THE SPEAKERS

We are convening the finest minds on the topic – an array of respected thought leaders, experts, and hoteliers to identify the key ingredients for sustainable growth breakthrough and unleash the power of culture, people and performance to create sustainable change and engagement at all levels of your business.

The initial roster of speakers and panelists participating at the 2018 Culture & Performance Forum are among the finest minds available in redefining the disciplines of creating a magnetic culture, unleashing the talents of people and enabling sustainable performance.

Featured 2019 Speakers & Panelists

  • Melkart Rouhana CHIEF ENGAGEMENT OFFICER - MRT CONSULTANTS

    Melkart Rouhana is an unshakable pragmatic leader whose Core Purpose is to Enable Greatness everywhere. He is a distinguished inspirational speaker and consultant who enables people and organizations to make sustainable change through the power of culture and human capital. Melkart is a world-renowned culture and engagement expert and named by Porsche Executives “The Rock Star of Customer Service” and top Hoteliers as “the Engagement Magician”. His transformational approach to culture and human capital enabled organizations such as Porsche, The Ritz-Carlton, Aldara Medical Center (Henry Ford Hospital) to redefine the hospitality, automotive and healthcare organizations. Melkart held previous positions such as Corporate Director of Global Learning at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company; Public Speaker & Consultant for The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, Chief Learning Officer for Emaar Hospitality Group and Armani Hotels & Resorts to name few. He also coaches on the Executive MBA program of London Business School. Melkart’s philosophy has been recognized as foundational and been instrumental for the success of some of the most celebrated companies around the globe.

  • Tareq Bagaeen FOUNDER & CEO - AQEDINA HOSPITALITY SALES EXCELLENCE

    Tareq Bagaeen is a hotelier down to each fiber of his being and a true globally oriented commercial leader. He thrives through client interactions and striking sound business deals. Throughout his career, he has held sales and marketing responsibilities whether on property or from a regional directive covering dozens of hotels and his journey has taken him to lead teams and handle clients in over 100 countries; giving him a pragmatic approach to varied cultures, economic up or downturns, monopolized or aggressively competitive market places and pushing out brands from the budget range right up to the highest spectrums of luxury. Throughout his commercial excellence journey, Tareq has trained senior associates from Rosewood Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Kerzner International, Rotana, Mövenpick Hotels, Accor and W Hotels to name a few. He has also conducted sales programs for financial institutions, the insurance industry, real estate development firms, as well as travel management firms. His philosophy is that no two people are alike, no two business units or their mother companies; as such, every single learning cycle that he has conducted is unique.

  • Ayman Gharib
    Ayman Gharib Managing Director OF Raffles Dubai and Sofitel Dubai Wafi

    In his role, Ayman is responsible for overseeing two of AccorHotels Dubai based flagships in its Luxe Division. Whilst bringing Sofitel’s largest property in the Middle East to life and ready for its anticipated opening in late 2019, Ayman continues to lead the iconic Raffles Dubai and its team from strength to strength, pioneering the luxury hospitality segment in the city.

    Ayman brings nearly 20 years of luxury hospitality experience to this role, during which he has acquired highest levels of expertise, working for Raffles, Ritz Carlton, Kempinski and Sheraton and has established himself as one of the highly respected and dynamic industry leaders in the Middle East.

    As the General Manager of Raffles Dubai since early 2014, Ayman’s charismatic and forward thinking leadership approach enables the hotel to set industry wide benchmarks across all performance indicators and measures. To name a few, Raffles Dubai has been ranked amongst the top 3 Dubai Hotels on tripadvisor.com and achieved highest engagement scores within the region for the past 3 years. Only months after the implementation of the Trust You platform and the Reputation Performance Score, the hotel is currently the 2nd best amongst the Luxe Properties in the region.

  • Declan Hurley
    Declan Hurley Corporate Vice President of Sales - Rotana Hotel Management Corporation

    Boasting a pragmatic career spanning over 27 years at the sharp end of the sales, marketing and commercial field within the hospitality industry, Declan brings a global pespective to any business interaction.

    During his tenor he has worked for some of the best brands and organizations from Forte Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company where he held the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for The Middle East and Europe as well as growing into a much larger leadershop role for the brand to manage sales operations with Asia for the International Sales Offices.

