woman smilingMargaret “Peggy” Colon

Director of Sales & Marketing, Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) and Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico and Regional Director of Sales for Convention Centers–ASM Global

Motivating Force: My motivation comes from my family, friends, my peers and clients. Every day one or some of these forces inspire me to live with purpose. They remind me why I do what I do and to make sure to do it better every day. Whether it is at my work selling and marketing PRCC or helping others in any way possible, I love the simple moments when I get to help someone who just needs a hand. To be part of the moment when you know they have achieved what they were seeking is very satisfying. You see, I am a helper! My purpose is to help others. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: When I think of supercharging experiences, I think of how I feel, who I meet and what new flavors I have tasted. This is the experience we want our clients and customers to have at PRCC and Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico. We want them to leave with an everlasting memory of how they felt at some moment in time during their visit, who they met and will never forget and what unforgettable culinary experience they had and want to have again. All are achievable by way of the incredible team of professionals on hand and at the disposal of every client and guest. We are passionate about making sure our clients and customers leave carrying with them new experiences and connections.  #imaginetheexperience #livetheexperience

Hospitality Career Highlights: More than 25 years and going strong from a small inn where I got my industry schooling to a hotel chain where I acquired my opening team experience, to the convention bureau where I became fully passionate about selling our destination, Puerto Rico. The whole package! and then finally the PRCC opening team, building the business from scratch and creating a dream team. Recently, in addition to my Puerto Rico role, ASM Global selected me to be a regional director of sales for the Convention Center division supporting 20 other ASM Global Facilities. This year will be 19 years at PRCC and I am happy and fulfilled. I always say I will have three careers and I only feel like I am on my first. Look out for more!

Next Advance Pursuing: The focus is on three things: delivering clients and customers the very best experience. Second, growing our citywide convention business. This we will accomplish with our strong partnership between PRCC, PRCDA (District Authority) and Discover Puerto Rico (DMO). Leaving No Stone Unturned! Finally, we want to continue telling the Puerto Rico Convention Center Story to all through our collaboration with our clients, industry and social media partners.

woman in blue sleeveless shirt smilingMalinda Harrell, CMP Fellow, CASE

Director of Sales, Visit Raleigh 

Motivating Force: I have been in the hospitality industry for close to 30 years, however I did not understand the true impact until I began my career in sales at Visit Raleigh (Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau) a little over 17 years ago. It was during this journey where I truly understood the power of tourism economic development and the impact that it has on the lives of everyday people and our communities. My continued motivation and inspiration is knowing that with every event, meeting or convention, there can be a catalyst to change lives by creating jobs, opportunities and a healthy economy. Our industry allows me to “live” my favorite quote “Be the change you want to see in the worldin the many ways that I present myself in my career (and everyday life). Tourism changes lives one meeting at a time!

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Intentionality is the key to elevating any experience. I have served in various roles throughout my career, regardless of the title or role, what was (and still is) the most important to me was to be heard, respected, trusted and nurtured. I apply these attributes to our small but mighty sales team. This approach has strengthened our team by providing opportunities for us to reimagine success together without boundaries. As I navigate relationships in our industry and internally, my goal is to always be intentional not only with my words, but with my actions. Being open to learning and unlearning is the key to creating an environment of growth for all.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Volunteer service has made me a better person in business and my personal life. My career has included service on many committees and boards with meaningful work. One of my current volunteer roles is chair for Meeting Professionals International—Global Anti-Human Trafficking Committee. By far this has been the one that has filled my heart the most and gives me the most pride in what our team has accomplished over the years. The meetings and events Industry operates at the front lines of human trafficking, this committee has been an integral force in spreading awareness about the crime, with resources to join the fight and how it relates to our industry. Our team has led a number of awareness programs including chapter-level events, MPI World Education Congress, two years of CMM curriculum and other resources.

