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Meet the Team


At TradeWinds Island Resorts, every group is given executive treatment, and it all starts with our exceptional staff. Every group is assigned its own sales manager, group reservations agent and convention service manager, on call 24/7 during your meeting! Our sales managers are dedicated to helping you understand TradeWinds group offerings. Your sales manager will ensure that your group’s individual needs are met. Please submit a RFP as an initial introduction; one of our sales managers will get back to you within a few hours to begin planning your events.

If you’ve already spoken to a sales manager, please feel free to contact him or her directly using the e-mail and phone numbers listed below. For other inquiries, e-mail  or call 800.345.6461.

Photo of Terry Popelka

Terry Popelka

Terry Popelka, Vice President of Sales, leads the overall group sales team, conference services and catering programs. Before joining TradeWinds Island Resorts in November 2009, Terry was with the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort as the Director of Northeast Sales for just nine years. Terry received numerous awards during his career with Starwood, and in 2008, he was named Starwood sales person of the year for all of North America. A veteran of the hospitality industry, Terry started his career in hospitality sales with TradeWinds back in 1995. 727.363.2245

Photo of Karleen Johnson

Karleen Johnson, CMP

Karleen Johnson, Assistant Director of Sales, joined the TradeWinds Island Resorts in June of 2000. Prior to her promotion in July of 2021, Karleen held previous positions at TradeWinds as National Sales Manager, Catering Sales Manager and Convention Service Manager. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Florida. Karleen was named TradeWinds’ Catering and Convention Service Manager of the Year in 2005 and obtained her CMP Certification in 2006.

Photo of Matt Danders

Matt Danders

Matt Danders, National Sales Manager, was a native of Kansas prior to his arrival in St. Petersburg in 2018. Matt has over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry with previous positions held at the upscale InterContinental Hotel Group and Hilton branded hotels in the Kansas City area. Before joining TradeWinds Island Resorts, Matt was National Sales Manager at a renowned golf resort in the St. Petersburg area.

Photo of Alana Owens

Alana Owens

Alana Owens, Director of Catering/Convention Services, was born in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area before moving to Washington state where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. She moved back to her home town in August 2011 and joined TradeWinds as a Booking Administrator. Alana has held previous positions including Convention Services Manager and National Sales Manager before transitioning into her new role as Director of Catering/Convention Services. 727.363.2331

convention south award
smartmeetings award


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