People News: Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, ASM Global and More Appoint New Team Members, Grow Leadership

September 26, 2023

The corporate event industry is continuing its strong hiring trajectory, with myriad industry professionals joining or moving up at event-related organizations, companies and venues throughout the U.S. Take a look! 

Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority 

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) recently added two regional directors of convention sales: Christina Henshall and Misty Sparks representing Reno Tahoe’s group events business in the Northwest U.S. and the Midwest, respectively, responsible for soliciting and selling the Reno, Sparks and North Lake Tahoe area as a convention destination.  

Henshall has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 25 years with some of the largest global and national brands, including Marriott, Hilton and Caesars Entertainment. Based in Northern California, she oversees the territory that includes Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington State and Western Canada. 

Bringing more than 20 years of experience working with Caesars Entertainment and Hyatt brands, Sparks operates the Midwest regional office from Ohio and is responsible for booking business throughout Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

ASM Global 

Venue management company ASM Global appointed Paul Bowles as the new general manager of Mountain Health Arena and Convention Center in Huntington, W. Va., the largest multipurpose arena with an attached convention center in the tri-state area. In this new role, Bowles will work closely with the venue’s partners, sponsors and the city to create new opportunities and continue its growth. 

Bringing 30 years of industry experience to the venue, Bowles previously served as general manager of the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville, Ky., and prior to that, was executive director of tourism for the City of Pikeville.

Visit Spokane 

Visit Spokane recently appointed 20-year marketing professional Jeff Hawley as its new vice president of marketing, responsible for leading the destination marketing organization’s team of marketing professionals. A Spokane native, he most recently served as global marketing manager, small business empowerment at Amazon, where he focused on helping small businesses gain recognition in their communities and nationally through the retail giant.  

Hawley previously worked as senior director and manager at global marketing agency Seattle Wunderman Network, and prior to that, began his career as a senior marketing analyst at Coldwater Creek. 


Custom digital signage solutions company Bluefin International strengthened its commercial sales team with the addition of Susan Wilhite as senior director of business development. She will focus on cultivating key relationships with channel partners as well as establishing the company as the go-to digital signage resource in the commercial audio-visual space.

Wilhite previously held business development and sales directorship roles at companies including Snap One, VIP Cinema Seating and Stewart Filmscreen, to name a few. She is also the founder and director of Women in AV/IT (WAVIT), a nonprofit created by and for women in the AV/IT industries.

Canopy by Hilton San Francisco SoMa 

Canopy by Hilton San Francisco SoMa recently appointed Michelle Mathews as its new executive chef, responsible for overseeing the culinary operations of three onsite food and beverage outlets: Shelby’s Rooftop, The Social and Bean Bar, as well as leading the hotel’s social catering program. Drawing inspiration from her multicultural background, Chef Mathews aims to bring her global culinary experiences to the forefront of the hotel’s food and beverage programs. 

For more than 12 years, she has delighted San Francisco with her culinary expertise, having served as executive chef at several renowned establishments. Prior to moving to California, Chef Mathews honed her craft at iconic New York City restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park.

Visit Salt Lake  

Visit Salt Lake (VSL) recently welcomed two experienced industry professionals to its growing team: Stuart Webber as director of convention sales and Celina Sinclair as director of strategic alliances. 

In his new role, Webber will pursue citywide conventions with 1,700+ attendees from the health, medical, public administration, legal and governmental markets. Bringing more than 15 years of tourism industry and destination marketing organization experience to VSL, he served as Sioux Falls Convention Center’s director of sales since 2007 and worked with Global Spectrum in Sioux Falls as manager of corporate sales. 

In her new role, Sinclair is tasked with overseeing and executing strategy and implementation associated with the long-term stewardship of VSL’s strategic partners. Playing a leading role in managing the newly created Convention and Tourism Assessment Area (CTAA), she serves as the primary liaison with regional hotels and stakeholders and will work to enhance collaboration to drive tourism growth and development. She previously served as partner relations lead at the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT).

International Association of Venue Managers

The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) announced the retirement of President and CEO Brad Mayne, effective next year. He will officially step down at the conclusion of IAVM’s VenueConnect conference and trade show, set for July 28-31, 2024, in Portland, Ore.

Mayne took the helm of IAVM in 2016 and under his leadership has led its membership to a historic high. He also led IAVM and the venue management industry successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic, tirelessly advocating for state and federal assistance to keep venues open. 

Prior to being appointed president and CEO, Mayne was a member of IAVM for more than 30 years. He previously served as the president and CEO of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. 

Following a detailed plan of succession for leadership, a Board CEO Selection Committee will soon be established to begin the process of identifying IAVM’s new president and CEO. 

Meet Chicago Northwest 

Meet Chicago Northwest, the official DMO for the northwest suburbs of Chicago, recently hired Mario Farfan as its newest group sales account executive. A U.S. Army veteran, he brings more than 22 years of experience in community and business development across the Midwest, including Milwaukee, Chicago and surrounding suburbs. In 2015, Farfan founded the Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on business development in the Latino community across Chicago’s northwest suburbs.  

Impact XM 

Global full-service event and experiential marketing agency Impact XM recently welcomed Robynne Weaver as vice president of strategic accounts. She joins Impact XM’s client service team and some of the agency’s largest client accounts, continuing to expand its B2B and B2C client portfolios. 

Weaver brings two decades of industry experience in large-scale events and strategic experiences to her new role, including citywide corporate events, user conferences, product launches, trade shows and brand activations, and has worked with clients in the finance, technology, consumer and nonprofit industries. 

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