The Essential Meetings team
Essential Meetings is headed by a well-rounded, veteran team with decades of experience developing incentive travel, recognition and loyalty programs.
As President and CEO of Essential Meetings + Incentives, Kristjan leads a team of seasoned associates who, like himself, have years of experience in the incentive and recognition industry. He is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company and is actively involved in the management and oversight of customer relationships.
Kristjan is a founding partner of Essential Meetings. Prior to this, he held a variety of corporate and divisional leadership positions within the incentive travel industry, including director of sales and marketing. A member of Meeting Professionals International and SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence), Kristjan successfully combines incentive travel expertise with real-world travel experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge to our clients.
Kristjan was quite literally born into the industry, going on his first incentive program at six months old. A volunteer baseball, soccer and hockey coach, Kristjan resides in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife and 3 children.
Director of Operations
In her role as Director of Operations, Leah manages the day-to-day operations of the company and oversees the internal structure of the organization.
As a dedicated travel professional, with 35-plus years in the industry, Leah has worked in Travel Management for corporate travel agencies, oil & gas, engineering and the technology field. With her diverse skill set, Leah is a great fit for the EM organization combining her years in travel with senior management, accounting, and overall office management experience.
In her personal time, she loves to travel and spend time with her family in Hawaii and in the U.S., as well as taking care of a menagerie of pets at home.
Director of Travel Services
In her day-to-day work, Jen strives to manage programs to create the perfect travel experience for our clients. She does this while also organizing details for upcoming trips; from leisure to group to corporate travel, she handles it all. Jen is an early bird; she gets in an early morning workout, where she draws her energy for her busy day.
Over the past 20 years, Jen has gained solid experience in the travel industry in a variety of roles. With Essential Meetings since early 2017, she brings her high level of professionalism and enthusiasm to the office every day.
She is known for her generosity, big heart and volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. Helping to build houses in developing countries around the world, or volunteering at a school in Guatemala, where she also sponsors a child, gives her great satisfaction, hope and fulfillment. Her humanitarian principles have led her to Vietnam, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, to name a few places.
Assistant Program Manager
In her role with Essential Meetings, Helina supports the Director of Travel Services and manages all French-speaking customer relations.
Helina holds degrees in Administration Management and Digital Marketing and Communication. She has worked in communications and project management in travel retail, railway, and telecommunication. In 2021, Helina realized her dream to live in Canada when she moved from Paris to Calgary with her husband and cat, Clodie. She has volunteered with French Blood Services, has trained adults on software such as Adobe Suite and Office 360 and has been involved in animal care.
Helina spends her spare time creating digital content, cooking, and discovering new foods. She is dedicated to her fitness and enjoys frequent boxing workouts.
TS (Tim) LAne
As Creative Director for Essential Meetings + Incentives, Tim oversees all aspects of brand management and graphics production including program websites, incentive travel promotion and on-site collateral.
Tim has built an extensive design and communication career that includes senior executive roles for successful start-up and high-growth companies. His diverse client list includes key players in the travel and tourism sector. Tim’s international travel experience and insightful perspective of the incentive travel industry makes him an asset to Essential Meetings’ clients.
In his personal time, Tim volunteers with the Calgary Stampede and is a board member with I Can for Kids Foundation – a Calgary-based charity dedicated to addressing food insecurity issues for children and their families. He is an enthusiastic traveller, hopeful golfer, aspiring musician, avid motorcyclist, and keen scuba diver.
New Team Members
New team members are about to join EM+I in the role of Program Manager. They'll be charged with delivering unique programs for our Essential Meetings clients and will focus on customer service and attention to detail, ensuring programs are well executed and travellers are well taken care of.