People News: Fayetteville Area CVB, Music City Center, Resort at Squaw Creek and More Tap New Leadership, Promote Team Members

July 27, 2021

Mirroring the red-hot U.S. job market, the meetings and events industry is continuing to experience a deluge of new hires and promotions as it works to get back to normal. Check out who’s moving up the ladder at a host of organizations across the events spectrum:

Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Randy Fiveash has been named interim president and CEO of the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau in Fayetteville, N.C. Charged with leading and directing strategic planning and executing research-based marketing, sales and public relations, he will also work to build and maintain community partnerships with business, organization and governmental entities and leaders.

Fiveash brings more than 40 years of leadership experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, association management, strategic planning and destination branding to his new role. He previously served as director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, where he was responsible for leading the state’s annual statewide tourism marketing budget, strategic planning and development efforts.

Music City Center

Nashville’s Music City Center has appointed two new executive staff members: Robert Rice as director of human resources and Heather Jensen as director of communications. Rice previously served as a human resources leader and advisor for Ghertner & Company. Jensen previously served as community relations officer, web content coordinator and multimedia product manager for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. 

Resort at Squaw Creek 

David Lockard has been appointed general manager of Olympic Valley, Calif.-based Resort at Squaw Creek, a Destination by Hyatt property. Throughout his 26-year tenure at Hyatt, he has served in a variety of management and director roles at multiple properties, including as general manager of Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine in San Diego and Hyatt Centric Park City in Utah. He returns to the Lake Tahoe community after having served as director of food and beverage at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino more than a decade ago.

Miles Partnership 

Leading tourism marketing consultancy Miles Partnership has hired Melissa Cherry as its chief diversity and inclusion officer and senior vice president, effective Aug. 23. In this new executive role, she will lead the development of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion consulting practice to serve current and potential clients, in addition to guiding the company’s internal DEI processes and best practices. Cherry will also drive thought leadership to advance the evolution of inclusive marketing strategies across the destination marketing industry.

Diversified Communications 

International media company Diversified Communications has promoted Whit Mitchell to CFO. Mitchell joined Diversified in 2013 and has served as corporate vice president of finance since 2018. 

Louisville Tourism 

Thirty-five-year hospitality industry veteran Cleo Battle has officially taken the helm of Louisville Tourism as its president and CEO after previously serving as the CVB’s COO for two years and before that, as executive vice president. Additionally, Doug Bennett has assumed his new position of executive vice president, bringing more than 30 years of industry experience to the role, including serving as the CVB’s senior vice president of convention development since 2015.


Virtual and hybrid events platform provider Hubilo Technologies Inc recently appointed six new leadership team members. These highly experienced professionals include Cathy Song Novelli, senior vice president, marketing and communications; Greg Volm, senior vice president, sales and success; Anita Menon, senior vice president, talent and culture; Abhishek Jain, vice president, finance; Sudip Mitra, senior vice president, engineering; and Shailesh Hegde, head of product.


Leading venue hospitality partner, Centerplate, a Sodexo company, has tapped Sufi Karaien as the new executive chef for the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC). He previously served as SDCC’s senior executive sous chef. 


Global engagement and marketing agency MCI has promoted Oscar Cerezales to the position of chief strategy officer. He has worked for the company for almost 15 years across Europe and the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions.   

The Glasshouse

Glasshouses appointed 20-year event industry veteran Kevin Ramsawack as director of sales of The Glasshouse, the company’s new flagship, 75,000-square-foot waterfront event space in New York City that is set to launch in September.

Most recently, he served as vice president of sales and events for Neuman’s Kitchen special event and corporate caterers, where he was responsible for strategic planning and business development along with management of the company’s sales, service and marketing teams.

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau 

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) has promoted 18-year hospitality veteran Charlene Lopez to vice president, sales. Lopez joined ACVB in June 2012 as a sales manager of national accounts and was promoted to director, citywide sales in October 2019. She has also held sales roles with Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa. 

Teneo Hospitality Group

Teneo Hospitality Group has appointed seasoned hotel and meetings industry leader, Gary Murakami, as vice president of sales and industry relations. In this newly created role, he will be responsible for building awareness of Teneo’s future plans across the global meetings, events and travel industries and assume primary responsibility for sales originating from the West Coast markets.

Based in San Francisco, Murakami brings over two decades of experience within the hotel, convention and meetings management industries in a variety of sales and sales leadership roles spanning the corporate business travel, leisure travel, associations and group meetings and events markets with hotel brands including The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. Most recently, he served as director of global sales at MGM Resorts International.


Spectra, provider of venue management to the Owensboro Convention Center, recently welcomed two new sales managers to its Owensboro team: Jacob Whitfill, who previously worked with Spectra in its food and beverage department, and Megan Howard, who cut her teeth in the events industry working for country clubs and wedding and event planning companies.

Rosen Hotels & Resorts 

Dorea Mays has been promoted to director of human resources of Orlando, Fla.-based Rosen Hotels & Resorts, which she joined two decades ago as human resources manager. She most recently served as associate director of human resources. May also oversees and supports the company’s leadership team at the Rosen Parramore Preschool and Rosen Tangelo Park Preschool, which are part of The Harris Rosen Foundation’s charitable initiatives to support and transform underserved communities in Orlando.

Events Industry Council 

The Events Industry Council has appointed Augustine (Gus) Chijioke as director of certification and education. Chijioke most recently served as director of membership and certification at Capital Association Management.

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau

DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau in Oak Brook, Ill. has appointed Igor Bakovic as sports market manager. Charged with helping to carry out the DuPage Sports Commission strategic plan, he will work with stakeholders throughout DuPage County, including hotels, park districts, athletic venues, business sponsors and municipal partners, to advance DuPage’s sports tourism market presence. 

Before joining DCVB, Bakovic was a core complex sales manager at Marriott International, representing 24 hotels in the Minneapolis, Des Moines, Iowa City, St. Louis and Kansas City markets.

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