I love your conference and I think it’s great work that you do to explore the convergence of key institutions. We live it, but seeing these efforts come together to grow the region’s economy… it has never been more important.
“The virtual City Nation Place Americas was a huge success for Hunden Partners. We were able to connect directly with nearly 100 attendees via small-group roundtables, a panel moderation and a Zoom-room set-up. It all worked well and we developed many new relationships as a result.”
An error occurred trying to play the stream. Please reload the page and try again.Close
Knox White has served as Mayor of Greenville, South Carolina since December 1995. As Mayor, he has the goal of making the city of Greenville “the most beautiful and livable city in America.” He has emphasized neighborhood revitalization and innovative public-private partnerships and projects for downtown Greenville.
Key strategic projects include:
- Removal of a four lane state highway bridge and the creation of iconic Falls Park including reclaiming the Reedy River as the centerpiece of the city
- Riverfront development and expansion of greenspace along the river, including initiation of a bike and walking trail system (Swamp Rabbit Trail) throughout the City
- A mixed use, Red Sox affiliated minor league baseball stadium (Fluor Field)
- Restoration of Downtown as a vibrant, walkable, and welcoming office, residential, and retail destination.
Neighborhood initiatives include enhanced beautification efforts, traffic calming, support for neighborhood associations, reinvestment in neighborhood parks, master plans for commercial corridors, and the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Under the mayor’s leadership, the City maintains a “Triple A” (AAA) bond rating and enjoys a reputation for solving problems on an innovative and bipartisan basis.
In 2018, Mayor White was profiled in Time Magazine as one of “31 People Who Are Changing the South.” Unity Park, a transformational plan to develop a 60-acre park in a partially abandoned and once segregated part of the city, has earned national acclaim.
A native of Greenville, and a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of South Carolina Law School, Knox White is a partner in the law firm of Haynsworth, Sinkler & Boyd. He and his wife Marsha have two children.
Jim Werner manages VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s tourism and hospitality industry relationships, working with hotels on marketing strategies, the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package and other overnight leisure initiatives. He also oversees the organization’s research and guides policy and advocacy efforts.
Mark Anthony Thomas is the president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the economic development affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. He is responsible for executing the 10-county region’s economic development strategy and advancing partnerships to drive job creation and business investment. Mark brings nearly two decades of experience crafting and executing economic growth strategies and cross-sector collaboration for New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta and serves as the Chairman of the Conference’s Power of 32 Site Development Fund.
Jeremy Schwartz is a creative entrepreneur in his field of work as a Marketing & Economic Developer with the City of Mount Pearl, the second largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador. Coming from a background in Business Development and Marketing in the private sector, Jeremy approaches his role as if he was a business owner, growing and marketing his business. But in this case, the City of Mount Pearl is the product, and residents and businesses are his customers. The transition from private to public sector came naturally, as his passion for building business, growing the economy, and improving the local quality of life has no limitations in his role.
With nearly 20 years of media and communications experience, Karolyn Raphael has taken clients from near-obscurity to recognition on a national level. Her work in strategy, media placements, PR training, and digital marketing includes business-to-business consulting firms, nationally-ranked healthcare systems, trade associations, law firms, art shows and non-profit organizations. She’s created city-wide awareness campaigns and landed stand-out media placements in national and local news outlets.
Cynthya Porter is an award-winning tourism marketing professional who works as an independent contractor with Visit Winona, a Minnesota DMO, on their brand development, marketing strategy and campaign execution. Her efforts for them over the past several years have created viral success, national attention and several marketing awards from state and Midwestern tourism organizations. Moreover, the strategies have contributed to dramatic year-on-year growth for Visit Winona’s visibility, brand recognition and engagement with new and existing audiences.
The Explore Minnesota Tourism Office named her the state’s inaugural Tourism Trailblazer in 2019 – an award honoring her inventive marketing tactics as well as her success as a travel writer, photographer and Instagram influencer over her 20 years in the tourism industry. She has been appointed by three Minnesota governors to the Governor’s Explore Minnesota Tourism Council and she is the longest-serving member of that state advisory board.
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.
