Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sheryl F. Kline

Dr. Paul A. Phillips

Mr. Bui Xuan Phong

Dr. Jason D. Shaw

Dr. Mariana Sigala

Mr. George Ubbelohde


Dr. Sheryl F. Kline is the Deputy Dean of Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and Professor in the Department of Hospitality Business Management at the University of Delaware (UD). Prior to joining UD, she served as Interim Dean and Associate Dean in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina (USC) Columbia, SC. She developed her interest in research while at Purdue University where she held the position of C B Smith Professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and was the Director for the Center for the Study of Lodging Operations. She began her academic career at Widener University’s School of Hospitality Management. Prior to joining academia, she had a successful career as a manager in the casino hotel and resort industry and has over a decade of hospitality industry experience.

She teaches courses in hospitality management at both the graduate and undergraduate level and enjoys mentoring graduate students and doing research. She is an active member of industry associations including the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE), the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Delaware Restaurant Association and has served on their boards. Dr. Kline is a recipient of several teaching awards including the I-CHRIE John Wiley and Sons Award for Innovation in Teaching, and the McCool Breakthrough Award in Hospitality Education. While at USC she was selected as an Academic Leadership Fellow for the South Eastern Conference (SEC). Most recently she was recognized as one of 40 women in the state of Delaware as Delaware Business Women of the Year by Delaware Today Magazine.


Dr. Paul A. Phillips, is Professor of Strategic Management, Kent Business School, University of Kent. Paul has served as Director of Kent Business School (2007-2011) and Deputy Director (2004-7) and has held academic appointments at Cardiff Business School and University of Surrey. In 2001, he was appointed to the Charles Forte Chair of Hotel Management, which was created by a generous endowment from Forte plc in 1986 at the School of Management, University of Surrey, UK.

With more than 25 years of senior experience of strategic management, performance management and digital business strategy, Paul acts as a conduit for those organisations who are trying to address complex technological and change management issues. Paul has specialised international experience for private sector, Governments and Government Agencies. Specialists projects include organising and delivering specialist financial services short courses for international organisations, such as the China Development Bank; digital strategy advice to FTSE 250 companies and Ministry of Defence; e-procurement advice to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army; hospitals; police forces; knowledge intensive businesses.

Paul has served as Chair of the UK Association of Business Schools (ABS) Research Steering Committee, and Member of the ABS Executive Committee. He chaired the 2010 ABS Annual Research Conference and the 2010 ABS Annual Doctor of Business Administration Conference. Paul has served on the Institute of Business Ethics Advisory Council, Westminster Business School Advisory Board and Founder and inaugural Chair of the ABS International and External Relations sub committee. Professor Phillips has completed the Experienced Deans’ and New Deans’ Seminar Series, Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business (AACSB), International. He completed the International Deans’ Programme, Association of Business School/European Foundation for Management Development, and the Leading Change and Organisational Renewal Programme, Harvard Business School, Harvard University.

Paul has served as a Visiting Professor at three universities in China: The School of Business Administration, Hunan University, Changsha; International Business School, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing; School of Economic, Shandong University, Ji’nan.


Mr. Bui Xuan Phong joins Sacom Tuyen Lam Joint Stock Company as CEO at SAM Tuyen Lam Golf & Resorts. He has broad customer services experience and successful track record in Customer Experience, Operations, Sales and Project Management in Banking & Hospitality. His comprehensive experience and knowledge are also in the fields of project management and transformation, Operations procedures in Banks & P&P, SOP in hotels, setting up new business and re-engineering business model.

He is a well-known trainer in Telesales Skills, Project Management Skills and a famous coach/speaker in serving hotel guests from different cultures, Leadership in hotels Transform, and the Art of the 5 star services. Mr. Phong is among the best-selling Authors with the top listed books as Contact Center, Telesales, the Myths of Re-engineering & Business Model, Hotel Management, Guest Psychology & the Art of 5 Star Services, and Leadership in Hospitality. All these books are published by Alpha Books in Vietnamese. Mr. Phong would love to contribute to the professional growth of hospitality industry in Vietnam.


Dr. Jason D. Shaw is Yeung Kin Man Professor in Business Administration, Chair Professor of Management, Head of Department of Management and Marketing, and Director of the Centre for Leadership and Innovation in the Faculty of Business at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1997.

He is the Editor of Academy of Management Journal (2016-2019). His research has appeared or been accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, and Journal of Management, among other scientific outlets.

He has served or is serving on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Journal of Management, among others.

He has been invited for visiting scholar positions and other speaking engagements in China, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Norway, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, Israel, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Thailand, and the USA.

Prior to his appointment at PolyU, he was the Curtis L. Carlson School-wide Professor in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, the Clark Material Handling Company Professor at the University of Kentucky, an assistant professor at Drexel University, and an analyst for the Boeing Company.


