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Luminary Award Winners

The Female Leaders Luminary Award is given to a woman whose work and dedication has enlightened others and has helped shine the way for other ladies.  The luminary award is presented yearly to an inspirational woman that leads by example, with integrity and bestows kindness to all.

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2021 Winner

Paula Hayes
Vice President of Sales 
Globus Family of Brands

Paula's interest in and passion for travel ignited in high school when she participated in a foreign exchange program in Guatemala.  And, it's this passion for travel that has driven her career in tourism. 

 

Paula began her career with a Caribbean/South American tour operator.  Initially hired to translate hotel contracts, she quickly moved through the ranks and eventually left that organization as the Director of Sales. She has become a well-respected leader in the travel industry and boasts a long history of stellar sales experience in resort, cruise and global tour operations with such companies as SuperClubs and Club Med.  Throughout her career, Paula has received several accolades including one as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Travel" for seven consecutive years by Travel Agent.  Now in her role as the Globus Family of Brands' Vice President of Sales, Paula is responsible for managing all facets of the company's sales operations, including creating and leading the company's sales and marketing strategies and supervising its national sales team.  Paula is an active member of ASTA's Allied Marketing Committee as well as the North American Tourism Council, French Affairs. 

When she's not working, Paula and her husband enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle and spending time with their two daughters and their four grandchildren. 

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2020 Winner

Mary Ellen Burke
National Director of Sales
AMResorts

Mary Ellen is responsible for managing the AMResorts USA Sales and Customer Care teams, growing AMResorts revenues and brand awareness, working closely with travel agencies, tour operators, consortia and travel industry partners.  

Mary Ellen was instrumental in developing and launching AMRewards and establishing AMResorts Travel Agency Advisory Board.  With over 30 years' experience in the travel industry, Mary Ellen is a true sales industry expert. 

Previous to her role at AMResorts, Mary Ellen was Regional Sales Director, United Airlines and and held various positions within Continental Airlines, where she was also President of the Continental Airlines Management Associations.

Mary Ellen is a recipient of the Patriots Path Council Woman of the Year award and first recipient of Joe Namath's March of Dimes Spirit award.  Mary Ellen attended Bloomsburg University and resides in New Jersey with her husband Joe and their two children, Alyssa and Matthew. 

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2019 Winner

Dolores Lopez Lira
Owner, Lomas Travel

For over four decades, Dolores has been leading Grupo Lomas.  Her relentless drive and determination has allowed her to overcome gender bias in opening and operating a successful DMC as well as to conquer the many obstacles life has thrown at her. 

Since the 1980's she has been at the pinnacle of the travel industry thanks in large part to the support of her husband Jose Martinez Alday. For Dolores, putting people first is one of the key reasons she believes that Grupo Lomas has prospered and remained united for nearly 40 years. Besides the company's exponential growth, Grupo Lomas' people-centric vision has won several accolades for corporate and social responsibility.

 

Dolores is an advocate for travel agents and won the first Luminary Award in 2019. 

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2022 Winner

Melissa Krueger
CEO 
Classic Vacations 

iMelissa joined Classic Vacations in 2013 as a Director of Sales, providing sales leadership and performance management for the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast sales teams.  Following her appointment to Vice President of Groups, Melissa was instrumental in building a team that raised the standards of group management for travel agencies.  In Feb, 2022, Melissa was promoted to CEO of Classic Vacations.  She has been contributing to the travel industry for over 20 years and is excited about her current role. She hopes to continue to lead Classic into the future with the highest of standards and keeping the needs of travel agency partners in front of mind.  Melissa’s greatest passion is helping customers build their businesses and supporting employees in growing their careers. Melissa resides in Carmel, California with her husband of 18 years and their three daughterst's this passion for travel that has driven her career in tourism. 

 

Paula began her career with a Caribbean/South American tour operator.  Initially hired to translate hotel contracts, she quickly moved through the ranks and eventually left that organization as the Director of Sales. She has become a well-respected leader in the travel industry and boasts a long history of stellar sales experience in resort, cruise and global tour operations with such companies as SuperClubs and Club Med.  Throughout her career, Paula has received several accolades including one as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Travel" for seven consecutive years by Travel Agent.  Now in her role as the Globus Family of Brands' Vice President of Sales, Paula is responsible for managing all facets of the company's sales operations, including creating and leading the company's sales and marketing strategies and supervising its national sales team.  Paula is an active member of ASTA's Allied Marketing Committee as well as the North American Tourism Council, French Affairs. 

When she's not working, Paula and her husband enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle and spending time with their two daughters and their four grandchildren. 

