I had an amazing time in NYC last week for the City Nation Place Conference. It will get better every year as more and more people begin to realize the synergy between tourism and economic development. Next year, team Topeka will definitely be bringing more staff!
The presentations and breakout sessions were strong, and it was a great group of people to network with.
I loved the variety as it informed me on matters that I might not be involved with now but can think about for the future.
Chris Adams has worldwide experience in tourism, new technology and new media. Chris is Head of Research and Insights at Miles Partnership, a marketing agency focused 100% on travel and tourism with 90+ city, state and national tourism clients in North America and Asia - Pacific. Chris has also served as CEO of a New Zealand Convention and Visitor Bureau (Destination Coromandel) and as Assistant to the General Manager at Sky TVin London.
Chris is co-Founder and Board Member of the ‘Travel Care Code’ a public – private education program focused on minimizing the impact of tourism on the environment and communities.
- For more on Miles see: www.MilesPartnership.com
- For Chris’ Blog: http://www.milespartnership.com/blog-author/chris-adams
- For more on Chris see: www.linkedin.com/in/kiwicoloradoand www.twitter.com/kiwicolorado
Cameron Bailey is the Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival® and the overall TIFF organization.He has been responsible for the direction of the Festival’s selection since 2008, and now oversees TIFF's year-round programming as well. For six consecutive years, Toronto Life has named him one of Toronto's 50 Most Influential People (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017).
Born in London, Bailey grew up in England and Barbados before migrating to Canada. He began programming forthe organization in 1990, headed the organization’s Perspective Canada programme and founded its Planet Africa section, and worked both as a film programmer and film critic for 20 years before taking on his current role.
For many years, Bailey was a writer and broadcaster on film. He reviewed for Toronto's NOW Magazine, CBC Radio One and CTV’s Canada AM. He presented international cinema nightly on Showcase TV's national program The Showcase Revue, and produced and hosted the interview program Filmmaker on Independent Film Channel Canada. He has been published in The Globe and Mail, The Village Voice, Cine Action! and Screen, among others.
As a programmer and curator, he has organized film series for local and international festivals and galleries including the National Gallery of Canada, Australia’s Sydney International Film Festival, Cinematheque Ontario and the National Film Board of Canada. He has also served on awards juries at festivals including Bus an, Tokyo, Reykjavik, Zanzibar and Beijing, and has been a guest speaker at several Canadian universities, the Smithsonian Institution,Harvard University and the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Bailey has taught film curation at the University of Toronto, and sits on the Advisory Council for Western University's School for Arts and Humanities and for Haiti's Cine Institute film school. He is past co-chair of the Arts & Culture Working Group of Toronto's Civic Action; in 2016 Bailey joined the board of Civic Action. In 2007, Bailey was a part ofthe delegation accompanying Canada's Governor-General Michaëlle Jean on her state visit to Brazil. In 2017 he was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France's Ministry of Culture.
Photo credited: Matt Barnes photographer courtesy of TIFF.
Recognized for his wide-ranging expertise and accomplishments in the political arena, Honourable Edmund Bartlett has given over thirty-five years of service to Jamaica, working both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Bartlett was first appointed Minister of Tourism in 2007, serving until December 2011. Prior to this appointment, he already had a solid track record of service as an outstanding legislator in central government in both Chambers of Parliament. While serving in the shadow Cabinet following his first stint as Tourism Minister, Mr. Bartlett traveled the world forging alliances with strategic partners for global initiatives. He returned to the helm of the Ministry of Tourism following his party’s victory in Jamaica’s February 2016 general election.
As one of the world’s leading Tourism Ministers, Mr. Bartlett has represented Jamaica regionally and internationally. Recently, he chaired the Board of Affiliate Members of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and during his first tenure as tourism minister he served as Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of the UNWTO, representing the Americas. He is the first to serve on the executive of both the public and private sector arms of this prestigious organization. Mr. Bartlett has also served on the Council of Ministers for the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and as Vice Chairman of CTO. This wealth of experience has made him a much sought-after speaker at tourism-related fora.
Mr. Bartlett is an ardent proponent of public private partnerships (PPPS), which he considers essential to the sustainable development of the tourism industry. These alliances span the various sectors, locally and internationally, that make up tourism, including transportation, agriculture and manufacturing. Some of these partnerships have taken the form of foreign direct investment, particularly in the area of accommodation.
Tourism has been positioned by Mr. Bartlett as a catalyst for economic growth and the transformation of communities. He has established five networks (Gastronomy, Shopping, Health and Wellness, Sports and Entertainment, and Knowledge) to fuel growth and initiated the Tourism Linkages Network within the Ministry to strengthen sustainable linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy.
The region has also benefited from Mr. Bartlett’s innovative thinking, as he views other Caribbean and Latin American destinations not as Jamaica’s competitors but as partners that can use their combined tourism offerings to attract more visitors to experience multi-destination tourism. He has taken bold steps to have this facilitated under a special Memoranda of Understanding between nations in the region.
Mr. Bartlett has copped numerous awards. Recently, Mr. Bartlett was awarded Minister of the Year Worldwide by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association in March 2018 and Caribbean Tourism Minister of the Year at the Caribbean Travel Awards 2017. He was also the recipient of the 2016 Caribbean Tourism Minister of Distinction award at the recent African Diaspora World Tourism Awards. In 2016, he was awarded Caribbean's Leading Personality for Outstanding Services to Tourism at the 23rdWorld Travel Awards. In 2012, Mr. Bartlett was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for outstanding and important services to Jamaica and in 2010, was conferred with the Commander of Number of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain on the order of the King of Spain.
As Chief Strategy and Communications Officer, Ms. Nevins serves as member of PIDC’s executive team, working with resources across the organization to drive success and growth. She is responsible for managing the integration of strategic communications, product innovation, resource development, stakeholder relationships, and business growth initiatives for Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation.
