You’ve created a truly unique platform that allows us to holistically address the most pressing issues facing our industry and our communities. I thought the content was spot on and can’t wait until next time! As a colleague commented to me, “this is THE event for early adopters.” Couldn’t agree more!!
This was my first CNP conference, recommended by a peer organization we work closely with. It’s been exceptional, and I want more partners to join next year.
I must give sincere thanks to the team for an inspiring and revitalizing City Nation Place Americas event in Pittsburgh last week. I have a personal way of flagging BIG ideas in my notes – unfortunately this time they ALL seem to have that denotation.
I’m thrilled that City Nation Place is looking to bring its Americas conference to Pittsburgh this spring. I’ve had the opportunity to participate as one of the jurors for the 2021 global conference, which showcased best practices and strategies for place branding and marketing. I was proud then to represent Pittsburgh – which had just completed its own major rebranding in support of attracting business investment and talent. Now with the City Nation Place Americas conference being hosted in Pittsburgh, it will be thrilling to be able to show so many people who are passionate about placemaking – from the perspectives of economic development and tourism – that something remarkable is happening here. Being able to see and experience the best of this iconic region should inspire delegates while being great for Pittsburgh, which is excited to open its doors wide for a very warm welcome.
We are honored and delighted to welcome the 2022 City Nation Place (CNP) Americas Conference to Pittsburgh this May. At its core, CNP Americas is focused on placemaking - enhancing a destination’s community in order to attract talent, tourism and further investment. We look forward to learning from CNP Americas’ attendees and enriching Pittsburgh’s overall offerings for visitors, businesses and Pittsburghers.
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Mark Arend is Vice President of Publications and Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine, the leading U.S. economic development publication. On the editorial staff since 1997, Mark leads an award-winning team of writers and graphic designers in the bi-monthly delivery of global location analysis for senior management at corporations worldwide. Airport-related economic development, talent acquisition and foreign direct investment are among his areas of expertise. Prior to his tenure at Site Selection, Mark held editorial positions in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. A native of Ontario and raised in Connecticut, Mark is a graduate of the University of Hartford and lives near Atlanta.
Cleo Battle, a hospitality industry veteran of nearly 35 years, currently serves as President & CEO of Louisville Tourism. Prior to coming to Louisville, he spent 12 years as Vice President of Sales & Services of the Richmond Convention & Visitors Bureau in Richmond, VA. He held the positions of Director of Sales and Sales Manager at the Richmond CVB.
Battle began his hospitality career in the hotel industry working for Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn and Sheraton Hotels. Battle is a native of Denver and a graduate of Metropolitan State University in Denver with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management. He earned his Masters of Business Administration in 1997 from Averett University in Virginia. He is both a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and Certified Association Sales Executive (CASE).
Battle’s most recent industry recognition includes Events Industry Council 2020 Social Impact award winner, Business First Louisville’s inaugural Power 50 as well as The Courier-Journal’s 12 People to Watch in 2021.
Battle currently serves on the Meeting Planners International Board of Directors, Kentucky Derby Museum Board of Directors, Louisville Sports Commission Executive Board, LRAA Board, Louisville Zoo Foundation Board, and Board Member for Northeast YMCA of Louisville. He is Past Chair of Destination & Travel Foundation, Destination International Sales & Services Committee and the Virginia State University Hospitality Department Advisory Board.
Scott Beck is the President & CEO of Destination Toronto.
He’s a champion of the visitor economy and a proven leader in the destination sales and marketing industry, spending 14 years as the President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served on the Executive Committee of Destinations International for six years and as the organization's International Board Chair from 2014-2015.
Before Visit Salt Lake, Scott worked in the hotel industry for 18 years, most recently with Ocean Properties Ltd. (OPL) as the General Manager of the Salt Lake Marriott City Center. While at OPL, Scott spent time in B.C. and Alberta working on a task force with OPL's Canadian affiliate, Atlific Hotels. Prior to his time with OPL, Scott served as Director of Sales and Marketing for Sundance Resort in Provo, Utah.
Scott’s a proud father to four daughters, and lives in Toronto with his wife, Angie Welling, along with their rescue dog. True to his roots, Scott’s an active skier, biker and outdoor enthusiast.