    For the past two years, Declan has been leading the sales force of Rotana Hotels which is a highly energetic and fast growing organization which will be operating over 100 hotels across The Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, Africa and Europe by 2020 and within this time has brought along a major development to his teams, their structure, development and overall effectiveness & strength.

  • Dirk-Jan Rijks
    Dirk-Jan Rijks Vice President Human Resources Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd
    Dirk-Jan Rijks, Vice President Human Resources, brings a wealth of talent management and people development experience where his remit is to spearhead the Human Resources function for the Shangri-La hotels in the Middle East, India, Indian Ocean, Europe and North America
     
    Based in Dubai, Mr. Rijks’ primary responsibilities is to lead the HR business function and transformation for the hotels in the region and is a guardian of the culture of Asian Hospitality.
    Prior to joining Shangri-La, Mr. Rijks was the VP Global Talent & Service Culture Development for Accor Hotels Luxury and Upscale Brands. The main purpose was to support and participate to setting a clear, differentiated and complementary brand experience while driving and supporting optimal guest experience strategy and satisfaction through the conception, creation and delivery inspired learning programs delivered to the leaders within the Luxury & Upscale Segment of AccorHotels.
    His previous position with Accor Hotels was Vice President Human Resources Sofitel Asia Pacific, where he was responsible for handling all components of the HR function for 42 hotels and based in Singapore and Bangkok. During this tenure, he was also actively involved in various project groups such as the Sofitel Ambassador Program, School of Excellence and GM Entrepreneur.
  • MUKESH VASANDANI
    MUKESH VASANDANI VP, Learning & Organisational Development, Kerzner International
    Mukesh holds the position of Vice President, Learning & Organisational Development at Kerzner International and has over 17 years of hospitality experience. Mukesh leads the group-wide setup and implementation of Learning and Organisational Development strategies and programmes for Kerzner and previously, for companies such as ONYX Hospitality Group (based in Thailand) and Salam International & Salam Hospitality (based in the Middle East). Mukesh began his hospitality experience as a part of the Hyatt team for multiple years and in various roles, where he successfully managed and lead both F&B operations, as well as HR.
     
    At Kerzner, Mukesh ensures that a consistent quality and high level of training and developmental programs are delivered to all colleagues across the company portfolio and that these are in line with core values and desired competencies. This includes pre-opening support and training, streamlined on-boarding processes, employee training and growth, management and senior management development, as well as the development of management trainees and related programs.
  • Samar Eraky
    Samar Eraky REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE - FOUR SEASONS HOTELS & RESORTS - EMEA

    With more than 20 Years with The Four Seasons Hotel Company in the field of HR & Learning and Development, Samar is an experienced Regional Director of Human Resources with a celebrated history in culture and organizational behavior. Voted as one of the top 100 executives in the Middle East, Samar opened 4 Four Seasons Hotels in Cairo, Doha, Dubai Jumeirah and Dubai DIFC and she is currently overseeing the HR function at a regional level in Bahrain, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait, Amman  & Syria. A Master of alignment and crafting a strong organizational culture. Backed up with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with focus on Human Resources Management Samar brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of culture reinforcement and sustainability…She is a professional coach with unique skills in Hotel Management, Hospitality Industry, Team Building, Employee Relations, Employee benefits, Compensation, and HR Policies.

  • Yigit Sezgin
    Yigit Sezgin Chief Commercial Officer at Accor Hospitality

    Lived around the globe in over 8 cities in 20 years and held senior executive roles in multinationals such as Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Wilton International and Radisson Hotel Group,focusing on marketing, sales, brand, commercial management, consultancy and business development. In his last role as CEO of Bilgili Holding, he managed a portfolio of luxury real estate and hospitality developments such as Aman Resorts, Peninsula Hotel, Soho House Istanbul, W Istanbul, Ritz Carlton & Mandarin Oriental Residences around the World.

    He has a wide range of successful achievements especially within Emerging Markets where adversity has only forged him to better. Sezgin has a proven track record and references in leadership, strategic development, commercial focus and performance management.

