Rona Tison is the senior vice president of corporate relations at ITO EN (North America) INC. with expertise in retail operations and merchandising, public relations, food and beverage management, customer relations, and sales and event planning. Tison has extensive experience in the tea industry and has received Green Tea Certification from ITO EN. At ITO EN, she is responsible for maintaining and developing the company's corporate image through branding, public relations and promotional events. Tison also helps to generate business opportunities related to ITO EN by securing new beverage distribution channels and communicating with restaurant and distribution partners. In addition, she spearheaded the launch of ITO EN's first flagship store in New York City, voted â€˜top tea store' and â€˜best overall' in the Zagat New York City Gourmet Shopping & Entertainment Guide for four consecutive years (2005 â€“ 2008). Tison is a member of the US Tea Association, the Specialty Tea Institute and the Asian Art Museum and Japan Society. She has spoken at the World Tea Expo from 2002 through 2007 discussing branding and marketing, the Japanese Business Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon University and the 2007 Smithsonian Lecture Series. Tison has also presented at the James Beard Foundation Dinner, was a panel judge for "Accent on Designâ€ at the New York Gift Show and served on the Advisory Panel for Retailer's Roundtable for Gift & Decorative Accessories in 1999. Prior to joining ITO EN, Tison worked extensively in the hotel and service industry where she served as director of operations at the W Hotels The Court and The Tuscany, executive vice president at the lifestyle store Felissimo and rooms divisional manager at Le Parker Meridian, all in New York. Tison received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley where she majored in Oriental Literature. She currently lives in Sonoma, CA.