board and served as the schools Fall 2015 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. He is a founding member of the Lodging Industry Investment Council (LIIC), the hotel industry “think tank.” Mr. Lesser is a member of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Panel of Neutrals. He is an advisory board member of the annual Radical Innovation Award. Mr. Lesser served as an Honorary Committee Member of the annual UJA-Federation New York Hotel & Hospitality Division Dinner and was a founding member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Real Estate Division. He has served on the fundraising committee for the Shatterproof Challenge at the 2016 and 2017 Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS). Mr. Lesser serves as a Senior Advisor to the Founder and President of Our Soldiers Speak, a U.S. based, non-profit NGO with official 501(c)(3) status.
David Adler, CEO and Founder of BizBash, (www.bizbash.com) is a veteran media and event entrepreneur. He founded BizBash as an idea and resource marketplace for event organizers of all types from corporate and association planners, to those who plan high-end personal and social events. His site has become the largest media property in the business-to-business event industry with nearly 2 million annual user sessions. He has also been an advisor to the State Department in areas of protocol and events. Previously, he was vice president of corporate communications for Primedia and Macmillan Publishers. Upon graduating from American University, he founded, operated, and successfully sold a society and political magazine for the nation’s capital called Washington Dossier.
From the age of 12, Jeff Brosi was always passionate about the Food & Beverage Industry as he had his first job bussing tables and washing dishes in restaurants and catering halls. That curiosity led him to becoming one of the Founders and Managing Partners of In Good Company Hospitality, a thriving food and beverage company primarily located in New York City and its surrounding boroughs. Jeff attended college at Mount St. Vincent and received his Masters Degree in School Counseling from St. John’s University. In 2002, Jeff was part of the opening team at the company’s first venue, Metro 53, a 5,000 square foot Bar and Restaurant located in New York City’s Midtown East neighborhood. The success of Metro 53 led to the future opulence of two other venues; Saloon (located on the Upper East Side) and Libation (located in the Lower East Side). Using the well-established model of existing concepts and the natural progression of professionalism, Jeff and his partners created “In Good Company Hospitality”, a full-service Hospitality company in 2009. IGCH currently owns and operates many accomplished food & beverage concepts since its inception, including: Refinery Rooftop, Parker & Quinn and Winnie’s Jazz Bar – all located in Refinery Hotel, where Jeff worked alongside Hotel Ownership to develop the spaces, concepts, and operations. Most recently, Jeff played a lead role in opening IGC’s newest concept, “Trademark Taste + Grind”, located in the Le Soleil Hotel. Jeff and IGC, worked with Le Soleil Ownership to assist in opening the well-known West Coast brand’s first East Coast operation in Midtown, Manhattan. Still just as passionate (if not more so) about the industry, Jeff’s favorite part of working in Hospitality is the people and the idea of creating a positive experience in addition to leaving a lasting and memorable impression. Jeff oversees 400 employees and believes in the true value of hard work, and determination, but more importantly, the investment in his staff to help them grow and succeed as individuals. Currently Jeff is hands-on in all facets of the company, but focuses primarily on conceptual development, lease negotiations, financials and branding, to name a few. The Brosi family legacy, which includes 40+ years of active service in the FDNY, has served as his inspiration to the personal growth and development of himself and others. Jeff currently resides in Bayside, Queens.