When Katie was at university, she was asked – multiple times – what you can actually do with a degree in English. As it turns out, the answer is Head of Content at City Nation Place. Katie joined the team in 2018 as an Events Manager, helping Clare Dewhirst to research and create the conference agendas for both the City Nation Place conferences and a range of client events. As City Nation Place has grown, her role has expanded to include writing articles for the City Nation Place website, interviewing leading place brand practitioners, and curating the online content. Katie has developed a keen interest in all things place branding, and is looking forward to helping City Nation Place to continue to grow and develop in the future.
Tom Norwalk is President & CEO of Visit Seattle, the private, non profit marketing organization that promotes Seattle and King County as a destination for international and domestic leisure travel, meetings and conventions. He leads a team of 30 employees in the organization’s main Seattle office and a satellite sales office in Washington D.CA hospitality veteran, Norwalk brings extensive hotel and travel experience to Visit Seattle working with international brands such as Westin and Four Seasons in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver BC, and local industry organizations such as Seattle Hospitality Group, LLC. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association, The Washington State Destination Marketing Organization(WSDMO), Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the WSU Hospitality Business Management Advisory Board. A Seattle native, Norwalk earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University and was recently inducted into the WSU School of Hospitality and Business Management Hall of Fame and the Murrow College Hall of Achievement which recognizes outstanding achievements of select graduates. He and his wife Linda have three adult children, three grandchildren and reside in Bothell, WA.
Rob serves as the City of Scottsdale Economic Development Director where he is responsible for overseeing all business attraction, retention, expansion and business development marketing initiatives. Over the last seven years Rob has led strategic efforts resulting in capital investment of over $500 million dollars and the creation and retention of nearly 9400 jobs resulting in an economic impact to the City of Scottsdale of over $15 billion dollars.
Rob has spent over 30 years honing his economic development and public administration skills by learning every facet possible about Scottsdale. From solid waste to working with residents in developing neighborhood plans and serving as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Rob’s expertise of Scottsdale is extensive. As a 48-year Scottsdale resident, he and his family have been part of Scottsdale’s growth from 70,000 residents and unpaved roads north of Camelback Rd. to the thriving and internationally known community it is today.
Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, is a certified economic developer through the International Economic Development Council, serves on a variety of Boards such as the Arizona Association for Economic Development, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and Businesses United Scottsdale Schools, is a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership Class 17 and the Arizona State University Institute for Public Executives.
Staci Mellman leads the development of the Florida tourism brand, global integrated marketing initiatives, and long-term strategic planning. As the Chief Marketing Officer at VISIT FLORIDA, she ensures that every initiative is strategically driven, measurable, and effective. Since joining the VISIT FLORIDA team, Mellman has led the evolution of the Florida tourism brand, developed the organization’s 5-year strategic plan, successfully navigated the organization through multiple crisis response efforts, and enhanced the overall marketing operations of the organization.
With nearly 20 years of experience in her field, Mellman is a seasoned creative and strategic marketer with a proven record of developing marketing initiatives that increase awareness and brand value. Her work on behalf of brands across disciplines has been recognized in published business case studies, AdWeek, and through multiple awards including an Expedia EPIC award, an Emmy, and several National PBS awards. She has an M.B.A from the Australian Graduate School of Management and a B.A in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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.
YvesLalumière was appointed inAugust 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal.Active in the tourism industry since 1986, Mr. Lalumière holds a Bachelor’sdegree in Business Administration with a concentration in Tourism from theUniversité du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). Mr. Lalumière previously served formore than 20 years in management positions within American Express,particularly in the areas of business travel, air agreement negotiations andaffairs with the Government of Canada. He joined Transat Distribution Canada(TDC) in 2006 as Vice President, Operations and Business Development, and wasappointed Vice President, Distribution Network, in 2008. In November 2009, hewas named Vice President and General Manager of Transat Distribution Canada andin 2011, assumed the role of President of Canada’s leading retail touroperator.
Jonathan Knecht is senior vice president, marketing + creative at the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC).
KCADC is the private, nonprofit economic development organization charged with attracting business and talent to the 18-county, Kansas City region of 2.5 million people. KCADC has consistently been ranked by site location consultants as the No. 1 regional group in the nation.
