People News: San Francisco Travel, MPI and More Welcome New Leadership, Industry Veterans to Teams
Corporate event-related organizations, particularly CVBs and industry associations, have been accelerating the pace of hiring this fall.
San Francisco Travel Association
San Francisco Travel Association tapped 35-year convention and tourism industry veteran Scott Beck as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Joe D’Alessandro, who will retire in December after nearly 18 years leading San Francisco’s official destination marketing organization.
Beck brings a wealth of knowledge and proven expertise in attracting events, meetings and international and domestic visitors to destinations to his new role. Prior to joining San Francisco Travel on Oct. 30, he served as president and CEO of Destination Toronto, which he joined in 2019 to lead its sales and marketing efforts.
Before Destination Toronto, Beck served as president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake for 14 years. He also boasts extensive experience in the hotel industry, including serving general manager roles at the Marriott City Center in Salt Lake City, Ocean Properties Ltd.’s Atlific Hotels and Sedona Resort Management’s Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah, and as director of sales and marketing for Sundance Resort in Provo, Utah.
MPI recently welcomed experienced event professional and certified public accountant Tim Boobar as its new CFO, responsible for overseeing all financial aspects of the organization including financial strategy and planning, budgeting and ensuring the organization’s long-term fiscal health.
Boobar comes to MPI after recently serving as CFO for Marketplace Chaplains, a faith-based non-profit that operates a network of more than 2,000 individuals across North America. Prior to that, he served as CFO at The Expo Group and spent 13 years at Freeman as senior vice president of finance and 16 years as a controller and manager of finance.
Music City Center
Kelli Donahoe has been appointed senior vice president and COO of Nashville’s Music City Center, for which she is tasked with overseeing day-to-day operations and assisting in planning and implementing all functions and resources of facility departments.
She is replacing Elisa Putman, who announced her retirement in April after nearly 35 years with the old Nashville Convention Center and the current building, and served as senior vice president and COO for the last eight years.
A certified meeting professional, Donahoe’s background includes more than 20 years of convention center sales and operations management experience with hospitality entities in Pittsburgh, Orlando, Fla., and San Jose, Calif. Most recently, she served as general manager of the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio.
Donahoe and Putman will work in tandem in the senior leadership role for an unspecified period of time to ensure a smooth transition. An official retirement date has not yet been set for Putman.
Associated Luxury Hotels International
Global sales organization Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has welcomed hospitality industry veteran Lauren O’Sullivan as director of global sales – west region.
Bringing two decades of group sales experience to her new role, O’Sullivan has worked across the Southern California market, as well as the Southwest territories for luxury hotels. She previously held roles in business development for Hilton Hotels and was a national sales manager for Caesars Entertainment.
Global full-service event and experiential marketing agency Impact XM recently selected Dana McDonald as senior director of new business development. Bringing more than 14 years of experience in sales and project management to her new role, she will work to deliver meaningful experiential programs for new brand partners, enhance overall new business development efforts and develop new and existing relationships across strategic industries of interest for the agency.
Throughout her time in the experiential industry, McDonald has held many account and sales leadership positions, specializing in B2B and B2C events in various industries, including technology, software, casino, video gaming, beauty/consumer retail and finance.
Event venue management and event strategy leader ASM Global, which was recently acquired by live experiences company Legends, appointed Will Berryman as general manager of the new Henrico Sports & Events Center in Glen Allen, Va. He is responsible for managing day-to-day operations at the venue, including overseeing the coordination of plans, programs and events, budgets, training and development, quality assurance, energy efficiency, safety and emergency procedures and crisis management.
Berryman brings more than 15 years of parks, recreation and sports event-operations experience to Henrico County’s newest venue, most recently as assistant general manager for the Virginia Beach Sports Center. Earlier in his career, he helped manage youth and adult programs and worked in marketing, operations and facility maintenance at the U.S. Soccer Federation and Suffolk Parks & Recreation.
Visit Laguna Beach
Visit Laguna Beach has hired Emma York as director of marketing, tasked with leading the destination marketing organization’s core marketing functions, including creative, visitor marketing strategy, digital marketing initiatives and paid media strategy, among other responsibilities.
York joins Visit Laguna Beach after nearly five years with Dana Point, Calif.-based Burnham Ward Properties and Dana Point Harbor Partners as their director of marketing and communications. Prior to that, she held marketing positions at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and Chefs on Wheels in Adelaide, Australia.
Meet Chicago Northwest
Meet Chicago Northwest (MCNW) recently welcomed Michele Zurlo as its new partnership and service manager, responsible for working closely with both the MCNW marketing and sales departments to help coordinate convention bureau partnership events.
In addition to managing signature events like Restaurant Week and the Meet Chicago Northwest Family Days at the Chicago Auto Show and Woodfield Mall, Zurlo will also be welcoming large groups with customized services and visitor resources.
Bringing more than 30 years of experience in hospitality, sales and business development in Illinois, including Itasca, Lincolnshire and other surrounding suburbs, Zurlo most recently served as the director of sales for Pinstripes.
Mayfair House Hotel & Garden
Miami’s recently renovated Mayfair House Hotel & Garden has appointed hospitality industry veteran Rhys O’Connell as general manager, tasked with overseeing the property’s 179 guest rooms and suites and 8,500 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space.
Bringing an extensive resume spanning more than two decades with some of the world’s leading hotel brands, O’Connell most recently served as general manager of The Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY, where he managed daily operations, including improvement strategies and guest experience.
He has also worked in a similar role for luxury properties such as Windjammer Landing in Saint Lucia, the Nobu Hotel in Miami Beach and Hotel Zephyr in San Francisco, and also spent time focusing on food and beverage for Cafe Buongiorno’s and the Hyatt Regency in Adelaide, South Australia.
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently announced a citywide executive hire and a long-time employee promotion.
Reneka Edwards has joined the organization as citywide sales executive, responsible for managing groups ranging from 750 rooms or more on peak. Edwards comes to ACVB with more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, having previously worked as senior sales manager at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and across various market segments in myriad cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.
Thirty-year hospitality industry veteran Zack Laws has been promoted to director of sales, tasked with overseeing day-to-day department operations. In his new role, he will continue to manage ACVB’s efforts to secure sporting events of large-scale format in partnership with Atlanta Sports Council. In 2010, Laws joined the CVB as citywide sales manager. He currently sits on the board of directors for Georgia Sports and IAEE’s Southeast Chapter.
Springfield, Missouri, Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Springfield, Missouri, Convention & Visitors Bureau recently welcomed experienced hospitality marketing professional Michael Rose as its new marketing manager, responsible for supervising and implementing marketing strategies, creative content management and maintaining all digital platforms.
Rose’s experience includes helping manage multiple projects at Missouri attractions including Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Lampe and Top of The Rock in Ridgedale.
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