Foundation 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 volunteers and staff.


zena phillips

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

Zena began her career as a meeting planner for a non-profit organization in Seattle, WA over 20 years ago, transitioning to catering sales & operations in the sports & entertainment industry, before joining Hilton 13 years ago. Prior to her current position at Hilton, Zena worked her way up through Catering & Events at several of Hilton’s luxury hotels, including Waldorf Astoria New York and Conrad Miami. Zena is a Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE), a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development from University of Toronto.

Zena is actively involved in catering & events through industry and association participation. She currently serves as National President for the Foundation of NACE, and is the 2018 recipient of the Events Industry Council Pacesetter award for Leadership and Innovation.

Vice President


Harvey Stern, CMP, CPCE
Executive Director of Catering and Banquets
Las Vegas, Nevada

Harvey Stern, CMP, CPCE, is the Executive Director of Catering and Banquets for Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In this role, he is responsible for a team of 500 in the areas of Catering, Sales and Banquet Services for Bellagio’s more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities.

Stern began his career with Bellagio as Director of Catering and Banquets in November 2002 and was promoted to Executive Director in November 2011. Prior to joining Bellagio, he was Director of Catering and Food and Beverage at the Standard Club in Chicago, the Senior Catering Manager and opening team member of Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and assistant to the Director of Catering of The Pierre, a Four Seasons Hotel in New York.

He is currently a member of the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE), Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) and Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE). Stern serves on the Boards of One Night for One Drop as the Culinary Chair and the Foundation of NACE as the Vice President.


Gary L McCreary

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

Gary McCreary is the Vice President of Catering & Convention Operations for The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, overseeing conference management and banquet operations. He was on the opening team of the The Venetian and has since participated in the opening of every major property for Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Macau, Singapore, and Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Prior, Gary worked for the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) as an International Meeting Planner out of Dallas, Texas. Gary also worked for Loews Anatole Hotel, where he was Director of Catering and then Assistant Director of Conference Management. A native Texan, Gary graduated cum laude from The University of North Texas, Denten, Texas, with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management.

Past President

Dave Buckley

Dave Buckley,CSEP
Northeast Regional Account Executive
Marbella Event Furniture & Decor Rental
Greater Philadelphia Area

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.



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, Ohio

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

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

Michael Dwork is the Founder and CEO of VerTerra; the Originator and Creator of the palm leaf plate, as well as a line collapsible wooden to-go box and disposable cheese boards. He has been awarded nine patents for his innovative packaging. He earned his BA from Columbia College and his MBA from Columbia Business School and holds a Certificate in Chinese from Nanjing University. He speaks and writes about sustainable initiatives and consults on minimizing impact in organizations and production.


Terry Shields

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


Tracey Amernick
Tracey Amernick, CPCE
Vice President of Event Sales
Cohn Restaurant Group
San Diego, California


Tracey Amernick is a food and beverage professional with a passion for customer service and a successful track record of building winning teams and maximizing sales. Tracey develops strategic vision and drives growth for more than 27 restaurants and several premium venues with a special events division. Her talents in creative design, special events, décor trends and catering are matched with a deep knowledge of the corporate, social, and incentive markets.

Tracey attributes much of her success to her involvement with NACE over the last 25 years, not only for keeping her knowledge current, but also in leadership roles that continued to develop her professional skills. In addition, the relationships and friendships she has made through NACE are lifetime strong.


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

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