Leading the Sales and Marketing team, Bob Geller has nearly 28 years of hospitality experience. These include: management positions with The Waldorf Astoria in New York City, sales and leadership roles at Doral Arrowwood Conference Center, Hilton and Starwood Hotels in New Jersey and Orlando Florida and most recently from The Westin Imagine Orlando. The Fairleigh Dickinson University graduate and member of several professional organizations, including Meeting Professionals International and Professional Convention Management Association, oversees all sales-related functions for Reunion’s meetings and convention business, as well as catering, golf group sales and local marketing initiatives.
Paul’s vast experience in hospitality makes him a valuable player in the meeting and event industry. Having worked in various positions and fields, Paul understands what it takes to make a successful meeting happen. His background includes serving as the Director of Sales within the largest audio visual company in the world, selling and managing transportation for the Southeast’s largest transportation company, and creating events with the largest destination management company in Florida. However, a majority of Paul’s core time and competencies lie in representing luxury hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Walt Disney World’s luxury properties, LXR Hotels, the Grand Cypress Resort, and now the Four Diamond Reunion Resort. Paul traveled the world as an Army Brat before settling in Orlando and graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. He loves to spend his spare time with his two children at the beach, as well as assisting people with their fitness and health goals.
Bringing over 22 years in the hospitality industry to the team, Karen started her career in New England working for such brands as Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton hotels. In Orlando, Karen worked at the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, was on the opening team of the Hilton Orlando at the Convention Center and most recently represented the Connecticut Convention Center as a remote National Sales Manager for Waterford Venue Services. As a University of Hartford graduate, Karen has been an active member of Professional Convention Management Association, Meeting Professionals International, Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association, as well as the American Society of Association Executives. Primarily managing the Midwest Market, Karen is well versed in all market segments and prides herself on the strong relationships she has built among her clients.
A native of Ufa, Russia, Natalya Yakovleva is an avid traveler with a passion for white sand beaches and the Floridian lifestyle enjoyed by Orlando residents & visitors. As one of the ARRIVED scholars, Natalya moved to North Carolina to study Resort Management and Marketing at Methodist University, where she fell in love with golf and the resort business. Having worked in some of the world’s most inspiring golf resorts (Pinehurst and Omni at ChampionsGate) and upscale hotels (JW Marriott Miami and Westin Orlando Universal), Natalya brings over 15 years of hospitality experience, from Front Desk operations and food and beverage to sales and marketing. Passionate, driven and dedicated, Natalya has even taken up golf lessons at nearby David Leadbetter Golf Academy. “I love golf and business with the same passion. Golf introduces so much excitement into your world - friendship, improvement, challenge, and relaxation. I feel the same way about the industry I am in. I believe in the product I’m offering, and, I’m even more thrilled to help my clients find the solutions they’ve been searching for.”
With over 20 years of industry experience, Wendy understands and believes in the importance of building strong, long term relationships with not only her clients but industry suppliers, Convention and Visitors Bureaus and industry associations alike. An active member of the hospitality community with PCMA, ASAE, MPI and IAEE for over 15 years, Wendy started her career with the Westin Peachtree Plaza in 1995. She stayed with Starwood Hotels and Resorts for the majority of her career, spending her final five years with them as the Director of Citywide Sales overseeing all 9 Starwood hotels in the Atlanta area. Wendy continued her career as Vice President of Sales for Hotel Connections based in Miami, Florida and was responsible for implementing a strategic sales plan and building new reservations systems for the large convention and tradeshow industry. Her strong focus on brand development and leading growth in the industry through customer relationship marketing and maintaining brand awareness in the industry has made Wendy a great addition to the Salamander Hotels & Resorts team as one of our National Sales Managers. She attended the University of Georgia and lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida with her two children, Harrison and Halle, and her Old English Sheep Dog, Jagger.
Emily joined the Salamander team in May 2016 as the Regional Sales Manager for the West Coast market. She brings with her 15 years of sales experience and most recently was with the New York Palace Hotel. She’s has also worked for InterContinental Hotels and Taj Hotels & Resorts. Emily has a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Southern California.
