People News: Events DC, Aramark, Tourism Diversity Matters and More Promote High-Performers, Welcome New Leaders
While the job market may be cooling off across the nation, the meetings and events industry appears to be keeping steady as venues, tourism agencies, event tech companies and more continue attracting new talent, promoting staff and expanding their leadership teams.
Events DC has chosen Angie M. Gates as its new president and CEO. Starting Nov. 14, Gates will guide the organization tasked with generating economic and community benefits for D.C. residents and businesses through impactful events. A 20-year veteran in event management, entertainment, film and public service with expertise ranging from tourism and hospitality to film and venue operations, she recently served as D.C.'s director of the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME).
Gates was named the first African American general manager of the iconic Warner Theatre and earned Washington, DC its first Emmy at the 60th Annual National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Award show. She also recently received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joseph R. Biden.
She succeeds COO Samuel R. Thomas, who served as interim president and CEO following the resignation of Gregory A. O’Dell in March.
Aramark, the exclusive caterer for the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC), has hired a new executive chef, Bernard Foster, responsible for leading a team that serves approximately 1 million event attendees annually. He will bring a diverse and fresh perspective to the ACC by blending fusion foods and traditional cuisine from different cultures.
Foster previously held executive chef positions at several Hyatt hotels and has been instrumental on grand opening and renovation teams for numerous hotels worldwide. Through his work, he has remained committed to reducing his carbon footprint, a mission that aligns with Aramark’s existing sourcing commitments to support local farms within a 50-mile radius.
Tourism Diversity Matters
Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) has made two recent appointments in response to growing demand for its organizational DEI expertise and strategy development for tourism organizations.
TDM expanded its executive leadership team with the appointment of DEI and multicultural tourism expert Yvonne Drayton as its new director of operations, a newly created position in which she will support the development and reach of TDM’s DEI organizational culture assessments, educational training and workforce development, including the national apprenticeship program.
Before joining TDM, Drayton was lead principal of Drayton Cross Consulting, where she conducted culture analyses and devised data-driven strategies to build DEI competencies across organizations in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She also brings extensive tourism and meetings knowledge to her new role.
Prior to that, Drayton served as president and CEO of Riscoe & Associates for three years and as executive vice president for eight years.
Also joining the TDM team is Sofia Mendoza as executive assistant, responsible for supporting the organization’s communications and operations. She brings office managerial and executive assistance experience from both agency and manufacturing settings at Torrid and Lucrescent Bearing Corporation, along with international marketing capabilities from her time at IBG America in El Salvador.
Global venue and event management software leader Ungerboeck has tapped seasoned software and technology marketing veteran Laurie McGrath as its new chief marketing officer (CMO). Bringing more than 25 years of product marketing, branding and communication experience as well as a deep knowledge of SaaS technology GTM strategy to her new role, she is responsible for leading global corporate branding and product marketing initiatives, including market positioning, product strategy, public relations, social media, corporate communications and demand generation.
McGrath most recently served as CMO at international supply chain firm Tecsys, where she led the company’s global rebranding and integrated digital marketing efforts. She has also served as CMO for healthcare firm Intalere (now Vizient), interim CMO and vice president of marketing for leading global cloud and IT outsourcing provider Savvis, a CenturyLink company, and vice president of product marketing for IT firm SourceMark International.
Leading venue management and event strategy company ASM Global has appointed Patrick Lynch as its senior vice president, private events, U.S. In his new role, he will work closely with ASM Global’s national sales force focusing on new business opportunities for the country’s largest private event portfolio.
An experienced sales leader with more than 20 years scaling revenues across various industries including financial services, technology, hospitality and restaurants, Lynch most recently worked as head of sales and customer success for the e-commerce and marketing platform Mercato.
Georgia International Convention Center
The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) in Atlanta promoted Diann Jackson to senior catering sales manager following eight years serving on the venue’s catering sales team. In her new role, she is responsible for driving networking, relationship-building and sales for Proof of the Pudding catering team at Georgia’s second-largest convention center, which is part of the Gateway Center campus adjacent to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Prior to her current tenure at GICC, Jackson worked for 26 years as the senior catering manager of the Georgia World Congress Center, and prior to that, served as senior sales manager for Levy Restaurants.
Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit OKC) recently celebrated three hard-working marketing and sales staff members with much-deserved promotions.
Maryam Kari was promoted from digital marketing manager to senior digital marketing manager. In 2022, she successfully spearheaded the newly redesigned VisitOKC.com, MeetinOKC.com and OKCsports.org, as well as managed the launch of the Modern Frontier Attractions Pass. Her social media campaigns consistently perform above targeted goals.
Katy Birchett-Smith was promoted from convention sales manager to senior convention sales manager. An active leader within the local hospitality community, she has developed several new initiatives related to Visit OKC’s emerging convention scene and achieved more than double her sales goal last fiscal year.
Lindsay Vidrine was promoted from vice president of destination marketing to senior vice president of destination marketing. From marketing creativity to public relations wisdom and overall strategy, she consistently delivers and provides experiential knowledge from years of working in the tourism industry.
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