Next Advance Pursuing: My next adventure is obtaining my CDME (Certified Destination Management Executive) credential. The CDME program prepares senior executives who want to advance their careers to blend theory with experience and application of knowledge to help industry leaders thrive in a constantly changing environment. The program focuses on vision, leadership, productivity and implementing business strategies. As a tenured industry veteran, I am looking forward to this next journey of my career. It excites me to be educated on a deeper level of the foundation of knowledge that can elevate my role as a leader that will have a positive impact for my employer, team and clients.

man smiling, wearing suitSteve Hill

CEO and President, LVCVA

Motivating Force: I am motivated by Vegas itself, including the unparalleled growth, energy and diversity of this city and seeing our sales teams in action. Watching them meet and connect with clients while having such passion for the destination and this industry is inspiring. Research shows that when trade shows rotate into Las Vegas, attendance increases by about 9%, which is a credit to both the city and our passionate workforce. We know people want to come to Vegas and that motivates us to keep the guest experience new and exciting.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Supercharging experiences is what we do. We know that attending a meeting or trade show in Vegas is more than the event, it’s about the full experience of the city. Trade show producers choose Las Vegas because it is purpose-built for their needs. When planning an event, organizers have the luxury of offering their attendees world-class entertainment and dining just steps away from the more than 15 million square feet of meetings and convention space.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Welcoming key industry events back to Las Vegas year after year and being able to champion the growth of meeting and convention space to accommodate the continued growth of these events has been a true highlight. We have hosted IMEX America since 2011 and we are the only city in North America to have hosted Routes World twice. Additionally, Las Vegas has been home to some of the world’s largest conventions and trade shows, including ConExpo, SEMA, and CES for decades.

While perhaps not a career highlight but rather a tremendous source of pride was Las Vegas’ perseverance during the pandemic. Construction didn’t stop and we were able to move several projects forward that were key to the city’s continued success, including the opening of Allegiant Stadium in 2020 and the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2021, which added 1.4 million sq. ft. to our campus.

Next Advance Pursuing: Vegas doesn’t stand still, and there are multiple projects in the works that will enhance the visitor experience and evolve the meetings landscape. Some of the most exciting projects on the horizon include the relocation of the A’s, which will add a 30,000-seat facility to the Las Vegas portfolio, and The Boring Company’s Vegas Loop, which when completed will span nearly 70 miles of underground tunnels that will revolutionize the guest travel experience.

Through innovation, including state-of-the-art convention centers, ground-breaking transportation and leading technology, the destination is shattering traditional ideas and leading the charge of a new era of meetings and conventions.

woman in turquoise sweater smilingSally Noona, CMP

Director of Convention Sales & Marketing, Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

Motivating Force: Possessing a servant heart! I love to serve and one of my favorite mantras is to “always leave a room better than when you entered it!” Once I commit to someone or something, it is always at 100+%! I am so grateful to be in this industry and am honored to give back in my own way, especially to my hometown of VA Beach and its community!

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Dream Big, ask great open-ended questions like “What if…”; “why not?” and “Let’s try…” and truly listen! Always combine what is authentic with originality and talent!

Hospitality Career Highlights: Another one of my favorite mantras is “Teamwork makes the Dream Work!” and it is not lost on me that many of my career highlights are due to great teamwork! Hosting Smart Meetings National event last spring was definitely one of my career highlights where teamwork, authenticity and dreaming big came to fruition! My vision was to create a cool VA Beach team-building event at a fun truly local venue that gave back to our community! So I brought together our hospitality community with our local artisan community and created a cool Beach Break where we had local artists create and present their talents in music, paintings and more and invited our Smart Meetings community to participate however they wished by creating art, buying art (with sponsored Beach Bucks) or just enjoying the vibe of our artist community in VA Beach while chilling to the great music, food & drink! It was a hit!

Next Advance Pursuing: Just wait and see!

man in blue suit smilingWilliam Pate

President and CEO, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB)

Motivating Force: My motivating force is to ensure ACVB exceeds the expectations of meeting planners and attendees alike. We work in concert with our hotels, venues, restaurants, attractions and ambassadors to create a seamless meeting experience for our customers.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: At ACVB, we listen to our customers and work diligently to go above and beyond for each of them. We always strive to be the best and most hospitable city with which to do business.

Hospitality Career Highlights: The highlights of my hospitality career include positioning ACVB for success following the financial crisis of 2008, managing the organization through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and seeing the destination elevate from seventh to the fourth largest convention city in the country.

