People News: Sandestin Resort, Destinations International, Bizzabo and More Tap New Executives, Promote Team Members

October 4, 2021

A bevy of new hires and promotions are moving at record pace as the event, hospitality and destination marketing industries continue to forge ahead, pandemic or no pandemic. Check out who’s moving in and up at event-related organizations across the country.

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort 

Bill Liedholm has been appointed general manager of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Fla, where he will serve as its ambassador while overseeing its leadership team and all day-to-day operations. As a mentor to staff, he will lead the resort team in delivering consistent, unique experiences for guests while also enhancing the quality of service. 

Most recently, Liedholm served as the general manager of the Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa in Bedford, Penn. His extensive background also includes time spent with Quorum Hotels, Milestone Hotels, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts and a three-year stint abroad at The New Sanno in Tokyo, Japan. 

Destinations International 

Destinations International has tapped 25-year hospitality industry veteran and advocate Julie Holmen as the new project/program lead of its membership engagement strategies division, responsible for overseeing the association’s global destination organization membership engagement strategy.

Based in Toronto, Holmen most recently served as director of strategic alliances at Meeting Professionals International (MPI), where she worked with their global supplier accounts and strategic alliance partners to enhance MPI’s global presence. Highly experienced in selling individual hotel properties and entire destinations in the global travel market, she also worked for Destination Toronto as director of citywide sales and event engagement from 2006-2017.


Leading event success platform Bizzabo recently appointed five event industry executives across its global offices and remote locations around the world. 

Bringing more than 15 years of event strategy experience in event technology, large events and corporate meetings segments, Megan Murphy joins the company in the U.S. as vice president of account management. She most recently served as vice president of digital sales and partnerships at the Freeman Company, and prior to that had a long tenure at American Express Meetings & Events in various roles, including account management and leadership.

Twenty-year meetings and events industry veteran Tim Bull has been appointed Bizzabo’s first vice president of sales in the EMEA, where he is launching the company’s London operations and overseeing expansion efforts across Europe. Based in the U.K. and boasting extensive experience in SaaS technology, Bull previously served as the managing director of sales, EMEA & APAC at Aventri and director of sales at Lanyon/Cvent. 

Elijah Clark-Ginserberg joins the company’s product organization as a product manager, responsible for creating the strategy, design and implementation of key event tools and features. Based in Germany, Clark-Ginsberg spent the last eight years orchestrating HubSpot’s flagship event INBOUND, with work spanning promotions, attendee experience and digital production. 

As the new vice president of global events, Devin Cleary leads the organization’s event strategy and will build out the industry’s first Center of Excellence. With more than 16 years of experience leading the creation and active management of diverse experiential marketing programs for B2B, nonprofit and consumer markets, Clearly most recently served as vice president of experiential marketing at PTC. Based in the U.S., he previously held roles as an events experience strategist at HubSpot and senior director of corporate events at the American Red Cross.

Sarah North joins Cleary’s team as director of event experiences. Based in the U.S., she has held event leadership roles at Ellucian, Viacom, Live Nation, Shire and PTC. 

Choose Chicago 

Choose Chicago has welcomed Eric Kincaid as senior director of convention sales, responsible for handling the entire large-scale convention market out of the mid-Atlantic region. Based in Washington D.C., he will represent and sell Chicago’s convention package with a primary focus on conventions meeting at McCormick Place.

Kincaid joins the CVB from Destination D.C. (DDC), where he served as national account director of citywide sales, and prior to that, as national sales manager. Prior to his almost seven years at DDC, he spent more than ten years at Marriott International in several key sales positions both on and above property.

Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico

Leading multinational hospitality company Aimbridge Hospitality has appointed a new management team for Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico.

As the new managing director, Mark Frances will oversee the full-service resort’s property and management team. He brings more than 28 years of hospitality experience to his new role, having worked in luxury hotels across the globe including Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros Islands, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba and the U.K. He has traveled to 14 different countries to develop hotel properties as global director of brand operations for Carlson Hotels, most recently serving as managing director of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.

As the resort’s new communications and marketing director, Betty Gonzalez will oversee the communications and marketing team, planning and overseeing communications and marketing strategies for the property. She brings 30 years of communications and marketing experience in Puerto Rico’s hospitality industry to the resort, working in communications and marketing teams for local resorts including Caribe Hilton, El San Juan Hotel and Casino, Waldorf Astoria Collection, The Condado Plaza Hilton, Embassy Suites San Juan and Dorado, Hampton in San Juan and Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort.  

Visit Omaha 

Visit Omaha has reorganized the senior level management team of its convention sales team with several promotions. 

Thirty-year tourism and hospitality industry veteran Mark Rath will now serve as the CVB’s director of sports. A certified sports event executive who started his career at Visit Omaha as a national sales manager in 1997, he was promoted to director of sales in 2016 and has continued to work in the sports market along with overseeing the sales team.

Mattie Scheeter has been named director of sales for Visit Omaha. With 12 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, the award-winning certified meeting planner has served the CVB as a national sales manager, and prior to Omaha, led sales efforts for Experience Sioux Falls.

Bringing more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry to his new role as senior sales manager, Matt Heckjoined the organization in 2015 as a national sales manager. Prior to Visit Omaha, this top sales performer spent eight years with Marriott International and was promoted to a sales executive position.

SearchWide Global 

Full-service executive search firm SearchWide Global, which focuses on the travel, tourism, hospitality, convention, trade association, venue management and experiential marketing industries, recently welcomed two team members. 

Re-hired as an executive recruiter to assist with director and C-level searches, Rachel Tomlin previously worked for SearchWide Global in 2018 as a researcher and recruiter. Based in Charlotte, NC, she brings a professional background in hospitality, hotel account sales and corporate recruiting to her new role.

Based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Cambria Jones recently joined the firm as marketing manager, responsible for leading the organization’s planning, development and implementation of marketing programs. Before joining SearchWide Global, she spent six years as the marketing lead for two Texas-based destination marketing organizations. 

Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and Rhode Island Convention Center

The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB) and Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) have recently welcomed new and returning staff to support the implementation of its joint sales and service initiative, “ONE TEAM initiative.” 

In the newly created role of business development manager for the PWCVB, Elizabeth Buckley will focus on uncovering new meetings and conventions sales opportunities. With more than 20 years of experience engaging industry partners and producing events, she previously spent six years with the organization in the early 2000s as a director of membership and then as director of national accounts handling the mid-Atlantic market. 

Joanna Arrighie joins the RICC as senior sales manager after spending 15 years at the Providence Marriott Downtown, where she most recently served as director of sales and marketing. She also brings a background in catering, business travel and group sales to her new role.

Veronica Van Jura has been appointed senior marketing manager of the RICC and Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Bringing eight years of experience in marketing and strategic branding to her new role, she most recently was the marketing lead at the DCU Center Arena & Convention Center in Worcester, Mass. for four years. 

Thirty-year hospitality veteran Donna Wing has assumed the role of catering sales manager for the RICC. She previously served as director of convention and group sales for Twin River Casino, and prior to that, held a variety of management positions within the food and beverage department at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

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