As Executive Vice President of Ticketing, Suites and Corporate Hospitality, John Abbamondi is responsible for driving sales, retention, customer service and growth initiatives for all tickets, clubs and premium hospitality products across all of the company’s sports and entertainment assets, including MSG’s professional teams, famed showplaces and original productions. Mr. Abbamondi defines and institutes strategic and operational performance standards for sales, operations and service across departmental functions, which include: season subscriptions, service and retention, individual and group tickets and premium hospitality. Mr. Abbamondi has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry, including team and league positions at the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Prior to joining MSG in 2016, Mr. Abbamondi served as Senior Vice President of Team Marketing and Business Operations for the NBA. In this role, he was responsible for growing NBA team profitability through strategic consulting on all aspects of business operations, including ticket and suite sales and service, corporate partnerships, marketing and digital, and arena development and operations. Before joining the NBA in 2013, Mr. Abbamondi was Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis for the San Diego Padres, overseeing a team that was charged with long-term strategic planning and project management. Previously, he served as Assistant General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, where he helped lead all aspects of the club’s Major League operations, including professional scouting, analytics and contract negotiations. Mr. Abbamondi began his sports career at Major League Baseball as part of the League’s Labor Relations Department. Before beginning his career in sports, Mr. Abbamondi served nine years as a U.S. Navy flight officer and is a two-time recipient of the Navy Air Medal with 40 combat missions over Iraq. He earned a Bachelor of Science in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Liron’s 17+ years of experience in the events industry has taught him to be hands-on with his teams and clients, meticulous with details, and to maintain a calm demeanor under any circumstance. These tenets have helped ensure that every event is produced to the highest possible standards. As an entrepreneur and innovator, Liron is instinctively always on the hunt for the most cutting edge technologies and designs to present to his clients. He’s an advocate for trying new methodologies and ideas in only the most sensible of environments, which he attributes to the trusted relationships he has developed with Fortune 500 companies, global non-profit organizations, and executives and personalities. A native New Yorker who got his start in the event industry as a touring nightclub DJ and corporate emcee, Liron is never the stiff official in the background of an event — he will often be found mingling amongst guests, using his effervescent personality to set the evening’s tone. With his great attention to detail and passion for every part of the production and design process, Liron continually surpasses client expectations and transforms visions into truly unforgettable events.
Growing up in the business at his father’s restaurant in Rockaway Beach, Terence learned the vast knowledge needed to be successful in the business; most importantly, community participation and government activism. In 2002, while attending College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, Terence and his brother Dan, opened Metro 53. With the success of their first endeavor, In Good Company Hospitality has gone on to launch eight more concepts over the last 12 years; including Park Avenue Tavern, Refinery Rooftop, Trademark Taste + Grind, and Bungalow Bar to name a few. Terence’s most recent accomplishments include: Bringing the world-famous cocktail bar “Employees Only” to Miami Beach at The Washington Park Hotel. Brokering the deal between Highgate Hotels and Witkoff Group, the property is sure to be successful. In the spring of 2016, IGC launched Trademark Taste & Grind with Le Soliel Hotels. In a joint venture with Executive Hotels and Resorts, IGC embarked on bringing the west coast company’s first hotel venture in NYC to fruition from ground up. In 2016, FelCor Lodging Trust asked IGC to launch and open their signature rooftop, “St. Cloud” at their luxurious 5 star hotel, The Knickerbocker. With continued success in hotel operations and partnerships, Terence is most proud of the work IGC did with the Refinery Hotel. Under his leadership, the Refinery Hotel was Named a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award Winner in its’ opening year, with a 94 percent approval rating – one of only three hotels to make the list. Staying true to his family’s Broad Channel roots, Terence enjoys donating his time and resources to the greater NYC community, and is committed to sustaining and maintaining the culturally rich history of the New York City hospitality industry.
Allison Geller is the founder and creative director of Madeleine Marketing, a boutique marketing agency focused on food & beverage and hospitality, among other industries. Leading an agile team of designers, photographers, writers and SEO strategists, she combines creativity with marketing savvy to consistently deliver effective direct marketing and creative services. Before founding her own agency, she worked at the WPP agency The Food Group, helping large food brands with marketing and brand strategy. And as a journalist with bylines in places like The Financial Times, The Atlantic online, and other outlets, Allison knows the value of a good story.
Ben is a Manhattan native and has worked in the NYC events industry for more than 12 years. He founded a concert booking and promotion company while in high school producing concerts at venues such as Brooklyn Bowl and Webster Hall. Acts Ben has booked include Zoe Kravitz fronted-Elevator Fight, American Authors, Mitchy C (now frontman of Lovelytheband), and The Parlor Mob. After college, Ben transitioned into the hospitality and dating industries where he has worked with clients including CitySwoon (Australia's #1 singles events company), Carmine's Times Square (#2 restaurant in Manhattan), JCrush, BTL SVC, Pisco Porton, and Qui Tequila. He has secured media coverage for his clients in Metro New York and the New York Post as well as on NY1. Currently, Ben is producing weekly events in NYC and two events a month in DC with plans to expand to Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago this year for his client CitySwoon.
