Hospitality and Tourism Management Faculty Directory

At the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, we pride ourselves in providing students with the best education offering real industry experience that will be invaluable upon graduation. Read more about our talented faculty who bring their skills and 'real world' knowledge to the class room.

Paul G. Araujo

Take a natural ability to understand and motivate people, financial aptitude, and two business degrees, and you’ll find Paul making positive change and exceeding expectations everywhere he goes. After graduating from Ryerson University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism in 1994 with a Bachelor of Commerce, Paul worked as Assistant Front Office Manager and Assistant Housekeeping Manager at Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside for four years. While there, he trained staff, developed and managed capital expenditure budgets, monitored labour expenses and productivity, and assumed responsibility for general product maintenance. In 1998, Paul became Manager of Mississauga’s Oasis Convention Centre, where he found new social and corporate clients, maintained and expanded existing corporate accounts, managed banquet and bar staff, and helped the Chef develop and establish new menu ideas.

Paul spent one year each as the Catering Sales Manager for Inn on the Park Hotel, Toronto, and Courtyard by Marriott, Downtown Toronto, before being promoted to Sales Manager at Courtyard by Marriott. Paul repeatedly exceeded his annual revenue sales goal of $1.3 million and developed strategic relationships with meeting planners for Nike Canada, Imperial Oil, Canadian Tire, Molson, Loblaws (Weston), Dynea, Ecolab, and Pepsi Canada.

In 2004, Paul was promoted again to his current position as Account Executive - Market Sales for Marriott Hotels of Canada, where he is responsible for growing new and untapped business within the corporate market segment at multiple hotel properties in the Toronto area. Paul received his MBA from the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2005.

Maria Banyai, Ph.D.

Dr. Maria Banyai is a Professor and Program Coordinator for the Food Tourism Entrepreneurship postgraduate program. Maria has a Ph.D. in Recreation and Leisure Studies and a MA in Tourism Policy and Planning, both from the University of Waterloo. She received her BS in Hospitality Management from San Jose State University.

Prior to earning her Ph.D. and becoming a professor, Maria worked in the special events industry, as a Hospitality Director and Manager for Pebble Beach Company, California., as well as a Corporate Event Planner in the Silicon Valley. Currently Maria teaches a variety of tourism related courses in the Tourism & Hospitality Management diploma program, the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree program, as well as the Food Tourism Entrepreneurship postgraduate program. Maria brings with her a strong academic background focused on the hospitality, tourism, and leisure industry. She published her research on tourism in academic journals, presented her findings at various industry conferences, and serves as a reviewer for several academic journals. Maria is an Executive Board Member for the Travel and Tourism Research Association, Canada Chapter.

Bryan Bessner 

Bryan Bessner is our coordinator for Math and Accounting, and enjoys that role along with his teaching responsibilities. Although his first career was as a music professor, he earned an MBA from York University and worked in accounting for a few years. Deciding that education was again where he wanted to be, he served on the faculty and as an academic dean for the DeVry Institute of Technology. When that school shut its Toronto doors, Bryan taught at various postsecondary schools on a part-time basis, including George Brown College. He proudly became a fulltime faculty member in 2004, and enjoys the working environment and his colleagues immensely. Bryan is on the board of the Hospitality Financial and Technical Professionals, Ontario Chapter, and is a longterm member of the American Accounting Association. He regularly attends the annual meeting of the AAA each summer, acting as discussant, moderator and sometimes presenting papers of his own.

Adrian Caravello

From dishwasher to General Manager, Adrian Caravello has done it all. Now the coordinator of three programs at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management: Food and Beverage, Advanced Wine and Beverage, and Food Concept Management, Adrian is a leader in the tourism industry. After working at Hockley Valley Resort as Catering Supervisor and Ski School Supervisor, Adrian attained a Kinesiology degree from McMaster University while working at Canoe restaurant as a server. Adrian’s passion for wine and food grew. He spent the next eleven years with the Oliver Bonacini family, with his final four years as the General Manager of Auberge du Pommier. Adrian’s passion for wine and food remains strong. He is a proud home chef and the holder of several wine accreditations including his Diploma of Wine with the Wine Spirit Education Trust (one of fifty people in the world to graduate with Merit in 2007), Level One Court of Masters Sommelier, and the International Sommelier Guild, where he finished at the top of those classes. Adrian is also an active member on the Steering Committee for Slow Food®, Toronto, where he focuses on product education for both foodies and youth.

Danielle Chateau

With a Master’s Degree in Education from York University and more than 25 years of industry experience, Danielle brings the event industry to life in the classroom. A passionate event professional, Danielle has organized, led and executed hundreds of events at the local, national and international levels. A faculty member since 2008 with George Brown College, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, she has been involved with curriculum development for several programs, including the Bachelor of Business Administration (Hospitality) program, Special Event Management program, and the Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure program.

