Melinda Bush, C.H.A.
Almont Global’s strengths come not only from its three founders, but also from an extraordinary gathering of the world’s most brilliant brains in diverse industry sectors:
Filip Boyen – Filip is CEO of Forbes Travel Guide – the only global, independent luxury ratings association that offers objective, professional incognito evaluations to determine the very best properties in the world. Alongside ratings and training, Forbes Travel Guide also offers quality assessments, visiting hotels as often as every month to offer instant feedback on service standards. Boyen was previously CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Filip’s entire career has centred around luxury service culture and what that entails. “I believe that it always starts with people”, says Filip, adding, “Culture is the people, their attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs.”
Melinda Bush, C.H.A. – Melinda is President/Chief Executive – HRW Holdings/ Hospitality Resources Worldwide, LLC/Managing Director Panorama International Tour Pro. Melinda is one of the most renowned and respected experts on issues affecting the hotel, resort and tourism industries. As CEO of HRW Holdings/Hospitality Resources Worldwide LLC, Melinda and her colleagues assist hotels, resorts and suppliers in their market development and investment activities with a focus on the luxury marketplace. HRW’s alliance with Panorama International focuses on providing both development and investment services for destinations aimed at building their tourism infrastructure. Melinda is a founding investor in Thayer Venture Capital’s Funds I and II and serves on a number of public and private corporate boards. She is also chairman of a fund offering scholarships to young men and women desiring to enter the hospitality industry.
Costas Christ – Costas is no doubt the most prominent figure in the world when it comes to defining and promoting sustainable tourism and CSR. Founder and President of Beyond Green Travel, Costas has gained many titles: Ecotourism Pioneer, Sustainable Tourism Visionary, Award-Winning National Geographic Travel Writer – to name a few – and his life’s work has helped shape the world of travel and tourism as we know it today. Costas has served as a top advisor to CEOs, philanthropists, tourism ministers and heads of state, helping companies and countries achieve success based on a business model of doing well by doing good. He was honoured as an “Eco Warrior” together with Dr Jane Goodall, CNN founder Ted Turner, and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, and was also recognised as a “Tourism Visionary” by the International Restaurant and Hotel Awards.
Susie Ellis – Susie is chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), and heads up the organisation’s annual Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Tourism Congress. Recognised as one of the leading authorities on the multi-sector wellness industry, she is frequently cited in major global publications, from the New York Times to the Financial Times. Ellis is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne; a member of the Spa Advisory Board for the University of California, Irvine, Spa and Hospitality Management Program; and on the Aspen Brain Forum Board of Advisors.
Fraser Hickox – Executive Director of the exclusive conceptual:™group, serving as a Director of both the unique conceptual:hotels™, and specialist conceptual:™hospitality services where he is also a principal consultant. The former Group General Manager of Research and Technology for The Peninsula Hotels is a noted hospitality technology visionary, innovator and pioneer. Across 3 decades with The Peninsula Hotels, he has been behind the introduction of a number of hotel industry technology innovations since the mid-1980s – from the first hotel with a computer and internet access in every room, to sophisticated and intuitive bed-side panels, among various unique in-room technologies that complement rather than compete with the design and ambiance.
Nick Pilbeam – Nick is the Founder and Managing Director of Reficere Consulting International, a boutique consultancy guiding key groups in the global travel eco-system such as destinations, tourist boards and convention bureaux to navigate the opportunities and dangers of the COVID recovery era. Nick was previously Managing Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the world’s #1 travel and tourism event’s organiser, where he led the world’s largest and most sophisticated industry events such as ILTM, World Travel Market and IBTM in 25 countries on 5 continents with clients in over 200 countries. Nick brings a strong foundation of expertise in aviation and digital transformation from a 15-year leadership career at British Airways and International Airlines Group. Nick holds an MBA from Henley Business School complemented with executive education at Harvard Business School and China Europe International Business School.
Edie Rodriguez – Edie is a Member of the Board and a decisive leader with 35+ years’ experience in the global cruise, travel, hospitality, luxury and technology industries. She is recognized as an expert and thought leader in the luxury and travel sectors with a strong financial acumen and broad-based sales, marketing, including social and digital, distribution channels, and operations experience. Ms. Rodriguez sits on the board of Rand Corporation Center for Global Risk and Security (CGRS) and she is actively involved in the global travel industry where she has served on the Board of Directors of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), and is currently on Robb Reports Private Aviation Board, Air France’s Advisory Board for French Tourism and is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Promotion Marketing Association.
Naim Maadad –Chief Executive & Founder, Gates Hospitality. Gates Hospitality is the owning company of well-known home-grown brands such as; Ultra Brasserie, the internationally acclaimed concept; Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly by Nick & Scott, as well as Publique, Dubai’s premier “Apres Ski chalet”, Bistro Des Arts, Six Senses Zighy Bay, Red Farm London at Covent Garden London, and Stokehouse at Trump International Golf Course, DAMAC Hills, Dubai. With over 39 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, & the Middle East in various senior management roles, Naim has launched & operated some of the world’s best Hotels, Resorts, Spas & Lifestyle Food & Beverage Concepts.
Robert Appelbaum is a senior commercial attorney and dealmaker based in South Africa. He is a senior partner of one of Africa's premier law firms. Robert has 40 years of experience in the hotel, tourism, restaurant, and wine industry. He comes from food royalty in South Africa and co-owns Strandveld Vineyards and several restaurants. Robert was the Honorary Business Representative for the Middle East and Africa Group of IE Singapore, the Singapore Government body which was responsible for driving Singapore's external economy. Robert has served and continues to serve as an adviser to several governments in Africa and Southeast Asia.