Adam Burke serves as President & CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (Los Angeles Tourism), the official, non-profit destination marketing and sales organization for the City of Angels. With its mission to “improve the quality of life for all Angelenos through the economic and community benefits of tourism,” Los Angeles Tourism is proud to represent over 1,000 Member organizations from across the local leisure and hospitality sector.
As one of the world’s most diverse and welcoming destinations – with Angelenos hailing from 140 countries and speaking over 220 languages – tourism is one of the region’s leading drivers of employment, business sales, and tax revenues. In support of this vital industry, Burke is responsible for overseeing global branding, promotional, and sales strategies for L.A. through the organization’s eight dedicated offices around the world. He first joined Los Angeles Tourism as Chief Operating Officer in 2016.
With more than 25 years of travel & tourism industry experience, Burke previously served as Senior Vice President, Customer Loyalty for Hilton Worldwide with global management responsibility for the award-winning Honors customer loyalty program. During his 17 years with the Hilton organization, he held management positions in a variety of functional areas including strategic planning, international marketing, leisure & multi-brand marketing, sales integration, business development, CRM, and enterprise technology.
Burke is actively engaged in advocating for the broader travel and tourism industry, serving on the Executive Committee of U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees of the Destinations International Foundation, and representing Los Angeles as a Vice Chair City for the World Tourism Cities Federation. He is also passionately committed to addressing systemic inequities within the travel and tourism sector, serving on the Board of Directors of Tourism Diversity Matters, as well as the Global Leadership and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committees of Destinations International.
Locally, Burke serves on the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of Sister Cities of Los Angeles and Central City Association of Los Angeles, as well as the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. In addition, he is the current Board Vice Chair of L.A. Works, the region’s largest community volunteer action network.
Leah is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico. As CMO, Leah is charged with providing strategic marketing leadership for the organization; responsible for the oversight of the DMO’s paid media, creative, public relations, brand development and management, and digital strategy.
Prior to her move to San Juan, Leah was the Chief Marketing Officer for Explore Branson, where she led the growth of the community’s tourism industry for five straight years, repositioning the destination’s brand and posting back-to-back years of record ROI for the organization’s marketing program. In previous years, Leah led the Missouri Tourism account at H&L Partners, the agency of record for the Missouri Division of Tourism. In this role, Leah developed and guided the strategic direction of the Division’s marketing, managing paid and earned media, creative and interactive development, and campaign implementation. Leah led Missouri Tourism’s brand repositioning effort in 2013, introducing a new brand identity and corresponding campaign featuring “Enjoy the Show.”
Leah is a veteran of the travel and tourism industry, having directed the Indiana Tourism account for five years prior to joining H&L Partners. Leah earned her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) credential in 2014. This designation, from Destinations International, is the tourism industry’s highest individual educational achievement.
As Vice President of Marketing for Travel Manitoba, Cody leads the development and execution of the annual marketing plan and provides strategic input into the future direction of the corporation. He leads a team of innovative marketers to effectively advance the brand of Manitoba by utilizing the latest marketing trends, and ultimately, growing visitation to the province.
Prior to Travel Manitoba, Cody was the Vice President, Industry Engagement, for Bandwango, a company focused on empowering destinations to create engaging experiences with their mobile device. His focus was on the client-facing side, building the brand, enhancing product offerings, driving innovation, and supporting its clients across North America.
Prior to Bandwango, Cody spent over 10 years as the Director of Marketing for Economic Development Winnipeg and Tourism Winnipeg. He created and executed strategic marketing plans and award-winning campaigns to grow the economy through business and talent attraction, and visitation. Cody has extensive background in marketing, branding, graphic design and advertising,
In 2014, Cody received his Certified Destination Management Executive certification. Recognized by the DMO industry as its highest educational achievement, CDME is an advanced educational program for experienced DMO professionals seeking career advancement. He currently resides on the CDME Board as well as the DMAP board through Destination’s International.
In 2012, Cody was selected as one of 30 industry rising stars to participate in Destination International's 30 Under 30 program, which was developed to identify and foster the talent of DMO professionals aged 30 and under through increased access to top-level networking and professional development.
Cody is a proud Winnipegger and resides on several community art and design boards and committees to showcase the City.
