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Get to know the team at The Whaler's Inn

With over 100 years of hospitality experience in our Downtown Mystic location, our staff is here 24 hours to make your getaway memorable. Get to know the team at The Whaler’s Inn.

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To me The Whaler’s Inn is the place where guests and colleagues become friends and friends become family. I find it heartwarming to interact with so many people, both visitors and co-workers, who find Mystic as magical a place as myself. - Amy Wagner, Revenue Coordinator

Amanda Arling

Meet the President

A New England native, Amanda joined The Whaler’s Inn after a long career in the travel and tourism industry. For the past six-years she has worked for Backroads, an active travel company, providing customized adventure experiences throughout the United States and around the world. Through her work designing, developing and launching premiere biking and hiking adventures, she has worked extensively with hotels, inns and B&Bs throughout the U.S., Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Amanda brings a wealth of hospitality experience and knowledge to the Inn, along with a passion for people and travel. Having spent the last half-decade working and traveling around the world, she is very excited to unpack her suitcase and call Mystic home! When not at The Whaler’s Inn, you can find Amanda kayaking along Mystic’s rocky shoreline, exploring one of the region’s many State Parks or cycling the scenic roads and byways of southeastern Connecticut.

Dan Balceniuk

Meet the General Manager

We are excited to welcome our new General Manager, Dan Balceniuk, to the helm of the ship!  While Dan grew up in Doylstown PA (about an hour north of Philadelphia), his wife is a Mystic native.  In 2017 the growing family moved to the area knowing that this is where they would want to raise their children.  With a degree in Hospitality Management from Syracuse University, Dan brings an abundance of knowledge in the hotel field.  He has been in the Hospitality field since he was 16 and managed properties in Denver CT, Seattle WA, and Syracuse NY.

 

Dan enjoys taking walks along the Mystic River & Willow point with his family, which now includes his two sons, Oliver (3) and Owen (1), and their tripod dog, Oso.  He loves taking in all that Mystic has to offer including the excellent shops and restaurants.  Be sure to give Dan a warm welcome during your next visit to the Inn!

Emily Gardiner

Meet the Brand Manager

Our Brand Manager and Executive Assistant to the President, Emily Gardiner, began as an Intern with the company in 2018 and has since grown into an integral part of creating the brand that our guests know and love.  A graduate of Eastern CT State University, Emily is a Mystic native and grew up in a small business owning family.  As an intern she did a stint in every department from Housekeeping to Front Desk here at the Inn.  This makes her knowledge of the property incredibly well rounded.  Emily serves on the Executive Board to the Young Professionals of Southeastern CT and has volunteered for many of Mystic’s local events.

When not working Emily touts herself a foodie and loves trying new restaurants and dishes.  She has travelled to eleven countries and hopes to add more soon!  She can oftentimes be found boating on the Mystic River and Long Island Sound or scouting for deals at local shops!

Kari Schoonman

Meet the Guest Services Manager

Kari joins us as Guest Services Manager after a year on our Front Desk Team.  However, as part of our contracted landscaping team, she has been familiar with the property for much longer. Her family’s Landscaping company is responsible for our beautiful flower boxes and gardens!

Kari’s favorite Mystic event is the Festival of Lights at the Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Aquarium. She enjoys walking through the windy walkways lined with festive luminarias.  In her free time, Kari enjoys getting out on the water and kayaking or boating.  She also enjoys a good country music concert!

Kerri Barber

Meet the Controller

Kerri Barber, comes to us as the former Financial Manager for Patrick Gallagher Decoratives & Design in Stonington, CT, New York City and Rome.  Throughout her 16 years with the Design firm she also assisted in the coordination of projects in the U.S., London and throughout Europe.  She became a member of the Whaler’s Inn team in February 2015 as an outside contractor, eventually taking on the full-time role as Controller and HR Assistant to the President in June of 2018.

With experience in a multitude of fields, Kerri has also helped in the operation of a family-run restaurant and retail establishment while also working in the education field. She currently operates her own bookkeeping service serving numerous small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Kerri spends her time outside of work volunteering in the local community, boating, entertaining and spending time with family and friends.

Kari Kelly

Meet the Conference and Group Coordinator

Our Conference and Group Coordinator, Kari Kelly began as a Front Desk Agent with us in 2019.  A CT Shoreline native, Kari attended college in New Hampshire and most recently assisted with the management her family’s restaurant in Niantic CT.  This lends to her passion for the local restaurant scene and love of new dining experiences in her free time.  Locally, she enjoys visiting the Old Mistick Village and Mystic River Park.  “I really love working with guests to create a unique experience for their special occasion.  Mystic has a great small-town community feel with business supporting each other and working together.  Everyone is always so welcoming and willing to help!”  Outside of work Kari enjoys skiing and traveling.  Contact Kari to help plan your next Conference here in Mystic!

Amy Wagner

Meet the Revenue Coordinator

Born and raised in Gloucester MA, Amy moved to Connecticut in 2000.  She quickly grew to love her adopted home town.  In 2004 Amy accepted a Front Desk position at The Whaler’s Inn and has grown along with the property ever since, being promoted to Front Desk Manager, Assistant General Manager in 2015, Director of Sales and Operations in 2017. After taking a step back to concentrate on her growing family, Amy took on the role of Revenue Coordinator.  In her free time Amy is the treasurer for  the Downtown Mystic Merchants, working with the organization to plan events such as Mystic Eats – A Riverside Food Festival and Pirate Invasion. Working with and fostering strong relationships within the community is a passion of Amy’s and has enabled The Whaler’s Inn to forge partnerships with many local businesses.

She was named one of Southeastern Connecticut’s “40 Under 40” in January of 2016.  Amy is also a four-time Gala Committee member for Always Home, an organization which helps prevent family homelessness.   These organization became near and dear to Amy’s heart after starting a family of her own in 2018.  When not working, Amy enjoys spending time with her family and immersing her 2-year old son, Landry, in all that Mystic has to offer for little ones and adults alike. 

Melanie Phillips

Meet the Housekeeping Department Manager

Melanie has been with the Inn for almost 2 decades, first as a Front Desk Associate, then Shift Supervisor, and now as the Manager of the Housekeeping and Laundry Departments. If you’ve had a chance to visit us, we are sure you’ve noticed our housekeeping staff’s attention to detail and cleanliness.

Melanie brings out the best in her team and takes pride in ensuring that all guestrooms are spotless and comfortable. Under Melanie’s leadership The Whaler’s Inn was designated “AAA’s Best of Housekeeping” in 2020, putting us in the top 25% of 27,000 annually inspected hotels. When not here at the Inn, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially of course, her two lovely grandchildren!

Paul Campbell

Meet the Facilities Manager

Paul joined the Whaler’s Inn team in August of 2019. As one of our rising star’s, he quickly climbed the ranks from a part-time Maintenance associate to the Facilities Manager. Paul holds a CT license in residential and commercial property inspection with an extensive background of historical property preservation and new construction building techniques.  These qualities have made him an asset to the team using his expertise during renovations of historic buildings and preventative maintenance of the new additions to the property. When Paul is not working he enjoys outdoor activities, especially those where he can appreciate the ocean and wildlife.