PRESENTERS

2017 NORTH AMERICAN GARDEN TOURISM CONFERENCE
PRESENTERS
CONFERENCE MODERATORS
ALEXANDER REFORD
Director, Reford Gardens/Les jardins de Métis, PQ. Canada


Conference Moderator and Speaker

Presentation: Partnering for Success – Trial and Error to Attract Tourists to Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens

Educated at the University of Toronto and Oxford University, Alexander is a historian by profession but turned his attention to gardens twenty years ago when he left a position at St. Michael’s College to run Les Jardins de Métis (Reford Gardens) in Quebec’s Lower St. Lawrence region. The great-grandson of the garden’s creator, Elsie Reford, he has been instrumental in restoring the gardens and the historic buildings on the property. In 2000, he founded the International Garden Festival, which has been acclaimed by critics and garden writers as one of the premier garden design events in the world.
BETH POTTER
President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).  Canada

Conference Moderator

Beth Potter has led Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) — the umbrella trade association for Ontario’s tourism industry — as President and CEO since January 2011. She currently serves as the Chair of the Governance Committee on the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services Board, and holds a seat on the Sector Advisory Committee for the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. In addition, Beth often sits on issue-specific task forces as requested by various Ontario government ministries — most recently for the Ministry of Labour’s Minimum Wage Panel.

Prior to joining TIAO, Beth spent seven years as the Executive Director for Camping In Ontario, an association made up of more than 600 small businesses that actively represents the campground industry in Ontario. She also served on the board for the Accommodation Industry Alliance of Ontario and Campgrounds Camping Canada, which she chaired from 2009 to 2011.

With more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, Beth has worked with a variety of boards, committees and volunteers from all walks of life. A graduate of Lakehead University (1990), Beth and her family reside in Toronto, Ont.
  CASEY SCLAR
Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association (APGA)

Conference Moderator

Appointed in 2012, Casey is the Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA). He and his team support over 570 gardens and their 8000+ allied members located throughout America and 14 countries. Collectively, these gardens reach over 70 million people per year and help to realize APGA’s vision – “A world where public gardens are indispensable”. Casey’s work experience in horticulture spans almost three decades. Just prior to APGA, he served 15 years at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA as the Plant Health Care Leader - directing the Soils and Compost, IPM, Land Stewardship, and other sustainability programs. Casey has authored many publications and has presented widely on IPM and other topics in public horticulture. He holds a B.S. degree in horticulture from California Polytechnic State University, S.L.O., as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Colorado State University. In 2011, he received the APGA’s Professional Citation Award for outstanding achievements in public horticulture.


DAVID ROBINSON
Vice President, Strategy & Stakeholder Relations, Destination Canada

Co-Moderator

Prior to joining Destination Canada, Dave was Director General, Strategic Coordination at Veterans Affairs Canada, responsible for managing corporate governance and the Department’s cabinet and parliamentary business.

From 2001 to 2010 Dave led the Government of Canada’s preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. He led the coordination of over 30 federal departments and agencies and worked with provinces, local municipalities and First Nations to make the 2010 Games, “Canada’s Games.” Along with his team, Dave created the strategies and sought the funding that allowed the Government of Canada to take full advantage of the unprecedented platform the Games provided for the promotion of Canada internationally.

From 1999 to 2000 Dave was Director of Government Relations for the Canadian Bankers Association. Prior to that, from 1993 to 1999, Dave worked as a senior political advisor to the President of the Treasury Board, supporting the Minister with the development of the Canada Infrastructure Works Program, the Minister of International Trade supporting the Minister’s work on International Business Development and planning for the Team Canada Mission (1997) and finally as Chief of Staff to the Minister of National Defence.

Dave is married to Lisa Stilborn.  They have three daughters and two grandsons.
CONFERENCE PRESENTERS
(Please visit again for additional Presenter bios.)
TERRY CADDO
General Manager, Canada Blooms

Terry brings a wealth of experience in management, marketing and sales, communications, horticulture and trade shows to provide the leadership and strategic direction to enhance the continued success of Canada Blooms.