Craig T. Davis is President & CEO of VisitDallas, the city’s sales and marketing organization. He directs and manages all of VisitDallas’ strategies, operations, activities, and staff as the organization works to achieve its mission to market Dallas globally to benefit our community and visitors. Tourism is big business in Dallas and drives more than $5B in economic impact and supports more than 65,000 jobs.
Davis has worked in the hospitality industry for more than three decades and began his tenure as President & CEO of Visit Dallas in January 2020. Prior to Visit Dallas he served as President & CEO of VisitPittsburgh. During his 19-year career at VisitPittsburgh, Davis also served as Executive Director of Convention Sales and Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Davis’ extensive background in the hospitality industry also includes experience in marketing and sales at hotels in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Toronto.
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Davis became a U.S. citizen in 2001. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. In 2002, Davis became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and now serves as a course instructor for its leadership program. The CDME status is recognized within the convention and visitors bureau industry as its highest educational achievement. He has served as the Chairman of Destinations International Association as well as the Destination International Foundation.
He is a private pilot and resides in the City of Dallas with his fiancée Kathleen.
Clare is the founder and director of City Nation Place, the global forum for place branding and place marketing. City Nation Place creates connections and shares best practice between country brands, regional brands, and city brands around the world through articles, interviews, surveys, white papers, a membership group, and conferences.
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. 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 saw 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.
Kyle Edmiston is the President/CEO of the Visit Lake Charles serving in that capacity since 2019. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the CVB, served for 6 years as the Director of the Louisiana Office of Tourism under two different Lt. Governor administrations and served for 6 ½ years as the President/CEO of Experience Ruston.
Kyle was awarded the Marion “Butch” Fox Advocacy Award by Louisiana Travel Association in 2022 and Visit Lake Charles was honored by LTA as the CVB of the Year for 2019. In 2017, Kyle was honored as the National State Tourism Director of the Year by his colleagues and was named one of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in the United States for Marketing by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). He was awarded the Southeast Tourism Society Rising Star Award in 2009 and earned his Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) from Destinations International in 2008.
Currently, he is the Chair of the Board for the Louisiana Travel Association, past chair of the Brand USA board of directors, and he is on the Board of Directors of U.S. Travel Association and Destinations International. He previously served as Chair of the Travel South USA Board of Directors and the Louisiana Association of CVBs.
Michael M. Edwards is the President & CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. Since joining Chicago Loop Alliance in 2012, President and CEO Michael M. Edwards—an economic development expert—has been guiding efforts in promoting a high-performing urban experience that attracts people and investment to the Loop. Edwards is a founding member (2018) of the Global Business District Innovation Club, Paris, France; a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, Manchester, UK; as well as a member of the International Downtown Association Board of Directors (2006-2008 and 2016-2018).
He has executive experience leading the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Downtown Spokane Partnership and was formerly a Principal at The Saratoga Associates, a urban planning consulting firm.
Edwards is a recognized expert in downtown management and frequently speaks internationally on key downtown opportunities and challenges.
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.
Rachel Ferguson is VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s chief innovation and global diversity officer. In this role, she is charged with helping to grow the leisure tourism segment by identifying and leading marketing programs focused on multicultural and multigenerational travelers and new geographic markets. Ferguson leads the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion program, communications and revenue-generating partnerships.
Under Ferguson’s leadership, the organization launched award-winning campaigns to attract Latinx travelers (Filadelfia — You Gotta Feel It), LGBTQ audiences (Philadelphia Pioneers on the Road to Stonewall), women (City of Sisterly Love) and African American travelers ( Love + Grit podcast).
In 2021, Ferguson led VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s partnership with Wawa Welcome America and the African American Museum in Philadelphia to make the commemoration of Juneteenth part of the city’s annual Independence Day festival. And she played an integral role in the formation of the company’s Diversity Fellowship Program, designed to increase the number of diverse professionals in the hospitality industry.
Prior to joining VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Ferguson worked as a communications executive at CBS New York for seven years, serving on the steering committee for the CBS Corporation Diversity Council and creating the inaugural Sisters for the Cure brunch in New York City to address health disparities impacting African American women as related to breast cancer.