    In his current role as the Chief Commercial Officer of Accor Hospitality, he oversees a portfolio of 35 Brands in emerging markets in charge of Revenue, Digital and Loyalty Transformation, Sales, Marketing, PR, Communication, System Integration and Transition of all the new merger and acquisitions.

Featured 2018 Speakers & Panelists

  • Melkart Rouhana CHIEF ENGAGEMENT OFFICER - MRT CONSULTANTS

    Melkart Rouhana is an unshakable pragmatic leader whose Core Purpose is to Enable Greatness everywhere. He is a distinguished inspirational speaker and consultant who enables people and organizations to make sustainable change through the power of culture and human capital. Melkart is a world-renowned culture and engagement expert and named by Porsche Executives “The Rock Star of Customer Service” and top Hoteliers as “the Engagement Magician”. His transformational approach to culture and human capital enabled organizations such as Porsche, The Ritz-Carlton, Aldara Medical Center (Henry Ford Hospital) to redefine the hospitality, automotive and healthcare organizations. Melkart held previous positions such as Corporate Director of Global Learning at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company; Public Speaker & Consultant for The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, Chief Learning Officer for Emaar Hospitality Group and Armani Hotels & Resorts to name few. He also coaches on the Executive MBA program of London Business School. Melkart’s philosophy has been recognized as foundational and been instrumental for the success of some of the most celebrated companies around the globe.

  • Tareq Bagaeen FOUNDER & CEO - AQEDINA HOSPITALITY SALES EXCELLENCE

    Tareq Bagaeen is a hotelier down to each fiber of his being and a true globally oriented commercial leader. He thrives through client interactions and striking sound business deals. Throughout his career, he has held sales and marketing responsibilities whether on property or from a regional directive covering dozens of hotels and his journey has taken him to lead teams and handle clients in over 100 countries; giving him a pragmatic approach to varied cultures, economic up or downturns, monopolized or aggressively competitive market places and pushing out brands from the budget range right up to the highest spectrums of luxury. Throughout his commercial excellence journey, Tareq has trained senior associates from Rosewood Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Kerzner International, Rotana, Mövenpick Hotels, Accor and W Hotels to name a few. He has also conducted sales programs for financial institutions, the insurance industry, real estate development firms, as well as travel management firms. His philosophy is that no two people are alike, no two business units or their mother companies; as such, every single learning cycle that he has conducted is unique.

  • Ayman Gharib
    Ayman Gharib Managing Director OF Raffles Dubai and Sofitel Dubai Wafi

    In his role, Ayman is responsible for overseeing two of AccorHotels Dubai based flagships in its Luxe Division. Whilst bringing Sofitel’s largest property in the Middle East to life and ready for its anticipated opening in late 2019, Ayman continues to lead the iconic Raffles Dubai and its team from strength to strength, pioneering the luxury hospitality segment in the city.

    Ayman brings nearly 20 years of luxury hospitality experience to this role, during which he has acquired highest levels of expertise, working for Raffles, Ritz Carlton, Kempinski and Sheraton and has established himself as one of the highly respected and dynamic industry leaders in the Middle East.

    As the General Manager of Raffles Dubai since early 2014, Ayman’s charismatic and forward thinking leadership approach enables the hotel to set industry wide benchmarks across all performance indicators and measures. To name a few, Raffles Dubai has been ranked amongst the top 3 Dubai Hotels on tripadvisor.com and achieved highest engagement scores within the region for the past 3 years. Only months after the implementation of the Trust You platform and the Reputation Performance Score, the hotel is currently the 2nd best amongst the Luxe Properties in the region.

  • Declan Hurley
    Declan Hurley Corporate Vice President of Sales - Rotana Hotel Management Corporation

    Boasting a pragmatic career spanning over 27 years at the sharp end of the sales, marketing and commercial field within the hospitality industry, Declan brings a global pespective to any business interaction.

    During his tenor he has worked for some of the best brands and organizations from Forte Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels Group and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company where he held the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for The Middle East and Europe as well as growing into a much larger leadershop role for the brand to manage sales operations with Asia for the International Sales Offices.

    For the past two years, Declan has been leading the sales force of Rotana Hotels which is a highly energetic and fast growing organization which will be operating over 100 hotels across The Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, Africa and Europe by 2020 and within this time has brought along a major development to his teams, their structure, development and overall effectiveness & strength.