As General Manager of Canada Blooms, Terry is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the world class festival that connects people to the joys and benefits of nature through experience with gardens and flowers, by promoting, educating, inspiring and celebrating all aspects of horticulture.

Prior to joining Canada Blooms, Terry spent three years as the Director of Operations at Royal Botanical Gardens. He was responsible for the RBG Christmas Train Show, the exhibit Battle of the Titan and the RBG Garden and Home Show.

Terry also spent seven years as Director of Marketing and Communications at Ontario Place. While there, he developed the Rogers Chinese Lantern Festival, the award winning Guaranteed Weather promotion and created the Canada Dry Festival of Fire. Prior to this Terry spent 5 years with the Toronto Star holding several positions including the Director of Sports Marketing, 5 years with Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows and at one point owned his own restaurant.

 Terry and his teams have won numerous awards including four International Parks and Attractions marketing awards, two Ministry of Tourism awards for Innovative Risk Taking, a Tourism Industry of Canada Award and an International Newspaper Marketing Award among others.

Terry is a sought after speaker and has spoken at numerous symposiums including the Western Canada Sponsorship Forum, The Sponsorship report and taught marketing for one year at George Brown College.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Lakehead University and a Post Diploma Degree in Sport and Event Marketing from George Brown College.
LISE CORMIER
Executive Vice President and General Director of Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal. Canada

Presentation:  Mosaïcultures:  The Travelling Garden Tourism Success

Landscape architect Lise Cormier, characterized by her peers as being “extraordinarily efficient”, was inducted to the College of Fellows by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in 2012 and named La Presse Personality of the Week twice, in 2000 and 2013. She has received numerous other honours, including a Gold Medal in 2001 awarded by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society of Boston, the oldest and most prestigious horticultural society in the United States. As Director of the Ville de Montréal’s Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces Department from 1994 to 2003, she managed a $120M budget and over 1,200 employees annually. During this time, she created Mosaïcultures Internationales® to highlight the arrival of the new millennium in Montreal. Since 2000, nearly 10 million visitors have been amazed by this international competition and the many exhibitions presented throughout the world, notably in China, Japan, Turkey, France, Belgium, Italy and the United States. Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal, for which Ms. Cormier is the executive vice president and general manager, is currently preparing the MosaïCanada 150/Gatineau 2017 exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

DAVID CYBULSKI
Co-owner, Maitland Garden of Hope. Canada

Presentation: Achieving Tourism Success for the 1000 Islands & Rideau Canal Garden Trail

David Cybulski is a retired insurance executive and certified financial planner.
David is Past President of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce and has served on many economic development and downtown revitalization committees including being on the steering committee of the just-opened Aquatarium in Brockville, Ontario.

One of David’s passions is gardening along with his spouse, Colleen O’Connell. Together they own Maitland Garden of Hope which they have operated for the past 7 years. In 2016 David and Colleen were awarded the Community Artistic & Cultural Contribution Service Award presented by the South Grenville Chamber of Commerce.

GARRY ENNS
Chief Executive Officer, International Peace Garden. Canada

Presentation: Connecting our Partners to the International Peace Garden Experience: Engaging local, regional & international partners in our Prairie Meeting Place

Garry Enns is Chief Executive Officer at the International Peace Garden. With the help of seven full time and a couple dozen seasonal staff, the Garden manages and maintains 25 acres of formal garden as well as a Conservatory nestled in 2,390 acres in the heart of the Turtle Mountains. Some 100,000 annuals are planted each spring to augment the thousands of perennials and shrubs that help illustrate for visitors to the Garden that peace is possible. The Conservatory is home to more than 6,000 cacti and succulents.

Garry worked as External Relations Manager for Parks Canada in the Territory of Nunavut prior to accepting the position of CEO at the International Peace Garden. During his time with Parks Canada, Garry coordinated the completion and official opening of the world’s most northerly Museum at Tanquery Fiord in Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island.

