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Board of Directors


CREST Board of Directors

William Anderson, Director
Acacia Consulting Group

William Anderson has conceptualized, developed, managed, marketed and asset managed over 40 resort, hotel, restaurant, club, interval ownership and related real estate properties throughout the World, serving in a variety of operational capacities. Mr. Anderson has served most recently as President/CEO/COO of three global hospitality management and destination management companies within the luxury hotel and resort and destination spa segments. He has overseen operations in some 30 countries and is recognized for creating and operating new projects or restructuring and repositioning existing hotel, resort and residential properties across a wide spectrum of market segments. In every case these properties have led their respective markets and expanded geographic regions in rate, occupancy and real estate sales and have been recognized by such publications as Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Travel and Leisure. Awards include Spa Finders #1 Destination Spa in North America and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report Global #1 Resort. In addition he has overseen the concept development, master planning, marketing and sales of complimentary real estate, club and interval ownership projects in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, South Pacific and Central America with real estate sales in excess of $450M.  These properties have included some of the premier club and membership-based programs within the luxury segment.

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Eric Bergstrom, Treasurer & Director
Bergstrom Capital Advisors, Inc.

Eric Bergstrom, is the President and Founder of Bergstrom Capital Advisors, Inc. (“BCA”), located in Irvine, California.  Eric formed BCA in 2001, after 13 years as a CPA and founder of Ernst & Young/Kenneth Leventhal & Co.’s Real Estate Capital Markets Group (“EYKL”), where he led all real estate capital market assignments in the western United States, including the largest equity placement in the history of the firm.

During his 25 year career in the real estate capital markets, Eric has advised hundreds of real estate owners and developers throughout North America in strategic planning, entity and project-level acquisition due diligence/dispositions, land planning/design, market and financial feasibility analyses, and capital market advisory assignments, including workouts/restructures, mergers & acquisitions, entity formations and financial statement audits for REIT IPO’s, High-Yield Debt Offerings, and Investment Fund Entities. BCA is a discrete privately-held real estate capital market and strategic advisory firm that provides professional and highly responsive capital market execution for owners and developers of all product types in commercial and residential real estate by utilizing Eric’s technical expertise, twenty five years of real estate experience, and direct long-standing relationships with capital sources and real estate professionals throughout the world. 

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Robert Breech, Director
David E. Kelley Productions

Bob Breech works with David E. Kelley Productions, an Emmy Award winning producer on Picket Fences, L.A Law, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal and The Practice. Bob met Kelley in 1986 when they came together to work on L.A. Law. Bob was a practicing attorney for many years, having earned his B.A. from Stanford and his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law, but had left his practice to obtain an MFA in producing at University of Southern California (USC).

He worked briefly in documentaries, did a couple of features, and then moved into television. His main responsibilities deal with the creative execution, overseeing a team of writers, but he is involved with every aspect of production including editing the final version that is then screened by David E. Kelley. During his years working with Kelley, Bob has won seven Emmy Awards.

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Mary-Elizabeth Gifford, DirectorGifford
The Farm of Pantrepant

A spa industry expert known for her work in organic luxury, natural beauty, and global sustainability issues, Mary-Elizabeth Gifford has worked for some of the world’s leading destination spas as well as on the green side of the beauty and skin care business.

Deeply rooted in agriculture, Mary-Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors of Demeter-USA, the biodynamic agriculture movement considered beyond organic, and on the Board of Directors of Steller, a U.S.D.A.-authorized certifier of Organic farmland. She is a past Director of the International Spa Association and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Washington National Spa Alliance. 

A native of New York City, she graduated from Brown University with honors and had a year of post-graduate study at Harvard University, where she was an Affiliate of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation of Journalism.

She has presented at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Global Spa Summit, the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Forum, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

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Alice Marshall, Travelers' Philanthropy Liaison
Alice Marshall Public Relations

Alice Marshall, President of Alice Marshall Public Relations has been promoting luxurious travel properties and destinations since the 1980s, beginning with her in-house role at Cunard Line publicizing the QE2, The Ritz, and Cunard's other properties. In 1991, Alice launched her own company (happily, her original client is still aboard). Today, Alice Marshall Public Relations represents some of the world's greatest hotels and resorts, the top luxury cruise line, a renowned spa company, and an organic bed linen company.

Her company has extensive experience in the global travel and spa market, having worked with luxury brands across the world since inception. The company has collaborated with leading hotel groups (Park Hyatt, COMO Hotels and Resorts, Island Outpost, Nantucket Island Resorts, Victoria-Jungfrau Collection), top luxury cruise lines (Crystal Cruises), independent hotels and resorts (Crillon le Brave and Royal Mansour Marrakech), and luxury products (ESPA International, Guinot, Blackwell Rum and Gayle Warwick Fine Linen). A present client list is enclosed herewith.

