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

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

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
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

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


Terry Shields

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


Tracey Amernick
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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