Mary_Ellen_Burke-sm (1).jpg

2020 Winner

Mary Ellen Burke
National Director of Sales
AMResorts

Mary Ellen is responsible for managing the AMResorts USA Sales and Customer Care teams, growing AMResorts revenues and brand awareness, working closely with travel agencies, tour operators, consortia and travel industry partners.  

Mary Ellen was instrumental in developing and launching AMRewards and establishing AMResorts Travel Agency Advisory Board.  With over 30 years' experience in the travel industry, Mary Ellen is a true sales industry expert. 

Previous to her role at AMResorts, Mary Ellen was Regional Sales Director, United Airlines and and held various positions within Continental Airlines, where she was also President of the Continental Airlines Management Associations.

Mary Ellen is a recipient of the Patriots Path Council Woman of the Year award and first recipient of Joe Namath's March of Dimes Spirit award.  Mary Ellen attended Bloomsburg University and resides in New Jersey with her husband Joe and their two children, Alyssa and Matthew. 

Dolores (2).jpg

2019 Winner

Dolores Lopez Lira
Owner, Lomas Travel

For over four decades, Dolores has been leading Grupo Lomas.  Her relentless drive and determination has allowed her to overcome gender bias in opening and operating a successful DMC as well as to conquer the many obstacles life has thrown at her. 

Since the 1980's she has been at the pinnacle of the travel industry thanks in large part to the support of her husband Jose Martinez Alday. For Dolores, putting people first is one of the key reasons she believes that Grupo Lomas has prospered and remained united for nearly 40 years. Besides the company's exponential growth, Grupo Lomas' people-centric vision has won several accolades for corporate and social responsibility.

 

Dolores is an advocate for travel agents and won the first Luminary Award in 2019. 

PaulaGlobus.png

2021 Winner

Paula Hayes
Vice President of Sales 
Globus Family of Brands

Paula's interest in and passion for travel ignited in high school when she participated in a foreign exchange program in Guatemala.  And, it's this passion for travel that has driven her career in tourism. 

 

Paula began her career with a Caribbean/South American tour operator.  Initially hired to translate hotel contracts, she quickly moved through the ranks and eventually left that organization as the Director of Sales. She has become a well-respected leader in the travel industry and boasts a long history of stellar sales experience in resort, cruise and global tour operations with such companies as SuperClubs and Club Med.  Throughout her career, Paula has received several accolades including one as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Travel" for seven consecutive years by Travel Agent.  Now in her role as the Globus Family of Brands' Vice President of Sales, Paula is responsible for managing all facets of the company's sales operations, including creating and leading the company's sales and marketing strategies and supervising its national sales team.  Paula is an active member of ASTA's Allied Marketing Committee as well as the North American Tourism Council, French Affairs. 

When she's not working, Paula and her husband enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle and spending time with their two daughters and their four grandchildren. 

Mary_Ellen_Burke-sm (1).jpg

2020 Winner

Mary Ellen Burke
National Director of Sales
AMResorts

Mary Ellen is responsible for managing the AMResorts USA Sales and Customer Care teams, growing AMResorts revenues and brand awareness, working closely with travel agencies, tour operators, consortia and travel industry partners.  

Mary Ellen was instrumental in developing and launching AMRewards and establishing AMResorts Travel Agency Advisory Board.  With over 30 years' experience in the travel industry, Mary Ellen is a true sales industry expert. 

Previous to her role at AMResorts, Mary Ellen was Regional Sales Director, United Airlines and and held various positions within Continental Airlines, where she was also President of the Continental Airlines Management Associations.

Mary Ellen is a recipient of the Patriots Path Council Woman of the Year award and first recipient of Joe Namath's March of Dimes Spirit award.  Mary Ellen attended Bloomsburg University and resides in New Jersey with her husband Joe and their two children, Alyssa and Matthew. 

Dolores (2).jpg

2019 Winner

Dolores Lopez Lira
Owner, Lomas Travel

For over four decades, Dolores has been leading Grupo Lomas.  Her relentless drive and determination has allowed her to overcome gender bias in opening and operating a successful DMC as well as to conquer the many obstacles life has thrown at her. 

Since the 1980's she has been at the pinnacle of the travel industry thanks in large part to the support of her husband Jose Martinez Alday. For Dolores, putting people first is one of the key reasons she believes that Grupo Lomas has prospered and remained united for nearly 40 years. Besides the company's exponential growth, Grupo Lomas' people-centric vision has won several accolades for corporate and social responsibility.

 

Dolores is an advocate for travel agents and won the first Luminary Award in 2019.