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Summit 2011 Speaker Bios

VERSION 13  Click to view article history
Created on: Jun 24, 2010 3:36 PM by community-editor - Last Modified:  Nov 23, 2011 2:57 PM by meredith

We are nailing down new speakers every day for this year's Summit, and  it promises to be another hugely successful event!  We're in the  beginning stages of compiling all the bios, but please check back as  more speakers are added for HomeAway Summit 2011.



Please note: Topics and speakers are subject to change.



Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway, Inc.

Session: Summit Kickoff

Over the years, Brian  Sharples and his family rented a variety of ski and beach homes, only to  find that searching for vacation rentals was no easy task. It was out  of this frustration that the idea for HomeAway was born. On June 6,  2006, Sharples' plan to create a more efficient and customer-friendly  way to locate a property came to life when was launched  with over 60,000 listings. Today, the HomeAway, Inc. sites represent  nearly 540,000 listings of vacation rental properties.



Amy Ashcroft Greener, Vacation Rental Owner

Sessions: When is a Refund in Order?, Smart Spending: Using  Your Budget Wisely

Amy Ashcroft Greener of  Petersburg, Michigan and her husband Richard own four cabins in  Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They purchased their first cabin  in 2002 and started renting by owner one year later. She has been a  member of online vacation rental communities since 2004, joining a Smoky  Mountain vacation rentals group in 2005.  When Amy isn't busy with her  vacation rentals, she works as a voice-over artist.  Trust us: she's a  pleasure to listen to - she was one of the best speakers at our first  annual Summit!



Alexandra Baradi, Director of World Travel Ireland
Session: Go Global: Broadening Your Audience

Alex joined Great  Southern Hotels, one of Ireland’s largest hotel companies as Sales and  Marketing Director of the group before setting up Dream World Travel in  Ireland in 1992. Dream World Travel comprises of Dream Ireland which is  now Ireland’s largest vacation rental agency representing over 5000  holiday homes and cottages in Ireland. Other brands include Dream World  villas, Dream skiing, Dream Switzerland and Dream luxury Barbados. She  personally owns several vacation rentals in Spain, Ireland and  Switzerland (

Kelly Barton, Sr. Manager Global Trust & Security for HomeAway,  Inc.

Session: The Science of Screening (Moderator)

Kelly has been working  for HomeAway for over five years and has served as the manager of Trust  & Security for the last three. In this role, Kelly is dedicated to  creating a safe and trusted marketplace for HomeAway’s travelers and  owners. She also loves to travel herself, particularly to beach  destinations, and always prefers a pet-friendly vacation rental.



Brent Bellm, Chief Operating Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Q&A Wild Card

Brent joined HomeAway as  Chief Operating Officer in July 2010. Using some of the earliest online  listings sites, he has been planning vacation rental ski trips for  friends and family every year since 1995. After kids arrived in 2006,  even his non-ski vacations switched to rentals, including several in  Europe, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean. He brings to HomeAway a  lifelong passion for travel and nine years of internet marketplace  experience from eBay and PayPal.


Ross Buhrdorf, Chief Technology Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: When is a Refund in Order?

Ross joined HomeAway  five months after the company’s inception and oversees technology, trust  and security, hosting, corporate IT, infrastructure and global customer  systems. During his tenure at HomeAway he has built the development and  engineering team from five to more than 200 global employees and has  been instrumental in integrating multiple technology systems to  contribute to the company’s rapid growth.  Ross successfully led  HomeAway through its first Super Bowl campaign in February 2010,  ensuring was equipped to handle the sizable traffic surge  generated from its first national ad.  Ross is also a vacation rental  owner himself, so he understands what it takes.



Lisa Burch, U.S. Customer Support Manager for  HomeAway, Inc.

Session: When is a Refund in Order?

As Support Manager for, Lisa offers a wealth of experience in the vacation rental  business. Marking her 10th year in the business, she’s been with  HomeAway Inc. from the start and has enjoyed staying in vacation rental  properties since the early 1980s!  Lisa is committed to providing the  best customer experience to both advertisers and vacationers alike.



