Meet The Leading North Team
President & Founder
Mike Schugt, founder and President of Leading North, has been a hospitality industry leader within the sales and marketing arena for over 25 years. Mike is the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Hotels in the southeast US and Latin America, where he served for over 10 years.
As an industry leader, Mike has been invited to conduct several speaking engagements aimed at training meeting planners on how to best buy meetings in a seller’s market with accounts such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Bank of America, Amgen, Hewlett Packard, Chevron and Home Depot. As a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, Mike delivered the commencement speech to the December 2015 graduating class at the Penn State School of Hospitality Management.
In 1998, Mike received the award as Director of sales and marketing for Hilton Hotels. In 2010, Mike launched Leading North as a full-service sales, marketing, and revenue management firm aimed at creating incremental financial results for hotels and resorts. Leading North’s clients are a who’s-who in the industry with Highgate Hotels, Blackstone, Northwood Hospitality, BlueGreen Vacations, SCS Advisors, Aimbridge Hospitality, Teneo Hospitality Group, Horwath Hospitality, Chartres Hotel Group, DiNapoli Capital Partners, Kokua Hospitality Group, and Lotte Hotel Group.
Maria Virginia Perret-Gentil
Vice President, Digital Marketing
Maria currently serves as the Vice President, Digital Marketing for Leading North and its parent company Teneo Hospitality Group. Maria became the Director of Digital Marketing at Leading North in 2014. Maria has a diverse background in marketing and advertising. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Business from Florida Atlantic University. She then earned an MBA with a Marketing track from the same university.
For the past several years, she has worked in the hospitality Digital Marketing arena where she has been able to further develop her passion and talent for marketing. Maria is a data-driven, results-oriented individual with a strong talent for marketing strategy and analytics. Maria expanded Teneo’s digital marketing services to its member hotels, resorts, and DMCs.
Maria is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, and she loves to learn, play video games, travel, and spend time with her family. She’s an avid Star Wars fan who loves all things tech.
With over 30 years as a hospitality professional, Kimberley Babierra brings a solid base of hotel operations and sales administration management to Leading North.
Kimberley began her career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, filling several key operational roles in domestic and International hotels, executing hotel openings and major property renovations. She filled a long-term position in Regional Sales & Marketing for the Southeast US, Caribbean, and Latin America for Hilton Hotels Worldwide, being an integral part of key hotel opening teams and other large projects. She is a progressive administrative professional who is detail oriented, analytical, and articulate. Additionally, she is an interpersonally skilled communicator respected for building and maintaining loyal relationships both internal and external, while effectively managing projects from start to finish.
She is a 20 year dedicated volunteer with Girl Scouts and the American Cancer Society. Kimberley received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.