With KCADC since 2004, Jonathan has helped lead a comprehensive effort to brand and promote awareness of the KC metro’s economic strengths and creative culture. A new campaign called "KC Heartland" adopts the ubiquitous “KC Heart” icon as a badge of pride and love for a city and a region that defies expectations and offers a unique balance of lifestyle and career that can only be found at the center – in the heart – of America.
Jonathan directs a powerful in-house marketing team and outside creative partners through strategy and creative execution across multiple media channels and unforgettable event environments.
He has a BFA in Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and prior to KCADC, Jonathan worked on the agency side creating award-winning work with global brand clients such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Hallmark.
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is President and Chief Executive Officer of PCMA. Karamat also serves as President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene magazine.
As CEO, Karamat leads the vision, mission and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. Karamat serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling our community to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.
In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Karamat led the development and implementation of PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. In addition to his responsibilities at executive level, Karamat also directed streamlining of PCMA’s content creation and delivery channels into one organization. He oversaw partnership, business services, membership, business development and technology teams.
As part of PCMA’s growth strategy, Karamat has led a major data intelligence program and played a key role in the 2017 acquisition of Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP).
A leader in the business events industry, Karamat previously served as Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Toronto Convention & Visitors (Tourism Toronto). He has served on various boards and is currently a director on the Destination International Board of Trustees.
Karamat is a life-long learner. In addition to completing his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada, he has completed postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. At Harvard Business and Law School, he completed a program on strategic negotiations for senior executives and a program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one on data intelligence and big data.
Kian Kamas serves as Chief of Economic Development for Mayor G.T. Bynum and the City of Tulsa. In this role, she is responsible for directly managing a team that focuses on managing and developing tools and programs crucial to successful economic development, and supporting existing industry, new businesses, and developers seeking to invest in Tulsa. In addition to this, she is responsible for oversight of the Development Services Department and the Executive Directors of the Tulsa Parking Authority and Downtown Coordinating Council. Kamas is currently leading efforts to transform the City’s economic development efforts through a merger of five separate public entities, placing Tulsa at the forefront of innovation in organizational strategy for economic development. Prior to joining the Mayor’s team in August 2017, Kamas served as Vice President of Economic Development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber, where she led new business attraction efforts for the region. She holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma, a Master’s in Comparative Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh and completed the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute program. She spends her free time chasing her toddler son Leith around, hunting vintage furniture with her husband, and eating at her favorite Tulsa hole-in-the-wall restaurants (or at least she did in a pre-COVID world). She currently serves as a board member for Tulsa Honor Academy and previously served as a board member and Chair of the Tulsa Health Department.
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.
Al Hutchinson joined Visit Baltimore as president and CEO in November 2016. As the chief executive of the city’s official destination sales and marketing organization, he is responsible for overseeing the promotion of Baltimore to leisure travelers and convention business, while demonstrating the impact of tourism on the city and state.
Hutchinson boasts more than 27 years of experience in the destination marketing industry and has earned recognition for his leadership throughout his career. Most recently, he was recognized as one of the Daily Record’s 2019 Most Admired CEOs in Maryland.
Hutchinson is a Richmond, Virginia native and proud University of Alabama alumni. Alongside his wife Unae, he is the proud father of Asia and Jalen Hutchinson. Outside of work, Hutchinson enjoys listening to jazz music and rooting for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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.
Victor Hoskins joined the Fairfax County (Va.) Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) 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.
Since he arrived at the FCEDA, Microsoft announced a 400,000-square foot software R&D center that will have 1,500 employees. This was the largest transaction in Northern Virginia for 2020. Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Volkswagen Group of America and the global law firm of King & Spalding also announced locations in Fairfax County.
Under Mr. Hoskins’ leadership, in 2020 the FCEDA launched a multi-faceted talent initiative aimed at attracting, retaining, retraining and growing the workforce that businesses need to succeed in Northern Virginia. In its first year the initiative connected more than 6,000 job-seekers with more than 100 companies, and the initiative involved more than 30 universities including many historically black colleges and universities throughout the mid-Atlantic.
