Harvey “Skip” Brandt is the Director of Security at the Hilton Boston Park Plaza Hotel and has held that position since 1996. He has been named to Security Magazines Top 500 Security Professionals on numerous ocassions. Skip is well known to the Boston lodging industry and nationally as a founder and longtime Executive Director of the International Lodging Safety and Security Association – Boston Chapter (ILSSABoston.)
Skip holds both a bachelors and master of sciences degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University College of Criminal Justice. He gained his designation as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) by examination in 1986 through ASIS International and is a Certified Lodging Security Director (CLSD) through AH & LA Educational Institute. He is a member of the ASIS International Hospitality, Entertainment and Tourism Council, a member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Safety & Security Committee and a Co-Chair of the AHLA High Technology Next Generation (HTNG) Working Group. Skip has guest lectured at Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice to both undergraduate and graduate classes and Boston University School of Hospitality Administration. He also lectures for the Boston Chapter of ASIS CPP Review on physical security and emergency planning and security business ethics and management.
Skip resides in Belmont, MA with his wife and two children.
Kol Chu Birke
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Kol has been with Commonwealth since 1999. He oversees efforts to connect all that Commonwealth offers — including each other — to help the community of advisors and home office staff thrive. In addition, he is passionate about financial behavior, with a hunger for making financial planning easier and more effective by helping advisors leverage the latest behavioral insights and techniques.
Values are the backbone of what makes Commonwealth so special. "In short, this place is driven by deeply held values of humility, hard work, and not being greedy," Kol says. "In a world that is so concerned about maintaining a polished image, it's refreshing to be able to be human."
Kol enjoys adventures with his family, playing sports of any kind, and doing mundane chores, such as chopping wood.
While Sarah may seem like a New Yorker to the core, she grew up in Akron, Ohio and still has a bit of that sweet “Midwest Mentality”. Sarah is an adventurer at heart. She left Ohio to go to school at American University in Washington DC and at the first opportunity after getting her degree, went to Korea where she traveled the region and even hosted a popular English conversation television show! (No, you cannot find on YouTube, we’ve tried!)
Sarah came back to the states and moved to NYC in 2001 to begin her career in hospitality. She began planning events at the United Nations, The Metropolitan Opera, and Tavern on the Green before finding her way into the world of DMC’s. In 2020, after spending over 20 years working in the hospitality industry in New York, Sarah joined the Hello! Destination Management Team as the Market Executive Director, spearheading the New York expansion and more recently, focusing on a National Role supporting Hello’s 13 offices across the United States.
Sarah loves sharing her passion and knowledge of the Big Apple and the world of events with both customers and friends. In her free time, she can be found exploring the museums, dining at the newest restaurants and seeing the hottest Broadway shows in NYC because “research”. Sarah also loves expanding her knowledge of other destinations and travels the world at every opportunity.
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Kristen joined Commonwealth in 2007. She leads the Conference and Events team, creating Commonwealth’s signature experiences and ensuring best-in-class events for our community of advisors, advisor staff, sponsors and home office staff.
Prior to joining Commonwealth, Kristen worked as an event manager for the Rhode Island Convention Center and as a program coordinator for the University of Connecticut. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Assumption College and her master’s degree from the University of Connecticut. Kristen holds a Meeting and Event Management certificate from Northeastern University, as well as a Certified Meeting Professional certification.
Outside of work, Kristen enjoys running, coaching, traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and kids.
Lindsay Maloni is a Director of Global Sales for the DMC Network. Based in Western Massachusetts, Lindsay primarily serves the FICP market and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US, and also brings with her a wealth of previous corporate experience. Lindsay’s past career highlights include time spent as an event manager for two Fortune 100 companies as well as four years of service on the FICP Board of Directors. Above all else, Lindsay is passionate about using her sales and strategic event management skills to increase brand awareness and support the delivery of high-quality events. When she’s not hard at work helping to evolve the events industry, Lindsay can be found pounding the pavement as an avid runner or cheering on her three boys at a wide range of sporting events — including hockey, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and golf!
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Heather currently serves as the Manager of Conference and Events at Commonwealth Financial Network, leading a dedicated team responsible for orchestrating and executing a diverse range of experiential events tailored for advisors, staff and sponsors. Heather's professional journey spans over 20 years in meeting and event management. It began with her earning a BFA in music theater from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. She followed this with a long tenure in the dynamic field of medical association management, ultimately leading her to the financial industry. There, she has continually expanded her expertise and maintained an unwavering passion for delivering exceptional event experiences. Most recently, she obtained a Certified Meeting Management certification from the University of Indiana.
In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beaches of Maine, skiing, Peloton workouts, traveling and seeking out the newest culinary offerings.
Cody is the Senior Manager of Aflac Travel, Meetings and Incentives where she is responsible for directing strategy and planning for all corporate meetings, and the management of overall event experiences. She oversees the event technology program and serves as project manager for national incentive and training programs that support Aflac’s Worldwide Headquarters and market offices across the country. Cody’s hospitality and events career began in private events, and hotel sales and catering before transitioning to corporate planning. Cody joined Aflac in 2004 and will soon celebrate 20 years of tenure.
Stuart Ruff-Lyon is the Chief Events and Sales Officer at RIMS where he leads a team of event and sales professionals. Stuart has worked in the hospitality and events industry for more than 20 years, with extensive experience in planning citywide conventions.
Stuart is very active in the events industry and is a passionate advocate that business events drive community, commerce, and connection. He served as PCMA’s Chairman of the Board (2020). A frequent speaker at industry events, Stuart has presented at local PCMA chapter programs and at ASAE, PCMA, CEIR Predict, and IAEE. Stuart serves as an advisory board member for San Francisco, Chicago, Anaheim, Philadelphia, Denver, the Georgia World Congress Center, and Omni Hotels.
Stuart was named a Meeting Planner of the Year by Smart Meetings magazine (2022). Other accolades include Meetings Professional of the Year from the New York Society of Association Executives (2020), Show Manager of the Year from the Expo Group (2017), Meetings Trendsetter from Meetings.net (2016), Industry Change Maker from Meetings and Conventions Magazine (2015), and many more.
Stuart currently serves as the Executive in Residence for the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University.