meet the team

Our team of experts is more than equipped to help you craft the perfect meeting. Look for their email addresses below and do not hesitate to contact one of them right away to start planning!

Meet the Pros

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Bob Geller

Director of Sales & Marketing

Bob Geller

Director of Sales & Marketing

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 Farleigh Dickerson 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.

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Paul Perrino

Director of Group Sales

Northest

Paul Perrino

Director of Group Sales

Northest

Born in Connecticut, Alan began his career as a Chef apprentice at the age of 15 and worked his way up to Executive Sous Chef after receiving his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Having had enough of the cold weather, Alan transferred to Florida International University in North Miami, Florida and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management. While at FIU, Alan spent two years working at the front desk of the historic Fontainebleau Hotel on South Beach and found a love for customer service. He has spent the next 18 years growing his career from a Catering Convention Service Manager with Hyatt until finding his true passion in sales. For 15 years Alan has been honing his skills, having the opportunity to work for some amazing brands, most recently the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. After his time with Waldorf and Hilton, Alan joined the team at Reunion Resort and truly came full circle, taking advantage of his roots to become the northeast territory sales manager. Even after 15 years in sales Alan still refers to himself as a Chef that just happens to be in sales.

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Karen Niederdorfer

National Sales Manager

Midwest & Canada

Karen Niederdorfer

National Sales Manager

Midwest & Canada

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.

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Natalya Yakovleva

National Sales Manager

Southeast

Natalya Yakovleva

National Sales Manager

Southeast

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.”

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Wendy Wade

National Sales Manager

Mid-Atlantic & SMERF

Wendy Wade

National Sales Manager

Mid-Atlantic & SMERF

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.

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Emily Holbrook

Director Regional Sales

West Coast

Emily Holbrook

Director Regional Sales

West Coast

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.

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Julie Kissel

Director Regional Sales

Florida State Associations

Julie Kissel

Director Regional Sales

Florida State Associations

"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."

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Melissa Brooks

Tour & Travel Sales Manager

Melissa Brooks

Tour & Travel Sales Manager

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.

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Eric Carlson

Golf Sales Manager

Central Florida & Northeast

Eric Carlson

Golf Sales Manager

Central Florida & Northeast

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.

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Shawn Thorimbert

Golf Sales Manager

Northern Florida & Southeast

Shawn Thorimbert

Golf Sales Manager

Northern Florida & Southeast

With over 20 years in the golf industry serving many different roles, both in administration and sales, Brian brings his passion for creating a memorable golf experience to Reunion Resort. Brian is a Class-A Member of the PGA of America and has served nearly all of his time here in Central Florida catering to the needs of golfers throughout the United States and beyond. Prior to joining the team at Reunion, Brian was with Professional Golf Services and spent much of his time working with the North Florida PGA officiating events, as well as tournament administration. Being well rounded in golf outings and events, Brian is dedicated to using his expertise to exceed a group’s expectations.

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Paul Barrett

Tournament Sales Manager

Paul Barrett

Tournament Sales Manager

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.

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Heidi Baez

Heidi Baez

Director of Catering and Conference Services

Heidi Baez

Heidi Baez

Director of Catering and Conference Services

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.

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Lisa New

Sr. Catering Sales Manager

Lisa New

Sr. Catering Sales Manager

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.

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