Previously, Ms. Nevins served as PIDC’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, responsible for leading marketing and communications, business development, and client relations initiatives. Ms. Nevins also developed and managed PIDC’s business relationships with large scale commercial projects, including office, hospitality, retail, and mixed use developments. She has worked in close partnership with the City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and economic development partner organizations to attract and retain businesses of all sizes throughout the city. In the fall of 2017, Ms. Nevins led Philadelphia’s bid for the Amazon HQ2 process in partnership with the City of Philadelphia.
From 1999 to 2001, Ms. Nevins served in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs, which is responsible for coordination between the President and all cabinet agencies. She then joined the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and managed the logistical and hospitality arrangements for all U.S. dignitaries attending the Olympics. Ms. Nevins then returned to her native city of Philadelphia and managed corporate sponsorships for the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia’s regional performing arts center. She next served as Director of Development for Historic Philadelphia, Inc. and raised substantial funds to renovate Franklin Square, an 8-acre urban park in the center of Philadelphia’s historic district.
Ms. Nevins has a Masters in Business Administration from the Wharton School and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her family in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia and serves as a board member of the Friends of Bache-Martin, supporting the neighborhood public school.
Tim Cowden leads the strategic direction and vision for the Kansas City Area Development Council from global positioning for the KC market to KCADC investor and client relationships. The KCADC team drives new corporate attraction in partnership with economic development leadership across the 18-county, two state Kansas City region. Cowden and his team successfully work with a variety of business types reflecting the diverse strengths of the Kansas City region.
KCADC is a two time #1 “Best in Class” Regional Economic Development Organization according to the Development Counsellors International “Winning Strategies” survey of national site location consultants, conducted every three years.
Richard Cutting-Miller is a senior Travel & Tourism industry consultant with more than 30 years of international experience, focused on Travel & Tourism strategy, policy and planning, economic and travel trend research, policy analysis, lobbying and advocacy.
Erik Conover is a NYC-based social media personality, content creator, global adventure filmmaker and model. Erik’s versatility and groundbreaking storytelling continue to keep him in high demand and onto the next adventure. His YouTube channel is currently at 284k subscribers and 49M views. Conover shares video journals documenting his travels, life in the city, and personal milestones. Erik has been featured by WWD, GQ, Conde Nast Traveler, Passion Passport, to name a few. He is passionate about living a full life, traveling the world, sharing new perspectives and experiences.
Deborah has served as the President of Campus Philly since October 2010, doubling the organizations partnerships, budget, staff and programs in that time. Prior to Campus Philly, Deborah was vice president at The Melior Group, a market research and consulting firm in Philadelphia and served as a director of research and strategy at Visit Philadelphia, the regional tourism marketing organization from 2003 to 2008.
Deborah's early career began in academics. She received a Bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in Political Science and a Master's degree and Ph.D., also in Political Science, from the University of Chicago. She was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University and has taught at Bryn Mawr as a visiting lecturer as well. Within political science, Deborah's academic work focused on political philosophy.
Deborah serves on the board of overseers of the Jewish Grad Network of Greater Philadelphia is a past board member of Bryn Mawr’s Alumnae Association. In 2014 she was recognized as a “Most Admired CEO” in the nonprofit category by the Philadelphia Business Journal; in 2016 she was awarded a Brava Award for leadership by SmartCEO; and in 2017 she received a Globy Award for educational leadership from the Global Philadelphia Association.
Alireza Esmaeilzadeh is a Senior Vice President in the Commercial and Residential Development team at Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), a New York-based real estate development company.
Mr. Esmaeilzadeh is also the commercial leasing director for FCRC. He oversees the leasing and interior fit-out construction of the commercial portfolio at MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, which consists of 6.7 million square feet of Class A office space, the New York Times building, a 1.5 million square feet Renzo Piano designed Class A building, and several other projects within the FCRC office portfolio.
Since joining the firm in 2006, Mr. Esmaeilzadeh has been responsible for the overall marketing of the office portfolio, leading negotiations and execution of 2.5 million square feet of office, retail, academic, medical and critical facilities/data center leasing transactions and guiding the design and construction management of over 800,000 square feet of office and critical facility space, totaling +$100 million.
In addition to his responsibilities for the operating portfolio, Mr. Esmaeilzadeh is and has been actively involved in several ground-up development opportunities, including the 240,000 square foot Class A office building on the CornellTech campus on Roosevelt Island and various development opportunities in Downtown Brooklyn.
Prior to joining Forest City, Mr. Esmaeilzadeh was a banker at Scotia Capital, the Investment Banking Division of Scotiabank in Toronto, Ontario.
Mr. Esmaeilzadeh received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and graduated with honors from Queen’s University, in Ontario, Canada, where he received his Bachelors of Commerce. He is also an alumni of the CORO Leadership NY 2013 class.
Mr. Esmaeilzadeh proudly serves on the Brooklyn Hospital’s Board of Trustees and is a founding member of the hospital’s Young Leadership Council. He is also a Board member of Brooklyn Horizons, a program dedicated to the disadvantaged kids of Downtown Brooklyn, as well as a financial advisory member of DanceNYC. He is a MetroTech Business Improvement District board member, as well as a Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Times Square Alliance proxy board member.
A futurist, strategist and frequent keynote speaker, Chris leads a team that has completed more than 100 visioning, strategy, planning, policy and branding projects for destinations and cities around the world. Chris holds a Masters degree in Studies of the Future, is an adjunct instructor in placemaking for New York University and is a member of the Project for Public Space’s Leadership Council, the Urban Land Institute and Destination Marketing Association International. In 2013, Chris was recognized as the place branding “Thought Leader of the Year” at the World Sense of Place Summit for his development of place branding methodologies.
