Fergus Clark is currently retail business manager for United Travel Franchise — a chain of over 60 retail franchisees around New Zealand.
His background of both retail and wholesale travel spans over 30 years, including both ownership of retail travel agencies, through to recruiting and managing wholesale teams of over 80 staff at Gullivers Pacific in a public company environment.
Throughout his career, Fergus has been particularly interested in people performance management and how to get the best results from available resources.
As a result, a focus on training, KPI's, leadership, and team/individual management have been critical factors in the success of his teams.
Marisa Bidois is Chief Executive of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand — a role she has filled from the middle of 2011.
Prior to this position, Marisa worked for Transfield Services in their HR and legal department. She was also the General Manager of Taste, the Restaurant Associations Professional Development Department and was the appointed Employment Relations Adviser for the Association.
Marisa sits on the Hospitality Standards Institute Electoral College and the North Shore Academy's Advisory Board. Her commitment to the hospitality has spanned over 17 years.
Tony Astle Born and educated in Christchurch, Tony moved to Wellington at the age of 16 to work in restaurants. His first break came in 1964 when internationally renowned chef Graeme Kerr "The Galloping Gourmet", sponsored Tony to attend his International Gourmet School in Wellington.
In 1973 he opened Antoine’s Restaurant in Parnell, Auckland. He says cooking gives him huge personal satisfaction - "the pleasure you can impart to others has to be one of the great experiences in life".
"For me, food is an outlet for one’s artistic abilities. It provides an infinite source of learning."
He says a great dish is in the eye appeal, freshness, simplicity and great flavours. "It's the art of combining ingredients to blast your flavour buds".
Mr Astle believes a great chef is one who lives and breathes food and wine and is probably obsessed with pleasing others as well as themselves.
"Someone who loves sharing their knowledge and experience with others and is always looking for new and exciting ways to move ahead. A great chef knows there is always something else to learn."
Dominic Cheng was born and educated in Hong Kong, and is married with two adult children.
He started working in the aviation and travel industry in 1972 and has work experience in Hong Kong, UK, USA, Canada and South East Asia.
He and his family migrated to New Zealand in 1995. "I founded and co-own Winchester Travel Limited, which is an accredited travel agent of IATA TAANZ, ITOC and QualMark," says Dominic.
He served as board member of The Inbound Tour Operators Council of New Zealand since 2002.
David Comery has been in the hotel industry for 35 years managing hotels in New Zealand, Fiji and Africa.
Graduating Top Student in the second intake for NZ’s first Hotel School and continued studies at New York's Cornell University positions David well to understand the rigours of the industry and the disciplines required for tertiary studies.
The founding Chairman of the NZ Hotel Council, David is actively involved up to and including Board level of various tourism and convention organisations.
He is a strong supporter of many local organisations in the Mount Wellington area demonstrate an adherence to a culture of good corporate citizenship.