Our Team

Michael Bartone, Officer

Before becoming affiliated with Global Gatherings, Michael Bartone was a senior executive with American Express Company. His most recent position was as a National Director/General Manager of Global Corporate Travel Services. Known for building effective work teams and developing his leadership teams' talent, American Express has recognized Mr. Bartone with a number of awards for outstanding achievement and leadership. These include American Express's Hall of Fame Award, President's Club, Management Excellence, and the Chairman's Quality Award. These awards represented his consistent position as one of American Express's highest-performing leaders.


Melody Sandona, Officer

Melody is our international specialist. She has worked as a meeting manager and planner in the events and meetings industry since 1996, starting out with wine tasting events & winemaker dinners, then working her way up to product launches, incentives, national sales events and international r&d meetings. Melody has facilitated program development and management in 20 countries worldwide and in every major city in the USA.


Michelle Thompson, CMP

Michelle's diverse background in incentive and destination management planning, non-profit planning and the hotel industry gives her a well rounded and more strategic approach than most. Michelle is highly organized and a very processed-based thinker. She also taps into her creative side to collaborate with clients on develop outcomes that meet client goals.

Arlette Ciabattari

As Vice President of Interactive Travel at American Express, Arlette headed up operations and the implementation of new business strategy, while based in Miami, Florida. Major client interface at the highest executive levels and closing deals represented much of her activity. While at American Express, Arlette was recognized by being inducted into the American Express World wide Travel Hall of Fame, earned the PresidentŐs Club Award, three Management Excellence Awards and two Quality Leadership Awards.

Gail Wiltshire

Gail is our Events Specialist Extraordinaire. She has created hundreds of events, most notably in the wine industry, including events for Taste of Orange County in Southern California, Kapalua Wine Festivals on Maui, small group tours to Napa Valley/Sonoma County wineries, and wine festivals in Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Denver, and Park City. Gail's high level of energy, creativity, and enthusiasm ensure success for those lucky enough to contract her talent.

Brooke Wood

Brooke Wood is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. After earning a degree in Theatre and English from the University of Alabama, she moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue acting. Before procuring an agent, she continued a career as a floral designer, which afforded her the opportunity to facilitate weddings and events, and decorate celebrity homes.

After finding success acting in national television commercials and on stage in L.A., Brooke had the opportunity to journey to Scotland to act for a month in the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and was bitten by the travel bug. A fellow actor introduced her to the travel industry, and she found it a perfect fit for her skills of inter-personal communications, organization, attention to detail, event experience, and her enthusiasm for meeting new people and seeing new places.

Now based in Astoria, New York, Brooke has been pursuing opportunities as an Event Coordinator for the past six years. She has experience in all areas of meetings logistics, including VIPs, Food and Beverage, Meetings, Rooms, and Hospitality/Registration. She has been fortunate enough to assist on several medical investigator meetings, and thereby satisfy her passion for international travel.

Ilona deStefanis

Ilona brings over 30 years of travel industry experience to her role as Manager of Account Development. She has been with American Express since 1976 and has considerable experience in a variety of areas including account development, operations, accounting, leisure travel and financial services. Ilona has received a number of prestigious service citations including the PresidentŐs Club, Centurion Club and the Star Performer awards for outstanding achievement and job excellence. Ilona takes a special interest in the local community. She has been involved with the local Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street USA project for a number of years.

Steve Nielsen

Steve Nielsen has been in the travel industry for over 25 years, beginning with the development and management his own agency. After selling his business to a large regional agency, he worked extensively in both the corporate and leisure side of the business. As a director of operations and eventually as the chief operating officer he was instrumental in the improvement in customer satisfaction through the development of small effective teams of agents, call center management, customer service representatives and sales executives. He was also the leader in the development of a new employee training and mentoring programs, and in a certified travel specialist program. He was recognized several times with awards for the Manager of the Year and Officer of the Year.


Sunday 20th of October 2019

Global Gatherings LLC

Comprehensive Meeting Solutions on a Global Scale