While we are balancing the Impacts of COVID-19, these types of discussions and info-sharing allow an opportunity for longer range planning that may support the recovery needed in many cities and communities.
It was my ﬁrst time at this conference, and I really, really enjoyed it. The speakers were excellent - I took away some really great ideas and insights
Originally from Newark, NJ, Karin is a 34-year veteran in the hospitality and tourism industry. Ms. Aaron began her career at Continental and United Airlines before spending the next 15 years in hotel management at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Regency and The Ritz Carlton Hotel brand. In 2007 she was hired as National Sales Manager for Visit Loudoun (Virginia) leading the Sports Tourism market before moving on as Director of Sales for Visit Montgomery (Maryland) driving tourism initiatives in convention sales, sports tourism and destination marketing.
Karin returned to Newark in 2016 as President & CEO of the Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau leading a staff of 14 and several volunteers. Under her leadership, Karin opened the City’s first Visitor Information Center to include creating Newark branded merchandise and developing partnerships with local entrepreneurs to carry locally made products. In addition, she launched Newark’s first Official Visitor guide, developed a membership program for restaurant and attractions and developed Newark’s’ first scholarship program for students studying Hospitality and Tourism management. Through her leadership, Karin positioned Newark as the “next best kept secret” to include numerous mentions in several trade magazines, including the front cover of “Three Perfect Days-Newark”, United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine, March, 2019.
Jerad Bachar has close to thirty years of tourism and economic development experience in an array of countries and business environments. He has worked in both developed and emerging markets in the areas of destination branding and marketing, economic development and diversification, and workforce development.
Jerad began his tourism development career at VisitPITTSBURGH in 2004. In 2008, he became Director of Business Events for the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing where he led the development of the city’s strategy for business, sports, and leisure events. In 2015, Jerad became the Executive Director of Tourism for the Bahrain Economic Development Board where he was responsible for investment promotion for the sector.
Jerad returned to Pittsburgh in January 2019 as the Executive Vice President of VisitPITTSBURGH. In this role, he leads the teams responsible for convention development, sports events, market research, partnerships, visitor services, and convention services.
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.
Clare’s interest in the complex area of place branding was sparked whilst working on a series of Nation Branding Masterclass events, led by Simon Anholt, one of the first thought-leaders to speak about and promote the concept of place branding. Having listened to Simon address audiences in Accra, Delhi, Dubai, London and Singapore on how policy, governance, and symbolic actions need to combine with branding and marketing to create a competitive identity and drive economic growth, she continued to follow the growth in this sector. As Global Conference Director for The International Herald Tribune, now the New York Times, Clare also saw growth in advertising and storytelling around tourism and investment promotion strategy. Clare launched the first City Nation Place Global conference in London in 2015: CityNationPlace.com has been steadily building followers and in 2017, she launched the first City Nation Place Americas conference, in 2018 City Nation Place Asia Pacific took place in Singapore, and 2019 has seen the first City Nation Place UK, specifically for towns, cities and regions across the UK, and the launch of the first City Nation Place LatAm & Caribbean event. Clare manages the small team at City Nation Place alongside providing event consultancy and management for a number of clients in the publishing and trade association sector, including running the World Media Awards for the World Media Group and event consultancy for the UK Association for Online Publishers.
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.
David Ferreira is the City of Mississauga’s Manager of City Marketing and Planning, and led the City’s rebranding project in 2013. Along with brand promotion and reputation management, David also holds responsibilities for market research, citizen engagement, customer service and business planning.
He holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an Undergraduate Degree from the University of Toronto. David is passionate about developing authentic, research driven marketing campaigns, storytelling and place branding.
In her role as Travel & Economic Development sector leader, Sara Garibaldi brings 15 years’ experience gathered at the top PR agencies leading integrated marketing communications campaigns across diverse industries including travel & hospitality (destinations, airlines & hotels), spirits & beverages, financial services, retail & apparel, consumer packaged goods and home & lifestyle clients.
She’s a brand marketer at heart with rich experience in travel & hospitality. She currently oversees a group of talented travel & economic development communications specialists who provide support to Discover Puerto Rico, Invest Puerto Rico, Hertz/dollar/Thrifty, Outdoorsy, San Francisco Travel, Sandals & Beaches Resorts and Choice Hotels, among other leading travel brands. Her former client roster is expansive, spanning airlines and tourism boards. She led the team that drove the successful #CoverTheProgress campaign for Puerto Rico as the destination approached the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria.
