Denise was born in Cairo, Egypt where she lived for half of her childhood before moving to Michigan, Minnesota, and finally Oregon. She attended the University of Oregon, earning a Bachelors of Science in Geography with an emphasis on biological and human impacts on the environment. After graduating, Denise became involved with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society as a Program Director, implementing environmental education programs at various locations.
In 2005, Denise moved to the Cayman Islands to implement Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The program’s success led The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to sign a 10-year agreement with Jean-Michel Cousteau to implement these programs at various properties throughout the brand. Denise became the Corporate Director, Environmental Programs for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and led environmental strategy for the brand, as well as supporting the growth of the Cousteau program within The Ritz-Carlton. In January 2010, Denise joined the Global Operations Services group at Marriott International and continued her work on sustainability strategy for all brands, as well as expansion of the Cousteau program. In August 2011, Denise was promoted to Senior Director, Sustainability where she supported Marriott’s Global Green Council and the integration of sustainability in all the hotel operations disciplines. Denise is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED Green Associate and is pursuing LEED Accredited Professional for Existing Buildings. Recently, Denise was named Vice President of Sustainability and Supplier Diversity and will lead the discipline in order to integrate both of these important subjects in the company’s global operations.