The Miami-Dade Beacon Council serves as the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County. The not‐for-profit public‐private organization focuses on job creation and economic growth. Since 1985, the organization has assisted more than 980 businesses that have created more than 65,000 direct jobs and added more than $4 billion in new capital investments. It accomplishes this by marketing Miami‐Dade as a world‐class business location, growing local companies and shaping the local economy's future. The Market-Grow-Shape strategy and One Community One Goal initiative are the pillars for economic growth and prosperity for all in Miami-Dade County. As President & CEO, Mr. Finney champions the County’s efforts to market Miami-Dade as a world class business destination, grow local companies and help shape the county’s economic future. He collaborates with key stakeholders, including Miami-Dade County, Career Source, the Miami-Dade Council of Chambers and private sector leaders throughout the community, to attract and retain businesses and the workforce needed to expand a growing and dynamic economy.
Prior to his current role, Mike served Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as Senior Advisor for Economic Growth and President & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). His responsibilities at MEDC included serving as Economic Growth Group Executive and as President and Chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund. Under Mike’s leadership, theMEDC moved to the forefront of U.S. economic development organizations with innovative new initiatives, including Pure Michigan Business Connect, Community Ventures, and the revitalized“Pure Michigan” tourism campaign and Michigan Export programs.
Mike also previously served as President and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, Rochester, New York; Vice President, Emerging Business Sectors, MEDC; Senior Vice President and General Manager, Thomson Saginaw Ball Screw Company; and Assistant City Manager, Saginaw, Michigan.
Mike served on the Saginaw Valley State University Foundation Board, Chairman of the Michigan Strategic Fund Board, the City of Flint Michigan-Receivership Transition Advisory Board, the State Science and Technology Institute, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and the Michigan Venture Capital Association Board.
Awards & Recognition
He has received numerous awards and recognition including the 2014 Michigan Venture Capital Association Lifetime Achievement Award; 2012 Michigan Chronicle Legacy in Motion Newsmakers; Named by Crain’s Detroit Business and one of the 2010 “Most Powerful People”in Michigan, 2008 Saginaw Valley State University Outstanding Alumnus for the College of Business and Management; named by Crain's Detroit Business as one of the 2007 Newsmakers of the Year; and the 2005 Minett Distinguished Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Finney holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Saginaw Valley State University.
Virginia Haley has served at the helm of Visit Sarasota County (VSC) since 1999. VSC is an independent partnership organization serving all of Sarasota County and delivers an innovative $7 million tourism marketing campaign to benefit the community’s economy. Previously, Virginia was Director of Communications & Government Relations at Mote Marine Laboratory. Virginia came to Sarasota in 1989 to run the local office for Congressman Porter Goss. Prior to that time, she worked in Washington, D.C. in President Ronald Reagan’s administration as the Director of Scheduling, Security and Protocol for the Department of Health and Human Services and she worked on Capitol Hill for a number of years
Virginia currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board for the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program and serves on the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors as its Vice Chairman and as the Marketing Steering Council Chair. Virginia is a past Chair of the Florida Association of Destination Management Organizations. She also serves as the Immediate Past President for the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. Virginia is a leader with the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 community redevelopment effort.
A New York based food and travel photographer and founder of @CheatDayEats and @YourRoomService , Jessica is a content creator, social media/brand development strategist and digital storyteller. @CheatDayEats captures jaw dropping, drool worthy food from all over the world that Jessica has eaten and photographed herself! @YourRoomService focuses on highlighting the dining experience at hotels and resorts worldwide. In just a little over 4 years, Jessica he built a following of over 400,000 that reaches over 3 million people on a weekly basis through her organic feeds. In addition to photography, Jessica focuses on video content creation, especially as she enjoys being in front of the camera to share her experiences. Her audience gets a behind the scenes look and feel as if they are along with her for the culinary ride!
Sylvie Gallier Howard is Chief of Staff of theDepartment of Commerce. She assumed this position in January 2016 after servingas Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development duringthe Nutter Administration. In addition to supporting day-to-day operations, Ms.Gallier Howard’s responsibilities include communications and marketing,coordinating legislative activities, international relations, and rolling outnew programs. She has spearheaded several priority initiatives, such as thelaunch of Kiva City Philadelphia, a zero-interest micro-business loan program,and the City’s successful effort to become the first World Heritage City in theU.S.
Prior to joining government, Sylvie spent her entire career in the non-profit sector. For six years, Mrs. Gallier Howard was the Principal and Founder of Clementine Consulting, providing guidance to non-profits and social enterprises working in areas such as education, social justice,economic development and immigration. Mrs. Gallier Howard has also served as the Executive Director of two community-based non-profits in Philadelphia: The Northwest Fund and The Empowerment Group. At the Empowerment Group, Mrs.Gallier Howard started Philadelphia’s first bilingual Spanish-English entrepreneurship training program.
Mrs. Gallier Howard serves on the board of directorsof the Global Philadelphia Association and the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.She has a B.A. in International relations from Barnard College of Columbia University and an M.A. in Sociology from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Ecuador (a graduate school started by the United Nations Development Program to promote development in Latin America). Mrs. Gallier Howard is fluent in Spanish and French and is the mother of four boys – including twins:Demetrius, Bahari, Jai and Karim.
Since 1992, Charles Gauthier has been steering the DVBIA with vision and a commitment to the future of Downtown Vancouver.
Charles has guided the DVBIA to a legacy of accomplishments and prestigious honours. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba he has a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Manitoba.
Rebecca Gehman is DCI’s Director of Talent Attraction and co-author of “Talent Wars: What People Look for in Jobs and Locations.” She has spoken about talent attraction marketing at conferences for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Southern Economic Development Council, Northeast Economic Development Association, and more. Rebecca Gehman is also an Account Manager at DCI, and has played a pivotal role in content creation, media relations, marketing strategies and brand development for more than a dozen economic development organizations. Since joining DCI in 2012, Rebecca has had the opportunity to work with top place leaders, including three world leaders, two governors, and six mayors (and counting).
