Officers & Board

OFFICERS


HeadshotsPRESIDENT
Wanda Kenton Smith, Kenton Smith Marketing

Wanda Kenton Smith is a 30+-year marine marketing veteran and a trained journalist whose stellar marketing and media career  includes former posts as a national copywriter for a 70-person in-house agency; editor of two boating consumer magazines, and two trade newspapers; vice president of marketing for 11 years for a major independent marine manufacturer with global brand responsibilities; owner and president of her own $20 million multi-award- winning advertising and PR firm with more than 35 national and global power and sail accounts; and national marketing columnist for Soundings Trade Online since 1998. She has also edited three books and published more than 300 by-lined articles.

Wanda is the former founder and president of Marine Marketing to Women and has trained more than 1000 dealers on the women’s market, and continues to raise her voice on diversity marketing initiatives. She is the chairperson of the Recreational Boating and Leadership Council’s New Market Task Force.

Today, Wanda serves as a marketing consultant and practitioner, providing ongoing marketing, advertising/media, PR, web and social media programs for select clients in multiple industry disciplines. She speaks frequently on marketing topics at regional and national conferences, and continues to write, edit and produce a variety of editorial and marketing collateral.


Headshots3VICE-PRESIDENT
Sally Helme, Bonnier Corporation

Sally Helme is the Group Publisher of The Sailing Company, which is part of the Bonnier Marine Group. She is responsible for their two Newport based sailing magazines, Cruising World and Sailing World, plus the National Offshore One Design Regatta Series, or “NOODs.”She learned to sail growing up in Shelter Island, New York. Her marine industry background began in retail as a yacht broker and included marketing roles at C&C Yachts, Lewmar and B&G before she moved to the publishing side of the business.

She joined Cruising World and Sailing World in 1994 and became Publisher in 1998.She is active in marine industry trade groups and has served on the boards of Sail America, the National Sailing Industry Association and US SAILING. She is the immediate past president of Sail America, and represented the sailing sector on the marketing committee for the NMMA’s Grow Boating Initiative.

She is also a founding board member of Marine Marketers of America. Sally has managed the North American Sailing Industry Study, which produces annual statistics on sailboat production, imports and bareboat charters for North America, for over 20 years. This study is the benchmark for the sailing industry in this country, and provides the official industry statistics used by the NMMA and Sail America

BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Headshots10Louisa Beckett
Owner, Turnkey Communications & Public Relations

Louisa Beckett started her career as a book editor at Fawcett Books in New York City, acquiring Dances With Wolves for publication along with many other titles. In 1988, she switched to the magazine side of the publishing business and has served as editor-in-chief of Motor Boating; editor of ShowBoats International, editor of Southern Boating, executive editor of Yachting, and managing editor of Redbook during the course of her career. This experience has given Louisa an extensive knowledge of the boating industry from the smallest personal watercraft to the largest superyacht.

In 2005, Louisa founded Turnkey Communications & Public Relations, Inc, a boutique communications, PR, marketing and advertising firm specializing in yachting, private aviation and luxury travel.

Not long after, she was joined in the business by her husband, Gary, who brought the experience he gained as editor of Soundings Trade Only, corporate communications director of OMC, and account manager at Barton Gilanelli to the firm.


Headshots12Romina Bompani
Owner, RB Yacht Marketing

Romina Bompani is a consummate marine marketing professional, and the owner of RB Yacht Marketing; a full-service marketing boutique consultancy based in the South of Florida.

RB Yacht Marketing focus exclusively on marine industry clients and have proven success bringing companies and products to market using the proper mix of traditional and digital marketing services to best fit their clients’ needs.

Fluent in four languages thanks to a multicultural upbringing, Romina has acquired a well-traveled outlook, teamed with extensive knowledge of the yachting industry. She had worked with several marine companies where she oversaw all internal and external communications, developed digital campaigns, organized events, and boat shows while establishing a clear, consistent, and identifiable image for a wide range of marine-related businesses including brokerage houses, European boat manufacturers, marinas and leading industry entrepreneurs.


Headshots4Courtney Chalmers
Vice President, Boats Group

Courtney leads branding, buzz and all that is marketing at Boats Group, overseeing product marketing, digital marketing and channel marketing teams. She modernizes the function of marketing through strategic management of people, technology and data.

A creative problem solver and strategic thinker, Courtney has 15 years of experience in digital marketing and brand management. She has worked within the recreational boating industry for over a decade as Boat Trader’s Brand Manager before transitioning to Dominion Marine Media (now Boats Group) as Director of Marketing to lead the global marketing strategy for YachtWorld, Boat Trader and boats.com. Courtney played an integral role on the acquisition team in 2016 when the company was purchased by Apax Partners.