Sara completed her MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business in Marketing & Finance. In addition to receiving numerous Adrian Awards from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for her tourism campaigns, in 2014, she was named one of PR Week's "Top 40 under 40" and won PR Week's 2013 Campaign of the Year. Sara is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and is fluent in Spanish.
Karyn Gruenberg is senior vice president, partner marketing & strategic alliances at Brand USA, the public-private partnership whose mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend and market share in order to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.
As president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, Jeff Guaracino is charged with building the region’s image, driving visitation and boosting the economy. In 2018, the Greater Philadelphia region welcomed 45 million people. These visitors injected $7.6 billion into our economy, supported 103,800 jobs and generated $980 million instate and local tax—leading to $12.2 billion in economic impact.
Amahl Hazelton joined Moment Factory in 2009, and now heads Strategy and Development for the multimedia studio’s ‘Cities’ division. His experience in Digital Placemaking ranges from experiential place promotion activations for Tourism bureaus to permanent visitor attractions and storytelling activations on flagship civic facades ranging from Vancouver’s iconic Canada Place Convention Centre to the National Arts Centre and federal Parliament in Ottawa.
A graduate of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning with a specialization in Place Branding & Competitive Identity, Amahl has led the development of groundbreaking media architecture installations that celebrate local, regional and national identity from LAX and Changi airports to iconic civil infrastructure such as the Interactive Illumination of Montreal’s monumental Jacques Cartier Bridge--which earned the Smart Cities Grand Prize at SXSW 2018.
Prior to joining Moment Factory, Amahl was a client of the studio during his years as Lead Project Manager of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles arts and culture district and its renowned ‘Identity Lighting Plan’--a 250M$ cultural infrastructure program that aimed to reinforce the city’s positioning as a UNESCO World City of Design by providing an urban Plug-and-PlayGround for festivals and a skyline-scaled canvas for local and international artists to express their creativity.
Victor Hoskins joined the Fairfax County (Va.) Economic Development Authority as president and CEO on August 5, 2019. Previously, he was the director of Arlington (Va.) Economic Development since 2015. In that role he is most known for leading the team that successfully attracted Amazon HQ2 to Arlington County, a deal that will bring between 25,000 and 37,850 Amazon jobs to Arlington, stimulate creation of another 75,000 jobs in the Washington region, and generate between $3.2 and $4.8 billion in revenue for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Under Mr. Hoskins’ leadership, Arlington County also successfully implemented an Innovation Strategy that moved it toward technology and private-sector commercialization. Other successes in Arlington include Nestlé, Grant Thornton, Lidl, MasterCard, Deloitte, PBS and Opower-Oracle.
Previously, Mr. Hoskins worked in private real estate investment on Wall Street. He also served as deputy mayor of economic development for the District of Columbia, during which time he led the turnaround of the District’s economy with projects such as The Wharf and City Center. During his career, his work has resulted in almost 375,000 jobs, and he has led the teams that negotiated more than 700 major business deals resulting in billions of dollars in private investment.
Since he arrived at the FCEDA, Hoskins has received the 2019 Ronald Kirby Award for Collaborative Leadership from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Virginia Business magazine named him one of the “100 people to meet in 2020,” and the Washington Business Journal included him in its “Power 100 class of 2019.” Previously, the Washington Business Journal recognized him for his role in securing the Amazon and Nestle deals, and the D.C. Building Industry Association recognized him in 2014 and 2013 for leadership in economic development.
He holds a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree with honors from Dartmouth College.
Colette M. Jones is the Chief Marketing Officer for Destination Cleveland. In this role, she is responsible for working with her amazing team to promote Cleveland as a visitor destination and to support all areas of Destination Cleveland’s work. She oversees brand strategy, market research, media relations, digital marketing and integrated marketing.
In this role Jones led the development and launch of the Cleveland visitor brand along with the launch of the #ThisisCLE local grassroots marketing efforts. In addition, she oversaw the marketing and communications efforts for the Cleveland 2016 Republican National Convention Host Committee. Since joining Destination Cleveland in 2012, not only has visitation increased, but resident recommendation of Cleveland as a place to visit has more than doubled.
