Our Leadership

The Foundation of NACE Board consists of: President, Vice President/President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer and Trustees along with the Executive Director of NACE, and the Immediate Past-President.  The Board sets broad strategic direction and delegates the implementation of strategy to the management team of NACE, who run the office day-to-day.  Every quarter the Board meets to ensure that The Foundation of NACE continues to operate well and is achieving our objectives.

Zena Phillips, CMP, CPCE
Senior Director Catering & Events Luxury - Americas
Miami, Florida

Zena Phillips is the Senior Director Catering & Events Luxury for Hilton Hotels, Americas Region. Zena has over 20 years of sales and management experience with the last 15 spent in catering and events. Zena’s tenure with Hilton began 12 years ago in Toronto followed by Fort Lauderdale; she then transitioned into luxury at Waldorf Astoria New York followed by catering & events leadership roles at Conrad Miami and Conrad New York. 

Zena earned a degree in International Development from the University of Toronto and a hospitality management certificate from e-Cornell. She also holds the designations of CMP and CPCE.

Vice President
Harvey Stern, CMP, CPCE
Executive Director of Catering and Banquets


Gary McCreary, CMP, CPCE, CSEP
Vice President Catering & Events
Venetian and Palazzo Hotels
Las Vegas, Nevada

Gary McCreary serves as the VP of Catering & Convention Operations for The Venetian | The Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gary, was on the opening team of The Venetian and has since opened every major property for Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Macau, Singapore, and Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Gary oversees Banquet Operations which generates over $100M annually in Banquet revenue.

Gary has worked for the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) as an International Meeting Planner based out of Dallas, Texas, and the legendary Loews Anatole Hotel, where he was Director of Catering and then Assistant Director of Conference Management. Gary is a cum laude graduate  from The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, with a B.A. in Hotel & Restaurant Management.

Past President
Dave Buckley,CSEP
Regional Sales Manager 
AFR Event Furnishings
Greater Philadelphia Area

Dave Buckley, CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional) joined the AFR Event Furnishings team as their Northeast Regional Sales Manager for the Special Events Division in September 2010 and quickly became their  National Business Development Manager. In the past 2 years, he has assumed the role of Regional Sales Manager overseeing several of AFR’s Locations, including Las Vegas, Chicago, Maryland, DC, Virginia and the Carolinas!

Dave has won many Industry awards during his Rental Career including Event Professional of the year from NACE (National Association of Catering Executives), Member of the Year and Best Rental Support from ILEA and an ILEA Esprit Award for best Team Effort in 2012.  Although all of these are special to him, he is most proud of the 2 Special Event Magazine’s Gala Awards he won in 2003 and 2006. Dave also sits on the Special Events Magazine’s Advisory Board.

Dave is looking forward to a long career with AFR Event Furnishings and their continued success. He loves being part of the industry’s premier event furniture rental company! 

Timothy Lam, CHT, CGSP
Executive Director
The International School of Hospitality
Las Vegas, Nevada

Timothy Lam is executive director and a founder of TISOH: The International School of Hospitality, a Las Vegas-based accredited continuing education school now celebrating its 11th year. 

Tim has won numerous awards from NACE, including the 2013 Legacy Spotlight Member. He was on the 2011 President List. Tim also won the 2008 and 2011 Spirit of NACE Award, Las Vegas Chapter and the 2011 and 2012 Volunteer Excellence Award.

Tim holds a master’s degree in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a master of international business management degree from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor of science from Wake Forest University.

Walter Nemeth, CPCE
Director – Social Catering
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 

Known by many as the Guru. Walter’s NACE involvement spans some 30 years, active in the Pittsburgh, Boston, Greater Philadelphia and Greater Atlanta Chapters. For the past 6 years has served on the board as Treasurer of Foundation of NACE. Walter has over 30 years in the hospitality and event industries a Colorado native working from Maui to Martha’s Vineyard.
Walter has filled positions as Banquet and Restaurant Manager to Director of Catering and Director of Food & Beverage, working for Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt and several independent hotel companies. Currently the owner of Event Exclusives an event planning and venue management service.

Michael Dwork
Founder and CEO
VerTerra, Ltd.
New York, NY 

Terry Shields, CPCE, CSEP
Director of Catering
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX


Vice President of Event Sales
Cohn Restaurant Group  
San Diego, CA 

Executive Director
Lawrence Leonard, CAE, CMP
National Association for Catering and Events
Columbia, MD


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