Prem Gill is Chief Executive Officer of Creative BC. The agency is designated by the Province of British Columbia to focus on uniting, sustaining and growing British Columbia’s dynamic and diverse creative sector including motion picture, music and sound recording, interactive and digital media, and magazine and book publishing.
Prem has been named one of Canada's 100 most powerful women, Vancouver Magazine’s “Power 50”, Community Catalyst by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and listed as one of The Globe and Mail’s 10 Women Who Matter in Film and TV. She brings more than 20 years of experience from the digital media and entertainment industries to her current role as CEO, where she is responsible for delivering a wide range of programs and services that will expand BC’s creative economy to reach its economic and creative potential both at home and globally.
Before Creative BC, Prem spent eight years with TELUS, most recently in the role of Director of Production & Original Programming. Her commitment to the advancement of BC’s creative economy can be seen through her achievements there, including the successful development and launch of the StoryHive program and TELUS’s Optik TV community channel.
For many years, Prem has championed Canadian creativity as a representative and spokesperson to media, industry and government at all levels. Previous roles and responsibilities have included government and regulatory affairs, independent media consultation, cross-platform marketing, communications, research, public affairs and multicultural programming.
Prem is currently Vice-Chair of the National Screen Institute and sits on the Board of Directors for Advantage BC and The Actors Fund of Canada. She is on the Advisory Board of the Women in View Festival, and was previously a board member of the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Brandom Gengelbach is an economic development professional with 15 years of diverse foreign and domestic experience in Nashville, Indianapolis, and Brisbane, Australia. Brandom joined the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce as Executive Vice President of Economic Development in 2016, overseeing business attraction and retention efforts. The Fort Worth Chamber is the largest chamber in the DFW market, with more than 2,000 member companies.
Bob Gregory is the Chief Planning and Public Space Officer for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, (DDP). As a member of the DDP’s executive leadership team, he is responsible for the Partnership’s planning/public space initiatives including the nationally recognized downtown Detroit placemaking activities including seven public spaces and the planning, programming and management of Beacon Park, a signature new downtown space created and opened in 2017 by DTE Energy. Bob led the DDP team for the creation of the Greater Downtown Transit Oriented Development Plan in connection with the newly opened M1 Rail streetcar system and the recently established downtown business improvement zone, (BIZ).
Bob also serves as the founding President of the Detroit 300 Conservancy, a DDP affiliate organization where he has been responsible for the development and ongoing management and programming of Campus Martius Park, the $20 + million dollars privately funded, centerpiece of Downtown Detroit. The internationally recognized and award winning Park/central Square opened in November 2004 attracting millions of visitors as well as spurring over $2 billion + in economic development. Bob has been the principal responsible for directing the planning, design, construction, operations, programming and fundraising for Campus Martius Park since its initial planning began in 2000. In 2010, Campus Martius Park was selected by the Urban Land Institute as the first-ever winner of the ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award, which was based on a national competition to recognize an outstanding example of a public open space that has catalyzed the transformation of the surrounding community. The American Planning Association (APA) also designated Campus Martius Park as one of 10 Great Public Spaces in America.
Bob is a veteran in the urban development and real estate field, including a 20-year career with General Motors as an executive in their real estate group leading a $250 million dollar internationally recognized revitalization of their former 500 acre Headquarters district in Detroit’s historic New Center commercial and residential neighborhood. In this capacity, Bob directed, through a number of private development companies, a wide range of complex developments including housing, office, commercial, retail, entertainment, infrastructure, public space/placemaking, financing, community and public relations. Additionally at GM, Bob directed their Technical Center Planning and Facilities planning activity, managed the construction and property management of 2 million + square feet of office developments across the U.S and led their national employee relocation organization. He has run his own real estate development consulting firm and also held a management position in the Michigan State Housing Development Authority where he led a successful 750 single family home rehabilitation/sale neighborhood program in Detroit.
Ray Hoyt joined the Tulsa Sports Commission in September of 2010 as the Executive Directorbut quickly assumed senior leadership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber as the Senior Vice President of both Visit Tulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission. Within his first year in this expanded role, Ray succeeded in raising over $3.5 million in private monies, under a campaign known as “VisitTulsa 1.0.” That campaign’s success led to VisitTulsa 2.0, in which investors “doubled-down” an additional $6.4 million for an event closing fund. In late 2014 Ray worked with the VisitTulsa and Tulsa Sports Commission Boards to consolidate into one Regional Tourism Board. Now President of Regional Tourism, Ray recently led the Board to secure $1.2 million in additional lodging tax annually through a change in a city ordinance.
Prior to his arrival in Tulsa, Rayserved as the Director of National Games for the National Senior Games Association, an organization with whom he had been associated since serving as inaugural Executive Director for the Tucson Sports Commission 1994-1997.
The convention and tourism leader, the Walt Disney Company, recognized Ray’s success in Tucson.Subsequently, he joined the Disney’s Wide World of Sports team in 1997 ultimately leading the event management team, which ran over 40 AAU National Championships, the USTA National Clay Court Championships, Disney’s Indy 200, the Walt Disney World Marathon, POP Warner Super Bowl Championships and more - totaling to over 200 separate events annually. Ray’s impact led to more profitable events as defined by higher per-athlete spending and increased room nights sold per event.
Ray graduated from Illinois State University, with a BS degree in Parks and Recreation Administration and is an active member of both the National Association of Sports Commissions and Destination Marketing Association International, among other organizations.
Away from the office, Ray enjoys golf, cycling, and spending time with his family. Ray lives with his wife Tricia and their two children, Riley and Regan; Ray’s elder daughter, Alyssa, resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband.