Next Advance Pursuing: Our next major initiative is preparing the city to host FIFA World Cup in 2026. This will be the largest event Atlanta has hosted since the 1996 Olympic Games. We are looking forward to showcasing our city to hundreds of thousands of domestic and international soccer fans.

man in brown coat smilingMauricio Patino, CITP

MICE Market, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism 

Motivating Force: The rewarding feeling I get when I can serve others with passion and honesty is my driving motivation. In this field, continuously providing up-to-date information expands an individual’s base understanding and creates a contagious ripple effect of spreading pertinent information to the masses. Because I genuinely love what I do, seeing the continued and expanding interest span across the board from big and small partners reminds me of how fortunate I am to be in this position. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” –Hebrews 13:2

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Approaching situations with an opportunistic mindset is key. My early career experiences in the hospitality industry provided me with hands-on experience facilitating and supporting hundreds of events. This has led me to establish a keen understanding of anticipating situations and forward thinking of possible outcomes to face any obstacle.

We all know that some situations are totally uncontrollable and unexpected. In one instance, at a conference of over 300 Spanish-speaking journalists, inclement weather conditions impeded the travel of a member of my team who was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech. I took this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and confidently opted to give the speech. This event helped to elevate my self-confidence to levels I would not have ever imagined. Since then, I’ve had multiple opportunities to speak to crowds of all sizes.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Many years ago, a wise colleague once told me, “Every job you have, treat it as your school.” By adapting this mindset, it has aided me in my professional career, allowing me to work with some of the most prestigious hotel chains and hospitality organizations, as well as some of the most recognizable destinations in the world. My career has blossomed beyond where I could have ever envisioned it 15 years ago.

Next Advance Pursuing: My desire is to continue to be an advocate for the hospitality and tourism industry because the work we do has a broad spanning impact on so many other industries. I would like to see the world as one community, where everyone’s positive efforts have a positive impact on each person, their circle and community.

woman in glasses smilingLauran Peoples, CGMP

Director of Sales Marketing & Business Development, Visit Richmond, VA

Motivating Force: To be of service. My foundation in hospitality and tourism was established early in my career through Marriott International’s At Your Service and Delighted to Serve principles, and they’ve guided me through an incredibly fulfilling and purposeful career. Representing an amazing destination has expanded both my passion and capacity to service my community and industry.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: I’ve always been driven by the idea of creatively connecting people through ideas and experiences and believe that why we meet informs how we meet. The best experiences are those that challenge us to grow collectively and individually while tapping into the nuances that make each of us unique and valuable people. My approach to supercharging experiences is always the human factor and finding ways to make connecting with others more organic, authentic and meaningful.

Hospitality Career Highlights: My hospitality career has been such a transformative force in both my personal and professional life. Aside from being rooted in service, my career in hospitality helped me establish community and belonging that has only become more grounding over the past 20 years I’ve spent in this industry. My career highlights are all connected to being part of experiences that created change for the greater good. I am most proud of the contributions I’ve made to Richmond Region Tourism’s growth and progress in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, both internally and externally, and being able to present this work as a speaker at Travel Unity Summit, Simpleview Summit and Destinations International’s Annual Convention.

Next Goal Pursuing: I’m so incredibly inspired by the tenacity and resilience of the hospitality industry and look forward to continuing to grow in service. In the next half of my career, I’d like to focus more on advocacy and intentionally integrating all that we’ve learned over the past three-plus years into building better teams, better communities and better destinations. Intersectionality is where we realize the inherent value in our differences and the monumental impact of shared progress.

man in suit smilingRobin Prakash

Associate Vice President, Group Sales, The Palm Beaches, Florida

Motivating Force: Protecting and supporting the eco-system of our industry. Over my career, I have had the opportunity to be on both sides of this spectrum and simply put, there is no better feeling than to open a letter or receive a gift from someone who has recognized your talent and rewarded you for it. Thank you to all who have done this for me, as it is my mission to pass this forward and keep our hospitality professionals motivated to stay within our industry. Our people remain our greatest asset!

