Born in White Plains, New York to a German culinary family, Michael moved to Germany when he was 6 years old. His education, as well as military service, took place in Hamburg, Germany.
Michael began working in his parent’s restaurants at a young age and after high school graduation, he served a 2.5-year apprenticeship with Canadian Pacific Hotels in Hamburg, followed by an 18-month military service in the German Army. After this he started his hospitality career at the Four Season’s Hotel in Hamburg in food and beverage, soon realizing that his passion was in the rooms division. This is when a 29-year run with Marriott International started.
Michael joined the Hamburg Marriott hotel front office team and then transferred to the Marriott Orlando World Center where he started in night audit and then moved back to the front desk. His next step was manager on duty for Marriott’s International Drive property in Orlando. His next transfer took him to the Munich Marriott where he oversaw the front office, reservations and then was promoted to the sales department as Director of Group Sales.
Michael also assisted with the opening of the Bremen Marriott Hotel and the Ramada Munich Airport.
During his time in Munich, Michael graduated from the American Hotel and Motel Association with a diploma in Hotel Management. From there he moved to the west coast of the US where he worked at the Monterey Marriott in Group Sales. Michael’s next promotion took him to the pre-opening sales office for Grande Lakes Orlando, where he was a Senior Account Executive handling both the 1000 room JW Marriott and 582 room Ritz-Carlton hotels. His broad market experience included Florida’s State Association as well as West Coast Corporate and Association accounts. It was at Grande Lakes when Michael began handling the HPN Account as the single point of contact.
After a decade at Grande Lakes, he joined Starwood and the sales team of the 1500 room Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort where he also worked West Coast Corporate and Association accounts as well as the Midwest market. In April 2018 Michael retired from Marriott and joined the HPN Global team.
Michael has been married to his wife Sharon since 1994. Michael and Sharon reside in Orlando, FL where they raised their two daughters, Ashley, 22 and Evelyn, 20.
Sarah Durai comes to us from JRK Hotel Group where she held the title of Director of Sports and Entertainment Sales. She primarily sold for the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown, but also booked for the Oceana in Santa Monica, The Roger in New York, and the Holiday Inn Express in Downtown Nashville.
Sarah is a Nashville native and has been in the hospitality industry for the last 10 years. She started her career at Tennessee’s only 5-Star, 5-Diamond property, The Hermitage Hotel where she was able to strengthen her art of true southern hospitality. Sarah loves the industry that she is in and states that her favorite part about her career is the relationships that she gets to make with people from all over the world and being able to leave them with a positive, lasting impression.
Sarah studied Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis, and is currently a member of Meeting Professionals International. Sarah’s passions outside of work include traveling, cheering on the Predators with the rest of Smashville, Fantasy Football and Hockey, Sunday football (especially when her Chargers are playing), dancing, poker nights, attending concerts and listening to live music, and spending time in her wonderful city with family and friends.
Sarah was recently named Top 100 Leading Persons in Hospitality for the city of Nashville, and is so excited to start her new adventure with HPN Global. Sarah was our SPC for almost 5 years, so feels that HPN is already family to her. She states Relationships Matter, and there is no other company she would rather be with!
Patty Gannon has over 30 years of experience in the travel industry. She studied at Grand Valley State University and earned a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
In 1988 Patty joined Norwegian Cruise Line as a member of their Cruise Staff and travelled the world entertaining thousands of passengers weekly. When she finally jumped ship., she furthered her career at the Walt Disney World Resorts where she successfully completed Disney’s highly acclaimed management program and worked the front of the house, back of the house and ultimately made her way into sales.
In 1998, Patty started work in the Destination Management world, where she successfully sold and managed hundreds of programs in Florida and most recently Las Vegas. As a longtime partner to HPN the only natural progression in her career would be to take the plunge and join the team which happened on March 1st.
Outside of work you can find Patty in dance class, hanging with her dog Cappy or sipping cocktails poolside with friends! Once she makes her millions her plan is to buy a small island, make a home for her family and a sanctuary for stray animals where they will all live happily ever after.
In celebration of HPN Global’s 16th year in business, and my 16th anniversary with the company, I’m sharing 16 thoughts of gratitude and my experience from watching the development and growth of this awesome company.
1. I’m not here by accident. I truly believe the universe lined up perfectly 16 years ago, and connected me with Bill Kilburg, which turned into my role & involvement with HPN. I was and continue to be right where I am supposed to be.
2. I’ve seen how the HPN Global opportunity can change lives. In the past 16 years, I’ve seen people take a leap of faith with their fingers crossed, a dedicated work ethic, and dive head first into entrepreneurialism. They have forever changed their lives and that of their families by way of prosperous incomes, quality time with the people that matter most, and control over their own schedules.
3. While at HPN, I turned 21 (which I’m sure you can imagine is quite the experience!), got married, and started the incredible journey of motherhood. I can’t imagine raising my son under other circumstances where family truly comes first. Also, by my definition, I have been able to successfully tackle being a dedicated mom who is there for her son, and a passionate professional. John (my son) has always been welcome in the office and a fun distraction for many, especially during the early years. We love HPN babies and kids ☺ This is a huge example of the kind of company culture Bill & Joe set out for 16 years ago.
4. When you love what you do, it rapidly ceases to be work. So many people spend their entire life lacking motivation or passion for what they do. Enjoying what I do is extremely important for me, and it also sets the example I want for my son. Work / Life Balance does exist. If you’re not experiencing this, I challenge you to find it.