Courtney is published in top boating publications, including Boating Industry Magazine and Soundings Trade Only and is invited to speak at industry events across the U.S. She is actively involved in boating industry associations and was recognized in the 2016 Women Making Waves and as the only female Mover & Shaker by Boating Industry in 2011.

Courtney is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Digital Media.


Headshots11Traci Davis
Boston Whaler

Traci Davis is the Manager of Content Development and Events for Boston Whaler. She is a 24-year veteran with the company, spending most of her time in marketing and sales. Traci oversees marketing content initiatives, both internal and external, across multiple platforms, focusing on all things related to content optimization, brand consistency, segmentation, analytics and meaningful measurement. She also is heavily invested in the customer experience to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive customer behavior. She fosters relationships through various touchpoints to include owner experiential events that drive increased brand loyalty.

On a personal note, Traci is married with two children. The entire family are avid boaters and enjoy spending time on the water with each other and friends.


Headshots6Kristen Frohnhoefer
Chief Administrative Officer, Sea Tow Services International

Having spent the first 15 years of her working life learning every aspect of the business, Kristen has served as Sea Tow’s Chief Administrative Officer since 2009. As CAO, Kristen is responsible for overseeing all internal operations including the execution and tracking of all of the company’s membership programs and special offers, staff and franchise training, event coordination, marketing, sales and communications, and call center operations. She also focuses much of her time on business development and maintains key relationships across the marine industry. Kristen co-chairs the MMA’s membership committee.


Headshots13Abbey Heimensen
Director of Marketing, MarineMax

A native of Iowa, Abbey started her marketing career promoting tourism in in her home state. She quickly advanced becoming the Director of Tourism at the Okoboji Tourism Department. During Abbey’s 7-year tenure, she led many initiatives at the local, state and national level to promote tourism and boating at Iowa’s number one tourism destination, Lake Okoboji.

Abbey joined the MarineMax Marketing Team In 2011, shortly after relocating with her husband in Clearwater. Abbey’s responsibilities have included directing and the execution of MarineMax OEM marketing, social media, advertising, public relations and media strategy to promote the business. Now as the Director of Marketing, Abbey’s responsibilities are expanded to include working directly with the MarineMax Regional Presidents along with their Marketing Coordinators as well as overseeing all marketing initiatives and managing the MarineMax marketing team.


Headshots5

Mark Kellum
Owner, Acumen Creative and Marketing

Captain Mark Kellum is a former ad agency owner and creative director whose passion for the boating lifestyle is clearly reflected in his work. In his own agency days, Mark worked with multiple leading brands including Red Lobster, Proudfoot and a variety of publishers and entertainment accounts, along with one of the largest independent boat manufacturers in the country. He also worked several years as creative director for a leading marine industry full-service agency and was involved in the strategic design, development and creative account management of multiple global power and sail brands.

He previously served as marketing manager for Regal Marine with global marketing, media and creative responsibilities. Mark has been involved with Marine Marketers of America since its founding, having designed the logo, serving on the board and assisting in multiple Neptune Awards judging capacities. He currently owns Acumen Creative & Marketing, works with a handful of clients while also lending his expertise by writing and conducting boat tests for several boating publications.


Headshots7Greg Proteau
Executive Director, Boating Writers International 

Greg Proteau is a highly respected marketing communications consultant to service providers, not-for-profit organizations, marketing agencies, manufacturers and others within and outside the marine sector. Greg serves as Executive Director of Boating Writers International and oversees all the daily activities of this robust association which includes the world’s most foremost marine journalists.

Himself a writer, Greg contributes editorial regularly on the topics of boating and marine finance industry trends, companies, people and ideas. He worked for many years in an executive capacity with the National Marine Manufacturers Association. At the MMA, Greg edits and produces The Voice, the association’s quarterly newsletter.


Headshots8Jim Rhodes
President/Owner, Rhodes Communications

Jim Rhodes is founder and President of Rhodes Communications, Inc., an international PR and marketing services company based in Norfolk, Virginia, and Marine NewsWire, a press release distribution wire service. He is also co-owner and director of ShippingInsight conferences for the commercial maritime industry. Jim spent 36 years of active duty and reserve service in the U.S. Navy, specializing in naval special warfare, combat boat operations, navigation, ship-handling and training, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Hampden-Sydney College, a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and did graduate studies at Oxford University. He is a regular contributor to trade journals in the U.S. and U.K. He is a board member of the International Marine Sales and Marketing Association, based in U.K. In his board capacity, Jim handles PR for the MMA.


Headshots14Mary Strauss
Director of Marketing, Galati Yachts

Mary has come full circle… having started her marketing career in the marine industry with a major boat manufacturer, she left the industry and spent the majority of her career in the technology field and now has returned to work at Galati Yacht Sales as director of marketing.

Earning her MBA with a focus on digital marketing, Mary is very focused on measuring marketing campaign impact on business growth.