Daniel Cline is a hotel digital marketing expert and the Director of Strategic Accounts for Tambourine, a digital marketing and e-commerce agency for the hotel and travel industry. He has spent most of his career in the hospitality industry working for companies such as Ian Schrager Hotels, Restaurant Associates, Starwood and Hilton. He is a tech researcher, advisor to hospitality startups and a contributor to LODGING Magazine as a thought leader on digital marketing within the hotel space.
Itay is a graduate of Yizrael Valley College in Behavioral Science. He has worked as an informal educator with Israel’s Ministry of Education and is an expert in Israel and Jewish identity education. He has experience leading short-term immersive and long-term education programming to facilitate diverse Jewish learning experiences.
Itay led and founded numerous social justice programs in Israel for students to come and meet Israel’s backyard and support the asylum seeker community and children in South Tel-Aviv before becoming one of the co-founders of Esperanso, the first Socially Responsible Tourism Company in Israel. You may find Esperanso featured in the Jewish Journal, Ynet and Jewish Independent.
Itay's mission is to change the way people travel and create a positive social change in every destination in the world through travel. Esperanso is empowering local communities, Non-profits, Youth in danger, local artists and more with their unique approach.
Itay is a certified Good Travel Advisor
In his free time, Itay likes to play basketball, do boxing, read and travel.
After getting his graduate degree from Columbia, Jonathan moved to Philadelphia in the Fall of 2010. He spent six years in Philadelphia, participating heavily in the Jewish community through organizations such as Tribe12, Jewish Federation, NMAJH, and more. It was through the Tribe12 Fellowship that his career in food and event hospitality really began. As his capstone project for the fellowship, Jonathan founded and launched Pop Up Foodie Shabbat, geared towards young Jewish professionals and provides unique, exciting and, above all, delicious Shabbat dinners to all. The Pop Up Foodie Shabbat concept aims to create a relaxed Shabbat dinner environment that appeals to Jews across the spectrum—at its core, this program draws young professionals together over a shared love of delicious food and an inclusive, festive Shabbat atmosphere. A few months later, Jonathan opened J2Food (www.jsquaredfood.com), a boutique, Kosher catering company cooking for various special events, parties and more—both Jewish and not.
After moving back to New York City in October 2016, Jonathan brought both J2Food, as well its showcase program of Pop Up Foodie Shabbat with him. Each of his events sells out, and he typically hosts between 50-130 young Jews, depending on the venue. J2Food also offers personal chef services, monthly cooking classes, weekly meal plans, and special menu packages. In addition, J2Food regularly works with and collaborates with a number of Jewish organizations including: Hazon, JCC Harlem, Moishe House, Jewish Grad Network, Chabad UES, Kugel, OneTable, Shabbatness, and more around NYC and beyond.
Justin is the Cofounder of GKM Residential dining, a firm that specializes in providing foodservice to people at transitional periods in their lives. GKM is celebrating its ten year anniversary and currently operates in seventeen states.
Lindsay Clarken is a seasoned event professional with over 10 years’ experience producing events for various industries such as sports, entertainment, fashion, and non-profit.
Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Event Strategy and Logistics for The Madison Square Garden Company. In this role, she produces corporate events across all of MSG’s sports and entertainment assets, as well as corporate partners, ticket holder, and fan events.
Prior to joining MSG, Lindsay worked for Macy’s Parade and Entertainment group focusing on retail events and landmark projects such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Fourth of July Fireworks.
With a strong passion for the industry, Lindsay brings a comprehensive understanding to all aspects of event production.
With over 10 years of luxury hospitality experience, Liz brings her expertise to Luxury Attaché, having launched several membership programs in private clubs from New York City to the Hamptons. A native Floridian, Liz holds a BA from Rollins College and sits on the board of many local charities as well as being closely involved with the Diabetes Research Institute.