Mr. Hunden and his Chicago-based firm offer extensive experience in the economics of
placemaking, primarily via transformative real estate projects. He has provided economic
development, market and financial feasibility, impact, developer selection and planning
expertise for more than 500 projects and studies over the past 20+ years, totaling more
than $3.5 billion in developed real estate. The firm completes approximately 60
assignments per year with its 12-person professional staff. Hunden’s background in
economic, real estate and tourism development combine to make him a unique resource
for communities looking to develop their destinations and projects in a viable,
transformative and sustainable way.
Ethan Kent works to support Placemaking organizations, projects, and leadership around the world. During over 19 years at PPS, Ethan has traveled to more than 750 cities and 55 countries to advance the cause of Placemaking and public spaces.
Having worked on over 200 PPS projects, Ethan has led a broad spectrum of Placemaking efforts, providing comprehensive public engagement, user-analysis, planning and visioning for high profile public spaces on six continents. Utilizing lessons learned through his project work, Ethan regularly creates and conducts Placemaking training courses for professionals of various disciplines, from city planning staff in Vancouver, BC, to community development corporations in Detroit; from public housing developers in Sweden to traffic engineers in New Jersey. He has also trained hundreds of professionals across Australia and New Zealand, building the Placemaking movement there over the last decade.
Highlights have included: Times Square and Astor Place in New York; Congress Square in Portland, ME, Kennedy Plaza in Providence, RI; Pompey Square, Nassau, Bahamas; Garden Place in Hamilton, New Zealand; Sub Centro Las Condes in Santiago, Chile. He has also worked with some of the most high profile developments in the world to help maximize public space outcomes in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Parramatta and Sao Paulo.
Ethan studied sociology, environmental studies and economics as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. He explored local development issues in the context of globalization during a year of travel around the world as a participant in the International Honors Program. Ethan did his graduate work at Antioch University Seattle’s Center for Creative Change, in Environment and Community.
Chris Knight is the Global Commercial Director for fDi Intelligence. Chris has been working in the
field of foreign direct investment and advising governments for over 10 years. Chris is an expert in
the benchmarking of locations, analysing and interpreting FDI trends worldwide and how best to
market and promote your location.
Chris has worked with over 80 economic development organisations worldwide in all aspects of
foreign direct investment including: lead generation, event organisation and management, best
practice, investment promotion and location benchmarking propositions. Chris has extensive
experience working in global markets including Asia, Europe, North America, South America,
Africa and Middle East.
Previously Chris worked as a senior analyst for OCO Global in Belfast where he worked with
many different projects including economic development strategy and lead generation, with many
of the largest investment promotional agencies throughout the world.
Over the past few years, Chris has started to run training workshops on best practice in FDI.
These have been in Poland, Brazil, Johannesburg and UK.
Global FDI trends on inward and outward investment projects
Impact of Brexit and current world affairs on FDI
How locations can attract international inward investment and strengthen their brand
Best practices in lead generation, aftercare and account management
How best to market your location
Plotting big data against properties to see the competitiveness of a region
Key Industry Events
IEDC, WAIPA, EDCO and AIM Congress.
Javier is currently the Design and Planning Director at Capital Natural, an investment management firm with a strategic focus on real estate and public space infrastructure development. The firm currently operates $500 million worth of funds in Monterrey, Mexico, and is the manager of Arboleda, a mixed-use development of 3.2M sf, with 700+ dwelling units, retail and office space in the heart of San Pedro, a mature suburb within the Monterrey metropolitan area.
Javier holds a Bachelor in Architecture from Monterrey Tech and a Masters in City Planning from MIT. Previous work includes architecture firms Snohetta (NYC), Ciudad Emergente (Chile), and Barco Estudio (Monterrey).
Throughout her entire career to date, Elizabeth Linder has never held a position with an existing job description. She is currently Executive Director of Global Communications & External Affairs at Beautiful Destinations, the creative agency behind some of the world’s most innovative travel marketing, where she is spearheading the company’s understanding of digital diplomacy as it applies to the travel sector.
Elizabeth launched her career at Google, spliting her time between the iconoc Googleplex in Mountain View, California, and YouTube’s original headquarters in San Bruno. In 2008, Facebook recruited Elizabeth to join its small but growing international communications team. At the time, the company had no policy or communications representative outside of the United States. In 2011, she moved to London to found and build Facebook’s Politics & Government division for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. Often referred to as Facebook’s “first secretary of state”, Elizabeth advised heads of state, royal households, government officials, politicians, diplomats, think tanks, journalists, and civil society leaders across more than forty countries. By the time she left Facebook in 2016 after spending eight years as a public spokeswoman for the company, she had been at Facebook longer than 99.2% of employees.
Elizabeth is the Founder of the Conversational Century, an advisory movement dedicated to translating the most transformative issues our societies are grappling with between vastly different worlds: digital and analogue, tech hubs and national capitals, corporate and think tank, expert and amateur. She is a Senior Consulting Fellow at Chatham House in London, Chair of the Kinross House Meetings in Scotland, and regular commentator for the BBC, Sky, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Elizabeth graduated from Princeton University with her degree in French and Italian, specializing in nineteenth-century metropolitan development. She holds a Distinction in the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Exam Levels II and III and regularly leads fine wine dinners at Berry Brothers & Rudd, London’s oldest wine merchant. A California native, she holds an Exceptional Talent Visa for the tech sector granted by the British Government.
Jason is a research, communications and reputation strategist with 15 years global experience providing strategic council to public, private and non-profit clients regarding their reputation strategies, competitive positioning, stakeholder engagement, marketing and communications. Jason consults with clients on their reputation measurement and evaluation programs, and how they can optimize their marketing and communications programming for the greatest reputational impact.
Mary Ann Mahoney, a Colorado native and has lived in Boulder area since 1973. With the experience of growing up in the front range of Colorado, her perspective of growth, environment, and respect for a healthy economy are elements she believes can be kept in check.