Prior to joining Parks Canada in 2009, Garry served as Regional Campus Manager for Assiniboine Community College in Russell; for Red River College in Steinbach; and for Winnipeg River Learning Centre in Pine Falls -Manitoba.

Garry also is the author of the award winning history of his home town – Gretna: Window on the Northwest. He is the Past-President and an active Board member of the Mennonite Literary Society which publishes the Quarterly “Rhubarb Magazine”.


LORRAINE FLANIGAN
Freelance Garden Writer. Canada

Presentation:  Partnering with Group Tour Leaders can Enhance the Visitor Experience

A frequent contributor to Garden Making magazine, Lorraine Flanigan is a freelance garden writer and editor whose work has also appeared in Canadian Gardening and Canadian Living magazines as well as in Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. She is editor of Trellis, the magazine of the Toronto Botanical Garden and a member of the Garden Writers Association. Lorraine was named Journalist of the Year in 2014 by the Canadian Garden Council, and in 2007 her article, entitled Show + Tell, won an Honourable Mention, Canadian National Magazine Awards.

Lorraine also publishes a blog-a-zine at citygardeningonline.com and curates CityGardening News on Flipboard. You can follow her on Facebook/Citygardening and on Twitter @citygardening.
ANNE FLUCKLINGER
Manager, Marketing & Communications, Fruit Gardens of Laquenexy. France.


Presentation: Large and Small Gardens: Different Level of Partnerships in France

As a Political Science graduate, Anne has, over the years, developed expertise in partnerships of all kinds. After an experience in industrial heritage during which she was project manager for the conversion of a wasteland and its transformation into a tourist site (Blast furnace of Uckange in Moselle), Anne turned to the cultural tourism and gardens industry and has held for several years the post of assistant to the director of Robert Schuman's House (one of the Europe Fathers).

Currently Anne holds the position of manager of Marketing and Communication within the Fruit Gardens of Laquenexy in the eastern part of France.

Fascinated about human relations and exchanges as a vector of cultural and tourist dynamism, Anne attaches particular importance to the establishment of win-win partnerships.

PASCAL GARBE
Moselle Conseil Departemental, Garden Designer, Vice President International Garden Tourism Network, International Garden Tourism Person of the Year 2011, Honorary Chair, 5th (2017) North American Garden Tourism Conference. France

Presentation : Public-Private partnership : the key to success? A worldwide overview…

Pascal Garbe is the project manager for Gardens Policy with the Moselle Conseil Departemental (a local government). He is also an acclaimed Garden Tourism expert.

Pascal is also on the panel of judges for the International Garden Festival in Chaumont sur Loire, Singapore Garden Festival, Ellerslie International Flower Show (New Zealand), Gardening World Cup (Japan) and a one of the most influential judges for the ‘Plant Days’ at Courson.

In 2016, he presided over the Singapore Garden Festival.

Pascal regularly contributes to a great many gardening magazines both in France and abroad (Les Jardins d'Eden, Ami des Jardins, Rustica, Détente Jardin, El Jardin en la Argentina, etc.) and is the author of around twenty books on gardens and plants, some are now best sellers in Europe !

In 1997, he was nominated for the Electra Foundation prize.
In 2004, he received the International Vever prize for his work on gardens.
In 2011, he received the International Garden Tourism Person of the Year Award

MICHEL GAUTHIER
President, MGB Tourfest Inc.; Executive Director, Canadian Garden Council; Chair, North American Garden Tourism Conference; Vice President, International Garden Tourism Network. Canada

Chair: North American Garden Tourism Conference
Facilitator: Create a Garden Map for Your City Workshop
Co-Facilitator: Garden Days Workshop


Dedicated to showcasing the horticultural wonders of Canada to its residents and the rest of the world, Michel has been involved in the horticultural and festival world since 1982.  Currently he is the Executive Director of the Canadian Garden Council which manages Canada’s Garden Route, the Garden Tourism Awards, and Garden Days; Chair of the North American Garden Tourism Conference and Vice President of the International Garden Tourism Network.

