Who We Are
Roberta Kathleen Nedry, President
Roberta Nedry, Founder and President of Hospitality Excellence, Inc., has spent over 32 years exploring, delivering and managing guest and customer experiences and service training. She helps organizations the world over to reach levels of exceptional service and regularly consults with executives and managers on transforming customer experiences including the evaluation, mapping and design of each experience touchpoint. Her Hospitality Excellence Team is internationally recognized for its expertise in creating customer experience strategies that zero in on and inspire the DNA of each client yielding enhanced internal employee experiences and external customer and brand value.
Ms. Nedry is the designer of 3DService®, a unique service training methodology integrating touch points, behavior and methods to drive positive customer emotions, recognizing the multiple dimensions of exceptional service. Her diverse background with both public and private companies allows clients to draw on her extensive career experience for business solutions. Her passion and authentic style inspire deep dives into the soul of an organization resulting in powerful road maps to excellence creating brand value and customer loyalty.
Ms. Nedry is an International and USA Honorary Member of Les Clefs d ‘Or, “the Keys of Gold”, representing the top 3% of the concierge profession worldwide, awarded for her educational contributions to the profession. Roberta has been keynote speaker and training facilitator at global Les Clefs d’Or congresses in Portugal, Canada, Germany, England, New Zealand, the Middle East and throughout the United States. She was the featured expert on Guest Experience Management at the inaugural Boutique Lodging and Lifestyle Conference in Los Angeles and often speaks on customer, guest and patient experiences and service excellence.
Roberta is widely published and sought by many industries including hospitality, financial, legal, retail, healthcare, technology, transportation, commercial real estate and conference centers as well as city and country destinations and leading Fortune 500 companies. She is frequently quoted and featured in global media on her service delivery expertise.
A former California’s Junior Miss (now Distinguished Young Women of America), Roberta started her guest service training with Walt Disney Productions and was selected as a two time Disney “Ambassador to the world” finalist. She holds a B.A. In Linguistics from UCLA and is fluent in French, proficient in German and Spanish, with studies in Japanese and Italian. Before launching HEI in 1999, she served as General Manager for the International Concierge Institute and the International School of Tourism for the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to that she held executive level or senior positions in financial and legal industries, public relations, entertainment and hospitality. As founder of Hospitality Excellence, Ms. Nedry drives the publishing, consulting, training and speaking agendas for HEI.
Pam Evans, Director of Training
Pam is a seasoned Learning and Development Professional with extensive experience in organizational diagnosis, and the design and facilitation of both large and small scale professional development events. She is a results driven team player with excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills.
Over the last 15 plus years as Hospitality Excellence’s Director of Training, Pam has designed and delivered well received leadership, customer service, team building, communication and employee recognition training to over 25,000 employees, managers and leaders in both private and public organizations. Her experience in designing and delivering customized content in over 25 industries along with top evaluation scores and feedback from clients allow her to effectively lead the Training Team. Her versatile and engaging training style inspire executives and front line employees at all levels.
Pam held senior leadership positions with organizations such as Marriott-Host International, Hilton Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Federated Department Stores and First Management Services. While in those positions, Pam facilitated training programs which lead to improvement in management and leadership effectiveness, service delivery and employee engagement. She is also the co- designer and lead presenter for the highly successful SUNsational Service program in Broward County in which over 20,000 employees and managers have been trained to date and 250 employees have been certified as SUNsational Service Trainers. As former, owner of Pam’s Place, a retail women’s specialty clothing store, Pam developed the skills of a successful entrepreneur. She is determined, not afraid to take risks, passionate about business, highly adaptable and has the ability to sell and promote.
Pam received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the State University at Oneonta, New York. She is a Certified MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Practitioner. Pam is actively involved in numerous professional organizations such as the Coconut Creek and Coral Springs Chamber of Commerces, the Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County, and the Association of Talent Development (ATD). Shecurrently sits on the board of ATD South Florida as the Vice President of Member Services.
Virginia Casale, Director of Global Education
Virginia Casale is an expert in ultimate guest service and an inspiring leader, teacher and guest lecturer of hospitality excellence. Her work and expertise in the hospitality and tourism industries for more than 30 years has placed her at the top of her profession.
Most recently she served as President of UICH “Les Clefs d’Or ”, the prestigious international association of the world’s best concierges. Madame Casale rose to this coveted leadership role as only the second woman to do so in 62 years and the first Canadian. Over 25 years, she promoted the management of guest service to levels beyond expectations and successfully orchestrated international congresses featuring global hospitality leaders and the top 3% of the concierge profession in Quebec City, Banff, Niagara Falls, Toronto, London and Queenstown, New Zealand. Les Clefs d’Or Canada, Austria and New Zealand awarded her with honorary membership for her leadership and service.