Yoni Lautman has been involved in the catering industry for over 20 years now. Most recently he was in charge of a high-volume catering company managing their production and operations. He now has his own company where he combines both his love for food and healthy eating to create menus that go against the common belief that “healthy “ food has to be difficult and boring. He also serves as an advisor to food start ups looking to produce on a large scale.
After 10 years working in the Hospitality Industry, Ariel M. Weinshanker launched Vosant Meetings, a bespoke Hotel Sourcing and Travel Services company, in New York City. She loves working with her clients to find the ideal Hotel and Travel solutions that can bring their dreams to life!
Ariel’s expertise comes from years of working for exceptional Hospitality companies including Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Chatwal New York, Hotel Del Coronado, Marriott International and Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa. Ms. Weinshanker is a proud graduate of Cal Poly Pomona where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management and a Minor in Marketing.
Carolyn Nosnik joined HelmsBriscoe as Manager, Global Accounts in 2017. Based out of Manhattan, New York, Carolyn thrives on the energy of the city, bringing a unique passion for networking and travel to help her clients find the best resort, venue or hotel suited to their needs.
Since graduating from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in communication, Carolyn has held a variety of roles in public relations, advertising and marketing. With more than seven years of experience in hotel sales, Carolyn has worked at the Soho Grand and the Tribeca Grand (recently rebranded, The Roxy Hotel) and was on the executive team that opened Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York as a Senior Sales Manager. These roles have allowed her to work with both top corporations and emerging start-up companies, building on her ability to handle the various needs of her clients. Carolyn is a believer that you only live once, so make sure you do it all, and to the best of your ability! She is excited to assist you with your next meeting.
Jessica is the CEO and Creative Director of Jessica Jordan Events, a Manhattan-based luxury event planning company. Jessica has had the privilege of managing every type of function from corporate meetings and political fundraisers, to extravagant celebrity social gatherings. She has received countless accolades such as the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award and Top Producer of Catering Professionals in North America within Starwood Hotels & Resorts. You may find her lovely couples featured in the New York Times Vows Style edition, New York Magazine, Brides, etc. She proudly served as Vice President of the New York Chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding, the world’s first non-profit wish granting organization for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances from 2015-2019. Additional hobbies include spending time with her dog Wrigley and watching BRAVO.
Mark Rothman founded Magma Global in August 2012 and has grown it into a fully operational travel concierge company servicing hundreds of clients worldwide with offices in New York and LA. The company clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses to private individuals and families. Mark’s first job out of college was in the mailroom of Innovative Artist’s New York office where after two months he rose to assistant to two talent agents and went onto to work for movie and theater producer Scott Rudin amongst others. A life long New Yorker, Mark graduated Williams College in 2005 with a BA and a degree in English and American Studies.
Travis Weiss owns and operates the Wilshire Caterers in West Orange N.J. His Grandfather, Mickey Weiss, began baking at the Wilshire in 1952 after surviving Auschwitz and moving to the United States to start a new life. Nearly 15 years ago, his father David fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing the 89-room hotel and catering venue. Travis considers it both a blessing and privilege to live the American Dream each and every day he goes to work with his amazing team.
Blaire Gansman has spent her career in the nonprofit and higher education sector producing a wide range of conferences and events. Her passion for the hospitality industry and providing positive experiences for attendees is what drives her to succeed. Blaire currently manages the research meeting and conference portfolio for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
As the resident VR technology, floorplan and seating chart expert, Rebecca Salem leads As the resident VR technology, floorplan and seating chart expert, Rebecca Salem leads AllSeated’s customer service team. When she’s not busy hosting weekly tutorial webinars, you can find her walking clients through AllSeated VR and amazing them with the futureof event tech while assisting users with any and all questions. For the last four years, she’s had a front row seat to seeing firsthand how AllSeated has revolutionized the event industry and enjoys getting to know so many event professionals globally.
New to the corporate scene, Riley Jacobs is connecting clients to the vibrant and newly enhanced Coney Island. Riley comes to NY from Ohio, where she began her career at Ohio University producing events for the alumni and donors as well as the university’s president. Riley currently manages event sales and marketing for Legends Hospitality at Kitchen 21 where weddings, bar mitzvah’s, corporate and private parties can blossom in the historical landmark.