Danielle’s career in the event industry began with Special Olympics Canada where she served as the National Program Director and led in the organization of multiple national and international events. Following more than a decade of sport-related event management roles including venue supervisor with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Danielle assumed the role of Community Relations Officer in the Office of the President at York University. There she focused on the planning, coordination and execution of community initiatives and university-wide events. Danielle also served as Chair of the United Way Campaign, which included both the Employee and Leadership Campaigns for the University.  Prior to assuming her role with George Brown College, Danielle served in the capacity of Manager, Special Events, and Manager, Special Projects with the Town of Richmond Hill and spearheaded the marketing plan for the launch of the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts inaugural season. Currently, Danielle teaches event-focused courses in both the diploma and degree programs.

Beyond the classroom, Danielle is active in the sports of basketball and tennis, and is an accomplished pianist.  A certified Level II coach (Train to Train), Danielle actively promotes the participation and development of young female athletes in the sport of basketball.

Karen Ekstein, Ph.D.

Having grown up around grandparents who were hoteliers, resort owners and caterers, Dr. Ekstein is thrilled to apply her strong academic and business training to the hospitality and tourism management domain, as a professor (and former coordinator) of the BBAH program. Dr. Ekstein has 20+ years’ experience teaching business in post-secondary institutions, including in degree and non-degree programs, to business and non-business students, in university and college settings.

Dr. Ekstein’s training includes a Ph.D. in Business Management from Schulich School of Business in Strategic Management and in Organization Theory, an MBA in Organizational Behaviour and Marketing and a Master of Information (MI) from University of Toronto. Dr. Ekstein has published and consulted on a range of topics but maintains special interest in cognition, strategy, and management within VUCA environments. Dr. Ekstein’s other passions include teaching and learning, and she is a certified instructional designer (GBC), adult educator (OISE), and training and development professional (i4PL). Dr. Ekstein has participated in development and delivery of various courses in SHTM, but can be found teaching decision making, strategic management, innovation and creativity and new venture development to hospitality degree students.

Joanne Gellatly

Joanne has travelled the world and brings industry talent and vision to George Brown and the city of Toronto as part of the professor team in the Applied Degree program. Her classroom experience is enhanced by more than 25 years of front line and management experience with airlines, car rental companies, cruise lines, hotels, and convention centers. She also has a tour-operator and travel-agency business background. Her diversified history in former executive positions includes President of Contiki Holidays Canada, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing with Sheraton and Best Western Parkway Hotels, and National Cruise Purchaser and Director for Marlin Travel-Thomas Cook Canada. Joanne began her tourism career in 1980 as a provincial travel counsellor for the “Ontario Yours to Discover” program, and has received many awards, including Contiki’s Worldwide Executive of the Year and a Provincial Volunteer Service award recognizing five years of service from the Ontario Colleges Professional Advisory.

In 2008 and 2013, she co-authored team tourism articles for the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and the Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes Journal, U.K. Joanne has an MBA in Hotel and Food Administration from the University of Guelph, an honorary masters from IMI University of Lucerne, Switzerland, a Tourist Industry Administration Management Diploma from Seneca College. Joanne is a DBA graduate in 2017 of the University of Phoenix’s Doctor of Business Administration program.

Andy Hickl-Szabo

After more than 25 years of owning and operating restaurants both locally and abroad, Andy joined the faculty of the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at George Brown College in 2007. He teaches primarily in the Food & Beverage Management program focusing on Cost Control, Remarkable Restaurant Service and Entrepreneurship. From Toronto to Hong Kong, fine dining to fast food, Andy brings a breadth and depth of international food and beverage management experience to the table. At its core, hospitality is a relationship between hosts and their guests, best served alongside some unexpected delights. Having learned early on that we are not selling sizzling steaks or a room at the inn, Andy remains forever in search of true Hospitality.

Gary Hoyer, AOS, MBA

Gary Hoyer is a Professor of Business and Hospitality Management and a Program Coordinator at George Brown College in Toronto.

Gary has enjoyed a successful career as a Restaurateur, Chef, and General Manager in the food service industry, and now, as a Professor, he teaches a new generation about business and food service management and the responsibilities that leadership entails for protecting and conserving the land and the health and well-being of society. Through the Bachelor of Business Administration (Hospitality) Program, Gary has been able to instil and develop a new generation of hospitality professionals who will be committed to improving the health and wellness of the planet and its global community.

Gary has supported local farmers and organic agriculture for over 30 years and continues to proselytize respect for food and the environment. In Toronto, he is a leading advocate for sustainable local agriculture and environmental responsibility.