In 2020 and 2021, the FCEDA helped thousands of businesses bridge the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic through marketing of grant and loan programs, technical assistance programming and virtual events. Mr. Hoskins is leading the regional economic development strategy initiative at Connected DMV, delivers projects and solutions across the Washington, D.C., area to create a stronger, equitable, and more resilient region. He is also involved in regional economic recovery strategy efforts in Fairfax County and Virginia.
While serving in Arlington, the county 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.
Mr. Hoskins received the 2020 Regional Leadership Award from Leadership Fairfax Inc. He also 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.
Dan Holowack is Co-Founder & CEO of CrowdRiff and Localhood.com. Hundreds of Destinations around the world use CrowdRiff’s UGC and storytelling platform to influence how we travel and reshape how tourism supports local communities. The visual stories created and scaled through CrowdRiff compel locals and visitors alike to discover new experiences, both near and far.
Dave serves as the President and CEO of Visit Quad Cities. Visit Quad Cities is the region’s official destination marketing and management organization (DMMO) charged with driving economic development opportunities through tourism. Herrell leads the vision, strategy, and day-to-day operations of the non-profit, communitybased organization. The Visit Quad Cities team is responsible for business growth & service, brand acceleration & engagement, destination partnership & regional initiatives, and the overall visitor experience in the QC.
A proven executive with more than twenty years of experience, Herrell has a background in destination and brand marketing, administration, operations, strategic planning, business development, fundraising, communications, and non-profit management.
Andrea’s passion is rooted in creating meaningful and positive change for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable local communities. After obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta focused in Marketing, she went on to obtain her master’s with a specialization in Community Economic Development. Today, in her role as Director of Brand & Corporate Services for Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism, her passion paired with her marketing expertise and economic development background, has led her to the complex world of place branding. Inspired by the people, history and culture of Northern Alberta, Canada, Andrea and her team are stewarding the development of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo’s first ever community place brand. The field of place branding brings together various disciplines and inspires her to rethink how to strengthen the connection between people and the place they share. Andrea looks forward to connecting with other place marketing leaders and continuing to learn from the journeys of our global community.
Anna Gissler, CEO, Invest Stockholm since October 2008. Invest Stockholm is the official Investment Promotion Agency in Stockholm. Our service includes matching investors with opportunities, and providing advice and practical assistance, free of charge, in setting up and expanding a business in Stockholm. We work to make Stockholm the most attractive city for investors, visitors and talent. Our vision is to be renowned as the most creative city in the world.
Lana Fitt is the Manager for the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and holds her Ec.D. designation from the Economic Development Association of Canada.
Lana lives in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, a Small City with Big Ideas. Salmon Arm is an emerging innovation hub with unmatched quality of place. As Economic Development Manager, she is responsible for supporting existing businesses, attracting new investment and talent to the City, and supporting quality of life initiatives. Lana’s current accomplishments include the launch of the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre, building a multi-agency community brand, and most recently undertaking the development of a community food hub.
Bringing over fifteen years of experience to the position, Lana is passionate about collaboration and placemaking as means to establish a vibrant and resilient community.
Kate has a passion for Winnipeg and is recognized as a team builder and collaborator. She has a strong background in consistently facilitating a path to common ground in highly complex business scenarios where diverse perspectives and long-standing division of interests existed.
Joining the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ as CEO in October 2018, Kate leads the organization’s activities to promote, care and advocate for a vibrant and inclusive downtown where business thrives and people are drawn to work, live, shop and explore. Kate provides strategic direction and a voice for the 1,100 businesses operating in Downtown Winnipeg and works with her team to create a downtown where everyone feels welcome.
Kate is a broadcast journalist graduate from Mount Royal University in Calgary. She sits on the Board of the International Downtown Association and served four years on the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Board.
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.
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.
Chuck Davison serves as President & CEO of Visit SLO CAL, a role he eagerly accepted in April of 2015. Chuck led the research, groundwork, approval and implementation process for San Luis Obispo County’s first countywide Tourism Marketing District, which was established in 2015, originally increasing the district budget by 400%.