In September 2014 Julie joined the Salamander team as the Director, Regional Sales for the Florida State Association market. She brings with her 18 years of hotel sales experience in various Florida resorts.
Based in Jupiter, FL Julie is responsible for selling Salamander’s growing portfolio: Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay, Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, and The Henderson in Destin. Julie is on the Associate Advisory Committee for the Florida Society of Association Executives. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation & Hospitality Management from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southern University.
Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, Melissa’s career has been leading up to her position as Tour & Travel Sales manager. Starting as a Business Travel Consultant with American Express Travel Related Services to the leisure clients of Liberty Travel Squirrel Hill she then made her way to Florida to continue her career on the operations side of the industry. As the sales and reservations manager with a small vacation home company in Clermont, FL she began molding and shaping her industry knowledge to join the team at Reunion Resort. Having been a part of the pre-opening staff she has worked her way up through the ranks over the past 10 years from administrative and Executive Assistant to the General Manager to her current position handling the leisure wholesale market for Salamander Hotels & Resorts. Melissa also helped to cultivate the community committee at Reunion as well as having won the 2011 CFHLA Golden Pineapple Award for Community Service.
With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Eric services the Northeast and Central Florida markets for Reunion Resort. As a University of Maine at Machias graduate, Eric is ready to create a memorable experience for your group golf outing, charity/celebrity tournament or incentive trip. Prior to joining the Salamander Hotels & Resorts team, Eric was part of the opening team for the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, serving as their Golf and Corporate Sales Manager. Eric has also spent time at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Naples Grande Resort & Club, and Wild Dunes Resort, and has been named Manager of the Year for his exceptional work ethic and attention to detail.
Shawn returns to Reunion Resort following time as the Director of Operations for the ANNIKA
Academy before it closed in 2016. Before his time at the Academy, he was the Director of Business Development for the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, and then spent nine years as the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Shawn attended school in Baltimore, Maryland at Loyola University and spent seven years in Atlanta, Georgia as a professional Hockey representative for Franklin Sports before moving to Miami, Florida in 2003. He is married to wife Nery, and has two children – Brian, 24, who recently graduated from FIU with a degree in Engineering and now lives and works in Orlando, Florida, and Celine, 21, who is currently studying Nursing at FIU. Shawn loves to travel, and counts Australia and Vancouver, Canada as two of his favorite destinations. When he’s not working, Shawn tries to play as much golf as he can and enjoys cycling and photography.
Originally from Bristol, England, Paul brings to the team 10 years of experience in the golf industry. Previously with Celebration Golf Management, Paul served as the Area Sales Manager selling tournament outings for 9 courses in the Central Florida area. Paul joined the team at Reunion Resort in 2014 and handles all day and charity golf tournaments. In 2015, Paul brought the concept of FootGolf to Reunion Resort and helped launch it into a successful program catering towards families, groups and guests who are looking for a unique spin on traditional golf. With his passion for creating unique and memorable golf tournaments, Paul is dedicated to ensuring the success of a charity or corporate group outing.
Heidi Emerson has nearly 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry, which includes positions with the Brown Palace and Westin Tabor Center in Denver, Colorado, The Gaylord Texan in Dallas, Texas, and most recently, The Gaylord Palms in Orlando. Heidi is a graduate of Western State College in beautiful Gunnison Colorado and has achieved her Certified Hotel Sales Professional accreditation. She has a passion for the industry and loves leading her team and servicing guests. Heidi oversees the Catering, Conference Service, Golf Services and Banquets Teams.
Lisa New has over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Lisa has gained her experience working in catering, weddings and conventions with leading hotel companies such as Renaissance Hotels, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Fairy Tale Weddings and most recently, The Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Lisa is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management. Lisa is a member of the National Association for Catering & Events and participates in many local wedding organizations and events. Lisa applies her vast experience to produce amazing wedding events, special occasion celebrations and corporate meetings here at Reunion.