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Be a great storyteller, then motivate your partners to bring them to life. For decades, groups have sourced and secured destinations, hotels or venues in search of providing memorable experiences for their guests. Challenging operation teams does not come easy but when we work together, we create “meaningful and memorable attendee experiences.” The makeup of a destination’s backdrop is unlikely to change but when community leaders and members are open to new concepts for the greater good of growing destination visitations, we are driven to create organic and impactful branded local experiences that customers desire to be a part of.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Let’s look forward. I will start by saying thanks to every assignment I have taken over the last two decades, including a combination of independent and chain hotels and resorts. No accolade or achievement is higher than the friends, advisors and customers I came across throughout my career. For me, the fun is just starting as I embody representation for The Palm Beaches, where I get to work with over 218 amazing hotels and resorts alongside our destination partners. The daily interaction between my portfolio can range from specific strategies to providing relevant information as we navigate through our ever-changing industry trends. Being available, responsive and proactive is what you can expect from me and my team.

Next Advance Pursuing: I’m proud to be leading a world-class sales team at The Palm Beaches. Upmost importance is providing my team with an equipped tool kit to forecast, prepare and overcome further disruptions that may come our way. Another focus this upcoming year will be dedicated to embracing and strengthening our visibility through new technology platforms. Working very closely with our marketing team to incorporate and utilize ChatGPT. This key advancement with AI is already heightening the interest of our planner community.

woman in black sleeveless shirt smilingBrooke Sauer, CTA

National Sales Manager, Visit Tucson

Motivating Force: I love where I live, what I do, my organization and my team. I am so grateful for Visit Tucson and our incredible hospitality partners who make Tucson a place people want to visit. They are my motivating force. I also believe in the power of human connection the hospitality industry fosters by bringing people together. I thrive on finding connections and establishing a trust that turns new clients into long-term relationships. They too are my motivating force.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: My goal is to exceed expectations from the first time we meet to the site visit, to all the services we offer when a group chooses Tucson. Of all the things I do, my favorite is being a site visit host and tour guide. Getting people to experience Tucson for themselves makes all the difference. First-timers land at Tucson International Airport and say, “I had no idea you had mountains, it is so green, people here are so nice and I love this vibe.” Suddenly, they want to know more! Tucson has so much to offer and inevitably surprises visitors. I strive to create personalized site visits, facilitate last-minute changes or requests and ensure no one leaves Tucson hungry or without a long list of options, hoping to inspire their return…everything I can do thanks to the unconditional help of my amazing hoteliers and local suppliers who make Tucson so special.

Hospitality Career Highlights: My best friend’s sister was the human resources director at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon as I was still figuring out what do right after college. She suggested I come in for an interview. I am indebted to her for helping me find my path. From desk clerk to DOS, I loved my job and the mentors who helped me along the way. Eleven years later, I left for sales at Carmel Valley Ranch, Meadowood Napa Valley, then back home to Tucson to join the Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Visit Tucson). I knew I had found what I was born to do. I celebrated my 16th anniversary at Visit Tucson on August 27th and am grateful every day to have a job I love with incredible leadership, colleagues and clients who make me better.

Next Advance Pursuing: After more than 30 years in hospitality, I know where I fit and where I excel. My purpose is to represent Tucson globally and make my team and my fellow Tucsonans proud. With our world and industry in a constant state of change, I learn something new every day. Thanks to the multitude of trade shows and networking events, I am surrounded by energetic suppliers and clients of all generations who are constantly finding new ways to inspire and motivate me! This never gets old.

woman in blue sweater smilingTeresa Savage

Vice President of Business Development, See Monterey

Motivating Force: What I find motivating is being in a position that allows me to help people with critical decisions. Providing insight, tools and pertinent information on how our destination can meet their needs, helps them make informed decisions. From an important business conference to a once-in-a-lifetime event or even a girls’ getaway, I love to be helpful and in my position, I am able to be a valuable resource. That brings me great satisfaction.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: It is motivating to work with such an incredible team and tenured hospitality partners that will do whatever it takes to make our visitors—both leisure and group—so satisfied that they can’t wait to come back to explore other aspects of our amazing destination. Our Monterey County hospitality partners are so passionate about what they do, that it makes our visitors excited and wanting of another journey back to Monterey County.

