Founder and President
JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers established Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates in 2002, after two decades of experience as an industry-leading Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ritz-Carlton, where she was the first female ever to attain this position. During her tenure she oversaw business development worldwide, including new and existing properties in Dubai, Spain, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey.
An active promoter of the hospitality industry and past chairman of the Meeting Planners International (MPI) Editorial Committee, JoAnn has participated as a frequent panelist at industry conferences, and continues to be an active leader within MPI. She has twice been named one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Travel Agent magazine, and was selected as one of Meeting News’ “25 Most Influential People.”
Contact JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers
Patrick has been active in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and has held various positions with Hyatt, followed by Ritz-Carlton in Florida, Washington D.C. and London, including Director of Sales at the UK Regional office. After relocating to New York in 1999, Patrick was appointed Director of Sales at the Waldorf Towers, New York. In 2004, Patrick moved back to Orlando where he began his career, and worked representing many hotels and resorts around the world, then most recently, was appointed Director of National Accounts Mid-Atlantic for Shingle Creek Resort.
Patrick has extensive management, sales, and marketing experience and he brings experience in incentive, transient, entertainment, and wholesale markets to the Kurtz-Ahlers team.
Contact Patrick Anderson
Sandy Blake joined Ritz-Carlton in 1996 as the Corporate Key Account and Tradeshow Manager. She worked directly with the executive committee, world-wide hotel staff, and international sales offices, to establish select client relationships in all travel markets. Her principal focus was organizing tradeshows, road shows, client entertainment functions, and various special events. She developed strong relationships within the association and travel industry markets, including corporation affiliates throughout the United States.
Since 2002, she has been the Project Director for Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, managing activities to coincide with direct sales efforts on a tactical and strategical basis for exclusive resorts, hotels, airlines and associations worldwide.
Contact Sandy Blake
Becky has held several positions in sales, marketing and hospitality over the past fifteen years.
Residing in Sun Valley, Idaho, Becky worked for the Sun Valley Company, opened and operated a successful restaurant, then became Program Director at Andrew Harper, Inc. She successfully coordinated the production of several publications, including Andrew Harper's Q Club and the Q Club Report.
A media major from the University of San Diego, Becky's diverse expertise in editing, writing, sales experience, and relationships with professionals in the luxury market are an asset to the Kurtz-Ahlers team. Becky oversees strategic projects, including market research, social media, marketing programs, plus the Kurtz-Ahlers website and newsletters.
Contact Becky Brown
Representing Unique Spas, Health, and Wellness Resorts
Scott joins the Kurtz-Ahlers team after spending eleven years as Regional Sales Manager at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Scott’s proven sales and guest relations experience in the wellness industry and established relationships with luxury travel professionals are an asset to the expanding wellness division of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates.
Scott has experience in management and sales, serving 17 years prior to his hospitality career as an integral leader of two of the most successful programs in the history of women's collegiate athletics, receiving multiple “Coach of the Year” honors for Division I Women’s Gymnastics.
Contact Scott Bull
South America Sales & Marketing Director
Cris has been in hospitality industry for over 20 years and has held different positions in sales and marketing with Marriott, Le Meridien and Caesar Park in Rio de Janeiro. In 2004, Cris began representing the renowned Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris for the Brazilian market. She coordinated promotions, public relations, and all marketing resulting in strong, personal relationship with key travel agencies and wholesalers in the luxury travel market.
Cris is also a marketing professor at University which specializes in hospitality and is certified by Ecole Hôtelière in Lausanne (EHL). She receives the latest updates in hospitality news from the executive program at EHL.
Contact Cris Coelho
Kristin started her hotel career in 2000 at Rancho Valencia. Her career encompassed all levels of hotel sales including catering, conference services and ultimately Director of Sales. As Director of Sales, Kristin began to cultivate relationships with the travel industry throughout the U.S. Following her role as a consultant for other Relais & Chateaux properties, Kristin moved to New York City and most recently worked for The Pierre New York, a Taj Hotel. In this role, she was responsible for travel industry sales for the entire U.S. market.
Kristin joins Kurtz-Ahlers and Associates after relocating back to Raleigh, North Carolina and will be responsible for the several markets throughout the U.S." Including the Midwest, Northwest, and several other states.
Contact Kristin Duvall
Stephanie joined the Kurtz-Ahlers team after spending ten years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in various sales and marketing management positions. Stephanie handled the international group and corporate market for The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and most recently the group entertainment market for Four Seasons Worldwide Sales. With Stephanie’s extensive background and knowledge of the entertainment market, she is a natural asset to the Kurtz-Ahlers team in Los Angeles.
Prior to her Four Seasons experience, Stephanie spent four years with Ritz-Carlton in management roles in both Operations and Sales and Marketing.