Ferguson is currently a campaign ambassador for “Our Community. Our Health,” a joint initiative of Independence Blue Cross and The Philadelphia Tribune to improve the health of the African American community in the Philadelphia region. She was named one of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “2021 Women of Achievement,” received The Philadelphia Tribune’s “2021 Most Influential African Americans” award and was one of the Tribune’s “2020 Women of Achievement” recipients.
Ferguson has served on the board of directors of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Communications Advisory Committee of the U.S. Travel Association. She is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations, advertising and applied communication.
Erin Francis-Cummings, President & CEO of Destination Analysts, has spent the last nearly two decades studying travelers from across the globe and translating their evolving, complex, and fascinating behaviors and opinions into marketing insights for Destination Analysts’ more than 200 clients. Erin has designed research strategy and facilitated consumer research for some of the world’s greatest destination brands, from Bermuda to Fiji, Florida to California. In addition to conducting research from brand auditing, to user experience to ROI analysis, she also oversees the production of Destination Analysts’ The State of the American Traveler—one of the travel industry’s longest-running and most relied on tracking study of American leisure travel sentiment and behaviors—The State of the International Traveler—an annual study of the travel behaviors and perceptions of international travelers in 14 top feeder markets to the United States—and The CVB and the Future of the Meetings Industry—a bi-annual study of meeting planners focused on trends in the meetings & events industry and how DMOs can support them.
Erin currently serves on the international board of directors for the Travel and Tourism Research Association, the board of directors for Destinations International and supports the greater travel industry through projects for the US Travel Association and numerous tourism associations. Prior to leading Destination Analysts, Erin held Advertising and Marketing management roles at Amtrak and the San Francisco Travel Association, serving on teams that produced award-winning work. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles, and currently resides in San Francisco with her family.
Amanda is a vice president in Ketchum’s Travel & Economic Development sector, based in New York. She provides expertise in integrated marketing within the travel and lifestyle space, currently leading a variety of dynamic communications strategies for tourism and hospitality brands. Her background across various industries has molded her passion areas, which include strategic planning, unified global account management, fresh approaches to media relations, crisis communications and experiential execution with a deep understanding of fusing culture into marketing tactics. Amanda is a Belong@Ketchum DE&I leader within Ketchum, and a graduate of Hofstra University who is fluent in English, Spanish and Galician.
Mayor Ed Gainey grew up in East Liberty and saw firsthand the economic hardships many families face in our city. Raised by a single mother, he counted on the support of his extended family and community to build a pathway to high school and college. Inspired to do the same for others, Ed Gainey discovered in college that an effective government can be a powerful tool to fight injustice and uplift communities. As a State Representative in Harrisburg he was on the front line fighting for working families, and as Mayor of Pittsburgh he'll work everyday to make Pittsburgh a city where all can belong and contribute. Ed and his wife Michelle have three children and live in the Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Donna is an experienced leader who has managed a variety of small and medium enterprises in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She has overseen significant community economic development initiatives in investment attraction, strategic planning, brand development and corporate restructuring.
Under her leadership as CEO, Kingston has realized the highest levels of new foreign direct investment in the city’s history; launched the first Integrated Economic Development Strategy in partnership with the municipality; and implemented destination brand alignment between the EDO and DMO. In 2021, Donna was named Economic Development Officer of the Year by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission.
Donna is a Board Member for Tourism Kingston, Advisor to the Kingston Accommodation Partners, and sits on the International Economic Development Council’s International Advisory Committee.
PATRICK HARRISON is Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Tampa Bay. Through an innovative and aggressive approach he has spearheaded the DMOs marketing transformation. His campaigns have been honored with over 30 US and International marketing and PR awards, including multiple Adrian Awards and he was named a Top 25 Extraordinary Mind by HSMAI in 2019.
Before joining Visit Tampa Bay, he spent 25+ years at agencies in the U.S. and U.K. He holds a Master’s Degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Propaganda, from the University of Leeds.
Patrick currently serves on several boards including Destination International’s Global Leadership and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committees as well as PR & Communications Task Force and Equity, US Travel Marketing committee among others.
Bethany Hartley has over a decade of experience in non-profit leadership, primarily focused on economic development and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, where she is currently the Chief Strategy Officer, Hartley held leadership positions with RISE | Regional Innovation and Startup Education, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, Family and Children’s Center, and the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago.