Virginia’s hotel experience comes from many of Montreal’s premier hotels including Chef Concierge at the first boutique hotel in the city, the Loews Hotel Vogue. At the Delta Centre-Ville she overlooked the lobby and executive floor desk and most recently led guest service at the Sofitel Montreal, a five star property. She made her concierge debut at the Hyatt Regency after serving four years at Regie des Installations Olympiques, the 1976 Olympic games.
Madame Casale was a guest lecturer at the International Concierge Institute in Montreal and Quebec City and gave courses in Conflict Resolution as well as Ethics. She has been a featured speaker at the HORECAVA Event in Amsterdam on the She –Economy, in Mumbai, India at the second national Les Clefs d’Or Congress and at programs in Japan, Los Angeles, Miami and Qatar in the Middle East. She represented Montreal Tourism at the EIBTM Conference in Frankfurt and Barcelona.
Madame Casale is a graduate of McGill University in Languages and Literature, with honours in Italian and is fluent in four languages.
Elaine Oksner – Concierge Team Leader
Elaine Oksner is a past president of Les Clefs d’Or, USA, the prestigious professional hotel concierge association, representing the highest standards of service excellence in the hospitality industry. In this role, her extensive international travel created opportunities to represent the concierge profession to the business community and its leaders worldwide. She led and facilitated education programs in and participated on panels from New York to Los Angeles and around the globe.
She has served as Chef Concierge at four and five star properties in Washington, DC and Palm Beach, Florida, including the Park Hyatt Washington, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach and the Breakers Resort Palm Beach. As an advocate for continuing education and networking for concierges, she served as president of both the Washington Area Concierge Association and the Concierge Association of the Palm Beaches, of which she was a founder. She continues to be involved with the concierge community as an honorary member of Les Clefs d’Or and regional concierge associations.
As a member of the management team of each property where she worked, Elaine was responsible for room inspections as well as Manager on Duty. These roles required full rounds and inspections of each physical area as well as the various services offered. Elaine’s attention to detail along with her insightful feedback encouraged employees to be more aware of and tuned in to the touchpoints that make guest experiences memorable.
Throughout her career, Elaine has received numerous awards, including Where Magazine’s award for top senior concierge in the nation’s capital and the Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report’s award for Concierge of the Year, USA. She was one of only 100 delegates chosen to attend the first White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.
Elaine is a frequent lecturer and instructor, having served as dean and lead trainer for the International Concierge Institute. She has developed curriculum and delivered training in customer service excellence to a variety of businesses and industries. She continues to travel extensively and integrates her experiences as part of engaging course content she designs for Hospitality Excellence clients. She is highly regarded for her multicultural insight, her knowledge of ethics in hospitality and her passion for theatre, which are all combined in her training style and delivery.
After receiving her BA from Adelphi University, she continued her scholastic pursuits at George Washington University in Education and Montgomery College in Hotel Management.
Alex Santos – Guest Experience Leader
Alex Santos, M.S., M.B.A., S.P.H.R., is a senior human resources and training executive with over 17 years of progressive experience. Alex’s work in private industry has focused heavily on the development of learning systems that transform employee performance from ordinary, to remarkable. Alex’s expertise lies in building systems that support and reward service excellence at every level of the organization. He accomplishes this by combining organizational development strategies and tactics to blended learning programs with line of sight alignment to clearly defined performance goals.
He earned his Master of Science in Instructional Systems from The Florida State University, and his Master of Business Administration from The University of Miami. In addition, he holds the coveted Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Human Capital Institute. Alex has developed courses for use by the U.S. Navy, CSX Transportation, Visa International, Ocean Bank, Fontainebleau Resorts, and the Ritter Academy. Additionally, Alex is the VP of Programs for South Florida ASTD’s Miami GIG, a chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.
Ellen Crane Schulman, APR – Healthcare Experience Leader
Ellen Schulman, who has worked extensively in the area of strategic marketing and public relations for physician groups, accountable care organizations and other health care organizations, leads the Hospitality Excellence Health Care Division. She shares the Hospitality Excellence philosophy that exceptional customer service is the critical first step in any marketing program. Ellen focuses on guiding healthcare organizations in patient satisfaction issues and opportunities with programs and training to enhance the patient experience.
Accredited in public relations (APR), she has spent more than three decades working with multi-national and small organizations to growing their businesses. Her areas of expertise include crisis planning, media relations, strategic communications planning, community relations and strategic corporate contributions and programs for nonprofits, corporate writing, marketing communications, and business-to-business marketing.