Prior to her role at Destination Cleveland, Jones worked for more than 20 years in brand management and sales working for companies such as KeyBank N.A., ConAgra Foods, Inc. and the Wm. Wrigley Jr., Co. Jones is a Marshall Memorial Fellow alumna, holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Miami University in Oxford, OH.
Clare has been a member of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation team since 2010 – an organization tasked with the revitalization of Calgary’s Rivers District. Together with her team, they have successfully led the rebranding of Calgary's East Village, a 49 acre brownfield site that has attracted more than $3 Billion in private investment, transforming the area into one of the City's most vibrant neighbourhoods.
As VP of Marketing and Communications, Clare leads the corporate communications and public engagement strategies. In addition to the ongoing effort in transforming East Village, she oversees strategic communications in the delivery of the broader Rivers District Master Plan, a 20-year master plan for Calgary’s emerging Culture and Entertainment District, including project communications for the BMO Convention Centre Expansion, 17th Avenue Extension, and new Event Centre.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Gloria is responsible for the development, management and evolution of Destination Canada's marketing and communications strategy. Gloria works with cross-functional teams to design and develop global marketing strategies that will result in more travellers choosing Canada for their next trip. A proud storyteller for Canada, Gloria’s 20+ years of experience in marketing and communications includes working in tourism, the arts and journalism.
Over the past two decades, Sean Malone has earned a reputation as an entrepreneurial, mission-driven nonprofit CEO. With a diverse background, Sean brings an integrative approach to his work and is committed to the impact he can help his organization achieve. His mission-fit focus leads to fiscal and institutional health, vibrant programs that serve, and the accomplishment of ambitious goals.
Since his move to Raleigh, Sean has led the Conservancy’s transition from a volunteer-run start-up organization to an effective and professional nonprofit – with a bold vision to build a park on par with the greatest urban parks. Working closely with board and community leaders and a growing staff team, Sean has led the Conservancy to the successful completion of the capital campaign for the planning phase of the park. In total, donors gave over $12.5 million toward the goal of $8 million, with gifts ranging from $1 to $1 million. At the same time that they exceeded goals for the current campaign, Sean and the board/staff team were effectively setting the stage for the next capital campaign, which is currently in its “quiet phase.”
Sean has a Masters in Business from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a BFA in Theatre from the University of Southern California. He was honored to be selected as one of “the 100 top arts/cultural leaders in America and abroad” invited to participate in the inaugural Chief Executive Program through National Arts Strategies, and has earned post-professional certificates from executive programs at the Schools of Business at Harvard University, University of Michigan, and University of Texas–Austin. Aside from his work, Sean enjoys spending too many hours baking bread, listening to NPR podcasts, and pretending that, one day soon, he’ll run his second marathon.
Jeff Miraglia is the architect of the Greater Palm Springs “Find your oasis” brand. He is responsible for expanding the reach of this Southern California destination through innovative and emotional creative strategies and storytelling. By effectively incorporating the brand story for all Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) entities, he ensures continuity of message. His work aims to strengthen and express the goals of the Greater Palm Springs CVB and the entire nine-city destination.
Steven Pedigo is an expert in economic and urban development, city strategy and management, and placemaking. Steven has advised and collaborated with more than 50 cities, universities, developers, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies across the globe to build more creative, innovative, and inclusive communities.
Steven is the director of the LBJ Urban Lab Initiative and professor of practice at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a vice president for strategy at Resonance Consultancy. Steven was a clinical professor at the NYU Schack Institute Real Estate.
Steven’s city clients include New York, Jerusalem, Vancouver, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Brisbane, the Yukon, Tulsa, Austin, Portland, Newark, San Diego-Tijuana, Miami, Sao Paulo, Monterrey, Mexico City, and many others. His corporate clients include BMW, Converse, Starwood Hotels, Philips, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Pinewood Studios, Zappos, EDENS, Kraft, among 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.
Bob Ross is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication for the Greater Topeka Partnership.
Before joining the Partnership, Bob had a successful career in corporate retail that spanned 20 years. He served in a variety of leadership roles within Payless ShoeSource and Academy Sports and Outdoors. During that tenure he lead business operations for Payless ShoeSource in their international territories. Overseeing merchandising and marketing strategies for Israel, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. Notably his team reversed a negative trend in the Israeli market which enabled the franchise to begin opening new stores and gain greater market share.
