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Courtney Chalmers, Vice-President of Marketing, Boats Group

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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 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.


Abbey HeimensenVice President of Marketing, MarineMax

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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.



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). 



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.

Margriet Mitchell

Brand Marketing Manager, MarineMax


Fueled by more than 20 years of marketing management experience, Margriet joined MarineMax in March 2022. As a senior-level strategist and results-driven leader, she is actively engaged in the latest marketing and media trends. She is focused on Azimut Yachts, Cruisers Yachts, and Ocean Alexander.

Margriet began her career working for various award-winning agencies that represented brands in the luxury goods and services markets

Before joining MarineMax, she led all North American strategic marketing, communication, and special event initiatives for Jeanneau and Prestige Yachts (Groupe Beneteau).


Margriet serves on the board of Marine Marketers of America and Sail America. 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 community.

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

Victor Gonzalez
Marketing Manager, Sportsman Boats

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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.


In 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.

Brian Chandler

APR, Founder & CEO of Commonwealth PR


Brian is the founder of Commonwealth PR and brings more than 20 years of experience to his clients. He is adept at providing strategic communications and marketing counsel to clients ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. His passion for the marine industry has led to his firm working with the likes of the American Sportfishing Association, Barker Boatworks, BoatUS, Personal Watercraft Industry Association, Sea Tow, Shakespeare Marine, Sportsman Boats, and more.

His professional expertise includes research, strategic planning, and implementation and evaluation, with a specific focus on ROI of his company’s efforts on behalf of its clients.


As a former reporter for several daily newspapers, Brian knows what makes reporters tick and how to get their attention when pitching clients. Strategic public relations, crisis communications and media relations is a strong asset that he brings to the table.


He was nicknamed “The Bulldog” for his ability to persuade reporters to cover his clients.

Additionally, he brings to his business and clients an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), a mark of qualification, distinction and ethical practice in the public relations industry. He has served on multiple nonprofit boards in the Richmond area. Brian is a graduate of Emory & Henry College in Virginia.

Shelby Kirby

Vice President of Marketing, Brunswick

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Shelby leads marketing for the Boat Group Division of Brunswick Corporation, alongside an incredible team of marketers representing some of the most recognized boat brands in the marine industry.

Shelby joined the marine industry in 2012 and has progressed her career in marketing leadership positions with Bayliner, Sea Ray, Meridian Yachts and Boston Whaler before taking the VP role within the Brunswick Boat Group.

Prior to joining the marine industry, Shelby had various marketing leadership roles in manufacturing, consulting and within a marketing agency.

A native of East TN, Shelby received her bachelor’s degree, in Journalism/PR and her MBA from the University of TN. When she’s not at work, you’ll find Shelby with her family on the lake or in the mountains.

Shelby is a former NMMA Grow Boating board member; and was honored in Boating Industry’s Women Making Waves in 2019.

Stephanie Vatalaro

Senior VP of Marketing, RBFF


Stephanie Vatalaro is the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), where she leads the consumer and stakeholder outreach strategy for RBFF and its Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ brand campaigns.

A marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in corporate, agency, non-profit and TV newsroom settings, Vatalaro has devoted the last 15 years of her career to getting more people out on the water fishing and boating and conserving our nation’s aquatic natural resources.

Vatalaro currently serves on the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) Marketing and Market Insights Committees, Boating Industry’s Leadership Council, the Marine Marketers of America Board of Directors and NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries Business Advisory Council. She was recognized in Boating Industry’s 2020 Women Making Waves and she volunteers with Casting for Recovery.


Vatalaro received her B.S. degree in Communications from Florida State University and completed a Certificate in Management at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She grew up in the Florida Keys and is the daughter of a flats fishing guide. She now spends summers fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in Virginia.

Dana Koman

Marketing Manager, TACO Marine

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Dana got her start in the marine industry as the Junior Sailing Program Administrator for the Edgartown Yacht Club on Martha’s Vineyard. With a history as a news reporter and writer, along with her several years of work at the yacht club, it was only natural for Dana to combine her passions and transition her career into marine marketing.

She joined TACO Marine, a leading supplier of rub rail, hardware, seating and sport fishing equipment, in 2017 as a Marketing Consultant – leading the company’s rebranding and several new marketing initiatives. Since 2017, Dana’s work with TACO includes new product launches, strategic advertising and marketing campaigns, launching an expansive eCommerce site and growing the brand’s presence and following online.


