Speakers – SYTA AC 2019
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General Session Keynote Speakers


Karl M. Kapp, Ed.D., is an international speaker, scholar, writer, and expert on the convergence of learning, technology and business with a focus on game-thinking, games and gamification for learning. He’s an award winning professor and author or co-author of eight books including the bestselling “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction” and his latest “Play to Learn.” Follow Karl on twitter @kkapp 

Karl will deliver the general session keynote and workshop on Saturday afternoon. Sponsored by Medieval Times.

Read Karl’s Full Bio


Catherine Heeg is a recognized social media trail blazer passionate about social media and marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry. For decades she has trained and lead sales and marketing teams in our industry. She ties together experiences gained from this inside knowledge when providing social strategies.  With this practical understanding she specializes in inspiring social media success in her speaking engagements with international audiences.



Peter Ross has defined the vision, strategy, and culture of 829 Studios, an integrated marketing agency, since its founding in 2007. It has been his mission to help clients transform their data into strategy and provide an integrated approach that blends creativity with technological sophistication. He is constantly hunting for new opportunities clients can leverage to achieve differentiation, develop competitive advantages, and better communicate their brand story.



Sheryl Hill is publicly recognized as an industry expert, speaker, award-winning author, and advocate as seen in major news. She has been seen in CNN, USA Today, Saturday Evening Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Newsweek, Forbes, Huffington Post and more. She pours her time and talent into Depart Smart’s four pillars of strength: Awareness, Tools and Resources, Education and Advocacy in award-winning ways.



Robert (Bob) Aromando, Chief Operations Officer at The K Street Group, a global protective services firm. Bob is experienced with Duty of Care and works directly with global corporations, universities and schools and travel companies to provide strategic safety and risk management services to clients worldwide.




Michael J. Bowers, Safety Consultant, Travel Safety Solutions, LLC, provides safety system consulting services to some of the top student travel service providers, world-wide. Specializing in safety trend analysis, emergency response preparedness and family CARE team support systems, Bowers is able to bring a wealth of industry experience to each situation in order to develop innovative, and personalized safety solutions to the industry most complex challenges. He also served on the Board of Directors of the SYTA for 6 years and served as President of SYTA from 2013-2014.



Sally Davis Berry, Owner, Bristol Creek Tourism Consulting LLC, has over 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry and is considered an expert in the China tourism market and the group tour market. Berry has presented on China ready topics at trade shows and for Tourism groups.  SYTA members remember Sally when she served for 8 years as the Global Sales Manager at the Corning Museum of Glass.



Bill Caldwell, CEO, Caldwell & Companies, is able to help his clients realize their dreams with his extensive knowledge of tax codes combined with strong accounting skills and over 25 years of experience. Caldwell & Companies, founded in 2003, has grown to encompass a team of 28 experts who provide valuable certified public accounting services to an array of clients – from successful professionals to expanding nonprofits to fast-growing companies. Bill is an innovative problem-solver who serves to minimize his clients’ financial burdens and maximize their growth opportunities.



Lisa Curtin, COO, Caldwell & Companies, has 20+ years of experience in the student tourism industry, holding senior management roles in operations and sales. In 2016, Lisa left tourism to pursue a new opportunity in public accounting as the Chief Operations Officer of Caldwell & Companies. She’s found her skills in process management, contract negotiations and customer service are universal to any business. Currently, Lisa consults to SYTA, providing website content and has presented on Human Resource topics at the Annual Conference and Summit. Caldwell & Companies actively supports the SYTA Youth Foundation as a Wingman. In her former role as Vice President of Operations for Brightspark Travel, Lisa served on various SYTA committees and was a Past Chair of SYTA Summit.



Angela Ridpath, Vice President of Marketing, MCH Strategic Data, is an accomplished and recognized thought leader with expertise in integrated marketing, branding and leadership. She has strong roots in direct marketing, which is grounded in accountability, predictability and results. She believes every dollar spent in any media channel should benefit a client in return. As the VP of Marketing for MCH Strategic Data, Angela bring that passion to the data industry, helping her clients uncover new and exciting growth opportunities using data and technology.



Tracey Cochran, Senior Relationship Manager, MCH Strategic Data, is a veteran in the data industry. For the past six years, she has worked at MCH Strategic Data and helps her clients harness the power of data and technology to solve their business objectives. No challenge is too big or too small for Tracey. She is a thought-leader, strategic thinker and problem-solver.


SYTA Strategic Partners