The unique cultural environment, the diversity of thought, the surrounding foothills and climate all contribute to keeping Mary Ann committed to Boulder and Colorado tourism.
She has been the executive director now CEO of the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau since 2001 and works with a Board of Directors and 11staff to implement the strategic plan, destination management and marketing and other community initiatives.
Mary Ann has worked in the hospitality her entire career including a short stint in the restaurant industry and many years in the hotel industry. She has served on the Chamber Board, the Downtown Management BID, the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Orgs, the Tourism Industry Assoc of Colorado, and Boulder County Arts Alliance.
Oliver is an expert in designing quantitative research to identify innovations in brand strategy. He has worked with over 40 DMOs to measure brand performance and map the loyalty cycle. At Twenty31 he leads the brand assessment practice including for clients Dubai Tourism, Southeastern Ontario Tourism and PromPeru.
Oliver was formerly a partner with global reputation and sustainability firm GlobeScan where he co-led the thought leadership practice. Oliver has served as the Director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association's Strategic Intelligence Centre. In addition to co-managing the Centre, Oliver was a frequent panellist on CNBC Asia’s morning business programme. While a planner at Destination Canada he led the global brand insights research.
Born and raised in New York City, Daniella is a fast-talker who enjoys navigating international cities with the same proficiency as she does the NYC Subway. Her professional and personal experiences can be drilled down to two words: Digital Traveler. Daniella began her career in destination marketing by managing the North American marketing and sales activities for a portfolio of international destinations, hotels and convention centres.
Daniella directs digital strategy and tactical marketing programs for DCI’s destination clients. She has grown DCI’s digital influencer database to include more than 350 influencers and travel bloggers, and has developed a rigorous qualification process for vetting new influencers and negotiates influencer marketing contracts on behalf of the company’s destination clients. Prior to joining DCI, Daniella worked for the digital brand strategy consulting firm, L2inc, where she conducted digital strategy for consumer and luxury brands, invaluable experience that she has been able to transfer to destination clients.
Daniella earned her MBA in marketing and brand strategy from New York University Stern School of Business, and vows to continue to plug this in her bio until she’s finished paying off her graduate loans in 2036.
Andrew O’Connor has a decade of digital marketing experience, and currently serves as a content marketing leader for Destination DC. He manages the Adrian Award-winning website washington.org, social media strategy, publications and advertising copywriting for the organization. He specializes in developing strategies that ensure DC grows its prominence as a top travel destination. Andrew has called Washington, DC home for 11 years; his prior experience includes serving in a variety of marketing roles at associations and tech companies, including LivingSocial.
Steven Pedigo Director, NYU Schack Institute Urban Lab & Director, Creative Class Group
Steven Pedigo is the director of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Urban Lab, an applied research center examining the intersection of real estate, cities and urban development, and a clinical assistant professor of economic development at the NYU School of Professional Studies. In addition to his role at NYU, Steven is the director of research for the Creative Class Group. As an expert and strategist in economic development, regional cooperation and placemaking, Steven has advised an array of cities, Fortune 500 companies and major media outlets across the globe. His city and urban development clients represent communities of all sizes and geographies: New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Mexico City and many others. His corporate clients include: BMW, Art Basel, Converse, Starwood, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, Kraft and others. Steven holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate degrees from the H. John Heinz III School for Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Larissa Perdomo has been head of the Uruguay Country Brand team since June 2014. She has been Image and Communications Manager at the Uruguayan investment and export promotion agency (Uruguay XXI) since 2009, contributing to the creation and management of the Uruguayan country brand project, and coordinating this activity from Uruguay XXI with the Inter-ministerial Advising Committee for Foreign Trade.
Larissa has a degree in Communication Sciences from Universidad de la República, Uruguay. She has specialized in corporate communications, developing press campaigns and publicrelations and acting as a consultant to several companies and organizations for more than 15 years. She has a post gradúate degree in culture management and public policie s from“Universitat de Barcelona”,Spain; and has specialized in social media and marketresearchwithintheMaster’sdegree in Communication and Media Receptionat“ Universidad Católica del Uruguay”. Larissa participates in the Endeavor´s Mentoring programme at IEEM Business School at the “Universidad de Montevideo” and has achieveda Program for Management Development (PMD) at the ISEDE Business School of “Universidad Católica del Uruguay”.
In recent years she has taken part in Country Brand international forums and workshops with specialists in NationBranding. She coordiantes the Jeremy Hildreth consultancy for “Redibero Region Image” Project (Ibero-American Network of Trade Promotion Organizations) within the framework of IDB Regional Public Goods programme.
Larissa has worked as a professor of corporate communications and public relations in the Uruguayan Association of Marketing Executives (ADM) and has trainedmanyexecutivesfromcompanies and organizations in their relationship with the media. She also lectures on country branding for the Tourism degree program at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay.
Before joining Uruguay XXI, Larissa was an independent consultant and has provided communication consultancy services including, but not limited to, the Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce and Services, IBM, STORAENSO, BIMBO, FONDATION FORGE, BBVA, ENDEAVOR, and PNUD.
Hugh Riley is the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism
Organization (CTO), a capacity in which has served since 2008.
He oversees the CTO’s operations in Barbados, North America, the UK and Europe and leads the organization’s initiatives to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm-weather destination.
Mr. Riley joined the staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization in New York City in 2002 as director of marketing, after having worked in a number of senior tourism positions in the U.S, Canada and the Caribbean over a period of twenty years.
He got his start in marketing communications with McCann-Erickson Advertising and later in sales management for radio stations. He is a BBC trained broadcaster and worked as an on-air radio personality and interviewer. He earned a communications degree at Thomas Edison State University and studied tourism management at the University Of Surrey.