Michel has been a member of various professional associations including: President of the Canadian Association of Festivals and Events; Canadian representative on the International Festivals and Events Association and the Federation of European Carnival Cities; President of Festival and Events Ontario; founding member of the Ottawa Festival Network , and board member of Ottawa Tourism and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. He currently sits on the board of the International Peace Garden Foundation and is Chair of the World Tulip Summit.
BRAD HENDERSON
Director of Sales & Marketing, Kingsbrae Garden. Canada

Presentation:  Growing Your Garden Business Through Win-Win Partnerships

Brad Henderson is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews By-The-Sea, New Brunswick. Prior to joining Kingsbrae Garden in 2015, he was a Sales Operations Manager with Labatt Breweries of Canada. Notably, he was recognized as a National Top Performer and Teammate of the Year in his final full year with the company.

Brad’s greatest strengths are his creativity, drive and love for his community. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that increase the exposure and revenue for Kingsbrae. Most recently, the Kingsbrae Garden team has been recognized by the Province of New Brunswick as the attractionwith the largest visitor growth in 2016.

Since moving back to his hometown of St. Andrews with his wife (Christina) and their two young boys (Hunter and Tristan) in 2015, Brad has been extremely involved in his community as a Town Councilor, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of 100 Men Who Care, and board member of the Business Improvement Association, Southwest Transit Authority, and Charlotte Coastal Region Tourism Association.
DAVID HOBSON
Garden Tour leader, garden columnist, humorist, photographer, storyteller, gardener. Canada

Presentation: Partnering with Group Tour Leaders can Enhance the Visitor Experience

David Hobson was born and raised in Yorkshire, England, but has made Canada his home. A humorist, storyteller, and photographer, he is the weekly garden columnist for The Waterloo Region Record and The Guelph Mercury, and is a regular contributor to Grand magazine. He has also written for Canadian Gardening, Lee Valley Tools, and Garden Making magazine. Online, David has a travel blog called Green Trips (davidhobson.ca). In addition to writing, he has hosted numerous groups on garden tours in the UK, including the Chelsea Flower Show. David is a popular speaker at horticultural societies and gardening clubs, where he shares the humour and passion of a lifelong gardener.

RICHARD INNES
President, Brain Trust Marketing & Communications. Canada

Facilitator – Garden Tourism Readiness Workshop

Richard has a background steeped in the advertising, travel and hospitality industries. As a marketing specialist, he has held senior roles in both national and international advertising agencies and managed assignments for some of the country’s largest advertisers including Nestle, Honda, Chrysler, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Delta Hotels, the Canadian Tourism Commission, and Tourism Toronto.

As Vice President Marketing at Tourism Toronto, a position he held for seven years, he helped establish Toronto’s position as a leading destination for leisure, meetings, convention, sport and incentive travel.

Richard established BRAIN TRUST in 2000. It is a firm specializing in tourism destination and experience development, marketing plan development and creative execution. The clients they serve are a long list of private and public sector organizations primarily from the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.

Richard lives in Mississauga Ontario, is an avid golfer and is active on several not-for-profit Boards. Richard recently served on the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. In 2012 he was awarded the Queens Jubilee Medal for his contribution to Canada’s tourism industry.
HARRY JONGERDEN
Executive Director, Toronto Botanical Garden. Chair, Gardens Ontario. Canada

Conference Moderator

Harry Jongerden has been a professional gardener, garden designer and garden director for 35 years. He is currently Executive Director of Toronto Botanical Garden, having held the posts of Garden Director at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver for five years, Head of Horticulture at Royal Botanical Gardens and Head Gardener at the Stratford Festival. He is the author of “This Other Eden” and designer of the Walkerton Heritage Water Garden and Stratford’s Elizabethan Garden. Current plans at TBG have him busy planning a 30-acre expansion to the current garden.