Hospitality Career Highlights: My hospitality career started over 25 years ago, where I worked in all aspects of hotel sales and leadership including director of sales and marketing at Monterey Marriott. In 2013, I took a leap of faith and moved over to the tourism side and joined Visit Napa Valley to build their sales organization. In 2020, I was ready for my next challenge. My goal was to go to a larger destination that had a diverse portfolio of products and where I could apply my knowledge and skill set. Naturally, it made perfect sense for me to join See Monterey as vice president of business development.

Next Advance Pursuing: I’m happy to be back living and representing Monterey County. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to strategically build back an amazing team that will allow us to do great things as a destination and I’m thrilled about our future. We also just launched our new brand for Monterey County and I’m super excited for you to “find your way here!”

man in salmon sport coatJoshua Switzer

National Sales Director, Long Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Motivating Force:

I love connecting with others to help achieve beneficial and mutual goals. I believe in identifying key initiatives and unique components for each person or organization to connect on an individual level. I like to work hard and play hard and always maintain a balance.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Have fun and make memories! My approach has always been the same: Build true, honest relationships and find some common ground with each person. Keeping an open dialogue and focusing on building the partnership, step-by-step, leads to trust and confidence.

Hospitality Career Highlights: I began as a catering coordinator and feel that hospitality folks are a powerful niche. Most of us work hard and play harder. At the end of each day, we just want to end with a smile, and that of our partners. I owe all of my achievements to my incredible colleagues, mentors and sales leaders along the way.

Next Advance Pursuing: I hope to continue honing on my greatest attributes and find joy with each change. I could see myself training and mentoring in the future.

man in blue dress shirt and black coatMike Testa

President and CEO, Visit Sacramento

Motivating force: One of the few positives that I take away from the pandemic is the reality that it created a spotlight on the value that meetings and hospitality bring to Sacramento. With meetings and most corners of tourism gone, the impact of the work that we do was both noticed and missed. Post-Covid, that’s created stronger engagement with our stakeholders, which had generated even greater success for our market. The work that we do is designed to benefit the residents of our community. That includes our own team at Visit Sacramento, the frontline workers at our hotels, our SAFE Credit Union Convention Center team and the thousands of other members of our hospitality community who thrive when we are successful. We are fond of saying that tourism isn’t about the tourist—it’s about generating economic impacts that improve the quality of life for the people who call Sacramento home.

Approach to supercharging experiences: We work with partners to create experiences that make the visitor feel like they belong here. What will resonate with your group? What can we create to improve their visit? We don’t do cookie-cutter welcome letters from our elected officials, nor do we have templates that we recycle for our customers. We tailor what we offer based on the needs of the customer and how they determine success. We ask those questions early so that attendees feel valued and comfortable in our city. And we embrace our strengths. Sacramento is known for the farmland that exists throughout our region; we are spoiled because the produce on the plates in our restaurants comes directly from the farmer that day. That’s a luxury that few cities can boast. But it’s not just restaurants. Because of the year-round growing weather, our SAFE Credit Union Convention Center’s culinary team sources food directly from local farmers, and they grow some of their own products on-site. It’s one of the few buildings in the country that does that because it’s one of the few buildings in the country that can do that. And that commitment to sourcing locally is noticed by our customers.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Watching the maturation of Sacramento over the last five years has been incredibly gratifying. Not only do we have an expanded and renovated state-of-the-art convention center, but also a modern and high-end hotel landscape, with a new convention hotel in the planning stages. We also have a culinary scene that has more than arrived, with two Michelin-starred restaurants and 15 others that come as recommended from the Paris-based Guide. We host one of the country’s largest rock festivals that brings 160,000 people to our Discovery Park and, last year, we introduced a country music festival that attracts close to 75,000 people to the same location. Seeing the priority that our elected officials and business leaders put on our convention and meetings industry has also been at the top of the list. When the pandemic hit, they offered to help us almost before we asked them and they did that because they knew that tourism and hospitality would help to lead our collective recovery. We have dedicated partners who believe in the mission of our organization and help us to realize our goals, which ensures that we are properly serving our community and our stakeholders. That’s incredibly humbling.

