skip to Main Content

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

Rajan Zed

For over 11 years, Rajan has produced “Faith Forum,” a weekly interfaith panel in the Reno Gazette-Journal. He is the interfaith relations officer for the Nevada Interfaith Association. He is also president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, a member of the Interfaith Peace Project’s advisory board, and has been a panelist for “On Faith,” The Washington Post’s prestigious interactive conversation on religion. Rajan has read opening prayers in both bodies of the United States Congress. He holds an MBA degree from University of Nevada-Reno and a master’s degree in mass communications from San Jose State University.

Jeff Ment

Jeff is the founder of The Ment Law Group, an NTA Corporate Partner. With 30 years of experience representing travel companies, he is able to best represent the many facets of the travel industry, including tour operators, vendors, DMCs, travel agents, transportation companies, and trade associations. Jeff counsels clients on our industry’s best practices, including contract terms, compliance with government regulations, risk assessment, crisis response, and employment issues. Jeff also represents travel companies in litigation throughout the country. His background in the travel industry includes working as a travel agent, a tour guide, and a sales manager for two airlines.

Dr. Terry Nelson

Dr. Nelson is a professor of leadership and the associate dean for the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She holds an MBA and a Ph.D. in business administration. Her scholarly background is enhanced with more than 17 years in leadership roles at two Fortune 500 companies (Kroger and Coca-Cola Enterprises) and as a bank officer. As a college instructor, she received the 2017 Organizational Behavior Teaching Society New Educator Award and the 2018 UAA Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Promoting Student Achievement. She is a board development committee member of the Girl Scouts of Alaska and the faculty advisor for the UAA Alaska Middle College School Tom Case Leadership Fellows Junior Program.

William J. Caldwell, CPA

With his extensive knowledge of tax codes combined with strong accounting skills, CEO William “Bill” J. Caldwell is able to help clients realize their dreams. Using his generalist approach to accounting as an asset to small business entrepreneurs, he opened the doors of Caldwell CPAs in 2002 and in 2016 created a department within the firm that focuses on the tourism industry. Bill is a sought-after speaker, having presented at NTA, ABA, SYTA, ITMI, and local guide associations. During the pandemic, Bill conducted virtual webinars, educating tourism professionals on tax saving opportunities as well as navigating the CARES ACT programs. Travel is a passion of Bill’s, and one of his favorite activities is planning his next trip!

Lisa Curtin

Lisa Curtin has 20-plus years of experience in the tourism industry, holding senior management roles in operations and sales. In her tenure with ET- Educational Tours and Brightspark Travel US, Lisa and her team were responsible for the operation of all tours, including contracting with suppliers. She managed client communication and business operations through 9/11 and other geo-political incidents as they affected the tourism industry. In 2016, Lisa changed the course of her career, joining Caldwell CPAs as chief operations officer. There, Lisa combined her knowledge of the tour industry with the firm’s knowledge of taxation to serve the tourism industry as a consultant and as a presenter at industry conferences.

Sheila Scarborough

Sheila is a speaker, trainer, and writer specializing in tourism, travel, and social media. Along with Leslie McLellan, she’s part of the Tourism Currents team, offering online and in-person training in social media marketing for tourism, hospitality, and economic development. Sheila co-founded and still writes for the award-winning Perceptive Travel blog, helps run #tourismchat on Twitter and Facebook, serves on the advisory board for the South by Southwest conference and also serves on both the education committee for the Texas Association of CVBs and the legislative committee for the Texas Downtown Association. A U.S. Navy veteran and Navy Master Training Specialist, Sheila is an NHRA drag racing fan because there’s one winner, one loser, and no whining.

Laura Powell

A nationally-recognized expert in the areas of travel and wellness, Laura Powell has long served as a  consultant for industry associations and DMOs. Currently, she runs her consultancy while also serving as special assignments editor for Organic Spa Media. Other recent roles include wellness analyst for RLA Global (2021) and luxury and wellness editor for Skift (2017-2020). Laura has written wellness white papers for a range of clients, including the Global Wellness Summit and the OCTAVE Institute, and she is the chief content developer for Wellness Travel University, a certification course for North American travel advisors.

Kate Cox

Kate Cox launched her career in destination marketing at the nation’s top tourism destination outside of New York City: Las Vegas, Nevada. She has coordinated marketing efforts in multiple other industries, but tourism and travel are her true calling. Kate earned her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and her MBA from University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She currently serves as marketing coordinator for Cochise County Tourism & Economic Council.

John Sutherland

John Sutherland (he/him) is the director of community impact at Tourism Cares. He started his career in the travel industry 10 years ago working for tour operators and has spent the last five years working on impact and social responsibility.

Brad Montgomery

Brad Montgomery, CSP, CPAE, is a motivational keynote speaker for business, healthcare and association audiences. He speaks on the People Side of Performance—How to get More out of Yourself and the People Around You. Brad has spoken in all 50 states and on four continents, and he is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Microsoft called his presentation “a hilarious boost to the bottom line.” You can learn more about this award-winning, funny and fresh keynoter with a message connecting soft skills to bottom-line growth on BradMontgomery.com

Erik Wolf

Erik Wolf is recognized as the founder of the modern food tourism industry and the World Food Travel Association. He is a highly-sought speaker, thought leader, strategist and consultant—in the US and abroad—on food and drink tourism issues, and is considered the go-to resource on food and beverage tourism for a wide variety of media outlets that include CNN, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NBC, Forbes, Click by Booking.com, PeterGreenberg.com, Huffington Post, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He advises leading global brands such as World Travel Market, Absolut, American Express, Disney, Marriott, and Royal Caribbean, and organizations such as UNESCO and UNWTO. His articles, research, and books have been translated into dozens of languages.

Bret Simmons

Bret L. Simmons, Ph.D., is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Management at the University of Nevada, Reno. He teaches Executive MBA, MBA, and undergraduate courses in organizational behavior and leading change. Bret organized TEDxUniversityofNevada from 2013-2020 and TEDxReno in 2022. You can connect to him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Larry Mersereau

Smart leaders and marketers know who to turn to for ideas and insights they’ll use to grow their organizations … and their own careers: Larry Mersereau. Niched as a differentiation specialist, he is the only speaker who shares the simple, doable, and effective growth strategies and tactics that made his four books so popular and have helped so many organizations and individuals succeed.

Back To Top