LIZ KLOSE, BSc (Agr)
Chair, Garden Days Committee.
Project Coordinator, Growing Our Markets (GOM) – Developing Marketing Synergies Project. Canada


Facilitator –– Garden Days Workshop

Liz Klose, BSc (Agr), CLM, is Chair of the Garden Days Committee and Project Coordinator for the Growing Our Markets (GOM) – Developing Marketing Synergies Project. Her years of managing details and deadlines on various projects and initiatives are a valuable asset to her work with the Canadian Garden Council. 

The former Botanical Garden Director of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Botanical Garden in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Liz managed the business, horticulture, and outreach operations. MUN Botanical Garden was the recipient of two Canadian Garden Tourism Awards in 2015: Canadian Botanical Garden of the Year and the Flower Event of the Year. 

Previously, Liz held the position of Landscape Priorities Manager with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and the Superintendent of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls.

With her long and successful career as a professional in the world of horticulture and as an avid life-long gardener, Liz has appeared on television gardening programs such as Gardener’s Journal and Calling All Gardeners, and hosted About the Garden, a Newfoundland gardening program filmed at the MUN Botanical Garden. She co-authored two gardening books: Roses for Ontario, and The Best Garden Plants for Ontario. Liz is a Certified Landscape Manager (CLM), a member of the Herb Society of America and the Perennial Plant Association. Liz is a Honourary Master Gardener of Ontario Inc and the Canadian Region Director of the Perennial Plant Association.

Liz and her husband Gerald live in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, where their garden has been featured on several garden tours.


MEI LENG LIM
Senior Manager, Plant Introduction & Health, Gardens by the Bay. Singapore

Presentation:  Gardens by the Bay – a 21st Century Garden Destination

Mei Leng graduated with Diploma in Horticulture from Royal Botanic Garden, Kew in UK in 2009. Prior to her time in Kew Garden, she had participated in a one year practical training in Horticulture with the Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley Garden in UK. She has about 22 years of experience in horticulture and is both a grower and propagator. She started her early career in horticulture with Singapore Botanic Gardens in 1997.

After graduating from Kew Gardens, Mei Leng returned to Singapore and joined Gardens by the Bay in 2010. She was involved in the landscape planting of both the outdoor gardens as well as the Cloud Forest Conservatory. She was the Manager for Cloud Forest Conservatory operations until 2014 where she was transferred to the Plant Introduction Department.  She is currently a Senior Manager in Plant Introduction overseeing the management of two nurseries specializing in tropical plants. Besides being an accomplished grower and propagator, Mei Leng has also begun her training as an orchid breeder.  Very keen to acquire plant knowledge, she is currently taking her Master in Horticulture with the Royal Horticultural Society in UK.

JOSÉ JUAN LORENZO
CEO Centros Arte, Cultura y Tourismo de Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Spain

Presentation: Why has a Cactus Garden Become a Tourism Attraction of the First Order?

Senior Industrial Engineer with a specialty in Industrial Organization from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, with more than 20 years of experience directing projects in both the private and public sectors, with special dedication to the tourist sector.

In these years José Juan has directed projects in: Customer Experience, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Organizational Development, Information and Communication Systems, Quality Systems Implementation, HR Development, Strategic Planning, Public-Private Partnerships, and Planning of Public Waste Management Services.


MARJORIE MASON
Mason House Gardens. Canada

Presentation:  Partnering with Group Tour Leaders can Enhance the Visitor Experience

Marjorie Mason is an enthusiastic gardener who enjoys sharing her ideas with others. During the winter of 1987, she purchased a property south of Uxbridge, Ontario and soon discovered that the soil for the "Garden of Her Dreams" was pure sand and the well was only 13' deep! Of necessity, Marjorie learned the techniques of xeriscaping - the art of gardening with less water. In fact, one of her gardens is never watered.

Marjorie has a passion for gardening in containers! She has discarded the assumption that only annuals should be grown in containers and now advocates the use of houseplants, bulbs, edibles, and perennials in pots as well. She uses the term "Potscaping" to describe the grouping together of containers into pleasing arrangements.

