Meet the Team
MEETINGS & EVENTS: MEETING PLANNER INTRODUCTIONS
Gala dinners, corporate retreats, conferences, seminars, business meetings and weddings; TradeWinds Island Resorts’ Meetings and Events team has earned an industry reputation for unparalleled service. We specialize in delivering seamless experiences that stay with your guests long after they return home.
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 sales [at] twresort.com or call 800.345.6461.
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. tpopelka [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2245
Mike Wagner, Director of Group Sales, is responsible for day-to-day operations of group sales. Mike moved to Colorado in 1993, where he owned and operated a bed and breakfast in a historic mining town. This began his love for the hospitality industry. Mike has served on several Chamber of Commerce Boards and was chairman of the Town Promotion Commission where his bed and breakfast was located. Mike has been with the TradeWinds since 1999 working in the Midwest territory and was named Sales Manager of the Year in 2007. mwagner [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2242
George Bentley, CMP
George Bentley, Director of Convention and Catering Services, leads our catering and convention services teams at both of our resorts. Before returning to TradeWinds Island Resorts in February 2011, George was Director of Catering/Convention Services at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for two years, Director of Event Management at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg for three years and most recently served as Director of Food & Beverage for the Clearwater Beach Hilton for three years. gbentley [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2331
Karleen Johnson, CMP
Karleen Johnson, National Sales Manager for the Midwest, joined the TradeWinds Island Resorts in June of 2000. Prior to her promotion in January of 2008, Karleen held previous positions at TradeWinds as 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.
kjohnson [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2380
Katie Cumby, National Sales Manager for the Southeast, joined TradeWinds after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management and Event Planning from Indiana University. She initially joined the TradeWinds team in January 2010 as an Intern before accepting a full-time position as Catering Sales Manager a few months later. In December 2011, Katie was promoted to Small Meetings Manager. She spent two years in that position before transitioning into her current role as a National Sales Manager. kcumby [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2236
Adrian Robbins, National Sales Manager, is a former member of the prestigious Les Clef d’Or USA organization. With more than 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Adrian has overseen more than 300 weddings as a planner, ordained minister and notary public. She’s a certified concierge, past President of DECA and the Bay Area Concierge Association. She currently holds the position as Advisory to the Bay Area Concierge Association Board of Directors. Her motto is In Service through Friendship. arobbins [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2272
Michelle Christie, National Sales Manager for the Northeast and sports market, joined the TradeWinds team in August of 2018. She carries a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from The Pennsylvania State University. Michelle brings ten years of industry experience to the TradeWinds, having completed the MIT Program with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Austin, TX and working as a Catering Sales Manager with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in Naples, FL and New Orleans, LA. mchristie [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2256
Rachel Perny, Catering Sales Manager, returned to TradeWinds in January 2019. She carries a Bachelor's degree in Communication from Eckerd College, located here in St. Petersburg. She was with TradeWinds from 2012 to 2016 with the Guest Services team as Lead Concierge. After leaving TradeWinds to pursue catering, sales and event management at other area properties, she was excited to return to TradeWinds to join the Catering and Convention Services team. rperny [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2257
Julie Manes, Wedding Sales Manager with 40 years of experience, exhibits an uncommon level of personal concern, attention to detail and an aura of calm to make sure her brides have their perfect day. She joined the TradeWinds Island Resorts team back in 1997, working in Convention Services, then took a new direction in 2004. Now she is back, helping brides and their families plan and host their special day on the best beach in America. For more information or to plan a visit to TradeWinds Island Resorts, you can reach Julie at: jmanes [at] twresort.com, 727.363.2309
Maria Slater, our Assistant Wedding Sales Manager, has a passion for weddings and a keen eye for detail. Maria brings a unique vision and personality to her clients and is enthusiastically committed to ensuring her couples have an unforgettable experience. Maria joined the TradeWinds Island Resorts team in 2014. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she focused her studies in Hospitality Management, and has obtained the Certified Wedding Planner designation from The Bridal Society. mslater [at] twresort.com, 727.367.6477