Tim Cafferty, Owner, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services

Session: Hybrid Management - Property Management & Rent by Owner  Relationships

The proud Dad of 5  future vacation rental management employees and a 2nd generation  Vacation Rental Manager on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Long  recognized as an innovator in the Vacation Rental Management Industry,  Tim is credited with being the first vacation rental manager to  implement electronic entry systems on all of his properties which allows  check in via e-mail, paperless documents for his homeowners and guests,  on line payment processes, as well as simplified all-inclusive pricing  for his guests on his vacation rental properties. He also is the only  Outer Banks area vacation rental firm that offers a “property management  only” option for homeowners that either do not rent their properties or  rent direct to guests, and need support services of an established  management firm.


Bob Connolly, Founder Propertywatch & Owner  Direct Vacation Rentals

Session: Hybrid Management -Property Management & Rent by Owner  Relationships

After a varied career (ranging from Du Pont to car dealerships  to railroads) Bob embraced the vacation rental industry with the  purchase of 2 properties in 1998. In 2004 he bought a third South  Carolina property and he was hooked. Bob formed Propertywatch and Owner  Direct Vacation Rentals with business partner, Marty Friedman, in 2007  and 2008. Both ventures provide stellar vacation rental services to  absentee owners in North and South Carolina. Owner Direct and  Propertywatch specialize in forming innovative partnerships and creating  bespoke service packages for owners and property managers.


Alexis de Belloy, Vice President, North America for, Inc.
Session: Around the World with, Inc.

After three years of  successfully leading HomeAway European operations, de Belloy moved to  Austin in August 2009 to oversee the U.S. HomeAway brands, including, and He joined the company in  2006 after serving as Managing Director for France and Benelux at, the world's largest online dating site. Previously, de Belloy  founded and led European online photo site, which was  acquired by Canon in 2001. He also contributed to the successful launch  of eBay in the U.K. and spent several years working in the telecoms  sector at Alcatel, manufacturing optical fiber cables in France and  China.

Mark Davis, Head of SEO, Europe for  HomeAway, inc.
Session: Make Your Presence Known on the Net

Since 2009 Mark has been  the head of SEO for the HomeAway websites in Europe. For the 2 years  prior to joining HomeAway, he was in charge of SEO for eBay UK, and  prior to that, worked for after 6 years as the head of the Cisco Systems  search engine program. He has worked in database development and  internet marketing for the last 20 years after graduating from the  University of California with a degree in toxicology & analytical  chemistry.Mark has stayed in vacation rentals in 5 countries and also  has a rental property of his own in Italy.

Jaime Dito, Public Relations Manager
for HomeAway,  Inc.

Session: Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons (Moderator)

Jaime joined the HomeAway PR team  in June 2006, one day before was launched! In the last four  years, she’s worked with homeowners, travelers and members of the media  to shape the public opinion of our U.S. brands, as well as create  awareness for the vacation rental industry. As the point person for  journalists seeking vacation home stories, Jaime helped garner HomeAway  press coverage in the country’s premier media outlets, including The  Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Travel + Leisure

—just  to name a few!


Kristin Dorsett, Manager of Product & Operations Marketing for  HomeAway, Inc.

Session: Hybrid Management (Moderator)

Having served on both  the Owner Community and Property Management teams, Kristin has become  well-versed in all things rent-by-owner and vacation rental management.  After meeting and speaking with hundreds of homeowners and property  managers and experiencing both sides of the vacation rental spectrum,  Kristin can provide guidance on the benefits and challenges of the  hybrid management method.


Patrick Duncan, Director, U.S. Product Marketing for HomeAway, Inc.