Marjorie lectures across Canada and the U.S. on a wide variety of topics. In addition to authoring "Amazing Annuals" in 1999, she has written articles for many magazines. Marjorie hosts "Let's Get Growing" Saturday mornings (March to October) from 9-10am on 1580AM CKDO and 107.7FM.

Marjorie has traveled extensively, hosting garden tours every year since 1985. This year she has tours to The Chelsea Flower Show, Newfoundland, The Highlands of Scotland, and a Wine and Roses Tour of Niagara Falls.


ALBERT MONDOR
Les Jardins d’Albert Inc. Canada

Presentation: The Next Generation of Garden Appeal

Albert Mondor has a diploma in ornamental horticulture and a degree in plant biology. A passionate horticulturist and garden designer, he has practiced his craft for over 30 years.  In addition to teaching courses and lecturing at conferences across Canada, his weekly gardening column has appeared in the Journal de Montréal and the Journal de Québec since 1999.

In April 2013, Albert published Les vertus miraculeuses des agrumes, his ninth horticultural book, this one on the subject of citrus fruit. He is a regular guest and contributor to radio and television programs and was hosting The Trendy Gardener spots on Météo Média during summer 2016. You can also read his blog “Extreme Horticulture” at albertmondor.com.

Designer of several public and private gardens, Albert Mondor has received numerous awards for his landscape designs.

Some recent creations are:
The Garden of the Future – Jardin Daniel A. Séguin of Saint-Hyacinthe 2014
The Garden of Glass and Metal – Montréal International Mosaïcultures 2013
Green Wall – Biosphere – Jean-Drapeau Park of Montréal, in collaboration with Smith-Vigeant, Architects
The Tricentris Biodiversity Garden in Lachute
The Pond Garden – Old Port of Montréal, in collaboration with Claude Cormier, Landscape Architects.

In May 2014, Albert was awarded of the prestigious Henry Teuscher Award, presented by the Montréal Botanical Gardens for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of horticultural knowledge in Quebec. Recognized as a talented and rigorous professional, Mondor serves on various committees, where he offers his expert advice. He is a member of the selection committee for the Mérites Horticoles of the Montréal Botanical Garden and a jury member for the Exceptionnelles of the Daniel A. Séguin Garden in Saint-Hyacinthe. He is also the coordinator of the Natural Reserve Selection program (selectionreservenaturelle.com).

BETH MONROE
Public Relations and Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA. USA

Presentation: Thinking Outside the Boxwood: Leveraging Partnerships to Drive Attendance with the Richmond Garden Trail

Strategic public relations and marketing have helped propel Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Richmond, Virginia) to a top garden tourism destination and international recognition. Beth Monroe has led public relations and marketing efforts over the past 18 years as Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has grown and reached out to engage and attract audiences. She is committed to the Garden’s mission to connect people through plants to improve communities. The community has shown its appreciation by consistently voting Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden as one of the top four gardens in the United States in USA Today contests in 2014 and 2016.

The Garden’s increased recognition can be traced to its selection as one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For” at the Garden Tourism Conference in 2013. This honor, along with inspiration from the conference, also helped Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden spearhead formation of the Richmond Garden Trail (richmondgardentrail.org), a ready-made itinerary of eight garden attractions in the Richmond Region. Beth leads this effort, which has resulted in media coverage in Better Homes & Gardens and the Washington Post. 

Beth’s educational background includes a bachelor of arts in communication from James Madison University and a master of science in corporate and professional communication from Radford University. Her graduate studies included a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria.

Beth is a member of the Public Relations Society of America/Richmond Chapter and represents the Garden as a board member for the Lakeside Business Association. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @BethRileeMonroe. Follow the Richmond Garden Trail on Instagram at @rvagardentrail.
ABDEL NASER RAHHAL
Managing Director and Co-founder of Dubai Miracle Garden. Dubai. United Arab Emirates.