Contact Stephanie Harlow
Dora Karanikas started her career in hospitality with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, as part of the opening team of the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. She spent the next eight years cultivating her sales and marketing experience from a variety of luxury sectors including, travel, hospitality, publishing, and retail. She has worked in managing a diverse portfolio of global luxury travel products including resorts, villas, city center hotels, adventure travel, cruise product and safari lodges.
Most recently, Dora was appointed Director of Sales, East Coast for Orchid Resorts & Escapes, New York. Her varied expertise and extensive relationships throughout New York and the surrounding areas are a great asset to the Kurtz-Ahlers team. A long time New York resident, Dora oversees accounts for the Northeastern market.
Dora holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University, as well as an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and Certificate in Graphic and Web Design.
Contact Dora Karanikas
Sales Consultant – United Kingdom
After studying International Hotel and Catering Management in the UK, Chris gained hotel experience working for De Vere Hotels, prior to moving to the food service/hospitality industry and working in procurement roles for companies such as the Compass Group, where he developed his strong negotiation and interpersonal skills.
Chris has lived in Australia and the Middle East before settling back in the UK. He brings his knowledge of these destinations, along with 15 years of experience within the hospitality industry, and his enjoyment of Golf, to his role within the UK Sales office, where Chris concentrates on the Corporate and Golf markets.
Contact Chris Mastin
Sales & Marketing – United Kingdom
Justine Mastin has over 20 years experience in luxury travel, and heads our sales and marketing office in the United Kingdom from her base in Cambridge. During her career, Justine has garnered experience with tour operators, sales and marketing accounts, event management, and budget planning.
Justine began her hospitality career at Thomas Cook Holidays, where she held various positions over a 14 year span, including that of Sales and Marketing Manager. She then headed up the UK and Ireland sales and marketing office for Jebel Ali International Hotels in the UK, prior to taking up the position of Director of Marketing, based in Dubai. While in Dubai, Justine transferred to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as the Regional Director of Travel Industry Sales for the Middle East.
In May of 2005, Justine returned to London for Ritz-Carlton as the Director of Travel Industry Sales. Her knowledge of the hotel industry, tour operating and international luxury markets, along with her strong personal relationships in the region, are instrumental in translating the Kurtz-Ahlers vision throughout the UK.
Contact Justine Mastin
Marketing and Trade PR – United Kingdom
Jo Morris worked at Thomas Cook in the UK for 14 years, holding a number of positions in the business and leisure travel sectors including Head of Sales and Marketing for Thomas Cook Holidays Tour Operations and Head of PR when the company entered into a partnership with British Airways Holidays. Jo has experience in the areas of product development, contracting and strategic planning, specifically in the areas of event management, sales promotion, PR and marketing. Taking a break from the industry to raise a family, Jo then went on to teach Travel and Tourism to students studying for a career in the industry, subjects included marketing, customer service and tourism development. Jo’s strong background in PR and Marketing are perfect for strengthening the profile of Kurtz-Ahlers clients in the UK market.
Contact Jo Morris
Farimah Parang draws upon nearly 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, of which 12 years have been working with Ritz-Carlton. During her tenure there she has held numerous positions in travel agency sales and marketing. As a result, she has established strong, personal relationships with key travel agencies and wholesalers throughout the western United States, priceless assets in an industry where relationships are the key to success.
Farimah has been an active participant in major travel industry associations such as ASTA & ICTA. Before her career with Ritz-Carlton she held the position of Director of Hotel and Travel Agency Sales at Hertz France in Paris.
Contact Farimah Parang
Dori began her hospitality career over 20 years ago in Chicago, then moved to the West Coast where she was the Reservation Manager at both The Hotel Bel Air in Beverly Hills, and The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Remaining at The Peninsula for a total of eight years, Dori was promoted to Sales Manager where she was responsible for the Eastern and Western US during her tenure. Most recently, Dori held the position of Regional Sales Director at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows where she brought in business from the east and west in leisure, group and corporate accounts.
Dori’s sales experience is an asset to the Kurtz-Ahlers team where she oversees accounts for the Southeastern market. She joins Kurtz-Ahlers and Associates after returning to the east coast where she currently resides in Tampa with her husband and two children.
Contact Dori Solomon
Fabiola started her hotel career at the Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa, in Los Cabos, Mexico, where she successfully launched the travel industry and incentive markets in a booming destination. In 2002, Fabiola moved to San Francisco and held a position as a National Sales Manager for the San Francisco Visitors Bureau. In 2006, Fabiola moved to Santa Monica where she held the Travel Industry Sales Manager position at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, where she cultivated the luxury travel industry and entertainment markets in Los Angeles, New York and London. In 2008, she was appointed Director of Sales for the West Coast where she oversaw the luxury travel industry and entertainment markets for the anticipated opening of Montage Beverly Hills.
Fabiola is a bi-lingual, accomplished and well rounded luxury hotel and CVB professional who brings combined experience in extensive management, sales, and marketing in the incentive, luxury and entertainment markets to the Kurtz-Ahlers team.
Contact Fabiola Sotomayor