Session: Online Payments with ReservationManager™

Every summer, Patrick  and his family rented vacation homes on the Outer Banks of North  Carolina. Although he doesn’t get to the OBX very much anymore, he now  helps family members manage vacation rental properties in Virginia and  Texas. At HomeAway, Patrick is responsible for transactional business  initiatives, including online payment services, protection products, and  reservation management tools. Patrick is passionate about simplifying  the booking process and making it easier, faster, and less expensive for  owners and travelers to transact online.



Joan Fortney, Customer Support Team Lead for HomeAway, Inc.

Session: When is a Refund in Order? (Moderator)

Joan started her career  in the vacation rental industry with A1Vacations in March of 2002 before  moving on to a Customer Service role and eventually Team Lead for  HomeAway. She is truly passionate about our customers and our industry  and makes it a priority to improve the experience for the advertisers on  our sites. Joan also loves staying in vacation rentals herself - her  favorite spot is the Outer Banks of North Carolina for deep sea fishing.



Marty Friedman, Founder Propertywatch Owner Direct Vacation  Rentals

Session: Hybrid Management

Marty Friedman spent 30 years in the automobile industry and  he caught the marketing bug in 1991. He patented the Value Point System  (an Automobile Sales training device) but that was not the end of his  innovation. In 1993 he purchased his first vacation rental property and  had his 2nd by 2000. Marty formed Propertywatch and Owner Direct  Vacation Rentals with business partner, Bob Connolly, in 2007 and 2008.  Both ventures provide stellar vacation rental services to absentee  owners in North and South Carolina. Owner Direct and Propertywatch  specialize in forming innovative partnerships and creating bespoke  service packages for owners and property managers.


Matt Golis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, VacationRentPayment

Session: Simplifying the Payment Process

Matt Golis leads the  many new growth opportunity segments and oversees the day-to-day  operations of YapStone. Matt founded VacationRentPayment, Inc. in 1999,  and merged with YapStone in early 2001. Prior to founding  VacationRentPayment, Inc., Matt started an Internet consultancy called  Internet Commerce Associates (ICA) with clients including Fortune 500  companies that implemented business e-commerce applications that were  developed at Netscape Communications (AOL). Matt is a frequent speaker  at conferences regarding credit card and electronic payments and is  often quoted in trade publications on ways that electronic payments can  improve property management operations. He is a graduate of Miami  University in Oxford, Ohio.



Tom  Hale, Chief Product Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Sessions: Sneak Peeks, Q&A Wild Card

As Chief Product Officer  (CPO), Tom Hale oversees all aspects of product development for  Homeaway. As an avid traveler, father of three, and vacation rental  owner himself, Tom has a great passion for helping owners get more  bookings, be more efficient, and have more fun. Hale has more than 16  years experience in product development at companies such as Adobe,  Macromedia, and Linden Lab, and is passionate about creating great user  experiences for travelers and owners alike. Tom’s recent vacation rental  stays include Destin, Florida, Sonoma, California, Matunuck, Rhode  Island, and Austin, Texas.



Rosy Hanby, Professional Photographer
Session: Great Photos are Worth 1000 Bookings

A seasoned photographer  of fifteen years, Rosy is currently building a practical resource  website to guide and equip the everyman photographer with the answers  they need to achieve their vision. She is an avid traveler, who has  worked with since 2007 and frequently vacations in their  properties within the U.S. and abroad. With her passion of travel,  photography and everything that embodies, she looks forward  to connecting you with resources and techniques that transform your  rental property listing into your customers dream vacation home.



Greg Grant, Vice President of New Markets for HomeAway, Inc.

Session: Go Global

Hailing from both South  Africa and the U.K., Greg has a truly international perspective when it  comes to the world of vacation rentals. Before joining Homeaway, he  directed the U.K. marketing efforts for Yahoo Inc. Since then, Greg has  used his experience leading HomeAway’s U.K. operations, and more  recently,, to gain a thorough knowledge of the needs of our  owners and travelers – a true asset when considering expanding  HomeAway's presence around the globe.