She currently handles business development for the Health Care Practice Group for the Florida law firm Broad and Cassel and supports Cancer Treatment Centers’ public affairs initiatives. Among the companies for whom she has provided strategic public relations support are: Hill and Knowlton, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious public relations firms; Offerdahl’s Bagel Gourmet, during the company’s transition to the national Einstein Bros Bagels chain; the Fort Lauderdale law firm,Tripp, Scott, Conklin & Smith; American Airlines; and the Aluminum Company of America.
Schulman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, graduated from Leadership Broward, Leadership Boca Raton and Leadership Palm Beach and in 2009 chaired the Youth Leadership Broward Media Day. She currently serves as the Vice President of Communications for Leadership Broward and is a member of the Women Leading Broward committee. For seven years, she was the producer and co-host of the radio show, Forum for Nonprofits, on the Beasley Radio network.
She was named one of the Top 100 Women in Broward County in 2009, a 2007 Women of the Year by the Association of Women in Communications and a 2006 Woman of Distinction by the March of Dimes. In addition, she received the Miami Dolphin’s Community Quarterback Award in 2006 and the Salvation Army Advisory Board Member of the Year in 2005. A member of the Public Relations Society of America since 1981, she recently chaired the accreditation committee. She also serves on the Annual Fund at Pine Crest School.
Jim Faulhaber, Chief Technology Officer
Jim manages the technology experience for Hospitality Excellence clients and students on the web and a variety of LMS platforms including SCORM as well as newly innovative dynamic learning methods for multiple internet connected devices. Jim also facilitates client and employee surveys, graphics and production to enhance each client experience and program.
Jim has over 15 years of experience in media including the internet and print publications. His focus has been on marketing and technology at Worth International Media Group, Borrell Technology and Time-Warner, Inc. Jim has been involved with numerous media distribution projects throughout his career and is responsible for implementing brand maximization strategies and fulfilling technical requirements. Jim is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and also holds an MBA.
Michael G. Platner, Chairman
Mr. Platner is a founding director and Chairman of Hospitality Excellence. He has helped build HEI’s professional team as well as led the company’s publishing and partnership efforts.
Mr. Platner is also an established corporate lawyer and avid technology and media entrepreneur who currently heads up the Corporate and Business Practice Group of one of the top 20 largest law firms in the US – Lewis Brisbois.
Over the past two decades, Mr. Platner has served in a variety of roles for the companies he serves, including as founder, CEO, legal counsel, board member, early stage investor and advisor. Michael is recognized for putting customer and client experiences first in all of his business endeavors. In 2002 Mr. Platner was granted a US Internet business method patent for an invention in the social media and commerce space.
In addition to HEI, Mr. Platner currently serves as a board member or strategic advisor to companies in Internet infrastructure, software, digital marketing, and entertainment media. He has extensive legal and business experience representing companies in hospitality, healthcare, finance, and a variety of business and consumer products and services. He holds an MBA and Law Degree from Emory University.
Kesh Prasad – Quality & Customer Experience Management
Based in metro Washington DC area, Mr. Prasad runs a software start up. As of now, his operations evaluation software based on customer feedback has nearly 100 installations among hotels, restaurants, casinos, golf courses, auto-dealers and retail stores at locations in the US, the Caribbean, Latin America and India (www.hotelqms.com). He is also an executive in residence at School of Business, George Washington University where he has taught graduate level courses in tourism and hospitality management and is a consultant to National Geographic Imaging. Mr. Prasad began his career as a member of faculty at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad after receiving MBA degree from Harvard Business School. Next he became Managing Director of a Royal Dutch Shell’s joint venture – Wavin India in Madras, India that manufactured and marketed plastic pipes for agriculture and rural development. Later he worked in New Delhi with Mr. P.R.S Oberoi, Chairman, Oberoi Hotels International (www.oberoihotels.com) as Vice President, Planning and Control with oversight responsibilities for hotels in India, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Bali. He returned to the US and worked with Promus Hotels owners of Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites brands with nearly 1200 hotels (now Hilton www.hilton.com) in research and strategy in Memphis, TN. He then became Director, Hotel Practice, J. D. Power and Associates in Southern California (www.jdpa.com) where his clients included Ritz Carlton, Disney World, Omni, Atlantis, Hyatt and others. His next assignment before locating in metro DC area was with Opinion Research, Princeton, NJ as Vice President, Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Practice.
Mr. Prasad has co-authored a book on marketing concepts and cases published by Tata-McGraw Hill in India and articles for Cornell Hotel Quarterly and Cornell Hospitality Research Center.