Mary resides in Sarasota with husband Richard, a boating industry veteran, and two dogs.


2019BoardChristine Carlson
Marketing Communications Manager, Volvo Penta

Christine  Carlson is the marketing communications for Volvo Penta of the Americas. In this role, she leads the dissemination of external communications for Volvo Penta’s marine leisure, marine commercial and industrial segments throughout the region. Previously, Christine spent seven years working for a high-tech PR agency, servicing clients in the areas of IoT, data communications, networking and advanced computing. In 2018, she was named “40 under 40” by Boating Industry Magazine.

Christine graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Journalism in 2008.


2019Board4Margriet Mitchell
Marketing Director, Jeanneau America / Prestige Yachts America (Groupe Beneteau)

Fueled by more than 20 years of marketing management experience, Margriet joined the North American team of Jeanneau/Prestige in early 2016. As a senior-level strategist and results-driven leader, she is actively engaged in the latest marketing and media trends. She leads all North American strategic marketing, communication, and special event initiatives for Jeanneau’s sailboat and powerboat divisions, as well as, the company’s motor yacht division, Prestige.

Prior to joining Jeanneau/Prestige, she worked for a select group of agencies who represented brands in the luxury goods and services market.

Margriet received the TWIN Award in 2015. TWIN is the premier awards event for professional women in the Mid-Atlantic and is a highly respected distinction. Honorees are selected for their exceptional vision, contributions, accomplishments, and leadership excellence within their organizations and their community.

Margriet graduated from Lynchburg College with a B.A. in Marketing. A life-long sailor/boater, she lives in Annapolis, Maryland and is a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club.


2019Board2Victor Gonzalez
Marketing Manager, Sportsman Boats

Victor is a result-driven and energetic marketing professional originally from Havana, Cuba. He attended the University of Miami as a Music Performance & Computer Science double major with a minor in Math. Victor started working in the boating industry in 2005, where he designed marketing materials and web content for an inflatable boat manufacturer and quickly fell in love with the industry. In 2012, he took on a marketing role at an up-and-coming boat dealership in West Palm Beach. During his time there, his work contributed to numerous awards including 3 Boating Industry Top 100 Dealer Awards and “Best In Show” awards. In 2014, he got promoted to a General Manager position for the dealership’s new location in Miami, FL and led the ownership transition at that store. In one of the world’s most competitive markets, the Miami store team far surpassed their goals and the store still stands today.
In 2017, he moved to South Carolina with his family to join the Sportsman Boats marketing team. In his current role at Sportsman, Victor continues to push boundaries and shapes the marketing efforts to be forward-thinking and modern. His responsibilities include all website development, marketing strategies, go-to-market strategies, digital marketing campaigns, photography, content management, branding and graphic design. In 2018, Victor won the Marine Marketer’s of America Best Website award.
On his spare time, Victor is the Co-Host of the Foreign Devs Podcast, a podcast dedicated to those that eat, live and breath marketing and web development. He runs the Coder’s Tape YouTube channel, an instructional resource for all levels in a rapid growing community with over 20,000 subscribers. He has released two full-length web development courses on Udemy with over a thousand 4+ star reviews. His weekly contributions to the open-source community has earned him the respect of his peers and his instructional material in web development has had world-wide reach.

2019Board3Alisdair Martin
CEO, TRMG LLP

Alisdair is a boat show marketing vet with over 20 years of experience in the field. Born in the UK, he moved to Chicago in 2010  where he established a small, innovative one-man media company.  TRMG provides an exclusive platform that allows marine brands to get their modern marketing content (video, VR, podcast, etc.) directly into the hands of the people and influence consumers before they arrive at boat shows. 

Alisdair has spent the last 10 years convincing brands to stop advertising, and instead to focus on meeting shoppers where they are shopping and provide access to content that actually helps to educate and shape their buying decisions. 

The success of the non-interruptive marketing philosophy has seen the small company double in size every year for a decade.  Alisdair now creates the media for NMMA Boat Show, IBEX, Informa boat shows and is the US rep for METS. He  also has experience partnering with many other major international events (Formula One, Moto GP, Royal Ascot, St Andrews Golf, etc). 

 


2019Board5Sander Rosen
Director of Consumer Marketing, Shows, NMMA

Sander Rosen is the Director of Consumer Marketing, Shows for the National Marine Manufacturers Association.  He oversees the marketing and media plans for 18 boat shows across the country, including the Miami International Boat Show.  Sander and his team use a wide variety of media resources to promote the boat shows and their offerings, ranging from mass-media broadcast advertising to strategic programs with industry partners including Boats Group, Progressive Insurance and BoatU.S.  He also leads the NMMA creative team, directing marketing materials and advertising for NMMA’s consumer, marine industry and government advocacy efforts.

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