Christine Karpinski, Owner Advocate

Sessions: Taming the Bargain Hunters, The Science of Screening

Christine is the author  of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner and Profit From  Your Vacation Home Dream. Her books, combined with her seminars  and media appearances, have helped thousands of people manage and profit  from their vacation homes. Christine owns multiple properties and is  often referred to as "The Most Respected Voice in the Vacation Rental  Industry."


Laura Kelso, Global Community Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Make the Most of our Community Forums

Laura's no stranger to  online content or communities – in addition to writing for the likes of, Southern Living, and the Discovery Channel, she co-founded, a site dedicated to reviewing memorable food by the dish.  Laura dove right into her new role as Global Community Manager, and has  worked tirelessly for its success in the past year. However, Laura is  not new to the company – she launched HomeAway’s Traveler newsletter in  2006 and went on to hone her marketing and social media skills on the  real estate side of our business. Today, as Global Community Manager,  Laura oversees the adoption, growth and well being of HomeAway’s new  Community.



Kristen Keys, Online Community Strategist
Session: Make the Most of our Community Forums

Kristen has worked for  HomeAway since early 2010 and played a large role in coordinating our  first HomeAway Summit. Since then, she has poured herself into the  launch of our new Community site after hearing owners’ needs for a forum  and online networking capabilities at the last Summit. She is truly  dedicated to improving the online experience and interactivity for our  customers. Kristen also loves the vacation rental experience – she loves  to travel with her two dogs and only stays in pet-friendly vacation  rentals.


Debi Nelson-Maney, Vacation Rental Owner

Sessions: The Science of Screening, Economic Recovery

Debi Nelson-Maney and  her husband Richard own three vacation rental homes in Lake Geneva,  Wisconsin. Over the past three years, Debi has increased their occupancy  by over 50%, especially in the off-peak season, by marketing their  vacation rentals to groups and allowing each guest to pay their share  individually. She has promoted their vacation rentals by creating  lodging and activity packages for Family Reunions, Wedding Parties, Golf  Weekends, Ski Weekends, Women’s Weekend Get-Aways and even Bachelor and  Bachelorette Party Weekends! She has been a member of online vacation  rental communities since 2004.



Nikelle S. Meade, Partner, Brown McCarroll, L.L.P

Session: Minimize the Threat of Rental Restrictions

Nikelle S. Meade is an  attorney and Partner with the law firm of Brown McCarroll, L.L.P. in  Austin, Texas, becoming associated with the firm in 1998. During prior  legal appointments she served as Judicial Intern for Justice Jack  Hightower of the Supreme Court of Texas, as a Legislative Intern for  State Representative Dawnna M. Dukes, and as an Associate Attorney with  the law firm of Minter Joseph & Thornhill, P.C. Ms. Meade received a  Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from the University  of Texas at Austin in 1992 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the  University of Texas School of Law in 1995. Her practice involves  representation of clients before local and state agencies, and she  provides legal advice in the areas of procurement, transportation,  commercial and residential real estate, business negotiations and  transactions, economic development incentives, and land use.

Jeff Mosler, Vice President of Global Customer Experience for HomeAway
Session: Embracing Reviews

Jeff joined the company  in 2010 and oversees HomeAway’s largest team focused on all aspects of  customer experience, including customer service, advocacy, community and  trust & security. He joined HomeAway from where he was  the general manager of customer advocacy and global outsourcing. There  he managed a team of internal and external resources that provided  support for all Amazon product lines and partnerships in each of its  global subsidiaries, including the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, where  HomeAway also currently has offices. Jeff’s favorite part of  vacationing is creating lasting memories with his family, no matter the  location.

David Petty, Director, Product Management for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Owner Analytics: Assessing Your Listing's Performance

David Petty is a  director in the HomeAway Product Management group. David and his team  have a real passion for helping owners understand the key metrics that  drive their vacation rental business and are working on tools to empower  owners with this information.




