Home TAA 2022 panelists



Charles Sylvia, ECC
Vice President of Industry and Trade Relations
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Charles Sylvia, ECC is Vice President of Industry and Trade Relations with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Charles has been an active CLIA member since 1994, when he embarked on a career in cruise sales and marketing as a front-line travel agent at a brick-and-mortar agency in his hometown near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

After 16 years specializing in group cruises on the leisure side of the business, Charles moved to the corporate side, producing meetings, incentives, conferences, and events aboard cruise ships.

In his role at CLIA, Charles champions the interests of CLIA’s North American Travel Trade Membership, comprised of more than 46,500 travel agency owners and agents, and he serves as primary liaison for the CLIA Strategic Trade Advisory and Review Board (STARBoard) and the CLIA Trade Relations Committee.


Vicki Freed
Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service
Royal Caribbean International

As Royal Caribbean International’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed oversees the company’s sales force, the largest and most awarded sales team in the cruise industry. She also manages Royal Caribbean International’s Trade Support and Service division, which includes Reservations, Group Sales and Consumer Outreach.

She joined the company after 29 years with Carnival Cruise Lines, where she spent the last 15 years as senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. Prior to that, Freed served in a variety of sales management positions within the cruise line. From 1998 to 2000, Freed also served as the first and only female chairman of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the marketing and travel agent training arm of the North American cruise industry.

Keith Lane
Vice President of Sales, The America’s
Celebrity Cruises

Keith Lane is a passionate supporter of the travel advisor community and the consumer’s use of a travel professional when fulfilling their travel dreams.

He is responsible for Field Sales, National Accounts, Inside Sales, CruiseTours, Sales Communication, Training, Puerto Rico, Cruise Tours and Sales Support team for North and South America, Celebrity Cruises.

His focus has been twofold, increase sales with travel advisors who sell and support Celebrity Cruises and develop the capability of The America’s sales team. He is proud to work with and lead 7 Directors of Market Sales and their teams in North and South America and his Head of National and Strategic Accounts, Jennifer Suarez.

Early in his career with the RCCL organization, Keith spent time as Director of Sales in the Mid-Atlantic Region for Royal Caribbean International as well as Director, Trade Support and Service where the team enjoyed significant improvements in all key business measures.

John Diorio
VP-North American Sales
Virgin Voyages

John Diorio is part of a passionate and dedicated crew at Virgin Voyages that is laser-focused on being Brilliant To Do Business With for all of their First Mates (Travel Advisors) around the world.

With over 30 years of experience in sales, leadership, and industry relations, John leads sales in North America for Virgin Voyages. Prior to joining Virgin Voyages over three years ago, John was part of the sales leadership team at The Mark Travel Corporation and has held various senior leadership roles at Expedia Group in addition to providing strategic consulting to various travel companies

Steve Smotrys
Head of Sales and Trade Relations – The Americas, Australia, Asia and Expedition Sales

Steve Smotrys is responsible for Seabourn’s ocean and expedition sales efforts, leading the teams who support the travel advisor community in North America, Latin America, Australia and Asia. Steve and the global sales team are excited to begin this new chapter and telling the brand story about the power of Seabourn moments.

Prior to joining Seabourn, Smotrys served as vice president of Sales and Trade Marketing, Cunard North America, where he led the Cunard Line North America Sales team to significantly grow the US & Canadian markets and expand the share of voice within the trade. Steve is 20+ year veteran in the cruise industry leading teams in marketing, revenue planning, shore excursions and sales.

Adolfo Perez
Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Trade Marketing
Carnival Cruise Line

Adolfo Perez, a 40-year veteran of Carnival Cruise Line, is Carnival’s Senior Vice Preside, Global Sales and Trade Marketing.

In his current capacity, Perez is responsible for Carnival’s business development teams, sales strategy & operations, and trade marketing functions. Additionally, he leads operations for Carnival’s UK and Australia business, international sales, and the company’s charters, meetings, and incentives business.

Perez, having always understood the value of the travel advisor distribution channel, has been championing and advocating for the trade for decades. Since taking on this role he has introduced several successful initiatives to reinvigorate and fortify relationships with travel advisors including increasing commissions, launching the company’s Travel Agents Rock support programs and expanding Carnival’s relationships with consortia partners.

Additionally, he added new sales territories designed to provide even better direct travel agent support. Under his leadership, Carnival launched Why Use a Travel Agent, the industry’s first ever consumer-focused campaign to reinforce travel advisor value.

Perez notes that his most important goal at Carnival is to be the travel agent’s advocate and voice at the Carnival headquarters, a role he takes very seriously.

Carol Herron
Vice President of Field Sales
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Carol Herron-Vice President of Field Sales for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, responsible for leading the North American Directors of Sales and Marketing.

Carol is a cruise industry veteran boasting three decades of experience, including sales and marketing roles at various travel companies. Prior to her current role, Carol spent 15 years with Regent as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Northeast Region.

Derek Lloyd
Vice President – Agency Sales, North America
Norwegian Cruise Lines

Derek Lloyd has been in the Cruise industry since 1995 and has held various roles for multiple Cruise Lines over the years. First starting with Norwegian Cruise in 2001 as Business Development Manager for Western Canada, Derek rejoined in 2006 as National and Key Account Manager, where he was eventually appointed Director of Business Development.

Overseeing at various times the Canadian, as well as Western and Northeast US markets, this gave him the opportunity to be involved in all sales and business development functions in those regions, including contract negotiations, tour operator & consortia account management, as well as customer relationship development.