  • Dirk-Jan Rijks
    Dirk-Jan Rijks Vice President Human Resources Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd
    Dirk-Jan Rijks, Vice President Human Resources, brings a wealth of talent management and people development experience where his remit is to spearhead the Human Resources function for the Shangri-La hotels in the Middle East, India, Indian Ocean, Europe and North America
     
    Based in Dubai, Mr. Rijks’ primary responsibilities is to lead the HR business function and transformation for the hotels in the region and is a guardian of the culture of Asian Hospitality.
    Prior to joining Shangri-La, Mr. Rijks was the VP Global Talent & Service Culture Development for Accor Hotels Luxury and Upscale Brands. The main purpose was to support and participate to setting a clear, differentiated and complementary brand experience while driving and supporting optimal guest experience strategy and satisfaction through the conception, creation and delivery inspired learning programs delivered to the leaders within the Luxury & Upscale Segment of AccorHotels.
    His previous position with Accor Hotels was Vice President Human Resources Sofitel Asia Pacific, where he was responsible for handling all components of the HR function for 42 hotels and based in Singapore and Bangkok. During this tenure, he was also actively involved in various project groups such as the Sofitel Ambassador Program, School of Excellence and GM Entrepreneur.
  • MUKESH VASANDANI
    MUKESH VASANDANI VP, Learning & Organisational Development, Kerzner International
    Mukesh holds the position of Vice President, Learning & Organisational Development at Kerzner International and has over 17 years of hospitality experience. Mukesh leads the group-wide setup and implementation of Learning and Organisational Development strategies and programmes for Kerzner and previously, for companies such as ONYX Hospitality Group (based in Thailand) and Salam International & Salam Hospitality (based in the Middle East). Mukesh began his hospitality experience as a part of the Hyatt team for multiple years and in various roles, where he successfully managed and lead both F&B operations, as well as HR.
     
    At Kerzner, Mukesh ensures that a consistent quality and high level of training and developmental programs are delivered to all colleagues across the company portfolio and that these are in line with core values and desired competencies. This includes pre-opening support and training, streamlined on-boarding processes, employee training and growth, management and senior management development, as well as the development of management trainees and related programs.
  • Samar Eraky
    Samar Eraky REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE - FOUR SEASONS HOTELS & RESORTS - EMEA

    With more than 20 Years with The Four Seasons Hotel Company in the field of HR & Learning and Development, Samar is an experienced Regional Director of Human Resources with a celebrated history in culture and organizational behavior. Voted as one of the top 100 executives in the Middle East, Samar opened 4 Four Seasons Hotels in Cairo, Doha, Dubai Jumeirah and Dubai DIFC and she is currently overseeing the HR function at a regional level in Bahrain, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait, Amman  & Syria. A Master of alignment and crafting a strong organizational culture. Backed up with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with focus on Human Resources Management Samar brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of culture reinforcement and sustainability…She is a professional coach with unique skills in Hotel Management, Hospitality Industry, Team Building, Employee Relations, Employee benefits, Compensation, and HR Policies.

  • Yigit Sezgin
    Yigit Sezgin Chief Commercial Officer at Accor Hospitality

    Lived around the globe in over 8 cities in 20 years and held senior executive roles in multinationals such as Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Wilton International and Radisson Hotel Group,focusing on marketing, sales, brand, commercial management, consultancy and business development. In his last role as CEO of Bilgili Holding, he managed a portfolio of luxury real estate and hospitality developments such as Aman Resorts, Peninsula Hotel, Soho House Istanbul, W Istanbul, Ritz Carlton & Mandarin Oriental Residences around the World.

    He has a wide range of successful achievements especially within Emerging Markets where adversity has only forged him to better. Sezgin has a proven track record and references in leadership, strategic development, commercial focus and performance management.

    In his current role as the Chief Commercial Officer of Accor Hospitality, he oversees a portfolio of 35 Brands in emerging markets in charge of Revenue, Digital and Loyalty Transformation, Sales, Marketing, PR, Communication, System Integration and Transition of all the new merger and acquisitions.