People News: InVision Communications, VISIT DENVER and More Expand Leadership Teams, Welcome Experienced Professionals
An array of CVBs, hotels, event agencies and industry associations have been steadily hiring and promoting staff, as well as padding their executive teams as they anticipate a busy 2024.
Full-service event marketing agency InVision Communications recently appointed 25-year event marketing and leadership veteran Angie Smith as its new CEO, effective Jan. 1.
Smith most recently served as head of experiential and field marketing at Atlassian, an InVision client. Previously, she spent more than three years at InVision as its group executive, strategy, a role in which she was responsible for leading the agency’s marketing efforts and launching its strategy practice. Her career also includes notable tenures at leading companies including Cisco and INXPO.
InVision’s CEO/Co-Founder Rod Mickels and Chief Culture Officer/Co-Founder Drew Hagen will remain on the company’s board of directors and transition to CEO and executive leadership team advisors.
Lee Ann Benevidez, a 25-year hospitality industry veteran, has joined VISIT DENVER as its new senior vice president and chief sales and services officer. In her new leadership role, she is responsible for leading and directing convention and meeting sales efforts, including driving convention bookings for the newly expanded Colorado Convention Center, as well as overseeing the organization’s destination strategy and services efforts.
Benavidez most recently served as the vice president of third-party commerce and luxury sales strategy for MGM Resorts International, and before that, held various progressively responsible roles over an 18-year period with Hyatt Hotels Corp., most recently as vice president of sales for the Americas Region. Prior to joining the Americas Region, she was regional vice president of sales and revenue for the Western Region.
PCMA recently added a new leader to its executive team: Traci DePuy as Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for leading the association’s enterprise-wide brand and marketing strategies.
A corporate marketing and brand strategist, DePuy joins PCMA with more than 15 years in SaaS b-to-b brand strategy, event operations and marketing management, holding leadership positions at notable corporate technology companies, such as Ellucian and Salesforce.
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently hired Taylor Boser as social media manager, responsible for developing the CVB’s content strategy and executing initiatives across social media platforms, focusing on group markets and attendance building. She will also create written and visual content to drive engagement for meeting planners, attendees and leisure travelers.
Prior to ACVB, Boser served as a strategic communications specialist for Tallahassee Community College, where she developed social media content, highlighting the institute’s programs, students and campus activities.
Omni Fort Lauderdale Hotel
The new Omni Fort Lauderdale Hotel, which is set to open in late 2025, has tapped hospitality, meetings and convention industry veteran Aaron Weegar as it director of sales and marketing.
Bringing more than two decades of hospitality experience to his new position, Weegar has served notable roles in several leading Florida resorts, including Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa; Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in Lake Buena Vista; The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood Beach; and the Caribe Royale All-Suites Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando.
Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority
The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority in Marietta, Ga., recently welcomed 15-year event management professional Elise Rankins as director of event services. In her new role, she is responsible for coordinating and supervising the day-to-day activities of the event services department and ensuring proper inter-departmental communication and coordination of event-related activities at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
Rankins has held event management roles for the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, Old Dominion University and the Hampton Roads Convention Center, most recently serving as director of events at Overtime.
The authority also promoted Larry Green to director of venue operations for the Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops, responsible for overseeing the public safety/security, engineering, event services, housekeeping and set up departments throughout the authority campus.
A 16-year veteran of the organization, which he joined in 2007 as public safety manager for the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Green most recently served as director of safety and security.
Trilith Guesthouse, the new 193-room boutique hotel set to open its doors in January in Fayetteville, Ga., recently announced its executive team.
As general manager, James Green will oversee daily business activities, improve business functions and manage budgets while developing strategic plans and goals for the hotel. A hospitality veteran with nearly two decades in the industry, Green worked at Starwood Hotels and Resorts for 13 years, followed by five years with Marriott International. For the past decade, he has worked in the Atlanta market, notably with W Hotels, and most recently served as general manager for Wylie Hotel, a boutique hotel in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward.
Felicia Lyn has been appointed director of entertainment and business travel, responsible for handling sales of all business travel and entertainment opportunities for Trilith Guesthouse and for Epicurean Atlanta, also owned and managed by Mainsail. Lyn has worked at several notable hotels in the downtown and midtown Atlanta business travel market, including AC Atlanta Downtown, W Atlanta Midtown and most recently, the Bellyard Hotel.
Senior Sales Manager Cori Cramsey will manage, coordinate and execute all hotel sales activities and client relationships. A more than 10-year hospitality professional, Cramsey joins Trilith Guesthouse from the Luminary Hotel & Co., another Mainsail Lodging & Development property located in Fort Myers, Fla., where she played a pivotal role in the hotel’s opening and served as catering sales manager.
As Catering Sales Manager, Janay Holliday will conduct day-to-day activities related to catering sales and event efforts for the hotel. Her years of sales experience includes positions as catering sales manager at the Westin Atlanta Airport and sales manager for Marriott International.
Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (AICVB) has welcomed Florida tourism industry veteran Paul Beirnes as its new vice president, with responsibilities spanning all aspects of tourism marketing, program development and more.
An accomplished destination marketing and brand strategist, Beirnes most recently served as executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2020, and prior to that, as director of destination marketing with Hilton Worldwide, representing the 18 brands within Hilton’s corporate portfolio. Before joining Hilton, he was director of global marketing and partnership marketing for 16 years with Visit Orlando, after spending more than 10 years in leadership roles in The Walt Disney Company’s marketing division.
Soundings, a woman-owned talent platform for the event, hospitality and nonprofit industries, recently welcomed event technology veteran Kerry Lambert as its new COO. Bringing a wealth of leadership experience to her new role, she has held notable positions at Cvent and Freeman.
As part of this strategic reorganization at Soundings, Heather Black Cosgrave has been elevated to vice president of account management since joining the company as director of customer success and account management.
Louisville Tourism recently welcomed a new team member and announced two staff promotions.
Kathryn Peck has been promoted to finance and administration manager, tasked with administering the recently created Tourism Improvement District (TID) program’s payables, filing annual reports and overseeing Louisville Tourism’s corporate credit card expense reporting process. An employee of Louisville Tourism since 2016, she has held support positions in the convention sales department, destination services and most recently, within the strategic alliances department.
Janel Clements was promoted to convention sales coordinator from her previous role as convention sales assistant. In her new role, she is the lead for the sales department’s administrative team and will continue to serve in a supportive role with the sales department managers, directors and senior vice president. Clements has been with Louisville Tourism since 2021.
Shelby Basham has re-joined the organization as a convention sales assistant, continuing her previous tenure at Louisville Tourism within the sales support team, where she will work closely with sales managers and directors to help secure incoming meetings and conventions business for Louisville. She most recently worked as a group travel consultant at Hemisphere Educational Travel.
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