He is now Vice President, Agency Sales for North America with responsibility for the entire Field and Inside sales organization.

Michelle Sutter
Vice President of North America Sales
Holland America Line

Michelle Sutter’s return to Holland America Line in 2017 was preceded by a Directorship with Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand where she engaged in her passion for social impact while supporting business development and trade marketing. Her career in the travel industry began 20 years ago as a shipboard translator and as one of the industry’s first future cruise consultants.

The foundation of her current role is centered on a palpable people first culture and an environment that fosters learning, growth and innovation. Michelle is an ICF certified Leadership and Career Coach, which supports her deep-rooted desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others through mentoring and career coaching.

She is fluent in English, French and Spanish, plays competitive soccer in her spare time and resides in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.



Tamara Mallin
Director Sales, Canada
Rocky Mountaineer

Tamara Mallin has spent close to 30 years in the travel industry, with over 20 years on the supplier side. In her current role as Director Sales, Canada with Rocky Mountaineer, Mallin overseers the Canadian outside field sales, global sales training and groups sales teams.

She supports and manages consortium relationships, inbound wholesale and group tour block partnerships.

Prior to joining Rocky Mountaineer, Mallin spent 10 years as the GSA for numerous luxury small ship cruise companies. She has also had the opportunity to represent other well recognized travel brands during her tenure in the industry.

Maureen Barnes-Smith, MBA, MA
Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Canada
Unique Vacations (Canada) Inc.

Maureen Barnes-Smith is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Unique Vacations (Canada) Inc., affiliate of the worldwide representatives of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, a globally recognized brand of luxury all-inclusive resorts based in the Caribbean.

She has been an integral part of the organization for 28 years since joining the Toronto office in 1994, holding a series of progressively responsible roles including operations and human resources. In 2009, she was promoted to Director and again in March 2021 to her current position of Vice President.

Under her strategic leadership for the past 13 years, the Unique Vacations (Canada) Inc. team has flourished. Maureen has consistently spearheaded national expansion and growth across Canada in both sales revenues and personnel, all while maintaining great fiscal prudence.

Responsible for the resort company’s overall sales and marketing strategies in the Canadian market, she works closely with airlines, tour operators, tourist boards, retail travel agency partners and travel media, resulting in an unprecedented achievement of doubling business revenues in just six years. Equally adept at negotiating with senior level executives or frontline retail partners, Maureen’s straightforward and sincere communication style serves her well.

Elaine Carnegie
Canlink Travel Representatives

Elaine Carnegie established Canlink Travel Representatives in 1994 after 11 years of experience in retail travel. Her career began as a retail travel agent in Toronto, where, between 1983 and 1990, she gained valuable experience and insight into the travel industry working with individual clients and corporations on both leisure and business travel while learning the intricacies of the retail travel business.

In 1990, Carnegie joined one of Canada’s largest travel companies and took over management of the country’s largest branch. During her 4 years in this role, she nurtured her skills while spearheading unique sales and marketing initiatives, training programs and various corporate and consumer events.

In 1994 Elaine made the decision to branch out on her own at which time she established Canlink Travel Representatives. The new company’s goal was to open a more efficient line of communication between the Canadian Travel Industry and offshore luxury hotels. Now, the retail and wholesale travel industries in Canada would have a direct Canadian line to some of the best luxury boutique properties in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The company was an immediate success. Travel agents and tour operators now had a Canadian ambassador to facilitate there needs regarding some of the world’s best resorts.

Chris Nowrouzi
Chief Executive Officer
FLYGTA Airlines

Starting from a young age in Aviation, Chris followed his passion of travel and flying. Today he is the CEO of FLYGTA Airlines, an executive airline with private jets serving North and South America. He himself is a Commercial Pilot, Aircraft Mechanics Engineer, and has worked virtually every operational position in an airline, and has extensive experience in the field. Chris’s vision of luxurious services is growing fast, and will impact luxury product for current and future generations.

Supinder Singh
Palace Tours

Mr. Supinder Singh is the President of Palace Tours ( http://www.palacetours.com ), a luxury tour company specializing in luxury trains around the world. The company is the North American representative for well known international brands such as Spanish Railway RENFE’s luxury trains El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, Costa Verde Express and the Al Andalus Express. He has been working with luxury trains around the world for over 15 years and has focused on growing the business specializing in the luxury travel market.

Mr. Singh’s vision has been to be able to use his experiences with different luxury travel products with rail companies around the world and share best practices around luxury trains. For example, his luxury trains in Spain provide an unmatched balance of luxury accommodation and excellent tours that let the travelers enjoy a cruise like experience by train.

Mr. Singh’s experience provides invaluable insight into expanding luxury travel products and a unique perspective in providing unique luxury experiences to guests on board Luxury Trains.

Judith Coates
Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors

Judith Coates is one of the founders of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors, advocating on behalf of Independent Travel Advisors across the country. Coates will share updates on the latest work the association is doing, how agents can get involved and what’s next.

Tannis Dyrland
Travel with Tannis

Tannis Dyrland is the owner of Travel With Tannis and creator of The Fu*k-It List™️ & Mile High Cocktails. Dyrland has won awards for her creative approach to marketing and will share some examples of successful campaigns and useful tips for travel advisors to drive engagement and bookings.

Shalene Dudley
Travel Concierge
Latitude Concierge Travels

During the pandemic, Shalene Dudley launched her own independent travel agency. Dudley will share tips on prioritizing partnerships that align with your business values and how to use FAM trips to increase business.