He is a frequent speaker on travel and tourism at regional and international conferences and is widely quoted in industry publications.
Adam Sacks is the founder and President of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company dedicated to quantitatively-based consulting to the travel sector. Over the past twenty-two years, Adam has worked with hundreds of destinations, industry associations, and companies around the world in the areas of opportunity and risk assessments, policy analysis, and economic impact.
Adam’s work has provided the foundation for billions of dollars in capital investment decisions by hotel companies, developers, and investors. Destination marketing organizations around the world rely on Tourism Economics data and scenario models to inform global marketing investment allocations.
Adam also supports trade associations in the aviation, hotel, and broader travel arena with forecasts widely considered to be an industry standard. And by examining the economic merits of travel facilitation, taxation, and tourism promotion initiatives, Adam’s work has influenced local, regional, and national government policies.
He is an authority on measuring the economic impact of visitor activity and has analyzed the impacts of cruising, gaming, timeshare, hotels, new attractions and destination marketing.
Adam regularly presents to corporate strategic planning teams on the threats and opportunities facing their businesses and is a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Travel & Tourism Advisory Board.
Drew Scheberle supports Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce volunteer executives who work hard to improve short and long-term talent, regional mobility, and to advocate at the federal, state and regional levels for policies which will improve employment, economic diversification, and a predictable regulatory climate. In short, we are working with a lot of partners to build the Austin region we all want to live in.
Laura benefits from a diverse portfolio of expertise in marketing communications and has a proven track record of 10+ years leading creative and design based teams/projects.
As Director, Business Development at Entro, her focus is on ensuring the organization is poised for continued growth as well as shaping the international portfolio of work across key sectors such as cultural, transportation, corporate, civic, and commercial real estate. Prior to joining Entro, Laura was Managing Director at Crescent, a communications design firm serving the non-profit sector.
Laura holds an Honours BAA and certificate in Design Management from Ryerson University. She earned her RGD designation in 2011 presenting a rich portfolio of work in identity, print communication, website and app design and development. She has participated in mentorship programs through the Women in Leadership network and was on the Advisory committee for the School of Media Studies at Humber College, participating most recently in the review and endorsement of the proposed Bachelor of Design and Certificate in User Experience Design programs. Laura also sits on the Board of Directors and PR Committee for RGD and the Board of Directors for the Society for Marketing Professional Services Ontario chapter.
Rhett Skelton, Executive Vice President of Skylight Intelligence, is an evaluation and marketing analytics specialist with more than 16 years of experience in conducting evaluations for leading organizations. He has conducted international primary research, as well as developed brand performance and risk-tracking mechanisms for tourism entities and other multinational organizations. He specializes in integrating open-source data with visitor exit surveys and other client-provided data to analyze tourism results.
Don Skeoch has beenthe Chief Marketing Officer for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism), the City of Los Angeles’ official tourism marketing organization, since 2011. He is responsible for marketing and promoting Los Angeles as the premier destination for leisure travel and meetings & conventions to both the domestic and international consumer and travel trade.
Renowned both nationally and internationally as a global brand marketer, Skeoch leads L.A. Tourism’s global brand strategy, market-growth and innovation initiatives, as well as the organization’s global digital and communicationsefforts. He oversees the activities of L.A. Tourism’s international marketing offices in London, Sydney, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu and representation in Japan, Germany, France, South Korea, Scandinavia, India and the Middle East. He is a strong believer in growing talent and empowering a team.
Previously, Skeoch served in the dual role of Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the California Academy of Sciences – San Francisco’s largest cultural attraction. Other roles in his extensive marketing career include Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Universal Studios Hollywoodand Senior Vice President of International Marketing for Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts. He established his marketing credentials by quicklyrising to a marketing leadership role at Pepsi-Cola.
Skeoch has been active in the tourism industry for more than a decade previously serving as Executive Board member of the San Francisco Travel Association and currently as Committee Chair of Visit California, BrandUSA CMO Roundtable and IGLTA Board of Directors.
He holds an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and an honors degree from Brown University with an emphasis in economics and organizational management.He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
In 2017, Los Angeles welcomed a record 48.3 million visitors, making it one of the most visited destinations in America.
Kristian’s role at the New Orleans Visitor & Convention Bureau enables him to focus on the strategic direction and messaging of the New Orleans tourism industry. He creates and oversees the implementation of public relations and communications strategies to brand New Orleans as the nation's premier business and leisure destination and is responsible for positioning the NOCVB as one of the top CVBs in the country. He supports the president and CEO as a spokesperson for the tourism industry on all levels, supervises the day-to-day operations and management of the communications staff and manage activities of outside CVB partners.
Prior to joining the NOCVB I 2015, Kristian was with the New Orleans-based Peter A. Mayer Advertising, Louisiana's largest full-service advertising, public relations and marketing agency, He and his team serviced approximately 20 accounts per month ranging all categories including Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, GE Capital, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana, Hancock/Whitney Bank, The National World War II Museum and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, among others.
He has held numerous leadership positions in the city and region, including serving on the Host Committee for Super Bowl XLVII, serving on the city's team of BP oil spill communications specialists, and working with key city and state officials on Louisiana's recovery efforts post-Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Sonnier began his career as a public relations manager at the Resort at Squaw Creek in California.
Tourism is a $6.47 billion industry for New Orleans, employing more than 80,000 people and attracting 9.28 million visitors annually.
Günter is an insightful strategist with significant experience in place branding. Holding a B.Sc. in Psychology, his thinking about cities and countries is heavily influenced by the collective unconscious. Günter treats places as stories. He developed a unique, narrative-based brand strategy approach, which draws parallels between branding and mythology, dreams, and stories. As the lead strategist, he developed change strategies, design techniques, and effective communications tactics for various places around the world.