Next Advance Pursuing: Additional hotel product in Sacramento remains a priority. While we’ve been fortunate to see some significant investments from hotel developers in our city, the data demonstrates that there is still need for new room inventory. We also work closely with the City of Sacramento to grow the city’s nightlife, to invest tens of millions of dollars into Old Sacramento and our Waterfront over the next year, to attract new chefs to our restaurant scene from the publicity that it generates on its own, and to continue to attract new music festivals to our market. Whether people visit us for a convention, a sporting event, our food scene, or our festivals, we want our visitors to feel that no matter when they come to Sacramento, there will always be something happening that’s outside of the primary reason that initially drew them to Sacramento. We are a seven-day-a-week city, and we continue to create compelling reasons for people to visit our city and region. We live here, we are proud of this place, and we are genuinely excited to share it with our visitors. 

woman in blue long sleeved shirtStephanie Turner

Senior Vice President Convention Sales & Strategies, New Orleans & Company

Motivating Force: Bringing people together is what drives me, and that is a powerful part of our industry. Meetings and conventions have an important economic and societal impact. In these settings, medical breakthroughs are made, new technologies are brought to market and business relationships are forged. The meetings and convention industry helps propel global business forward. When people come together, big things happen. Contributing to making New Orleans a better place to live, work and visit is what motivates me.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: The ability to cultivate and maintain lasting relationships is what sets us apart. We have a solution-focused mindset, and we unite as a community of innovators and entrepreneurs working to deliver memorable meetings and events. Our team integrates sales, services and marketing to provide seamless, comprehensive support to our customers. Our relationships with our customers and among our colleagues in the New Orleans hospitality industry are our “Why.” They are what drives us to move the industry forward after the pandemic and are what brings a meeting to life in our community. People are the key ingredient to our collective success.

Hospitality Career Highlights: I am a native New Orleanian with great passion for hospitality. I love the tourism industry, New Orleans culture and working for our clients. My roots are in sales and marketing and they continue to be my guideposts. I’ve been around for the hard things—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the Covid-19 Pandemic and have learned and grown from these experiences. I strive to be a creative disruptor—always thinking about forging a successful path forward.

Next Advance Pursuing: I’m not slowing down! The impact of meetings is far-reaching and I want to be part of that positive impact. I’m incredibly excited about our collective work, the evolution of New Orleans as “Built To Host,” and the partnerships we forge with our customers and within the hospitality community. Our success is about more than one person, it’s the collective effort of the group. Together, we’re energized about sharing the innovative, entrepreneurial and creative happenings in New Orleans.

woman in dotted red and white shirt and blue coatJennifer Walker, CDME

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Dallas

Motivating Force: I’m blessed to be able to do what I love and to have learned from the best of the best. The coaching and guidance of my former and current mentors, along with the support of my staff, motivate me daily to continually raise the bar and aspire to do even greater things. I have wonderful support from our CEO, Craig Davis, Visit Dallas leadership and our community. It’s also beyond exciting to see all the momentum and product development in Dallas! From a new convention center breaking ground in 2024, to more hotel product in the pipeline than anywhere in the country, Dallas is one city on the rise! Dallas has a maverick, can-do spirit and is a city that takes bold swings–and I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of shaping it! I’d also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my father, who, though miles away, is the singular force that motivates me every day to be brave and to never stop dreaming.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: I’ve always believed in dreaming big, both personally and professionally. One of my favorite sayings is “You can’t hit ‘em if you don’t swing at ‘em.” As a marketer, I like to take risks. I want to try new, bold things, imagine what’s possible and leave a lasting impression with consumers. And as a DMO, we have to find new ways to maintain relevancy and think beyond traditional KPIs to instead, move needles that matter. Beyond all else, supercharging experiences to me is about authenticity–leaning into those things that you as a destination or brand can authentically own, and most importantly, connecting with consumers on an emotional level.

Hospitality Career Highlights: Highlights of my hospitality career include having the privilege of working among and beside what I consider to be leadership legends in destination marketing, my peers and so many talented agency partners. Being able to experience and advocate for the many benefits of travel. Establishing life-long connections, mentors and friendships in an industry that is incredibly united and supportive. And most recently, one of the achievements I’m most proud of is receiving my CDME recognition from Destinations International this summer.