Presentation:  Blooming in the Desert

Founder and Vice Chairman of Cityland Group of Companies, a Dubai based conglomerate committed to creating and building destinations for entertainment in the UAE. Currently building the 1st mall in the world with an indoor botanical garden as its main attraction.

Abdel is Managing Director, Creator and Designer of Dubai Miracle Garden the world's largest natural flower garden featuring over 109 million flowers and holder of two Guinness World Records, as well the Dubai Butterfly Garden, the largest Indoor Butterfly Garden with 24 natural varieties and the first Butterfly and Insect Museum in the world.

Abdel is also Founder and General Manager of Akar Landscaping Services and Agriculture which holds two Guinness World Records and manages multimillion dollar projects in landscaping operations, maintenance & development, and both government and commercial agricultural & public health pest control; franchising the number one Pest Control company in USA Orkin Pest Control.

ALEXANDER REFORD
Director, Reford Gardens/Les jardins de Métis, PQ. Canada

Conference Moderator and Speaker

Presentation: Partnering for Success – Trial and Error to Attract Tourists to Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens

Educated at the University of Toronto and Oxford University, Alexander is a historian by profession but turned his attention to gardens twenty years ago when he left a position at St. Michael’s College to run Les Jardins de Métis (Reford Gardens) in Quebec’s Lower St. Lawrence region. The great-grandson of the garden’s creator, Elsie Reford, he has been instrumental in restoring the gardens and the historic buildings on the property. In 2000, he founded the International Garden Festival, which has been acclaimed by critics and garden writers as one of the premier garden design events in the world.


TIM RIES
Director of Park Services, Friends of the High Line. USA

Presentation: The High Line and New York City: A Tourism Dream


Tim Ries has worked in the tourism industry in New York City for the past 11 years. Prior to that, he spent 10 years in the film industry, experience that exposed him to New York’s many unsung, unappreciated, and unknown locations.

Tim joined Friends of the High Line in 2010. As a member of the initial (and current) team that worked to build and maintain New York City’s most extraordinary public space, he has helped thousands of visitors to engage with this remarkable industrial artifact.

Today, whether visitors to the High Line are in search of the park’s stunning landscape; unique views of the surrounding city; specially commissioned art installations; locally sourced and artisanal snacks; or participation in any number of public programs such as tours, yoga, stargazing, and more, Tim’s job is to ensure that all visitors have a first-rate experience. Additionally, Tim oversees the park rangers, custodians and volunteers, making certain that park operations and visitor engagement are of the highest quality.

Working at Friends of the High Line has been a natural fit for Tim as he is passionate about public spaces, the built environment, and nature. He recently co-authored an entry about the High Line in Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City, and has presented at the New York Times Travel Show. As a licensed NYC sightseeing guide, he has led hundreds of tours.

When he is not walking along the High Line chatting with visitors, Tim keeps busy by exploring NYC’s obscure corners with his spouse and son and collecting vintage postcards. He lives in Brooklyn.


DALE M. RYAN
Director of Public Relations, Sales and Marketing, The Butchart Gardens. Canada

Presentation: Partnerships that Make The Butchart Gardens Canada’s Flagship Garden Tourism Success


With extensive experience at the senior management level in sales, marketing and public relations along with a strong background in business operations, Dale has held senior level marketing and operations positions with American Express, Westin Hotels and Marriott Hotels and Resorts, along with a tenure as Director of Marketing with the Calgary Flames organization. She held the position as Director of Corporate Marketing for BC Ferries, spearheading that launch of the (Super C) Coastal Class ferries along with the development of key consumer products and business partnerships. As the Director of Public Relations, Sales and Marketing for The Butchart Gardens, Dale is continues her passion for the tourism industry and the significant role the industry plays not only in destination development but also as a major economic driver.

Dale has an MBA from Royal Roads University in Executive Management and a Master of Science in Digital Marketing from the University of San Francisco. She has served on numerous boards in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Victoria. Dale resides in Sidney, BC with her husband, Currie Chapman, and their children Jordy and Christie.