In 2020, she was named to the Boating Industry list of the top 40 marine industry professionals under the age of 40.


When she isn’t creating new marketing campaigns or behind the camera filming new educational content for the brand’s popular YouTube channel, Dana, alongside her husband, is raising her son and working to foster within him a love of the water, sailing and all things boating.

Katy Fairman

Director of Marketing, Boatyard

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Katy Fairman is an established marketing professional deeply immersed in the marine industry. She began her marketing career in 2008 with New Balance's special events team during her time at the University of Virginia, and began working in the boating industry in 2012. Her first years were spent at BoatsGroup, where she grew into key marketing positions including Brand Manager at Boat Trader and YachtWorld. 

She spent 3 years running portfolio company marketing team where she provided merchandising consultancy services for marine companies. Currently, Katy serves as the Director of Marketing at the industry-leading SaaS platform Boatyard.  


She has entered her second year as the Networking Committee Chair for the Marine Marketers of America, where she has reinvigorated the Association’s in-person events at the Miami Boat Show and FLIBS.  She lives with her family in Virginia Beach, VA.

Leslie Zlotnick

Marketing Division Manager, Yamaha Watercraft

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Leslie joined Yamaha Motor Corporation in 2003 as a wide-eyed brand enthusiast with little industry knowledge. Specializing in advertising, product knowledge became a necessity for growth and along with it came an appreciation for boating. Growing up in south Florida and graduating from the University of Florida presented a proximity to water, but it wasn’t until working for Yamaha did she realize the unexpected delight of being a boater.

Sharing that delight with prospective owners and loyal customers quickly became her inspiration for her career with one of the most premiere brands in the Marine industry.

In her time at Yamaha, Leslie has managed numerous campaigns including #RunTheWater and the empowering #WomenRunTheWater, encouraging women to take the helm and enjoy not only the boating experience, but the ownership experience. She is responsible for all aspects of Marketing Yamaha WaveRunners and Jet Boats including brand, digital and experiential. She sits on the SeaTow Foundation board, supporting the promotion of safe boating practices.

When she’s not recommending the ownership of superior Yamaha products, Leslie can be found with her family taking walks and listening to music she’s either too old or too young to appreciate.

Katie Freeburn

Sr. Marketing Manager, Freedom Boat Cub


Katie is currently the Sr. Marketing Manager for Freedom Boat Club, driving the marketing strategy for all Florida locations.


She has been with Brunswick Corporation since 2015, focused on various marketing strategy efforts across the enterprise for some of the most recognized marine brands in the industry.​

In her time with Brunswick, Katie has led the redesign and/or new build of more than 10 websites, apps and experiences across the enterprise, while driving marketing strategy and lean improvements. Some of this work has been recognized with ADDY awards, Neptune awards and others. She has a strong passion for the industry and continues to shape the future of marine marketing. 

As a native of Florida and an avid boater, you’ll find Katie and her husband fishing or rafting up at a sandbar most sunny weekends. If they’re not on the water, you’ll find them camping in the Blue Ridge mountains or exploring a new ski town out West.

Past President

Wanda Kenton Smith, Kenton Smith Marketing


Wanda Kenton Smith is a 35+-year marine marketing veteran and a trained journalist whose stellar marketing and media career includes former posts as 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 that serviced more than 35 national and global power and sail accounts; national marketing columnist for Soundings Trade Online since 1998; and current columnist for Boating Industry magazine where she writes the popular “Profiles in Leadership” column. Wanda has also edited three books and published more than 500 by-lined articles.

Besides founding Marine Marketers of America, Wanda is the former founder and president of Marine Marketing to Women and has trained more than 1000 dealers on the women’s market. In 2017, she was named the Darlene Briggs “Marine Woman of the Year” and was also named to the inaugural class of “Women Making Waves.” She is the former 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 and PR/social media programs for select clients in multiple industry disciplines. She speaks frequently on marketing topics at regional and national conferences. She also serves as the chief marketing officer for Regal & Nautique of Orlando, the Boating Industry #1 Ranked Boat Retailer in the Top 100. A long-standing advocate of boating safety, she is serving her second term as an appointed member of the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee of the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as on the Executive Committee of the Sea Tow National Boating Safety Advisory Council.

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