Next Advance Pursuing: I like to think I never stop dreaming–and have multiple goals both professionally and personally I still plan on achieving! From a professional standpoint, that includes ensuring Dallas receives its rightful time on the global stage. There is so much incredible momentum and development within the destination– nd our story has not yet fully been told! To that end, we’ve been hard at work the better part of the past year and a half on establishing a new unified, destination brand. It’s been quite the labor of love, we’ve taken great care to consult as many organizations, business leaders and residents as possible to ensure we’ve landed in an authentic place. We’re nearing the finish line on those efforts and I’m most excited about our plans to launch the new brand nationally next Spring! Personally speaking–I’m always in search of my next marathon or endurance event, new international travels and adventures and I also have aspirations to publish my first book, not necessarily in that order!

man with crossed arms and blue and red plaid shirt smilingDrew Welsheimer

Group Sales Director, Snowmass Tourism

Motivating Force: Our motivating force at Snowmass Tourism is the community in which we live. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to witness the positive impact of tourism and travel to our community on a daily basis. In a small community, such as Snowmass, we know our partners as a network of friends and family. Their success is our success.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: Snowmass Village is lucky enough to have an endless supply of natural beauty, activations and activities that set a high bar for supercharging our guest experiences. We lean on an incredibly collaborative and partner-driven community to deliver an unforgettable experience in the pristine Roaring Fork Valley. Our proximity to nature offers easy access to world-class gold medal mountain biking, gold medal waters for fly fishing, the second biggest vertical drop for a ski resort in North America, and endless other unique experiences that set the bar high for our experience menu for out-of-towners.

Hospitality Career Highlights: I’ve been lucky to spend 17 years all across the U.S. and Caribbean developing a career in group sales for hospitality. I’ve always been proud of the growth and production I’ve been a part of on various teams, but some of my most proud moments come from leading amazing teams at both hotels and destination management organizations. The creation of entire programs, development of great hospitality minds and contribution to the present and future generations of hoteliers and hospitality professionals have been my proudest moments.

Next Advance Pursuing: It is currently fall in the Roaring Fork Valley, so the next obvious advance is diving right into ski season. We are excited to be working on some new programming through the 2024 winter and summer seasons that will continue to put Snowmass on the map as a world-class, year-round destination for all tastes. We also are very excited to wrap up some renovations and additions our lodging partners are completing this year in the village along with the unveiling of a new lift from Snowmass Mall to our mid-mountain destinations in 2025.

man with glassesDavid Whitaker

President and CEO, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Motivating Force: Personally, my motivating force continues to be my faith–which has only grown over the years in terms of my recognition and appreciation of just how blessed I am to have the life journey and path I have been given. Professionally, what has always been a core motivating factor is the staff and team I am a part of–past and present. I get such joy out of seeing my colleagues thrive, excel and grow. I love the concept of coaching and teaching and nothing brings more reward than seeing when it all comes together for them and for us.

Approach to Supercharging Experiences: In our business, a core to success and more importantly, authenticity is the core principle: “It’s all about them.” It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our message, our product, our destination, our convention center. Nothing supercharges an event more than ensuring that every aspect of the client and delegate experience is based on them, their needs, their goals and the things in hospitality that give them as a result–a truly authentic experience.

Hospitality Career Highlights: I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the privilege and opportunity to be a part of three incredible destinations. First, my first start and initial career growth many years ago in Miami, then what was just such a personal and professional growth opportunity to be in Canada and in such a dynamic city that Toronto is and most recently the awesome responsibility and scale of Chicago (especially McCormic Place). I now get to top that off by returning home to Miami and in doing so–just the incredible evolution of this community especially in terms of the still relatively untapped potential of the newly reimagined expansion and improvements of our convention center campus and the exciting developments of a new on-campus host hotel. But it is not just the product. What truly distinguishes Miami and Miami Beach is our people and the incredible vibe and cultures found here. To be a part of it–especially to see it continue to evolve and at such a record pace is truly a career highlight.

Next Advance Pursuing: The final details of the beginning of construction and the lead-up to opening our new 800-room Hyatt Grand on campus at the Miami Beach Convention Center portents an incredible opportunity not only for our team but for our clients. Just in the past year, the sales team led by the incredibly talented Carol Motely has tripled the number of qualified leads and bids for future convention and major trade show opportunities here. The work to be done of course is finding the right fit at the right time for our planners and their events. It’s a good problem to have–especially when a client wishes to be a part of this new package and trending destination.

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