Mar 24, 2022
The hiring and promoting trend continues its strong trajectory as event-related organizations – convention and visitors bureaus, in particular – scoop up new talent and reward top-performing staff with more prestigious titles. Take a look! Choose Chicago  Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Choose Chicago have tapped Lynn Osmond as the CVB’s new CEO, effective May 9. As the first woman to helm the city’s tourism agency, Osmond brings deep knowledge of Chicago’s tourism and hospitality community to her new leadership role, most recently serving as president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture… more
Mar 18, 2022
March, designated Women’s History Month, which corresponds with International Women’s Day on March 8, marks a particularly appealing time to celebrate modern-day females and those of yesteryear—the groundbreakers, the changemakers, the rising stars, the achievers and the “empowerers” who motivate those around them. We had the pleasure of catching up with six vibrant industry professionals who are making history of their own to get their thoughts on how their peers and the industry at large can further improve gender equity and the women who have inspired them most throughout their careers.… more
Mar 07, 2022
As the meetings and conference industry continues its momentum toward recovery, corporate event-related organizations across the U.S. are appointing new leadership, promoting hard-working staff and growing their teams. Take a look! Destinations International  Sophia Hyder Hock has joined Destinations International as chief diversity officer, responsible for providing leadership, coordination and strategic direction for the design and implementation of an overall equity, diversity and inclusion strategy within the association, across member organizations and the broader tourism industry. She… more
Mar 04, 2022
From an early age, Sarah Soliman has been inspired to lead and driven to succeed. “I am a results-driven person, so when I see how my passion can inspire others, it ignites the fire in me to do more,” Soliman said, before describing one of the first times in which that flame truly burned bright—in high school, when she created a petition after the principal of her school cancelled “seniors week.”  Soliman, along with other classmates, thought it was unfair to take away such an important experience for reasons the students had no control over, so she went from class to class collecting… more
Feb 23, 2022
Nationally recognized diversity advocate, hospitality industry veteran and former Choose Chicago sales professional W. “Bill” Williams passed away on Feb. 4. He was 82 years old.  Following more than 37 years of exceptional service to McCormick Place and the city of Chicago, Williams retired from Choose Chicago in February 2013 after holding numerous sales positions for the CVB, most recently serving as vice president, diversity sales. In this key role, he developed and covered the social, military, education/ethnic, religious and fraternal (SMERF) market. A pioneering leader in furthering… more
Carrie Abernathy
Feb 18, 2022
Events were never the “plan” for Carrie Abernathy, much like many of her colleagues. So how does someone initially on the path to become a psychologist end up completely changing direction and evolving into one of the most influential event professionals in the industry? It all boils down to passion. While she was studying psychology at Virginia Tech and planning many social events for her dorm, a fellow student commented that she was so organized and passionate about logistics and events that she should do it professionally. “I had a good laugh about that idea at first—and then I found out… more
Feb 15, 2022
The rush to rebuild staff and grow leadership teams at event-related organizations continues in full force, as companies and CVBs anticipate a busier and more profitable 2022. Take a look! Destination DC  Destination DC (DDC) appointed William Adams as its new director of convention sales, responsible for driving convention business and developing sales policies and programs to bring meetings of all sizes to Washington, D.C. Working alongside DDC’s vice president of convention sales and services, Melissa A. Riley, he will also oversee the CVB’s convention sales team. Bringing more than 15… more
Feb 10, 2022
Look around at many organizations these days, and you’ve probably noticed a fair share launching corporate programs dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), an umbrella term for policies, programs, strategies and practices that promote the representation and participation of individuals of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations. But to drive an authentic culture of inclusion and belonging, it takes a special person who can not only lead the charge but also remain passionately committed to creating… more
Feb 03, 2022
Will the deluge of promotions and new hires ever slow down? Not if the meetings and events industry continues its steady pace toward recovery! Check out all the recent appointments and transitions happening at event-related organizations throughout the U.S. and beyond. New Orleans & Company  Prominent national tourism executive and long-time industry leader J. Stephen Perry, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2022.  Perry took the helm of New Orleans & Company, formerly known as the New Orleans Convention & Visitors… more
Jan 26, 2022
In February of last year, 28-year travel and tourism industry veteran Casandra Matej took the helm at Visit Orlando as the first female president and CEO in the destination marketing organization’s 37-year history. While assuming a leadership role during a global pandemic is no walk in the park, Matej accepted the challenge, focusing the organization’s energies on spurring the recovery of the powerful Orlando tourism industry, which, pre-pandemic, drew more than 75 million visitors to the region and supports approximately 41% of the local workforce. For Matej and her teams, failure was not an… more