Douglas Quinby, Senior Director, Research for PhoCusWright
Session: The Travel Climate in 2011 (Keynote)

Mr. Quinby is a travel  industry veteran who enhances PhoCusWright's research team with his keen  insights, diligent analysis and industry relationships. As senior  director, research, he is a key contributor to The Global Edition,  Special Reports, and more. Douglas has been contributing to PhoCusWright  research as leisure travel analyst for many years, including  PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition, Vacation  Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change, and PhoCusWright's Travel Agency  Distribution Landscape. In addition to providing research and analysis,  media relations and marketing services to leading travel technology  companies, Douglas has served as director of marketing and  communications for Atinera and as packaged travel and technology editor  for Leisure Travel News. His articles have appeared in Travel Weekly,  ASTA Agency Management, and Travel Counselor magazines. Douglas also  conceived and oversaw Travel Technology News, a supplement to Leisure  Travel News devoted to technology and the Internet in the leisure travel  industry.

Pete Rung, Global Product Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Online Payments with ReservationManager™

As a product manager for  HomeAway, Pete is focused on adding new features and making it easier  for owners to list and manage their properties online. Pete is truly  dedicated to putting his 10+ years of product management experience to  good use in improving the owner experience. When he’s not hard at work,  he loves to travel to ski and beach destinations with his family.

Jennifer Schilling, Vacation Rental Owner

Sessions: Social Media, Managing Multiple Properties

Jennifer has been running her family’s vacation rental  property on the Oregon Coast since 2004 while maintaining a full time  position as an HR Specialist and pursuing her MBA. She works with a  property manager who handles the website, online bookings, guest  services and cleaning to help lighten her load. However, Jennifer  manages the marketing of her family’s property herself through listings  on HomeAway and VRBO, along with her successful fan page on Facebook.



Angela & Michael Smith, Vacation Rental Owners
Sessions: Economic Recovery; Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons

Michael and Angela Smith  happened into vacation home ownership in April 2007 when a relocation  nudged them toward the idea of short-term renting. Within months of  establishing Ultimate SoCal Vacation Homes, they began making plans to  expand their business.  Backgrounds in sales, marketing, business  development and hospitality help them to profitably manage their  vacation homes while keeping guest satisfaction as the top priority.  Today, over 3,500 guests later Michael and Angela are acquiring a third  Anaheim vacation home and hope to have it ready for guests by the  weekend of the summit!


Sarah Smith, Director of Online Operations, Austin for Facebook

Session: Social Media... It's Not Just for the Kids!

sarahfb.jpgSarah joined Facebook in 2008 as a manager for online operations coordinating the opening of the Dublin, Ireland office and building operational models for future business lines.  In 2009, she launched and led the North America account management team for mid-market advertisers.  In 2010, Sarah moved to Austin to lead the company’s new sales and operations office, the first major U.S. expansion outside of Palo Alto.  Before Facebook, Sarah was Director of New Business at Swish Marketing, a start-up specializing in online lead generation for the financial sector.  She has also held positions with Sylvan Learning Centers, Boston Consulting Group, and Madison Metropolitan School District.  She has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Sarah is an avid Settlers of Catan player, collects West German pottery, and loves tacos.


Randy Sparks, National Sales  Manager, HomeAway for Property Managers

Session: Managing Multiple Properties (Moderator)

Randy Sparks currently  is Head of North American Sales for the Property Manager Division of For the past 3 years Randy has help guide strategic sales  initiatives and policy for the property manager business across the  HomeAway, Inc network of sites. With over 13 years of online advertising  experience crossing hospitality, real estate and travel, Randy has a  unique understanding of online search behavior on consumer sites. Randy  has a degree in Marketing from the University of Texas and continues to  work and live in Austin.


Jennifer Stafford, Social Media Manager for HomeAway, Inc.

Session: Social Media - It's Not Just for the Kids!