He is also, in private practice, the principal of GNH Hospitality Consultants, a firm that offers concept creation; menu and recipe design and implementation including purchasing specifications; cost analysis and control; business plan development and execution; budget preparation; capitalization; feasibility studies and market surveys; management training and assistance in all facets of operations, including food, service and labour functions, and organization and administrative design.

Donna Lee Rosen

Enthusiastic in support of regenerative tourism, Dr. Donna Lee Rosen is focusing on tourism efforts that result in positive impact for the destination.

With a plethora of experience and expertise, Donna has worked in industry for nearly 30 years in roles as Special Events Manager, as a Corporate and Government Hotel Sales Manager, to New Business Development Manager to political public and media relations, on-air news reporting, and as a news and media correspondent.

Donna completed a Masters in Higher Education with a specialty in cultural intelligence and a PhD doctoral dissertation examining sustainable development of tourism through the lens of social media, skilled at pivoting to the changing needs of the industry for positive outcomes.

Donna’s energy and compassion in the classroom is second only to her enjoyment of seeing her students succeed. Full of energy and an animated way of expressing herself, Donna believes your program is incomplete without allowing yourself to be explore and embrace the process. 

Donna’s true strength lies in working with the future of the industry, mentoring and championing students. She is thankful to be able to share her expertise and attention with those who share the same love for helping to shape and positively influence the tourism industry.

Donnalu Macdonald

Donnalu brings over 14 years of experience in the lodging industry to her role as a Faculty Member for George Brown’s Hotel Management program. A faculty member since 2001, she has been involved with curriculum development for several new programs, including our Bachelor of Applied Business degree program and teaches in most SHTM programs. Donnalu specializes in Sustainable Facilities Operations and Retirement Community Management. She currently sits on the College’s Academic Policy Review team and keeps her focus on excellence in teaching and learning by participating in regular professional development at the College. Donnalu has an MBA degree from Guelph University and graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Applied Arts. When she’s not teaching, Donnalu indulges her second and third passions—travelling and reading —by visiting as much of the world as possible, with book in hand. She has visited over 40 countries so far, and still hopes to beat one of her friends who is at 100+ and counting.

Mark Magee

Mark has been in the hospitality and tourism management industry for the past ten years. From non-profit leisure clubs, to mid-scale accommodation resorts and conferences, to corporate restaurants, Mark has earned the respect of many within the hospitality industry. Mark has had the opportunity to teach across all of our diploma and degree programs. In addition to his teaching assignments, Mark has been the acting program coordinator for our Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Program during the summer semesters and assisted in developing the capstone course in Entrepreneurship in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. Mark is a graduate of the University of Guelph with an Honour’s Bachelor of Commerce Degree and has earned his Masters of Business Administration in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph.

Doris Miculan Bradley

A list of Doris’s career milestones, accomplishments, and travels reads like a biography for an international woman of mystery and adventure: restaurateur, educator, raconteur, chef, Champagne agent, and Master Sommelier candidate. She’s even a Gentle Dame knighted with Chateau Magnol in Bordeaux who “swears to defend for ever, the famous and respectable House of Barton and Geustier.” Doris has over 30 years of food and beverage experience in Canada and Europe, and was Restaurateur for the CN Tower’s 360 Revolving Restaurant for 23 years. She is a multi-recipient of the Company Service Recognition Award Program and two-time recipient of the Toronto Tourism Award. Doris is a qualified Chef with experience in on-site catering, in-home personal-chef services, and on-site film-set catering. She has also managed a multitude of events including One X One, Rock for Golf, the Dan Ackroyd Niagara Charity Wine Classic, and the Canadian Diabetes Gala Fundraiser.

Doris is an International Certified Sommelier; a Taster and collaborator in Canada, the United States, and Europe; a Wine Judge for VQA, Ice Wine, Prowein EU, the Ontario VS Bordeaux Challenge, and the All Canadian Wine Championships; and was a licensed Import Agent for Champagne Louis de Sacy Grand Cru™. Doris coaches sommelier students for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, is Best of Judge for Best Sommelier in Ontario, and Overall Judge for sommelier students for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and the International Sommelier Guild. She is also an established radio and television personality and writes and edits for various industry publications.