Shauna Stewart has served as CEO of Experience Olympia and Beyond, for two years. She has spent over a decade in tourism and destination marketing, promoting communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Shauna earned her Business Administration & Marketing degree from Western Washington University, a Master’s in Public Administration from The EverGreen State College, and was recently recognized as a 40 Under 40 Honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal. She lives in Olympia with her husband and two children and refers to this season in life as beautiful chaos.
Daniel Valverde Bagnarello has wrought his career in marketing for over 20 years. He holds both a Master in Digital Marketing and a Master in Management from IE Business School, a seat in the British School of Costa Rica's Advisor Committee and also one in the Latin American Country Brands Forum.
Although he started in advertising, Daniel's career path has led him over the years from a copywriter’s desk at a BBDO network agency, to the commercial director's seat in one of the most successful company holdings in the Central American region devoted to global trade. Along the way he has skilled in the management of multinational marketing teams praising that success in his field lays on two major pillars: The first, embracing data as the main source to spark creative initiatives. And the second, committing to talent development as a KPI.
Currently, Daniel is the Country Brand Director behind "essential COSTA RICA", the country brand that showed the greatest annual growth in America according to the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking 2017/2018. He also leads the country brand's Technical Unit that comprises representatives from Procomer (Costa Rica's TPA), CINDE (IPA), ICT (Tourism Bureau), COMEX (International Trade Bureau) and Costa Rica's Chancellery (Foreign Affairs Bureau).
Mitch Whitten is vice president of marketing at Visit Fort Worth, responsible for brand, strategy and tourism. Fort Worth, 16th largest city in the nation, was named a top destination to watch by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017. His previous experience includes marketing and communications leadership at SMU, a private university in Dallas, and retailer Pier 1 Imports.
RJ Wolney is Vice President of Investment & Finance at Bedrock, where he is responsible for managing all investment and finance aspects of current and prospective real estate projects. Detroit-based Bedrock is a full-service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, leasing, financing, developing and managing commercial and residential space. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested more than $3.5 billion in acquiring and developing more than 100 properties in downtown Detroit and Cleveland totaling more than 16 million square feet.
RJ leads evaluation of real estate investment opportunities including, market and strategic analysis, project underwriting, financial due diligence and capital structure execution. He is responsible for managing investment and acquisition analysis, financing execution, and new development pursuit through coordination with external resources and Bedrock’s vertically-integrated project teams. A member of the Quicken Loans Family of Companies for more than five years, RJ has been closely involved with acquisitions, development and community efforts in Detroit, as well as other Midwestern cities and has been at the forefront of the Family of Companies’ efforts to spur economic development through transformational urban investment. RJ supported a successful statewide legislative effort to deliver a new real estate development Tax Increment Financing incentive tool to unlock $5 billion of investment across the state of Michigan. He is now applying that newly-created tool, known as MIthrive, to four Bedrock developments representing over 2 million square feet and $2.14 billion of investment. Demonstrated success delivering results in complex private-public partnerships established RJ as a key member of Detroit’s Amazon HQ2 proposal team including representatives from the City of Detroit, Wayne County, Detroit Regional Chamber, State of Michigan, Windsor Ontario and many others.
RJ has over 15 years of experience working with publicly and privately-held businesses in various areas of finance including mergers and acquisitions, equity capital raising, and debt financing. Previously, RJ worked in the corporate finance department of William Blair & Company, a global investment banking firm based in Chicago but moved back to the Detroit area with his wife and son in 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. RJ is also a graduate of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Larson Leadership Program, which is a curriculum-based program designed to train and mentor the next generation of real estate and land use leaders in Michigan.
After working for several years in a Vancouver chartered accounting firm, Robert first joined Creative BC when it was BC Film + Media. At that time, he became part of the organization's newly forming tax credit team.
Now Creative BC's Vice President, Robert markets British Columbia internationally as a destination of choice for projects and companies seeking a world class creative industries centre in which to do business. In his role, he leads the administration of Creative BC's tax credit and granting programs, balancing attraction of international business with support for BC's domestic content creators.
During his tenure with the organization, Robert has become the expert on motion picture tax credits, originally helping to launch the BC film and television tax credit program in 1998. He went on to play an integral role in the evolution of British Columbia’s motion picture industry tax policy.
EmrahYucel is a world-renown branding expert and designer based in Los Angeles, USA. Through his two highly-decorated companies, Iconisus and I Mean It Creative; he offers motion picture advertising and destination branding services, respectively.
Holding a Master's degree in Art, Design, and Architecture, Yucel was selected the “Graphic Designer of the Year" at the age of 21. His eye-catching designs for famous Broadway plays led him to become one of the most sought-after creatives in Hollywood. The list of his campaigns for famous Hollywood projects includes, but not limited to: Kill Bill, Frida, Avatar, American Horror Story, Fifty Shades of Gray among others.
In 2001, EmrahYucel co-founded Iconisus, an agency providing visual design, advertising, and branding services to major Hollywood studios and TV networks.
In 2008, he founded I Mean It Creative, an independent consultancy, specializing in advertising, strategic brand consulting, and destination branding. Believing that “Great brands are exceptional storytellers, and great branding is exceptional storytelling,” Yucel’s story-based approach to destination branding became a quick hit. He created the ‘Turkey: Home’ campaign for the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, which has been running since 2013. He also created the destination brand campaigns for the City of Gaziantep and the City of Izmir. Emrah and his team also delivered destination branding projects all around the world such as Big Island in Hawaii, Leiki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, Kenya Free Trade Zone.
Among the many prestigious awards Yucel received are; Key-Art Awards, PromaxBDA Awards, Webby Award, Sunset Billboard Award. In 2009, he and his team were awarded the "Designer of the Year" by International Design Awards.
Yucel is a highly sought-after speaker, who recently gave a keynote speech at United Nations WIPO in Geneva Switzerland in the Intellectual Property Day.
Yucel currently resides in Los Angeles.