Hartley has led a wide range of projects and initiatives including digital system transformations, organizational restructuring, large event management, and marketing and communications strategy. As a part of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, Hartley leads the strategic development of new programs, digital-based infrastructure, and outreach initiatives.
Hartley holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and certificates from the University of Notre Dame’s Masters of Non-Profit Administration, University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Babson College, and Catalyst Inc. Hartley is also active in a wide range of community activities, including serving as a board member of Startup Moxie Elkhart County, a steering committee member of the Engaging Women Conference, a committee member of the Inclusive Procurement Committee at the City of South Bend, and a champion and fundraiser for Girls on the Run of Northern Indiana.
In her personal time, Hartley enjoys competing in triathlons, including her first (but not last) 70.3 Ironman, serving as a Trek Granger ambassador, gravel cycling, reading, scuba diving, and spending time with her husband, two dogs, and four nieces.
Kelly Haussler is Ottawa Tourism’s Director of Destination Development, and assists in strategizing and executing projects which support the effective development of Ottawa as a visitor destination.
Prior to Ottawa Tourism, Kelly spent six years working for a project-based, sustainable tourism consultancy firm in Australia, in which she helped lead numerous major strategic tourism projects, provided experience mentoring support to small tourism businesses, and co-authored national publications on tourism risk management and experience development.
Kelly is currently a member of the Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas and the City of Ottawa's Economic Partners Task Force, which discusses pandemic relief and recovery measures for Ottawa's business community amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly was named one of Ottawa's Forty Under 40 in 2021 and holds an MBA Essentials certificate from The London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Dalhousie University.
Thomas Hazinski, MPP is the Managing Director of HVS Convention, Sports, & Entertainment Facilities Consulting in Chicago, Illinois. His consulting practice is dedicated to the market and financial analysis of public assembly facilities. Mr. Hazinski has over 30 years of experience as both a public official and a consultant. He specializes in providing economic and financial research to public agencies and private developers involved in economic development initiatives. Mr. Hazinski holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. He is currently serving as an adjunct professor at the Harris School and teaching a graduate degree course in State and Local Government Finance.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed Michael Heckman to the position of President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Houston First Corporation in August 2020.
Houston First is the Houston region’s Destination Management Organization, which also includes the Houston Film Commission. It operates the George R. Brown Convention Center and Houston’s world-class performing arts buildings, in addition to owning the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel.
Prior to this role, Heckman served as Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Initiatives for Houston First, responsible for developing a new strategic direction for the corporation. He has also served as the Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Event Development, with responsibilities ranging from major events like the Super Bowl to a portfolio of entrepreneurial enterprises. He has been part of the Houston First team for 13 years.
Heckman has a more than 20-year career with leadership roles spanning destination marketing and hotels, as well as sports and event management.
Nick Hill was appointed Chief Executive of Auckland Unlimited in October 2020, following three years at the helm of Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development.
Nick has extensive experience across the private and public sector. This includes the Chief Executive role with the Commerce Commission, and leading the formation of Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC, now known as Sport New Zealand).
He also has significant experience in the energy sector, having worked 10 years with ECNZ and Fletcher Energy in New Zealand, and with Santos in Australia.
Before joining ATEED, Nick was a Partner of specialist New Zealand public policy and management consulting firm Martin Jenkins – which he joined in 2011 to establish the firm’s Auckland practice.
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 600 projects and studies over the past 20+ years, totaling more than $4 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.
With more than 25 years of experience as a destination marketing and management leader Kristen Jarnagin oversees the official regional organization charged with furthering Long Island’s $6.3 billion tourism economy. A Long Island transplant from Arizona, Jarnagin’s vast knowledge of destination leadership spans from state tourism marketing, corporate branding and serving as the statewide lobbyist for tourism and economic development advocacy.
Kristen and her team at Discover Long Island work to promote a positive perception of Long Island across the globe, which draws lucrative visitors, stirs business attraction and drives economic development throughout the region. During her tenure at Discover Long Island, Jarnagin has spearheaded many groundbreaking initiatives and partnerships that create regional synergies and leverage resources. Collaborations with the Long Island MacArthur Airport, LIRR, LIA, NYC & Co. and all eight regional IDAs have led to award-winning campaigns and a new Economic Development Collective brand to ignite business attraction and economic vitality.