Chuck’s passion, drive and results-oriented approach has elevated the destination to new heights as a place to live, work, and visit. Under Chuck’s leadership, the organization has developed and launched the new SLO CAL® brand, expanded into international markets, and grown air service lift by opening five new markets delivering new flights for the first time in 10-years. Chuck led the effort and brought the seven municipalities and county together to develop SLO CAL’s first countywide destination management strategy, and renewed the district through 2030 with a 50% increase in funding, positioning the organization and destination for success in the years to come.
Chuck brings 29 years of career experience in travel, tourism, hospitality, lodging, management and leadership expertise to San Luis Obispo County. He began his career working in the lodging and gaming industry in Las Vegas, ultimately managing a national marketing, entertainment and sales team as Vice President. Chuck went on to become Executive Director of an international non-profit organization before accepting a position as Vice President and General Manager at Expedia, Inc. where he led a national team on the opening of the new Local Expert division across North America. He moved to San Luis Obispo County in 2012.
Chuck currently sits on the Board of Directors for Destinations International along with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for CalTravel, California’s tourism advocacy organization. Chuck also serves on the board of REACH Central Coast, Cal Poly President’s Council of Advisors Local Economic Development Committee and the Experience Industry Management Advisory Council. Chuck was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He is married to his best friend and the love of his life, Kristin, of 21 years. They have four beautiful daughters, Kylie, Savannah, Samantha and Carissa. For more information on Chuck Davison please visit his LinkedIn profile
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.
Julie Coker is the President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) where she oversees the organization’s efforts to promote and sell San Diego as a top destination for meetings, conventions, overseas travelers, and leisure visitors. The SDTA’s mission is to drive visitation to economically benefit the region.
Previously, Coker served as the president & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) where she oversaw the 2017 NFL Draft and the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which had a combined economic impact of $325 million for Philadelphia. Prior to that, she was PHLCVB’s Executive Vice President, Convention Division, and managed a staff of 25 sales and services professionals responsible for selling the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center and hotel packages to customers across the country.
Prior to joining the PHLCVB, she was the general manager for the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, where she oversaw all operational aspects of the 350-room hotel. A 21-year Hyatt veteran, she began her career in 1989 as a corporate management trainee at Hyatt Regency Columbus. Throughout her more than two decades with Hyatt, she rose through the ranks in a variety of positions, including assistant front office manager, front office manager, hotel assistant manager, assistant executive housekeeper and general manager.
Coker serves on several boards, including the California Travel Association, Visit California, The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown San Diego Partnership. She is an Executive Committee Member of the U.S. Travel Association and Destinations International.
From January 2018-2020, she served as co-chair for U.S. Travel’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition and secretary-treasurer for International Association of Exhibitions and Events Executive Committee (IAEE). From 2016-2019, Coker co-chaired the Shared Spaces Initiative to combat homelessness with Philadelphia’s Mayor, and in 2016, she served as the chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s transition team for the Democratic National Convention.
Additionally, Coker is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. In both 2012 and 2019, the Philadelphia Business Journal named her among their Women of Distinction honorees. She was the 2017 United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Ball Honoree for Civic Leadership and was named one of the Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business. She also received the Cradle of Liberty Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council and was the recipient of the 2011 John Wanamaker Award (Individual Award) given by the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity.
Coker is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she received a Bachelor of Science in hospitality management and graduated magna cum laude.
Royce has recently joined the great team at Tourism Vancouver as President and CEO in July 2020.
Previously he was the President and CEO of Travel Alberta, an award winning Provincial Crown Corporation responsible for the development and promotion of Alberta, Canada as a premier tourism destination.
As Executive Director, Global Brand Integration at the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canada’s national tourism marketing agency, Royce led the International brand and creative strategy. A career highlight was bringing the “Canada. Keep Exploring” brand to life for millions of viewers of the successful 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
Royce spent the previous 20 years in the retail and hospitality industries in management and leadership positions leading and executing many aspects of business strategy and operations.
Kelly Brough is the President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3,000 businesses in Colorado. She’s worked to advance Coloradans through multiple capacities in the private sector, higher education, social services and government. At the Chamber, Kelly funnels her passion for putting more Coloradans to work through advocating for sound public policy and economic development efforts. In 2019, she led the Chamber to establish Prosper CO, a cross-sector effort guided by the business community to create the best economy in the nation where everybody can prosper, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. Prosper CO is fully embedded in the Chamber’s work today and leads the business community’s efforts to identify disparities and remove barriers creating economic opportunity for all Coloradans.