Alice's forte has always been to quickly grasp any occasion and propose positive actions that complement her clients' desired image. To this end, she has developed personal relationships with literally hundreds of journalists who cover business and leisure travel, wellness, food, design, fashion, and lifestyle concerns. Her company employs 12 very talented publicists in NY and California.

While sustainable tourism does not come immediately to mind when one thinks of luxury hotels, the company's clients are recognizing their responsibility for implementing policies that nurture sustainability, and a few have been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler's World Savers, for instance. It has been Alice's focus to not only provide a face and window for her clients but also to gently guide them toward a wholesome relationship that minimizes the carbon footprint. Each of the company's clients is an educator in this respect.

Alice graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Art History. She also has an M.B.A. from New York University. Alice lives in NYC where she raised her grown son. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

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Roberto Murray Meza, Director
San Salvador, El Salvador

Roberto Murray Meza has been President of the Board of Directors of Agrícola Industrial Salvadoreña -AGRISAL since 1999. AGRISAL is an important Salvadorian Consortium of Industry, Hotel, Automotive and Agricultural Businesses of national and regional companies.

He is also President of the Business Foundation for Social Action (FUNDEMAS), a foundation dedicated to promoting Corporate Social Responsibility and Responsible Competitiveness in El Salvador. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Business for Social Responsibility, of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington D.C. and of TechnoServe, a US organization that promotes business solutions to rural poverty in Africa and Latin America. In May 2006, Roberto was nominated as member of AccountAbility Council based in London, and he joined The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 2006. He is Honorary Consul of Ireland in El Salvador.

In January 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences by the Salesian University of Don Bosco in El Salvador.He holds a degree in Economics from the Yale University, as well as an MBA from Harvard University, and an MA in Literature from Middlebury College.

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Michael Robbins
Founding Partner, The Tourism Company - Canada

Michael Robbins has over 30 years experience as a tourism consultant, having worked throughout Canada, as well as in the US, New Zealand/Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. With an environmental planning educational background it has been natural for Michael to focus his professional career on planning and developing more sustrainable tourism models. He began his career in 1979 with a large Canadian multi-disciplinary company (Marshall Macklin Monaghan), moved to New Zealand to work for a similar type of company for 3 years, and then founded his own boutique management consulting firm in 1994. Michael is a recognized expert in strategic planning and marketing, feasibility assessments for new tourism ventures, business planning, and master planning for tourism resorts and attractions. He has a particular interest in tourism as a form of economic empowerment for indigenous peoples and has worked on a wide range of assignments with First Nation, Inuit and Maori entrepreneurs.

Michael has past experience on public and private boards as well as charities including: Cara Operations, Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, SMARTRISK, Enerworks, Osler Bluff Ski Club, and helped to found the Ontario Ecotourism Society. He is currently a Trustee with the Pete Crompton Foundation. Through the public foundation Tides Canada, Michael has a donor directed fund (7th Generation Fund) providing assistance to various aboriginal tourism and environmental conservation initiatives across Canada. Michael lives in Toronto, Canada with his Peruvian partner and her children, and has three grown children from a previous marriage. His sport passion is international masters alpine ski racing.

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Nick Simmonds, Director
Manager/Director, GoldenEye Resort Jamaica; Head of Operations, Island Outpost

An international hotelier from South Africa, Nick has worked in 19 different countries around the world and brings a uniquely global point of view to any project. He is known for his skilled approach to hotel management, as well as for his success with the operation of prestigious destination spas. Most recently Nick served as General Manager of Cotton House in Mustique, where he was a driving force behind the transformational renovation that enhanced the resort through contemporary style and impeccable service, while retaining its original authenticity and sense of place.

Prior to this, Nick was Hotel Manager at Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, where he was intricately involved in the opening and launch of the resort and accompanying spa, and in staking its ongoing reputation as a must-visit destination. Nick is a gifted linguist who speaks Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans, in addition to his native English. His other career assignments have placed him everywhere from the remote African bush, where he began his career in hospitality by working as a guide, to New York City’s Upper East Side, where he worked for Private Worldwide Property Portfolio.

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Special Advisors to CREST:

Keir D. Gumbs, Board Legal Advisor
Associate, Covington & Burling LLP

Keir D. Gumbs is an associate with Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC.  Mr. Gumbs advises public and private companies, non-profit organizations, institutional investors and other clients in corporate, corporate governance, securities regulation and transactional matters.  

Mr. Gumbs' career includes six years of service with the SEC, where, immediately prior to joining Covington & Burling in 2005, he served as Counsel to SEC Commissioner Roel C. Campos.  In that position, he advised the Commissioner on a variety of matters arising under federal securities law with an emphasis on corporate finance issues under the Securities Act of 1933, issuer reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, corporate governance developments, and SEC enforcement actions.  Prior to serving as Counsel to Commissioner Campos, Mr. Gumbs spent five years as a staff attorney and later a Special Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.