Kristen has been named to the Top 50 Women in Business on Long Island’s Hall of Fame, Power Women of Long Island, City & State’s Top 100 Long Island influencers and Business Advocate of the Year. She is a graduate from the acclaimed Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and is a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). Her favorite pastime is discovering Long Island with her two daughters and reigniting the passion for this place we call home for Long Island natives.
Whitney Lee is a Client Solutions Manager at LinkedIn, specializing in economic development, international trade and tourism. She works at the state level, helping to inform marketing strategy on LinkedIn.
Whitney has spent the last seven years of her career at LinkedIn. Prior to this role, she worked in Talent Solutions where she advised companies on talent acquisition and retention.
Whitney received her bachelor’s degree from Miami University. She and her husband now reside in Chicago, IL.
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 a senior marketing manager at Copenhagen Capacity, I'm heavily involved in our digital campaigns branding Denmark and Greater Copenhagen as attractive career destinations and getting foreign candidates to apply for jobs and relocate here. I love the challenge of communicating our "product's" complexity - our way of life and how you as an international professional can live a happy (work)life here. It is a "product" I truly believe in and that motivates me a lot!
As Chief Marketing Officer, Nancy Mammana is responsible for leading NYC & Company’s overall marketing strategy for the five boroughs of New York City, including its domestic and international promotional campaigns, media strategies, digital initiatives, creative & content plans, events, partnerships, licensing and global tourism development efforts. Before joining NYC & Company, Nancy served as Vice President, Marketing for Patina Restaurant Group, where she oversaw marketing at more than 35 company-owned and operated restaurants nationally, including dining establishments within famed New York City institutions such as the Met Opera, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, Macy’s Herald Square and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to name a few. Beyond NYC, she oversaw marketing for the company’s growing presence in Orlando, most notably the opening of its Morimoto Asia restaurant in Disney Springs.
Nancy’s route to NYC & Company has been circuitous but somehow pre-determined. Prior to Patina, she had a long, successful career in marketing and partnerships with a heavy focus on travel, sports and entertainment with companies such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cunard Line and the National Basketball Association (NBA). She also has extensive agency experience, having worked within the Omnicom family for almost 17 years. Most notably she opened up the New York office for The Marketing Arm as Vice President, Account Services, where she worked for over 10 years representing brands such as PepsiCo, Monster.com, Victoria’s Secret, American Express and Staples.
In her spare time, Nancy enjoys traveling both in and out of the city, cooking and International Latin ballroom dancing.
With over 35 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Joseph Marinelli is currently the president of Visit Savannah, the destination marketing organization for Savannah, Georgia, and Tybee Island.
Before taking the helm of Visit Savannah in January 2007, Joe served as Senior Vice President at Experience Columbus, the convention bureau for the Columbus, Ohio region. Prior to his ten years in Columbus, Joe served in various sales and marketing roles for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Washington DC, and at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Now in his role overseeing Savannah’s primary destination marketing organization, Joe and his 55+ member team focus on attracting leisure visitors to Savannah and Tybee Island and conventions, meetings, and tradeshows to the Savannah area while driving business to the more than 2,000 members of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce.
Joe is currently the Public Policy Chair for the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, is a board member of the U.S. Travel Association, and is involved with the Meetings Mean Business Travel Coalition. Joe is also on the Boards of the Savannah Convention Center, the Tourism Leadership Council, the Savannah Voice Festival, and the Savannah Music Festival.
Joe is a professional member of the American Society of Association Executives, the Professional Convention Management Association, and Meeting Professionals International.
In his free time, Joe enjoys golfing and playing tennis and has a passion for the professional sports teams of his hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife Rene have a 21-year old son, a junior at the University of South Carolina, and live on Savannah’s Whitemarsh Island.
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.
Kevin Schreiber began his tenure as President & CEO of the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) on December 1, 2016. Prior to his time at the Alliance, Kevin served two terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving the 95th Legislative District, in York County. He and his wife, Jen, reside in the City of York along with their adorable Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Stella Blue.
Kevin holds a master’s degree from Penn State University, and a bachelor’s degree from York College of Pennsylvania.