Ross has brought his corporate retail background to Topeka, Kansas. In his tenure with the Greater Topeka Partnership he is taking on the challenge of marketing the city as a destination for site selectors, tourists, and those seeking to relocate for work. His organisation has successfully lead a transformation of their downtown core. Over the last five years $100M in new investment has reshaped the historic district and brought new life to the community. This revitalisation allowed Ross and his team to launch the Choose Topeka campaign, which positions the city as a vibrant place for people looking to live, work and play. This campaign went viral in December of 2019 garnering over 5M views globally across media outlets ranging from the New York Times, Univision, and the BBC.
Will Seccombe is President of Connect Travel, a strategic marketing business that connects destination marketers with the products, services, people and ideas that help them thrive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace. Connect Travel hosts and produces travel industry events including Connect Travel Marketplace, Connect Tour, the Marketing Leadership Summit, the eTourism Summit, the Connect THRIVE Summit, the RTO Summits and Active America China.
Prior to joining the tourism marketing company in May 2017, Seccombe served four years as President and Chief Executive Officer for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s destination marketing organization. Will joined VISIT FLORIDA in March 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer. International and out-of-state visitors to the Sunshine State increased from 80 million in 2009 to over 112 million in 2016, with an associated annual increase in visitor spending of over $30 billion.
Will’s career began as regional sales manager with Vail Associates in 1989. He moved on to Loveland Ski Areas in 1992 as director of marketing, vice president of marketing for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1995 and vice president and chief operating officer with PRACO, LTD in 1999. In 2004, Seccombe founded Revolution Communications, LLC, a digital travel marketing firm.
Mr. Seccombe was named one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing by HSMAI, Top 50 Global Marketers in Travel by Skift and the 2014 Hospitality Legend of the Year by the South Florida HSMAI.
Gregg Wassmansdorf is a Senior Managing Director in Newmark Knight Frank’s Global Corporate Services division and shares responsibility for sales, platform development, and client service delivery at NKF Global Strategy, the company’s corporate consulting practice.
In his management consulting capacity, he works with his corporate clients to address challenges related to global portfolio strategy,business location strategy and site selection, supply chain planning, economic incentive negotiation and procurement, workplace strategy, and capital project implementation. His experience spans the asset mix found within most large companies: head offices, shared services hubs, call centers, data centers,manufacturing plants, and distribution facilities.
Mr. Wassmansdorf also utilizes his location strategy and site selection consulting experience to support senior and lower levels of government with economic development strategy, investment attraction initiatives, and regional & community competitiveness assessments. He is regularly called upon by investment promotion and economic development agencies for his expert opinions.
Gregg is a Canadian and U.S. citizen, a corporate real estate specialist, a LEED accredited professional in sustainability, a cross-border FDI business expert and regular columnist for fDi Magazine (a Financial Times publication), and is a member of the Site Selectors Guild, an association of the world’s top corporate site selection professionals, for which he is also a member of the Board of Directors.
Andrew currently serves as Executive Vice President, Destination Development at Tourism Toronto, where he has worked for 14 years, previously as EVP and Chief Marketing Officer and earlier as Vice President, Communications. In his new role, Andrew leads planning and advocacy for the visitor economy in Toronto, seeking new ways to elevate the visitor experience and forge stronger connections among the businesses of the visitor economy, other business sectors and government partners.
Barry White has nearly 30 years of leadership in the travel and tourism industry, guiding destination brand research and implementation strategies in Augusta, GA, and most recently, spearheading Chattanooga’s first-ever community branding efforts.
As Chattanooga Tourism Co. president and CEO, White collaborated with community stakeholders, investors and customers to develop and implement the organization’s first strategic multi-year plan. A champion for product and destination development, Barry uses innovative methods to strengthen community brands through place creation and by identifying growth opportunities for sustainable success.
Prior to Chattanooga, White spent 24 years as the Augusta CVB president and CEO, leading the transition from a public entity to private; increasing hotel revenues; initiating and securing funding for a $48 million convention center expansion and a $1.5 million wayfinding/beautification project; and developing a master tourism plan.
Barry has been recognized with the Georgia Governor’s Award for Creative Excellence and Southeast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Award and serves in a leadership role with Destinations International and previously, the U.S. Travel Association.