People News: ​​Visit Seattle, Hotel North Scottsdale at Cavasson and More Tap New Leadership, Make Key Promotions

April 7, 2022

Hotels and event-related organizations throughout the country are scooping up new team members and elevating executives as the hiring frenzy across the events and hospitality industries continues unabated. Check them out!

​​Visit Seattle 

Following a nationwide search, Visit Seattle and its board of directors have tapped hospitality veteran Tammy Blount-Canavan to be its president and CEO, starting May 9. As Visit Seattle’s first female CEO, she replaces 15-year leader Tom Norwalk, who retired earlier this spring.

With a rich leadership history spanning two countries and three decades, first in the hotel industry in her hometown of Vancouver, B.C., to a previous role as president and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Blount-Canavan has strong ties to the Puget Sound area, having served as president and CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2008-2012. During her time at the Tacoma CVB, she also worked to establish and was the first chair for the Washington Tourism Alliance, now State of Washington Tourism.

Most recently, the widely recognized and award-winning industry leader served as executive vice president, principal at Fired-Up! Culture, a business management consulting firm focused on leadership and culture development. She is also a past-chair of Destinations International and worked at Tourism Vancouver in senior management for over a decade.

Hilton North Scottsdale at Cavasson  

Forty-year hospitality veteran Sally Shaffer has been appointed general manager at the new Hilton North Scottsdale at Cavasson in Scottsdale, Ariz., scheduled to open in October 2022. In this role, Shaffer will lead the strategic operations of the hotel, driving sales and working to deliver extraordinary team member and customer experiences. 

Prior to joining the resort, Shaffer spent nine years as a general manager for Hilton in the Phoenix and Scottsdale markets. Recognized for her ability to achieve high standards of guest service, associate satisfaction and energizing an organization to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency, she is also ingrained in the local business community as an elected official for the Tourism Development Council for Scottsdale.

Shaffer joins the Hilton North Scottsdale at Cavasson team alongside Susan Baer, the hotel’s new director of sales and marketing. Baer has held numerous sales and marketing leadership roles at a range of hotels and resorts, most recently as area director of sales and marketing at Hilton.

Both Scottsdale hospitality veterans will work together to prepare the new hotel for leisure business and meetings and events business, as well as food and beverage service this fall.

ASM Global 

Venue, event strategy and management leader ASM Global has been undergoing a flurry of hiring activity lately, announcing key appointments and executive promotions.

As part of the divisional restructuring reflecting his division’s robust growth, Bob McClintock, ASM Global’s executive vice president, convention centers, has elevated two executives who have made strong impacts on the venues they have managed: Kelvin Moore as regional vice president and John Page as regional general manager.

A 30-year industry veteran, Moore currently serves as the regional general manager of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a position he has held since 2018. Since joining the company in 2008, he has served as a regional general manager and general manager for Navy Pier in Chicago, the Jackson Convention Complex in Mississippi and the Lynnwood Convention Complex in Washington.

John Page has been appointed regional general manager. A 24-year-ASM Global veteran who has served two leadership stints in Columbus, Ohio, along with seven years at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in Georgia, Page has served as the general manager of the Greater Columbus Convention Center since 2013.

In their new roles, both Moore and Page will work more closely with venue clients and municipal partners across the region to provide customized solutions and innovations while working to solidify and advance ASM Global’s leading position in the industry.

The company has also added two key executives to its rapidly expanding national partnership management team: Carl A. Thomas as senior vice president, sales and platform development and Meg Little as vice president, marketing solutions.

A seasoned and accomplished sales and business development executive, Thomas brings an extensive background to his new role, including senior positions with Universal Studios, and Hookit, and the founding his own company, CAT Sports, as well as creating the popular podcast, “The Best Boss Ever.”

An entrepreneurial leader with more than 20 years of experience connecting C-level direction to the overall organizational mission through pragmatic, forward-thinking leadership, Little brings a deep expertise creating operational efficiencies and empowering teams to deliver excellence in fast-paced environments within sports and entertainment. She most recently served as managing director, marketing and operations for Raycom Sports, where she worked with global brands including Hyundai, Allstate, State Farm and Old Navy. 

Mayo Civic Center 

One of ASM Global’s venue clients, the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn., has appointed Paul Jansen as the facility’s new general manager. A service-driven professional with a proven track record in live event entertainment and hospitality, he will work alongside Experience Rochester in driving business to and delivering exceptional customer experiences at the venue.

Bringing more than 25 years of facility management and event execution experience to his new role, Jansen has spent the majority of his career with the Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corporation in Milwaukee, where he served in roles including general manager and senior vice president of sales, marketing and business development.

W South Beach 

Miami’s W South Beach recently announced two new additions to its management team: Isabel Gracia as director of sales and marketing and Constanza Montalva as director of programming.

Responsible for overseeing the hotel’s sales and marketing team, Gracia will lead sales initiatives and targeted audience engagement developed through creative marketing campaigns, W brand initiatives and network management. She brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to her new position, most recently serving as director of sales and marketing at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. She has also held roles at top luxury hotels including Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Raleigh Hotel, Gansevoort Hotel and the One and Only Ocean Club.  

Boasting more than a decade of marketing, events and sales experience, Montalva is responsible for leading programming events and brand partner activations as well as working alongside the W’s sales and marketing teams for creative campaigns. She has been recognized for driving results and brand success for Aurora Anguilla, Casa Dragones Tequila, Ferragamo, Zadig & Voltaire and new high-end, ultra-luxury developments in Miami.

Impact XM 

Global experiential marketing agency Impact XM has appointed David Ratcliffe to director of event production, tasked with leading the experiential production and meetings and events teams. Focused on evolving, elevating and expanding event management and production capabilities, he will work to build the agency’s proprietary events niche and drive collaboration between its event production, digital and creative solutions across all client verticals.  

Ratcliffe brings more than 25 years of experience in live event production from creative and experiential angles spanning a vast array of industries and sectors, including healthcare, finance and telecommunications. His past roles have included head of event solutions and global director for experiential marketing and event agencies including WRG Live and Touch Associates.

Hillsboro Beach Resort 

The newly opened Hillsboro Beach Resort in Hillsboro Beach, Fla., has appointed Ann Durso to general manager, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the luxury boutique resort and its newly opened waterfront restaurant, Roí. 

Bringing more than 20 years of hospitality experience spanning multicultural organizations to her new role, Durso’s career has included managerial and operational roles across hotels in Sweden, London and Chicago. She was Olympic operations manager for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and also previously managed her own event marketing company.

Prior to joining Hillsboro Beach Resort, Durso served as general manager at Gale Chicago, operated under Menin Hospitality, where she led the hotel team’s performance management, worked on large maintenance projects and spearheaded training initiatives for staff. She also worked with IHG Hotels & Resorts for 10 years and Hilton Hotels for eight years.

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