Jennifer has worked at  HomeAway since 2007, focusing on search engine optimization and social  media. In 2008, she began working with the Public Relations team to  build a social presence for the U.S. HomeAway brands. In July 2010, she  transitioned over to managing global social media programs full-time and  enjoys interacting with and learning from owners and travelers in the  social space. Jennifer has always loved to travel herself and has been  staying in vacation rentals for family trips to New Mexico and Oregon  since she was a child.


Marilyn Tolchin, Founder of Hampton House Properties

Session: Go Global

In 2001, Marilyn bought  her first rental property in "the Hamptons". In 2002, Hampton House  Properties was founded. In the course of 11 years, she has bought 9  properties and sold 2. Marilyn is the largest provider of rental homes  in the Hamptons catering to the extended family with homes boasting 7  bedrooms each or larger.



Marino Tomacelli, Vacation Rental Owner
Sessions: Economic Recovery, Differentiate Your Property with Add-Ons

Marino lived in Mexico's  Rivera Maya for 26 years where his family's first hotel was built in  the late 70s. In the 80s and 90s he acquired and/or developed various  properties in Mexico's Riviera Maya, which he eventually began offering  as vacation rentals. In 2003, Marino and his wife turned their weekend  home, Taninah, into one the most unique vacation rental properties in  the Riviera Maya. Now living in Southern California, Marino and his wife  continue to manage and market their properties on HomeAway, VRBO, and  their own web sites.



George Volsky, Instant Software and Escapia

Session: Managing Multiple Properties

George started out as a  transportation industry analyst learning about travel economics. This  led to many years as an attorney, setting up and working with airlines.  His first job after leaving the law was as a vacation rental manager on  the Outer Banks - this led to a 12-year term as a consultant. He has  worked closely with many of the nation’s leading vacation rental  companies designing decision support software, projecting the economic  impact of vacation rentals on state and local economies, and serving as  industry consultant for the 2008 PhoCusWright study that sized and  valued the vacation rental industry. He currently monitors industry  statistics and does monthly trend reports. He has served as Director of  Research for the nation’s leading reservation software companies,  Instant Software and Escapia, which, as of October 2010 were acquired by  HomeAway.



Charles Wagner, Senior Engineering Manager of Data Analysis  Services
Session: Sneak Peaks and Listing Analytics

Charles manages the  development team responsible for inquiry delivery, global search,  listing analytics, and geographic services. He also leads innovation  initiatives like the HomeAway HackAway: a weekend event for HomeAway  engineers to build and demo their ideas.  Believe it or not, this techie  has an artistic side - Charles is also a musician and performs around  Austin.


Victor Wang, Public Relations Manager for HomeAway, Inc
Session: Minimize the Threat of Rental Restrictions

Victor has served as  public relations manager for HomeAway since July 2008. In this role, he  has worked with owners to paint stories in the media on the benefits of  second home ownership as well as the value vacation rentals provide for  individual destinations. In addition to media relations, Victor has also  conducted extensive research on vacation rental regulations in the U.S.




Heather Weiermann, President & Founder of So. California  Vacation Rentals

Sessions: Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons, Managing  Multiple Properties

With over 12 years of  experience as a hospitality professional in vacation rental management  and marketing, Heather offers a wealth of knowledge on the property  management side of the industry. Her company manages 60+ homes and  condos in the coastal San Diego, CA communities of La Jolla, Pacific  Beach and Mission Beach and offers full-service property management,  including a reservations call center and concierge services to over  1,100 guests per year. Heather is extremely active in the vacation  rental community and is currently in pursuit of her Certified Vacation  Rental Manager Certification through the Vacation Rental Managers  Association.



Kathy Wirt, VP of Product for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Location Matters

Kathy joined HomeAway in  June 2006 and founded the Product organization a year later. Since that  time she has grown the design, product management and program  management groups to over 30 strong. When not working with her team on  building great traveler and owner experiences she loves to travel and  stays in vacation rentals for both business trips and vacations. Her  next adventure....road trip to Alaska!

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