R. WILLIAM (BILL) THOMAS
Executive Director, Chanticleer Foundation, Wayne, Pennsylvania. USA

Presentation: How Chanticleer Partners with Philadelphia Region for Tourism Success

Bill arrived at the 48-acre pleasure garden Chanticleer on April Fools’ Day, 2003.  Previously, he was at Longwood Gardens for 26 years, the last five in Research and Production and the prior 21 in Education.  Bill leads the talented and creative Chanticleer staff in its continued development of the young garden, now in its 23rd year.  He emphasizes an environmentally sensitive and multi-century approach to the property and is unifying the former estate into one cohesive garden.  The staff and he co-authored The Art of Gardening (Timber Press, 2015).

Bill is Chair of Greater Philadelphia Gardens, promoting the region as “America’s Garden Capital.”  He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
BRIAN VOGT
CEO, Denver Botanic Gardens. USA


Presentation:  Building a Culture that Attracts Tourists

Brian Vogt has been CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens since April 2007. Over 30 years of community leadership, fundraising, organizational management and cultural development proved invaluable during the Gardens’ recent capital campaign and creation of a Master Development Plan. Under his leadership, more than 50 construction projects and over $65 million was raised to build Mordecai Children’s Garden, a parking complex, the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center, Greenhouse Complex and most recently the Science Pyramid, Ellipse garden and Hive Garden Bistro.

Previous professional experience includes three Cabinet positions for the State of Colorado and President of the South Metro Chamber of Commerce. Brian serves on the Board of the American Public Gardens Association and is an active participant with many civic organizations in the Denver area.
ANN WEIR
Economic Development Manager, United Counties of Leeds & Grenville, and Co-Chair, 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail. Canada


Presentation: Achieving Tourism Success for the 1000 Islands & Rideau Canal Garden Trail

With a track record of bringing communities and organizations together to strategically advance their goals, Ann currently works regionally on behalf of the Counties and its 10 member municipalities. Over the past seven years, she has created an environment for the communities of Leeds Grenville to work together, through corridors of mutual interest while maintaining their individual priorities. 

Prior to her work with the Counties, she was the Tourism Manager of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce for six years. During this period of time, Ann was able to develop a strong tourism program that advanced and repositioned the tourism sector in Brockville.

Ann is currently the president of the Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association and she previously led the Great Waterway Regional Tourism Organization through its creation.

Ann holds a Business Administration Diploma in Finance from Durham College, and is currently completing her EcDev designation at the University of Waterloo.

Ann has a very strong belief in the importance of relationships, networks and partnerships.  She is visionary, committed and passionate in continuing to develop this region’s businesses and lifestyle. 

KAREN WOOD
Marketing Director, Canadian Tulip Festival. Canada


Presentation: The Canadian Tulip Festival – 65 Years of Garden Tourism Event Marketing Success

Recently appointed marketing director of the Canadian Tulip Festival - Ottawa's flagship Garden Tourism event, and just in time for the festival’s 65th Anniversary and Canada’s 150th birthday celebration, Karen is a seasoned event marketing and communications professional with a specialized focus in the hospitality and entertainment marketing and tourism industries.  Karen has provided marketing and PR services to hotels, restaurants, convention centres and other hospitality, tourism and entertainment clients under Knock on Wood Communications & Events – the agency that she has lead for nearly 20 years.

In the course of growing her clientele and professional offerings, Karen brings together twin passions for gardening and marketing that began with a decade-long partnership with the Ottawa Home & Garden Show. The green thumb and marketing match continues with Karen offering marketing and communications support for Canada’s Garden Days program while working with the Ottawa Garden Council for the past three years, as well as currently assisting with product development and marketing for Garden Promenade launching in the National Capital Region this June.

Having  worked with Ottawa's largest award-winning festivals such as Bluesfest and  Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival, as well as spectacular event producers Broadway Across Canada, Cirque du Soleil, Ottawa Theatres and The National Arts Centre – Canada’s premiere arts venue, Karen is a valued addition to the “One Tulip – One Canada” team.