Meet AboveWater Associates
Mary Jane Kolassa
Mary Jane’s career has been immersed in public relations counsel for the hospitality and travel industry. Working for Ypartnership as Senior Vice President of Public Relations since 1994, she supervised public relations teams handling numerous domestic and international accounts including: Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Tourism, Assn of RV Parks & Campgrounds, Cable Beach Nassau Resorts, Colonial Williamsburg, Conference Center Niagara Falls, Fairmont Scottsdale (AZ), Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (MI), Honduras Institute of Tourism, Hong Kong Tourist Bureau, Napa Valley Destination Council, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and TripAlertz.com, to name but a few.
Central Florida-based tourism and hospitality industry accounts included: All-Star Vacation Homes, American Association for Nude Recreation, BEN HUR The Musical, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Gaylord Palms Resort, Grand Cypress Resort, Spa and Academy of Golf, LastMinuteTravel.com, The Mercado, Portobello Restaurant/Wolfgang Puck Café/Fulton’s Crab House in Downtown Disney, Provident Hotels, Resorts and Condos in Tampa/Clearwater, Orlando Renaissance Resort at Sea World, Sandpearl Resort & Spa on Clearwater Beach, St. Regis Fort Lauderdale pre-opening, Titanic - the Exhibit, and Walt Disney World research projects.
Mary Jane was recruited to Florida in the mid-1980s to serve as the Public Relations Director at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa (now managed by Benchmark Hospitality International) in Broward County. During her tenure there (1985-1989) her publicity efforts earned the resort many awards and accolades. During that period she worked closely with the Broward County TDC to ensure her resort – at the time one of the county’s largest bed tax contributors, yet miles from the ocean – received its due, along with beachside attractions in the Council’s media and promotions campaigns.
Mary Jane and husband Dan live in New Smyrna Beach where they are active members of the community enjoying their home along the Indian River and their oceanfront condo on Bethune Beach. Mary Jane provides pro-bono support as Public Relations Chairperson for the Smyrna Yacht Club placing special emphasis on pre- and post- publicity for their annual Lipton Cup Regatta, Solstice Cup Regatta and Boatoberfest events. She is a graduate of Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).
Tampa Bay Associate
His vast career has included providing senior marketing communications counsel for a diverse base of clients, including commodity boards, food/beverage, foodservice, as well as the lifestyle/hospitality sectors and professional service organizations.
Williams led the launch of the first promotion initiatives on behalf of the Georgia Pecan Commission, a client for nearly 15 years. He has also worked with a variety of other commodity boards, such as the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the Georgia Peach Commission, the Vidalia Onion Committee and the Georgia Blueberry Commission.
Other clients Williams recently represented range from grocery retail (Sweetbay Supermarket) to restaurants (Ocean Prime/Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, BRAVO! Brio, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Mimi’s Café, Berns Steak House and their affiliated SideBern’s and Bern’s Fine Wine & Spirits, The Palm Restaurant, Mitchell’s Fish Market and Café Ponte). He has provided counsel to wine associations, including the Napa Valley Vintners.
Earlier in his career, Williams worked with public relations firms in New York City and Nashville, where he managed programs for clients, such as the Peanut Advisory Board, the Beef Industry Council, Frito-Lay, Twinings Teas of London and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
John is an active member and former president of the International Foodservice Editorial Council. He is also active with the Southeast Produce Council, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation and the Southern Foodways Alliance. He is also a member of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
Connect with John Williams via his website: JMWcommunications