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Thought Leaders

Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Chairman & Partner

Mark is Founder of Auberge Resorts Collection. He formed Auberge in 1998 with the same vision that inspires him today: to build a best-in-class collection of one-of-a-kind resorts, hotels, clubs and residences in exceptional places. Under Mark’s direction, Auberge Resorts Collection became an international portfolio of unique hotels, resorts and residences that have garnered numerous awards and accolades for their character and memorable experiences.

As CEO of Auberge from 1998 to 2014, Mark played an integral role in the design and development process, from the initial concept to opening, with the goal of creating places that connect people to spectacular natural settings and to one another. Each Auberge property shares a crafted approach to luxury that is expressed through captivating design, exceptional cuisine and spas, a spirit of adventure and romance, and gracious yet unobtrusive service.

In 2018, Mark sold his ownership of Auberge Resorts Collection in order to focus on new resort development opportunities and to oversee and manage, on behalf of the Harmon family, the Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, California.

Mark is a graduate of Princeton University and The University of California, Hastings College of the Law. When he is not working, Mark is outdoors, skiing, cycling, hiking with family and friends.

Jonathan McManus

Founder & Partner

Jonathan was born on the island of Oahu, as were his wife Malia and two young sons Jack & Dylan. Jonathan co-developed a number of condominium projects in San Francisco in the 1990s before rediscovering the hospitality business.

Hawaii and hospitality are rooted in Jonathan’s family history as he grew up working in his father’s numerous restaurants in Waikiki, notably the well-known Shorebird and Ocean House. Jonathan returned to Honolulu to pursue several real estate projects and was the managing partner for Waikiki’s first modern-day boutique-style hotel, Bamboo. Incidentally, this hotel became the first Aqua hotel in the management portfolio. Aina Nalu was a 475 room hotel, nine acres in total, in the heart of Lahaina. Jonathan and his partner converted the hotel into 192 “for sale” hotel suites.

In 2008, Jonathan and his business partner teamed up to purchase and transform a former exclusive Japanese private timeshare club, unknown to the travel world, into what he later named “Hotel Wailea.”Hotel Wailea is now a nationally recognized luxury property in the press and is Hawaii’s first-ever Relais & Châteaux hotel and restaurant. Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux, has been named a Top Three Hawaii Resort by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for five straight years. Jonathan’s hotel management company, Private Label Collection, has guided the design, culinary and hotel operations.

Jonathan owned a small private island named Saba Rock Resort in the British Virgin Islands adjacent to Necker & Eustatia Islands. This boutique hotel and restaurant was widely known as one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, both Category 5 storms, he happily sold the island.

In 2016, Jonathan assisted in funding Senia in Honolulu, a top 20 US James Beard awarded restaurant.

In 2018, Jonathan and Ben Rafter formed a partnership to acquire Springboard Hotels & Resorts, a hotel management company with 35-plus hotels under management spread across seven states and Hawaii.

Markus Schale

Managing Director & Partner

Markus currently oversees all operations of the Private Label Collection. Born and educated in Germany and the Netherlands, Markus grew up working in family owned hotels and co-developed his first project in 1998 with his father in France.

Markus obtained a BA in Travel & Tourism Management from Ryerson University in Toronto. Upon graduation, he resided in Canada and held various positions at several hotels, including the five-star Sutton Place hotel in Toronto.

In 1997, Markus joined the bespoke luxury travel company Horizon & Co., where he was quickly promoted to Vice President of Sales & Marketing, and then ultimately appointed President and CEO. In his tenure, Markus established close partnerships with the World Wildlife Foundation, Harvard and the Smithsonian Institute.

Markus most recently oversaw the multi-million dollar renovation and repositioning of Hotel Wailea. Markus assembled a hand picked team to reinvent the resort and added all relevant services for a luxury boutique hotel. Under his management Hotel Wailea has been featured internationally in luxury media, and has garnered numerous awards.

Derrin Abac

Director of Food & Beverage, Advanced Sommelier

Continuing Private Label Collection’s tradition of supporting local talent in the state of Hawaii, Derrin Abac is a fourth-generation Maui resident with an esteemed background having worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at Four Seasons Resort Maui and earned his Advanced Sommelier accreditation from the Court of Master Sommeliers. With Derrin at the helm, Hotel Wailea’s distinguished food and beverage program continues its impressive trajectory as one of Hawaii’s most sought-after culinary and event destinations.

Growing up on Maui and working in the pineapple industry as a teen, Derrin credits his upbringing for his strong work ethic and thirst for knowledge. Derrin entered the restaurant industry at age 16 as a dishwasher and eventually ascended to the role of general manager at one of Hawaii’s most highly regarded restaurant concepts, where he also served as beverage director. During his tenure at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, Derrin discovered an immense curiosity for food and beverage through regular food and wine tastings and pairings. The experience inspired him to pursue the rigorous curriculum of courses and tests required to achieve Advanced Sommelier, a designation he earned in 2020. In search of a new location to expand his culinary prowess, Derrin arrived at Hotel Wailea to further enhance the property’s food and beverage offerings for its discerning guests as well as those celebrating milestone occasions at the hotel’s extraordinary collection of venues, including its dramatic ocean-view Treehouse.

John Taube IV

Culinary Director

Born and raised outside of Chicago, John Taube’s love for fine dining blossomed in the Chicago kitchens of Hotel Baker, Moto Restaurant and as the pastry chef working under MICHELIN® Star chef Charlie Trotter. Over the next six years, Taube honed his fine dining skills at NoMad New York working under Chef Daniel Humm, during which time the restaurant was awarded a MICHELIN Star, three New York Times stars, San Pellegrino’s 64th best restaurant in the world and numerous James Beard nominations.

Since joining Private Label Collection, Taube is now living out his dream as a full-time resident of O’ahu, where he enjoys utilizing the island’s unique bounty in his culinary creations, while building strong relationships with local farmers and fishers.

Amber Watt

Director of Marketing

With nearly 100 successful renovations and repositionings in her career, Amber specializes in increasing top-line revenue and brand recognition for independent hotels and restaurants. Amber joined the team in 2014 to develop and execute digital strategies and tactics, resulting in industry-leading direct channel performance. Her areas of expertise include marketing and positioning strategy as well as media planning, social strategy, public relations and project management. Amber tailors a unique plan for each hotel or restaurant, but believes every project can benefit from creativity, courage and common sense.

Amber formerly oversaw digital marketing efforts for for Aqua Hospitality and was Corporate Director of Marketing for Springboard Hospitality. She has also worked with Omni Hotels & Resorts, Miraval Resorts, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, Filament Hospitality and numerous independent resorts, hotels and lodges. 

Amber is a graduate of the University of Colorado, a voracious reader and an avid backpacker who has covered 600 miles of the Pacific Northwest on foot (so far).

Kelly Candeur

Director of Sales

Raised and educated in Belgium, Kelly has a strong passion for the European way of living. Following years of extensive travel she developed a great appreciation for creating meaningful experiences. After graduating with honors from Arizona State University with a BA in French and Communications, Kelly carried her language skills into a senior sales role at American Express working with international merchants.

Drawn by blue ocean waters, she made her move to Maui in 2013 and soon became an essential part of the operational team in one of the most established and highest rated restaurants in Maui.

Coupling her European background with the concept of redefining the travelers’ luxury experience, Kelly moved into a senior sales position at Hotel Wailea, Hawaii’s only Relais & Chateaux. She quickly created a strong communication strategy for the travel trade and was key to launching Hotel Wailea to the travel industry. In addition, she designed a corporate group program and developed several key partnership initiatives. Kelly brings her sales skills to Private Label where she takes pride in representing the brand to partners and travel trade.

Aly Wee

Director of Revenue Management

Aly oversees the revenue management strategy for Private Label Collection. She is the Owner of Aly Wee Consulting, a hotel revenue management and advisory services firm specializing in the independent, boutique hotel space. Prior to founding her consulting business, Aly worked as the Regional Director of Revenue Generation at Springboard Hospitality from 2018 to 2023 and spearheaded the transitions of 11 hotels into the portfolio. Aly’s extensive experience spans across all stages of hotel management, from initial launch and expansions, through overseeing renovations, to post-launch operations.

Before her tenure at Springboard Hospitality, Aly served as a Revenue Manager at Aqua-Aston Hospitality where she managed a diverse portfolio of independent hotels and condotels across the Hawaiian Islands.

An alumna of Iolani School, Aly holds a BBA in Finance (2012) and an Executive MBA (2023) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Shidler College of Business.

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