Meet The Staff

Nancy Piffard
Show Director

Nancy’s original profession was on the fast path of Marketing and PR, but after a chance interview on the suggestion of a friend, her aim shifted when she was hired as the show director for the Newport International Boat Show. Now, nearly 17 years later, Nancy Piffard is synonymous with NIBS as she oversees all facets of the show’s production including exhibitor sales, marketing and PR, operations, special events and programming during the show as well as managing the NEG team, the budget, vendor negotiations and site leases. Nancy is graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership Program, a member of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and an acting board member of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.

Despite being engulfed professionally by the boating world, Nancy loves time on the water and will always take the opportunity to boat with friends and family. She also has a profound love for all animals and is an advocate for those who are miss-treated.

Gail Alofsin
Director of Corporate Partnerships & Community Relations

Over the last 25 years, Gail has built a successful career at Newport Harbor Corporation (NHC), the parent company of the Newport International Boat Show (NIBS), where she has served in several roles including sales, Marketing, Events, Public Relations and Community Relations. In her current position, Gail plays a dual role as Director of Corporate Partnerships and Community Relations as she sells and implements corporate sponsorship and experiential marketing programs for NIBS, while continuing community outreach on behalf of NHC. Her passion and expertise are centered on developing win-win relationships and creating programs that assist corporations to reach marketing, branding and sales objectives through alignment with NIBS.  Gail is recognized as an expert in the field of sponsorship by IEG (International Events Group) and IFEA (International Festivals and Events Association) and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Rhode Island and Salve Regina University.

In addition to her professional work Gail has a personal commitment to non-profits focused on hunger and education. She is a long-time volunteer for her family’s foundation, the Haitian Health Foundation, serves on several non-profit boards, and has donated 100% of the proceeds of her book, Your Someday is NOW – What are YOU Waiting For? to various charitable organizations.

In her time off, Gail enjoys travelling whenever possible and lives in Newport with her husband John and son Samuel.

Lisa Knowels
Sales Manager

Lisa grew up boating on Buzzard’s Bay in Southeastern New England.  After an extended sailing cruise that took her from New England, through the Panama Canal and down to the Antarctic, Lisa sailed into Newport just in time for the 1995 Newport Boat Show.  Little did she know that soon thereafter, she would be hired by Newport Exhibition Group to help launch their new show, Fine Furnishings.    Lisa manages exhibit space sales as well as being involved with all aspects of producing the show from strategy to execution.  Middletown, Rhode Island is home where she lives with her husband and daughter and where they can be found enjoying many outdoor activities.

Liz Nittmann
Account Executive

Liz joined Newport Exhibition Group in 2012 with over 15 years of experience in the marine industry. As part of the sales team, she sells, coordinates and executes contracts for over 600 NIBS exhibitors. Liz works in tandem with the NEG crew to manage and produce this international trade show that brings buyers and sellers from across the marine industry together. A regular on the water, Liz is an experienced sailor and enjoys the spirit of racing and the leisure of cruising with family and friends. She also enjoys horseback riding and is known for her culinary creativity! Liz and her husband reside in Newport, RI.

Caroline Flynn
Event & Sales Coordinator

Childhood memories of boating off Jamestown’s coast enticed Caroline to the NEG team after a decade-long career in real-estate appraisals. As the group’s Event & Sales Coordinator, she is the personified “glue” that keeps it all together. Caroline provides pre-show customer service to the exhibitors, processes contracts and other pertinent paperwork, sells exhibitor parking, Wi-Fi, and manages the exhibitor guest ticket program.  She assists in the building of the box office, managing ticket sales with the help of NEG’s ticketing partner and manages the Exhibitor Show Office during NIBS. Finally, she organizes signage, inventory and many other behind the scenes random projects. And when she has spare time, she boats! She enjoys a relaxing cruise around the bay, swimming in Potter’s Cove and her favorite is a summer get-away to Block Island – by boat, of course!

Are you interested in working at the Newport International Boat Show during the show week of September 14th through the 17th? We have a variety of positions available, from greeting attendees to customer service contacts, information specialists, ticket sellers and more! Please submit your resume to Caroline Flynn at if you are interested in working with our excellent team and being a part of the largest boat show in the Northeast!