The York County Economic Alliance Makes Things Happen every day throughout in York County, Pennsylvania’s eighth largest county. Notably, Kevin has shifted the paradigm to People-Centered, Place-Based, Inclusive Economic Development strategies. Jobs follow people, people look for supportive, and creative communities. Every day the YCEA works closely with start-up businesses, innovative entrepreneurs, multinational companies, business and civic leaders, educational institutions, and a vast array of phenomenal organization to enhance economic mobility, and the place-based economic development that builds the community around the people.
Kevin has assisted York County in over $500 million in economic investment, has established the County’s first ever Women’s Business Center, and tackled workforce issues such as barriers to employment, by establishing free Expungement Clinics, and worked with the Philadelphia Federal Reserve to assess Distance Discrimination – an employee’s ability to commute to work with limited public transit options. In 2019, the YCEA hosted the first-ever Democracy Challenge, a novel 60-minute event that brought two heavyweight politicos with opposing viewpoints to a stage to debate an issue in full audience view with the “challenge” of reaching a compromise policy solution at the conclusion. This inaugural event brought former Governors Ed Rendell and Mark Schweiker to York to debate “A State’s Role in Immigration Reform.” This event was created to demonstrate that politics can work, and compromise is a political prerequisite, and not a weakness.
While State Representative, his legislative priorities included ensuring equal educational opportunities, specifically the expansion of early education and Pre-K in PA. Kevin is an advocate for criminal justice reform, specifically as means for social justice and to solve challenges to workforce development and talent attraction. Kevin’s committee work included Appropriations, Energy & Environmental Resources, Education, Urban Affairs, and Local Government.
Prior to his time as State Representative, Kevin served the City of York for nearly one decade, working as Community and Economic Development Director, a mayoral appointed position, serving under the administrations of both Mayors John Brenner, and C. Kim Bracey. Kevin oversaw an annual budget of over $6 million and assisted in over $350 million in economic and community development investment, focusing on neighborhood redevelopment, entrepreneurial support, and the redevelopment of several historic structures and brownfields.
Kevin’s community involvement is not limited to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Early Learning Investment Commission, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Mantec Industrial Resource Center, York County Alliance for Learning, the PA Community Development & Finance Corporation, and York Traditions Bank.
Kevin most enjoys the ability to live in York and help his community reach greater potential. But let’s be real, his greatest accomplishment is marrying his wife Jen, who is the owner and barista-extraordinaire of The Green Bean Roasting Company, an eco-chic coffee roastery and café in Downtown York that just celebrated its 12th anniversary in business.
Patrick Seeb is executive director of Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency. The DMC is the state’s largest public-private economic development initiative, which aims to transform Rochester (the home of Mayo Clinic) into a global destination for health and wellness. Seeb’s team is responsible for attracting private development, deploying innovative public investment, and applying 21st century city design practices to achieve DMC’s vision.
Prior to DMC, Seeb was executive director of the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, where he was responsible for the multibillion-dollar transformation of the city’s downtown. He was also president of Grand Excursion, Inc., a four-state, 400-mile, 50-city riverfront planning, education, and promotion program.
Martha J. Sheridan brings more than 30 years of destination marketing experience to her role as President & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB). A seasoned tourism leader, she provides strategic direction to the 950-member organization in its mission to generate a robust visitor economy for the region. Annually, the tourism, travel and hospitality sector generates more than $20 billion dollars for the Greater Boston economy.
Prior to joining the GBCVB in 2019, Sheridan was President & CEO of the Providence/Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB), where she was instrumental in driving group and leisure business to the Ocean State, solidifying Providence as one of the premier destinations for conventions in the Northeast.
Sheridan holds and has held leadership positions with several local, regional and national industry organizations. She is on the board of the U.S. Travel Association and currently co-chairs USTA’s “Meetings Mean Business” coalition. Sheridan also chairs Governor Baker’s Advisory Commission on Travel & Tourism in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is co-chair of the Advisory Committee planning the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. She is past Chair of Destinations International, the world’s largest association of destination marketing professionals. Other organizations she’s served include the Destinations International Foundation, the RI Hospitality and Tourism Association Education Foundation, Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter (MPINE), and the New England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. In 2015, she was named one of the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meeting and Convention Magazine.