5. I have witnessed incredible examples and influence of some of the top industry professionals, specifically within our leadership team at HPN Global. This group of people has influenced the person and professional I am today. I will forever be grateful. These are brilliant, compassionate, innovative people who don’t settle for status quo. I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.
6. Change. Innovation. Open mindedness. These are some of the characteristics that have made HPN Global so successful. We seek to find different ways to approach our business.
7. Leadership. What does it mean to be a leader? It’s not a title. Plenty of people have important titles that aren’t leaders. For me, it has meant taking an opportunity and making it my own. Before I knew it, I was providing counsel, guidance, direction, or just a listening ear to our team members. Mentoring others is an important piece of what I’ve experienced. The world I envision is a world where people help each other to advance, grow, and then turn around and help the next person.
8. I am delightfully included in this year’s 100 Women Who Inspire Us, by Smart Meetings. These are 100 truly amazing women, and I’m proud to be in their company.
9. Networking & Connections! Two extremely powerful words. Working for HPN Global has allowed me to develop and refine my own personal networking style, and understand just how important this skill is. Connections can open doors you didn’t know existed.
When you have an opportunity to take a relationship to the next level, and really connect with someone, that’s my favorite part. I love the impact we can have on people (and vise versa). People often forget that every time they interact with someone, they’re making an impact on that person. My goal is to have a positive impact with everyone I interact with.
10. HPN has taken me to some of the most amazing destinations. I’m literally traveling the world, and staying in some of the top hotels & resorts along the way. One of my favorite trips each year is our President’s Club Incentive. We award out top producers with an amazing trip. The destination changes annually, and it’s guaranteed to delight. I spend almost a week connecting with the top producers for HPN Global. Every year, the winners are different, and it’s extremely competitive. It’s a ton of fun getting to know them & their spouses better on more personal level. On that note, my husband has been able to join me on these awesome adventures. Sometimes, I think my HPN peeps enjoy his company more than mine (I’m talking to you, Linscott!).
11. It takes a village – for everything!
I / we couldn’t be where we are today without the amazing individuals that support us. We’re talking everything from talented people who support the HPN Global operation, my family who helps take care of my son when I travel, and my inner circle who provides amazing feedback and counsel for me personally and professionally.
12. Through our travels, I have been exposed to some of the most amazing food & wine. I’ve really come to enjoy this aspect of the hospitality industry. I have truly been spoiled and have loved every minute of it. Enjoying great food & wine is a big part of who I am.
13. What incredible experiences I’ve had in the past 16 years. I’ve done some amazing things that I may not have done on my own: watching an insane lightning storm in the Bahamas, ziplining in Costa Rica, relaxing in the turquois water in the Dominican Republic, a gorgeous waterfall hike in Maui, hanging on a private island in Puerto Rico, to name a few. Wow!!
14. I would be remiss not to mention the quality of education and motivational content we’re exposed to constantly – we’re talking the most incredible speaker experiences available in the market. Really impactful, change your life – if you allow it – content.
15. The opportunities available in this industry are endless. It only takes the right people paying attention at the right time to our ever-evolving world. Through this lens, HPN Global is leading the path for enhanced client safety through Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Crisis Management. This partnership is made possible by HPN teaming up with my very own John Whitney via Emergency Concierge International to provide our clients the highest level of evolutionary service.
16. Finally, Relationships Matter! It’s the foundation on which on our company was built, and I whole heartedly drink this Kool Aid daily. I see this not only in my professional world, but personal world as well. People need people, we are tribal by nature.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Senior VP, Sourcing & Industry Relations
13825 N Northsight Blvd., Suite 201
Scottsdale AZ, 85260
Phone: 480.998.9770 Ext 236
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Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Ken attended Michigan State University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management. During his tenure at MSU, he conducted two hotel internships…one at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City Michigan and the other at the Sands Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Immediately after graduation, Hilton Hotels Corporation hired him to be one of only two Management Trainee Professionals at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. After 8 months, Ken was promoted to Convention Sales Manager handling the Midwest Market. After 4 years he decided to take a similar position at the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau also handling the Midwest Market. In 1999, after 2 years with the New Orleans CVB, he decided to accept a position of Senior Account Executive at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, handling the West Coast Market and several 3rd party companies, including HPN Global. Ken and Heather Newman have been married since 1999 and have two sons (Kaine, 19 and Kameron, 17), and they currently reside in Covington, LA.
The 20 latest Blog Posts
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- HPN Global 2018 President’s Club
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- Chicago Hotel Sales and Marketing Rockstar Joins HPN Global
- HPN Global adds Southern California Area Sales Rockstar to the team
- Nick Elardo is excited about his new Career with HPN Global
- 20 Year Hotel Sale Pro from Chicago Joins Growing HPN Global
- 29 Year Marriott Associate Joins HPN Global
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- 30 Year Hospitality Pro Joins HPN Global
- HPN Global Sweet 16
- New Orleans Hospitality Veteran joins HPN Global
- Smart Meetings includes our very own Desi Whitney as one of the Top 100 Women in Meetings Who Inspire Us!
- HPN Global 2017 Recap
- HPN Global Million Room Nights Booked
- #HPN17 Winning Together
- Post Hurricane María – Puerto Rico
- 2018 HPN Global Partner Conference
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