People News: Greater Miami CVB, Spiro, Hubilo and More Appoint New Leaders, Announce Staff Promotions

May 16, 2022

The second quarter of the year is moving full steam ahead as organizations covering all facets of the corporate events industry continue their robust hiring and promoting activities to fill key positions and reward hard-working staff with elevated titles. Take a look! 

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau 

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) has named Alex Batista vice president of convention sales. In his new role, Batista is responsible for managing the organization’s daily sales activities as well as assisting Senior Vice President of Convention Sales & Services Carol Motley in developing and implementing strategic plans to drive meetings and conventions to Miami and Miami Beach.   

Bringing nearly 26 years of hospitality experience in leadership roles for several globally recognized hotel brands in the Miami, Caribbean and Latin American markets to the GMCVB, Batista most recently served as the complex director of sales and marketing for the Eden Roc and Nobu Resorts in Miami Beach. He has also held sales and marketing key leadership roles in the Miami and Miami Beach area with Marriott, Hilton, Kimpton and The Ritz-Carlton. 

Spiro 

Spiro, a brand experiences agency within the GES collective, has named Amber Braband its vice president, people and culture, effective immediately. Bringing a broad understanding of human behavior to her new role, she is responsible for designing and implementing practices that enhance company culture and encourage inclusivity, diversity and belongingness companywide. 

In addition to implementing programs and efforts that boost productivity, influence employee attitudes and encourage positive behavioral change, Braband will also play a pivotal role in recruiting, developing and modernizing the agency’s professional talent and identifying new opportunities for employee engagement and growth. She will also spearhead efforts related to implementing strategies and delivering a highly personalized employee experience.  

Hubilo 

Virtual, live and hybrid event management technology leader, Hubilo Technologies Inc, recently appointed Sophie Ahmed as its senior vice president of market strategy. An accomplished events professional, she brings more than two decades of experience in the media and events industry to her new role, having led global events for leading brands such as Informa, Reed Exhibitions, Cannes Lions and Money 20/20. 

Prior to joining Hubilo, Ahmed was the CEO and co-founder of the Virtual Events Institute (VEI), a global platform that brings the virtual and hybrid events community together to share best practices and spur innovation. While at VEI, she upskilled more than 2,500 professionals, connecting and educating event professionals, planners and event tech companies in virtual, live and hybrid events.  

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp (NCVC) recently promoted five employees to senior vice president roles: Corey Hopwood, senior vice president, IT; Bonna Johnson, senior vice president, corporate communications; Debra Smith, senior vice president, visitor experience; David Spencer, senior vice president, events; and Scott Wright, senior vice president, sales. Twenty-five-year PR and marketing veteran, Heather Middleton, was previously elevated to the role of senior vice president, marketing in January. 

With more than 20 years of experience in information technology, including the past three years at the NCVC, Hopwood previously worked for the State of Tennessee and Wilson & Associates Engineering & Surveying, as well as running his own information technology company.

An employee of the NCVC since 2015, Johnson formerly served as vice president, corporate communications. Prior to her tenure at the CVB, she served in the Mayor’s Office under former Mayor Karl Dean, handling duties as press secretary and later as communications director, and before that, was a reporter at The Tennessean.

A 32-year veteran of the hospitality industry, including nearly 20 years at the NCVC, Smith previously held the title of vice president, visitor experience and digital marketing. During her tenure with the organization, she has handled the strategic leadership of website development and other digital initiatives. She previously held roles at Drury Hotels and Dollar/Thrifty Automotive Group.

Spencer has spent 30 years in the events and hospitality industry, including nearly 18 years at the NCVC, previously serving as vice president, events, and leading the organization’s convention services team. Prior to joining the NCVC, he worked at the Nashville Arena (now Bridgestone Arena) as part of the venue’s grand opening team and before that, at the Miami Arena.

A 33-year industry veteran who has spent the last 22 years at the NCVC, Wright served most recently as vice president, sales. Before returning to Nashville, he served as associate director of sales at the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau in San Jose, Calif. and previously held positions with Fairmont Hotels, Loews Hotels and Hyatt Hotels.  

Hyatt Regency

Two Florida Hyatt hotels, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront and Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, have chosen award-winning marketing and communications professional Brittany Doyle as regional marketing manager, responsible for implementing and overseeing 360-degree marketing strategies to drive traffic, increase revenue and generate growth at each property.

Doyle began her career working with Hyatt Corporation in 2016 as marketing communications manager at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa and was promoted in 2019 to senior area marketing manager to also oversee Grand Hyatt Tampa. She also serves as an integral part of the team overseeing strategy and marketing for the Hyatt Hotels in Florida alliance, comprising 15 full-service Hyatt’s throughout the state of Florida.  

She returns to Hyatt after working as a paid digital media strategist for IMG Academy and marketing manager for Davidson Hospitality Beach, where she managed marketing efforts for The Don CeSar and Beach House Suites in St. Pete Beach, Fla. 

OVG360

Parking industry veteran Joe Leung has joined full-service venue management and hospitality company OVG360 as vice president of its new Parking & Mobility division. Under his leadership, the division will engage clients in one of three ways: exclusively run parking operations for a venue without a dedicated manager or third-party operator in place; manage a venue’s contracted parking operator; or act as a third-party consultant who evaluates /audits existing operations and makes parking strategy recommendations. 

Leung joins OVG360 after two decades of working with some of the most well-known parking companies, with experience that spans ballparks, arenas, theaters and a variety of other live events facilities. His previous roles include senior director of customer success at FLASH; vice president of parking at Olympia Development of Michigan; and regional manager at SP+, where he oversaw parking and mobility.

VISIT Milwaukee 

VISIT Milwaukee recently made two staff promotions and one new hire. Michelle Haider has been hired as director of event experience, Meg McKenna has been promoted to senior director of strategic and community partnerships and Lesa Edwards has been promoted to finance manager.

Haider, who previously worked on Visit Milwaukee’s event experience team for six years, left VISIT Milwaukee to serve as executive director at a number of business improvement districts throughout the region. Bringing extensive experience in event management and proven success in partner and client relations to her new role, Haider and her event experience team will work to ensure the success of meetings and events booked by the VISIT Milwaukee sales team.

Having worked at VISIT Milwaukee since 2012, McKenna most recently served as partnership director. She is now responsible for planning, leading and executing VISIT Milwaukee’s private fund development activities, as well as growing revenue for the organization through corporate partnerships, sponsorships, marketing partnerships, memberships and advertising. 

In her new role as head of Visit Milwaukee’s finance team, Edwards will help the CVB successfully steward its financial resources. A native of Jamaica, from which she emigrated seven years ago, she started with VISIT Milwaukee in 2020 as a staff accountant, originally drawn to working for the organization to learn more about the city.

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