Since 2018, Betsy Brennan has served as the President & CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the economic prosperity and cultural vitality of Downtown’s urban neighborhoods. Brennan leads the organization’s staff of more than 100 to serve this mission through a unique mix of membership, advocacy, and public services.
She guides the strategy, planning, and execution of the organization’s quality membership program – which serves more than 300 businesses and individuals representing thousands of residents, employees, and Downtown property owners – and its successful advocacy efforts – which prioritize issues and projects critical to the future of Downtown. She also oversees the administration of the Downtown Partnership Clean & Safe Program, a $10 million Property and Business Improvement District that offers services above and beyond those otherwise available for 275 blocks of Downtown including maintenance, safety, homeless outreach, and beautification.
Brennan has a proven track record of leadership with organizations like the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, Tahoe Forest Health System in Lake Tahoe, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State University, and the City of San Diego as Chief of Staff for then-City Council President Scott Peters.
She obtained her Juris Doctor, with a specialization in land use, at the University of San Diego (2003). Additionally, Brennan is a proud graduate of several statewide leadership programs - including Lead San Diego (Impact Class of 2006 and Influence Class of 2018) and Leadership CA (2011).
She serves on several local nonprofit boards of directors including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Regional EDC, the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, and the University of San Diego School of Law Board of Visitors. She also serves on the board for the International Downtown Association Foundation and on the boards of the Downtown Partnership’s related entities including the City Center Business District, the Columbia Community Foundation, and the Public Spaces Foundation.
Betsy has received several awards including San Diego Business Journal’s “500 Most Influential Business Leaders” (2020, 2019), San Luis Obispo Tribune’s “Top 20 Under 40” (2013), SDSU’s Associated Students Presidential Leadership Award (2011), San Diego Metropolitan Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” (2010), and San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch” (2008). Brennan is a member of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary and selective group of professionals who have distinguished themselves in various disciplines that relate to the use and economics of land and real estate, as well as the Sage Executive Group, a highly selective mentoring group for top executives.
Betsy, her husband Eli, and their children are grateful to enjoy living in and discovering San Diego.
Clare brings a unique perspective having both private and public sectors experience in international business development and marketing, economic development, attracting Foreign Direct Investment, communications, and place branding and marketing. She has deep business development and marketing expertise cultivated through more than fifteen years with the provincial government focused on Ontario’s economic competitiveness, in addition to prior private sector experience in the technology space.
Clare served as Ontario’s representative in the United Kingdom with a mandate to further Ontario’s trade, investment and broader economic interests. She also established Ontario first Investment Office, leading an international sales team and place branding initiatives.
Prior to joining the Province of Ontario, Clare held marketing and business development roles in IT focused businesses of all sizes, including leading international expansion plans for an internet development firm.
Clare is now proud to be leading FDI attraction and Business Retention Expansion for the City of Brampton, part of the Greater Toronto Region. Her focus is also on building a new Innovation District in the City’s historic downtown.
Steve Adler is Austin’s 52nd Mayor, having won re-election in 2018 by 40 points in a field of 8 candidates. His top priorities include mobility, affordability and equity for all Austinites. Adler is a Trustee of the United States Conference of Mayors, Past Chair of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) policy board, and Vice President of the National Council of Democratic Mayors.
While he’s been in office the City of Austin passed the largest mobility and affordable housing bonds in its history. The city raised its minimum city wage to $15/hr, passed city-wide sick leave and second chance hiring protections. Still working on the homelessness challenge, the city has become one of a limited number of cities to achieve effective net zero veteran homelessness. The city has become a world leader on climate change action.
Mayor Adler has received broad recognition for innovative leadership. Foreign Policy named him a Global reThinker and Living Cities included Mayor Adler on its list of 25 Disruptive Leaders (along with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and author Ta-Nehisi Coates) to mark that organization’s 25th anniversary. Austin Monthly named Mayor Adler “Best Politician” for “fearlessly speaking up for Austinites [and] proving that a little snark goes a long way to support the morale of a community.”