BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Peter Yesawich, Ph.D.
Peter. C. Yesawich is Vice Chairman, Emeritus of MMGY Global, America’s leading marketing, advertising and public relations agency specializing in serving travel, leisure and entertainment clients. The agency represents clients in every category of the travel industry through offices across North America, Europe and Asia.
MMGY Global is an integrated marketing communications company that is renowned for its strategic thinking, breakthrough creativity and innovation in marketing practice. The agency’s Insights group is also regarded as one of the most respected sources of market intelligence on the emerging travel habits, preferences and intentions of Americans, and authors the widely-acclaimed Portrait of American Travelers™ and travelhorizons™ surveys.
Yesawich is a frequent commentator on travel trends in such publications as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Newsweek and Business Week. He has also appeared on the CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and BCC World television networks, and is frequently heard on National Public Radio. Listed in Who’s Who in America, Yesawich is the recipient of the World Travel Award from the American Association of Travel Editors, the Albert E. Koehl Award from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the Silver Medal from the American Advertising Federation and the Spirit of Hospitality Award from the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). He was named one of the “25 Most Extraordinary Marketing Minds” by HSMAI, and is a former member of the board of directors of the Travel Industry Association of America. He is also the coauthor of Marketing Leadership In Hospitality, published by Prentice Hall.
Yesawich received three degrees from Cornell, including a doctorate in applied psychology, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Yale.
John Berndt is an experienced hospitality leader contributing to the operations, development, positioning and growth of the Cipriani, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Starwood and International Hotels & Resort Groups. John has contributed to concept development, openings and operations of world renown restaurants including the Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Center, Potato Head Beach Club and Back Bay restaurants. He has introduced international restaurants and f&b concepts to Asian Capital markets including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. He has been recognized for providing exceptional operational service delivery execution excellence, financial performance, new property openings, asset management, unique guest experiences, employee engagement, development and growth.
John, a native New Yorker, and graduated from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He lectures at Hospitality Universities and participates in International investment conferences. John is an active Rotarian and member of the Cornell Hotel Society. He serves on the board of the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce, Finger Lakes Community College, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and the Ontario County Historical Society. He consults for GLG, Gerson Lehrman Group, Larry Stuart Hospitality, Empire Hospitality Associates and Cayuga Hospitality Advisors. The Asian Productivity Organization, China and US National Quality Award Councils, Mobil travel guide, The World Travel Organization, International Five Star Diamond Award, Asia award of excellence, Fox News, hotel property award, and Condé Nast, Architectural Digest, International Traveller, Forbes Travel, Luxury Lifestyle travel guide, and Travel & Leisure magazines have recognized him and his efforts.
John is blessed with a wonderful family including two sibling brothers in the service industry, two married daughters and three very active grandchildren.
Hercules Walls, Former NFL Player
Former NFL (Houston Oilers, Tampa Buccaneers) Orlando Predators Football Hall of Famer and High School Football Coach Pastor Herkie Walls. After playing football for over 12 years God called Pastor Herkie into the Ministry.
Founder of New Generation Gospel Church Pastor Herkie is honored to be a part of the Orlando Neighborhood. Born in Garland, Texas Pastor Herkie was raised in a Baptist Church all of His life. He is the youngest of three boys.
As a little boy he had the opportunity to sing with his church choir and ran track through the YMCA program. Eventually in middle school Herkie added football into his list of passions. Herkie was always the smallest one on the team, but the fastest and toughest. He was on the 1980 U.S. Olympic track team scheduled to run the 4X 100 relay but President Carter boycotted those Olympic games held in Russia.
Herkie received a double scholarship to the University of Texas for both track and football. After graduation he was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 7th round. He was the first receiver picked by the team and played with Houston for four years, then was traded to Tampa Bay as a receiver. After retiring from the NFL, Herkie moved to Orlando. In the spring of 1991 he joined an AFL team, the Orlando Predators. After spending six years on the football field he still holds five receiving and return records. After leaving the playing field he spent another seven years with the Predators as their Community Relations Director and formed “Herkie’s Hero’s – Fitness is Fun” program for the Orange County Public Schools.