Dr. Mariana Sigala is Professor in Tourism and Director of the Centre of Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM) at the University of South Australia Business School. She is also an academic member of the CERM PI team of UniSA.

Professor Sigala has a PhD from the University of Surrey as well as a Certificate of Advanced Academic Studies from the University of Strathclyde and an MSc in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.

Professor Sigala is a widely published authority in the area of Service Operations Management and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications in Tourism and Hospitality. She also has an interest in e-learning models and pedagogies, having published several research studies in these areas. Professor Sigala’s research is multi-award winning featuring several best paper awards in international conferences and academic journals, such as papers published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and the International Journal of Hospitality Management.

She is currently the co-editor of the international journal Journal of Service Theory and Practice, the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the founder and advisor editor of the International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Cases. Professor Sigala is also the founder of the ICHRIE Johnson and Wales Case Study Competition, which she has successfuly chaired from 2011 to 2017.

Professor Sigala has also served on the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Information Technology, Tourism and Travel (IFITT) (as Membership Director); the International Council on Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE) (as Research Director, 2008 – 2010); the Hellenic Association of Information Systems (HeAIS) (as Publicity Director); and the Executive Board of the European Council on Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Education (EuroCHRIE) (as President, 2004 – 2005).

Professor Sigala currently serves at the executive boards of IFITT and Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE).

In 2016, Professor Sigala has been awarded the prestigious EuroCHRIE Presidents’ Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements to tourism and hospitality education.

Professor Sigala joined the UniSA Business School in 2015 and brings more than 13 years of international academic and teaching experience to the UniSA Business School and the School of Management.


Mr. George Ubbelohde, CHA, CHE, CHT, CHIA, CGSP is a passionate hospitality professional, facilitator, educator, quality assessor and management consultant with extensive hands-on international managerial experience in several countries. He is specialized in business excellence with focus on professional development and total quality in the hospitality and education industry over 30 years.

He has started his professional career in 1980 at the Sheraton Hotels Int.
After obtaining Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in 1984, he pursued in the same property by working in all operational and managerial departments such as; Rooms Division, Food & Beverage, Marketing & Sales, Human Resources and Finance. Between 1986 et 1990, he progressed in his hospitality career assuming different middle management positions within the Starwood International and in several cities mainly; Brussels, London, Istanbul, Rome, Frankfurt, Lisbon and Washington DC serving as “task force” and in implementing “departmental training” projects. From 1990 to 1997 he assumed executive roles in Millenium Hotels and Dorint Hotel Group in Europe. From 1997 to 2011 he assumed the position of “Dean and Campus Director” in BBI- Brussels Business Institute (Licensee of AHLEI- American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute)

Next to this executive position, he was teaching regularly project and business management courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs as well as conducted several workshops in “hospitality management” “certification” and “accreditation” themes in various countries. He has completed successfully several accreditation projects, namely TEDQUAL and NVAO National Accreditation. In 2008, he has obtained his specialized Master Degree, Professional Graduate Specialization in Hospitality Graduate Education under EU’s VAE system.

George has been collaborating in partnership with AHLEI since 1997, has expert knowledge in developing, realizing and implementing several academic courses, curriculum development, professional certifications and specializations in hotel businesses and educational institutes.

He is a CHE – Certified Hospitality Educator, CHT- Certified Hospitality Trainer and accredited Senior Master Trainer for all AHLEI academic and professional certification programs, having conducted several workshops in Belgium, Finland, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, U.A.E, Albania, Palestine, China, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea. George also holds the CHA- Certified Hotel Administrator certification from AHLEI, the most prestigious certification available to a hospitality executive as well as CGSP- Certified Guest Service Professional certification. He is a lead facilitator and part of only 10 worldwide facilitators of CHE – Certified Hospitality Educator certification program.

Since January 2016, he assumes the Executive Dean role in YueXiu Institute of Hospitality Administration, the largest GAP AHLEI school of Asia, located in Shaoxing, China. He is also Honorary Professor of BHI- Beijing Hospitality Institute (Certified School by École Hôtelière de Lausanne), since 2014. From May 2014 until January 2016, George has assumed the “Managing Director” position in the prestigious luxury governmental property Xijiao State Guest Hotel in Shanghai, China. George is also Senior Consultant and Advisor for the Asian American Hotel Management Company based in Shanghai and Bright Future Education in Chongqing, China.

George is also involved in various quality assurance and certification projects as certified “Excellence Assessor” for EFQM- European Foundation of Quality Management (Business) and “Quality Auditor” UN.WTO TEDQUAL Program (Academic). George was granted the Best European Paper Award by UN.WTO- TedQual on the theme of: “Encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship among students, while keeping teachers up to date” in Brig, Switzerland, 2010

George speaks several languages fluently and can conduct workshops in English, French, Turkish and Greek. He actively participates to several international conferences/seminars/workshops/presentations as expert guest speaker/lecturer/panelist and keynote speaker.