Zhongliang (Michael) Qiao, MBA, CHA, DS

Author, education and business administration specialist, Michael’s impressive and influential career has taken him to China, Australia, the United States, Canada, and various countries in Europe. As a professor, Michael brings extensive teaching and hands-on business experience to George Brown’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Michael held professorships at Stanford International College and Maple Leaf College, and was also Dean of Maple Leaf College. He also served as a visiting professor at Cape Breton University in Canada and numerous institutions in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. In the business world, Michael held senior management positions in China at educational institutions and within the hotel industry. He has co-authored several books, contributed chapters to other books, written articles for industry magazines, and presented at conferences and seminars in over dozens of countries. In 2002, the Educational Institute of American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) honoured Michael with a nomination for Star Educator of the Lamp of Knowledge award, and he has been included in the Stanford Who’s Who book since 2010. Michael has also been serving as a board director for the Oriental Culinary Arts Society of Canada (OCASCA since 2013. He graduated with honours from his MBA program at Schiller International University, in the U.S., an MA from Dongbei (Northeast) University of Finance and Economics, and a BA from Dalian University of Foreign Languages in the People’s Republic of China. Michael is a faculty member of the Educational Institute of AHLA and holds the industry designation of CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator) of double diamond level from AHLA, and DS (Destination Specialist-China) from The Travel Institute in the U.S.

Ballu Thakur

From Canada to Switzerland to Japan to the United States and back again, with a degree from France, Ballu’s career in the hotel industry is truly international. Ballu has worked with companies such as Delta Hotels and Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels, Hilton International, Accor, and the Walt Disney World Company. He currently teaches at George Brown’s Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Management as Professor and Academic Coordinator for the Special Events Planning - Destination Tourism program. Prior to this, he taught and developed training and program materials in Spa Management at Elmcrest College of Applied Health Sciences and Spa Management in Toronto.

A native of Toronto, Ballu sits on the Board of the Toronto Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES) as Director of Student Affairs and is a past Board Member for the Toronto Chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE). His current volunteer responsibilities also include serving on the Program Advisory Committee of Langara College’s Spa Therapy program in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ballu graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Hospitality Management from l’Institut de Management Hôtelier International (IMHI) in France, a joint program of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the French Business School ESSEC. He also completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph in Hotel and Food Administration, a certificate in Adult Teaching and Training from George Brown College, and is a certified Trainer for the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC).

Tammy Vaillancourt

B.Comm, M.A in Education Tammy Vaillancourt is one of the coordinators for our Food and Beverage Management program, and enjoys this role alongside her teaching responsibilities. Tammy has worked in the hospitality industry for over ten years. Her last full-time industry position was as the Director of Operations of Fishbowl Restaurants. For five years, she was a part-time professor at Georgian College teaching several Hospitality and Tourism courses as well as working on developing new curriculum and a new program.  Tammy was the Store Opening Coordinator and Corporate Trainer for Cara Operations. Tammy has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph and her MA in Education from Central Michigan University. Her research was focused on the relationship between students and plagiarism. One of her career highlights has been the creation and implementation of our Study Abroad program linking it to curriculum. Currently she is teaching Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Business Simulation Management and Investment Capstone courses.

Milan Valčić, MBA

Milan’s career in Hospitality and Tourism-began in 1990 when he opened, co-owned and managed a restaurant in his home country of Serbia.

After coming to Canada in 1993, Milan spent 14 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, rising from restaurant server to various Director level positions in Canada and United Sates. In his last position, as the Director of Six Sigma responsible for multiple Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien properties in Los Angeles and later Toronto, Milan led or participated in many large-scale change projects resulting in both transformational innovation and sustained improvements to existing processes.

After leaving Starwood in 2008, Milan founded “Leadership 2.0,” a consulting, training, and coaching company, dedicated to helping individuals and organizations maximize their leadership potential and achieve sustainable results. Milan has done consulting work with both large and small organizations, conducted leadership seminars and in-house training sessions for management teams, as well as given lectures and presentations at various conferences. He has been recognized as a very dynamic, engaging, and inspiring trainer and speaker.

Milan joined the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2013 and has taught numerous courses in all diploma programs as well as the degree program. Since 2018, he has been a Co-Coordinator for the H130 Program, involved in all aspects of program coordination, development, and continuous improvement.

Milan received his M.B.A. in Hospitality & Tourism degree from the University of Guelph, Canada, and remains dedicated to ongoing personal and professional development and pursuit of learning and self-mastery.

Victor Wroblewski

Victor brings with him more than eighteen years of consulting and progressive management experience within the hospitality industry. He has been teaching in our degree and diploma programs for the past 12 years, but Victor’s connection to industry did not end with his teaching at George Brown College; he has recently consulted with a number of Ontario Businesses on hospitality relevant issues. Students have benefited from his international and Canadian management experiences, which includes leadership roles in France (Paris), England (London), the USA (New York City), Canada (Whistler & Toronto) and Australia (Sydney, Perth). Victor clearly speaks the language of the global hospitality industry.

He holds a Master’s of Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois, USA and an Honour’s Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario.