Customer-Centric Conversationalists Serving Five-Star Experiences

These customer-centric conversationalists are looking forward to serving up a five-star experience at Great Conversations!

Andrea Lekberg, Justin Parnell, Lisa Borromeo Checchio, Alberti Popaq

Culinary Arts & Food

  • ANDREA LEKBERG, Founder, owner and pastry chef at The Artist Baker

Trained in fine art/painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the pastry school of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Andrea Lekberg honed her cooking skills at Mark Miller’s Coyote Café in New Mexico and at The Magnolia Grill in North Carolina before coming to the tristate area. A fan of locally sourced food, she studied with pastry chef Biagio Settepani at the French Pastry School in Chicago and worked at Sweet Melissa’s Patisserie in Brooklyn before opening The Artist Baker in 2009. She has also joined forces with fellow pastry chef Erica Leahy at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen at the Vail Mansion and has been a three-time guest chef for the James Beard House. When not in the kitchen, Lekberg honors her heritage as a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe from South Dakota, along with her German and Swedish roots, by creating studio art reflecting all of these cultures. An advocate for the arts, Lekberg has played a major role in fostering the arts in Morristown and connecting artists to their audience to help them be valued. A few years back she hosted the “Backyard Ceramic Atelier” in her courtyard, a week-long outdoor ceramic studio for artists and amateurs alike. Since then, Lekberg’s Artist Baker has become an informal gathering place for artists to regularly meet and exchange ideas. She has also shared her space with new, local business ventures including the Bike Shop, Kori and Colly Flowers and ESO Pasta.

  • JUSTIN PARNELL, Mondelēz International – VP, U.S. Marketing & Strategy
Justin Parnell is an accomplished business and marketing leader with a strong track record of building some of the world’s most iconic food and snack brands. As VP of Marketing and Strategy for the U.S. business, he is responsible for brand portfolio growth strategy and marketing, building new digital marketing capabilities and driving growth through licensing and retail experiences. Prior to his current role, Parnell led the $1.7 billion U.S. OREO cookie business. He assumed those responsibilities after having spent three years leading OREO globally, driving significant growth across developed and emerging markets including China, India and Brazil. While leading OREO, the brand was widely recognized for marketing excellence, earning more than 100 industry awards, including six Cannes Lions and two Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Awards. Before joining Mondelēz in 2012, Parnell worked for Kellogg’s, where he led the Mini-Wheats brand. Parnell earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Stetson University and received his MBA from Emory University. In his free time, Justin enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his family and experiencing the array of arts & entertainment in the area. He is a member of New Jersey’s only professional ski show team, the Lake Mohawk Ski Hawks, and enjoys snow skiing, running, working out and camping.

Check out this this video from 2019 here, where Justin discusses Oreo’s brand purpose and why it is important. 


  • LISA BORROMEO CHECCHIO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts – EVP & Chief Marketing Officer
If you’ve stayed at a Wyndham hotel or flown on JetBlue, chances are you’ve met Lisa. Lisa Borromeo Checchio leads revenue generation and commercial strategy for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchisor with nearly 9,000 hotels across 22 globally-recognized brands in 95 countries. As CMO, Lisa champions Wyndham’s portfolio of iconic brands and its award-winning loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards. A passionate brand builder, Lisa delivers meaningful experiences for everyday travelers as her team delivers on Wyndham’s mission to make hotel travel possible for all. Prior to joining Wyndham, Lisa spent 12 years at JetBlue growing the brand from “Jet-Who?” to one of the most admired. Her early role in professional tennis event management – a dream job after being a collegiate tennis player at The George Washington University – led to a distinguished career mixing memorable experiences and travel. Lisa serves on many industry Boards and has been recognized as Global Business Travel Association’s “Top 50 Women in Travel”, Ad Age’s “40 Under 40”, Hotel Management’s Most Influential Women in Hospitality, and HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds. As the daughter of an immigrant, she strives to inspire and advance diversity, equity and inclusion through her career and volunteerism. A New Jersey native, Lisa lives in Watchung with her husband, three sons under 10, and a French bulldog puppy.

Listen to Lisa discuss leading the marketing effort with a customer mindset here.

Arts, Music & Entertainment

  • ALBERTI POPAJ, QVC Program Host
Alberti Popaj, host of three top weekly show franchises – Gourmet Holiday, FriYay and Saturday Morning Q – on QVC, the world’s #1 home shopping channel in annual dollar sales and reach, is ranked as one of the top three home shopping television hosts in the world. He has worked with the world’s most influential inventors, entrepreneurs and brands including Katy Perry, The Kardashians, Martha Stewart, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, and Oprah Winfrey – just to name a few. With three decades of entertainment experience, Alberti has proven his ability to influence mass audiences with his personality and bombastic energy levels. Stepping onto stages across the globe since age 13, becoming an Albanian-American pop sensation in his early twenties, and graduating Summa Cum Laude from New York University with degrees in Finance and Information systems, this renaissance man has a wide breadth of education, experience and life in his pocket. A strong foundation in cosmetics sales led him to be an expert in the field, both as a marketer and as a spokesperson. Alberti has developed countless products and lines for QVC, ranging from beauty and apparel to food and housewares; adding not only to his personal brand image but also to bottom line sales. You can connect with Alberti on his social platforms where you’ll see images of his home, two adopted poodles, travels and a sneak peek behind the scenes of his daily life in front of the camera. Catch a glimpse of Alberti’s charm and charisma right here.