As a staff attorney he reviewed registration statements, periodic reports, and transactional filings by companies in the Consumer Products, Computers and Online Services, Utilities, and Chemicals industries.  As a Special Counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel, Mr. Gumbs provided interpretive advice and guidance regarding federal securities laws to outside counsel and staff attorneys in the Division of Corporation Finance.  Mr. Gumbs is a frequent author and speaker on matters affecting the public companies, including topics such as shareholder proposals, the proxy rules, corporate governance, SEC rulemaking and other matters. His work with CREST is also pro bono.

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Mark Spalding, Director
President, The Ocean Foundation

Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, concurrently serves as the Executive Director of the St. Kitts Foundation and the Fundación Bahía de Loreto A.C. Both of these subsidiary foundations are the philanthropy arms of sustainable resort developments.

Mark has also served as a consultant to Rancho La Puerta spa/resort and its foundation regarding the conservation of the Tecate River Valley, and as an advisor to Kerzner International Limited to assist its formation of the Kerzner Marine Foundation. He is the co-author of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation's study on ecotourism, and conducted green hotel evaluations in India.

Mark chairs the Council of the National Whale Conservation Fund, and is an active member of the marine working group, Baja California group, and coral reef group of the funders' organization, the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. He has served as a member of the Environmental Grants Advisory Committee of FINCOMUN (Tijuana's Community Foundation). He was a professor of international law and policy at UCSD's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies for 10 years before bringing his extensive experience with the legal and policy aspects of ocean conservation to The Ocean Foundation's grantmaking strategy, evaluation process, and development of sustainability standards for coastal development.

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Karen Lewis, Ecotourism Charter Club Chair
Lapa Rios Ecolodge

Karen Greiling Lewis was nurtured in Minneapolis with mid-American values. She participated in Girl Scouting and the American Field Service (AFS) student exchange program and from 1968-70 was a Peace Corp Volunteer teacher in Kenya. For over 20 years, Karen was a professional keyboard musician and music educator in Minnesota and holds degrees in music and geography from the University of Minnesota. She raised two children and her diverse life experiences proved instrumental to pioneer ecotourism, an innovative travel concept sustaining land conservation and the well being of local people.

In 1990, Lapa Rios co-founders John and Karen Lewis took their bird watching avocation to a contributory level and purchased over 1,000 acres of tropical rain forest in the Osa Peninsula, SW Costa Rica. They created Lapa Rios to maintain this bio-diverse reserve and to use only the land as an economic-educational vehicle to sustain the Osa community. Separation from familiar comforts and self-sacrifice was requisite for early wilderness survival yet by commitment to education and operational improvements the adventure of sharing ecotourism values with locals and like-minded travelers defines today's present success.

In 1991, the Lewises formed La Asociación de Educacíon, a Lapa Rios guest-supported foundation, to build a community-based school. This travelers' philanthropy project continues to build and maintain several Osa primary schools. In 2005, she was elected to The International Ecotourism Society's board of directors. Karen and John, with the assistance of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Costa Rican-based CEDARENA Land Trust, aided Costa Rica's Osa Campaign by creating the Peninsula's first conservation easement to legally protect their 920-acre Lapa Rios Reserve donation in perpetuity. Karen now lives part-time in Seattle and Costa Rica, and shares her experiences developing Lapa Rios at educational conferences.

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Dr. Pamela Peeke, Health and Wellness Advisor

Dr. Pamela Peeke is an internationally recognized expert, physician, scientist, and author in the fields of nutrition, stress, fitness and public health. Dr. Peeke was the first physician elected to the ISPA board of directors and during her tenure she facilitated the introduction of spa medicine to professionals in the healing arts as well as the media.

Dr. Peeke serves as Chief Medical Correspondent for Discovery Fit & Health TV, where she is featured on the award winning National Body Challenge series and is the host of Could You Survive? As Chief Lifestyle Expert for WebMD, Dr. Peeke's multimedia healthy lifestyle program, Everyday Fitness with Dr. Pam Peeke, is followed by over 50 million WebMD members, including viewers of CBS's Early Morning Show where she serves as WebMD's expert. Dr. Peeke is the New York Times bestselling author of four books, including Fit to Live and Body for Life for Women. She is a regular in-studio medical commentator for the national networks, contributing editor for national magazines including Fitness, Glamour and Prevention, and is a member of Oprah's O Team of medical experts.

The American College of Sports Medicine named Dr. Peeke the national spokesperson for their global Exercise IS Medicine campaign. She has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine as one of America's leading physicians. Board certified in internal medicine, Dr. Peeke also holds dual master's degrees in public health and public policy.
She was the first senior research fellow in the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, is a Pew Scholar in nutrition and metabolism, and holds the position of Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland. Dr. Peeke is senior advisor to the US Surgeon General with whom she is implementing the Surgeon General Walks for a Healthy and Fit Nation. A triathlete and mountaineer, Dr. Peeke is known as the "doc who walks the talk" and is the founder of the Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living™.

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