A recipient of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association’s (RIHA) Mary Brennan Tourism Award for outstanding achievement in tourism promotion, Sheridan was also named RIHA’s Woman of the Year. She is the recipient of the MPINE President’s Award and the MPINE Supplier of the Year Award. In 2014, she was presented with Junior Achievement of Rhode Island’s highest honor, the Morris J. Gaebe Profile in Excellence Award.
A global adventurer, Ted believes travel makes us kinder, smarter and overall better human beings. With over 25 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, he's covered a lot of ground and has extensive knowledge and experience in global travel marketing, data, analytics, branding and media. His goal for Zartico is to work with communities to improve the lives of its visitors and residents, as well as, our own employees.
Prior to joining Zartico, Ted led the global product development, marketing and sales of ADARA’s analytics products for destinations, airlines and hotels. Prior to ADARA Ted was the VP of Business Strategy for MMGY Global.
Mr. Sullivan’s goal is to change the KPIs of community measurement in the tourism and economic development industry. To help destinations embrace the opportunity to make life better for all who live and visit the region. He is a popular International speaker and contributor to industry publications and conferences. He educates the destination industry to embrace their inner geek, love of travel experiences and the utilization of data to make better, more impactful decisions.
Ted just moved from London to Cape Cod with his wife Emily, their daughter Coley attends DePaul University in Chicago, and they welcomed their second daughter Izola to the world last spring. Whether he's 'working' or not you can find him in a quaint pub in Ireland, Chatham, Madrid, Slovenia or anywhere really, making friends with the locals and adding a bit of color to his stories for the benefit of those who are listening.
Helen Te Hira is a senior Māori leader within Local Government in Aotearoa- New Zealand. Her career has focussed on supporting organisational responsiveness to indigenous rights and generating opportunities for partnerships between Māori, national and international organisations in the arts, culture and economic development sector.
Linda Topoleski serves as Vice President for Talent Strategy and Programs at the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, part of the Allegheny Conference.
In her role, Linda oversees talent strategy for the Pittsburgh region, working with a broad array of stakeholders to build a globally competitive workforce. She directs regionwide talent attraction and retention initiatives, including a regional Talent Council which focuses on making the Pittsburgh region more competitive, and sustained efforts to attract high-demand talent and to retain college students in the region.
Linda was instrumental in the development and stakeholder outreach for the Conference’s landmark workforce reports, Inflection Point: Supply, Demand and the Future of Work in the Pittsburgh Region. These reports have become a defining element of workforce strategy in the region and a model studied by other regions across the U.S. She’s most passionate about the Pittsburgh region’s ability to come together at pivotal times in our history to solve the biggest challenges we face and create an example for the world to follow.
Prior to the Conference, Linda provided marketing communications and strategic planning expertise to regional and global corporations and nonprofits in the education, economic development, health care and technology fields. She has been recognized nationally and regionally with public relations and advertising industry awards, including the CIPRA (Creativity in Public Relations), the Edward L. Bernays Award for Excellence in Public Relations, the Public Relations Society of America-Pittsburgh Renaissance Awards, and ADDY Awards for her role in directing regional and national advertising programs.
Linda holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the board of directors of Partner4Work and is a member of the Carnegie Science Center STEM Advisory Committee, the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information Workforce Advisory Council, and the Remake Learning Council.
Originally from Quebec City, Carl Viel received his bachelor's degree in economics and a corporate governance certificate from Laval University. He also completed training programs in entrepreneurship (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), leadership (NTL Institute) and coaching (Niagara Institute). After nearly 20 years in the private sector, he held managerial positions with various economic organizations, including as vice-president of Montreal International and general manager of Montreal InVivo, prior to joining Quebec International as CEO in 2008.
Kelly Wolgamott is the director of marketing for Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where she leads the travel marketing efforts for the award-winning Pure Michigan campaign. Kelly oversees the management of the Pure Michigan brand both nationally and internationally, including consumer insights, digital marketing, creative development, agency management, and marketing effectiveness. Working in close collaboration with tourism industry stakeholders throughout Michigan. She previously served in marketing and public relations roles with General Motors and, advertising agency, Leo Burnett Worldwide.