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Sveinn Birkir Björnsson leads marketing and communications for Business Iceland, a public-private partnership that serves as a joint DMO, TPO and IPA for Iceland. Business Iceland‘s campaign, Inspired by Iceland has been widely recognised and awarded for its creative output and results.
Moriya is an Account Manager in US Reputation practice at Ipsos. She serves as the program lead of the Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index (NBI) and Anholt-Ipsos City Brands Index (CBI), syndicated programs that evaluate the strength of 60 nations and 50 cities globally. In her role Moriya leads the annual review and modification of the program to ensure questions remain relevant each year and explore recent global trends. She manages the team of researchers running the operations of the program, and conducts the data analysis, visualization, and client reporting. Utilizing these data Moriya consults with various nations and cities to evaluate the implications of the annual results and provides actionable strategies for clients to continue to enhance their reputation.
Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets, employing more than 18,000 people, and serving more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.
Moriya holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Her research, in partnership with Ipsos, regarding trust of philanthropy groups and the success rate of addressing public health issues in Nigeria was presented in a symposium hosted by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and later published as part of a collection of research studies.
After more than nine years at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, most recently as Vice President of Digital & Communications, Leroy joined Adara in the fall of 2021 and now serves as VP of Sales for Tourism. He has long been passionate about empowering destination marketers with the tools they need to advocate for their organizations. Using third-party tools like Adara’s Impact platform, Leroy was able to more than double St. Pete/Clearwater digital marketing budget over time. He now works closely with destination marketing organizations across the country to help them leverage Adara’s traveler data and tools. Leroy is a proud member of the 2014 Destinations International’s 30 Under 30 class and is a proud Purdue Boilermaker.
Artur joined Brand Finance in 2018 after graduating from the King's College London in Political Economy. Artur is currently a Level III Candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme. Artur is fluent in three languages - English, Russian and Ukrainian. Artur has experience in valuation, strategy, market research analysis for clients including Chevron, Rockwool, Iberia, Etihad, and stc. Artur also has experience in Brand Finance’s sports services offering, in particular, measurement and return on investment projects with global clients like Formula 1. Currently, Artur leads place branding projects at Brand Finance. In particular, the Global Soft Power Index and Brand Finance City Index.
Brisa is a seasoned senior strategist with an extensive track record of successfully leading place branding, planning, and community engagement projects at CivicBrand. Her commitment to the vitality and identity of places is not just a profession but a passion. Hailing from the vibrant state of New Mexico, she intimately understands the profound influence of place on residents and their sense of community pride.
In her capacity as senior strategist at CivicBrand, Brisa assumes a pivotal role in steering the brand strategy process. Her expertise lies in collaborating with communities to craft and share their unique stories, inspiring residents, investors, and visitors alike. Noteworthy among her achievements are her contributions to transformational projects in communities such as High Point, North Carolina, Clackamas County, Oregon, and Lubbock, Texas.
Beyond her role at CivicBrand, Brisa serves on the board of directors for Texas Downtowns, an organization dedicated to nurturing vibrant districts across the Lone Star State. She also shares her insights and expertise by speaking on place brand strategy and as a featured guest on CivicBrand's "Eyes on The Street" podcast.
Anita Cassidy is an accomplished leader responsible for the strategic direction and management of Burlington Economic Development in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Anita has worked for Burlington Economic Development since immigrating to Canada from Europe in 2011. She has 25 years of experience in Economic Development blending the perspectives of an extensive background in European and North American economic development practice.
A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Masters of Economic Development program she is multilingual and has lived and worked in seven countries. She has led a number of transformational initiatives for Burlington including the Burlington Economic Vision and the GO Investment Corridor. In her role as Executive Director, she uses her multicultural perspective to deliver unique strategies that position Burlington for investment. Anita also co-founded TechPlace, an Innovation Centre led by Burlington Economic Development that has supported thousands of entrepreneurs since it launched in 2017.
With over 30 years of experience in the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, Royce has focused the last 15 years of his career in senior leadership roles at the national, provincial, and now the civic level of destination management organizations. After spending 10 years at Travel Alberta, Royce relocated back to his hometown Vancouver to take on the role of President, CEO, and team leader of the newly transformed Destination Vancouver in July of 2020.
While at Travel Alberta Royce oversaw the development and launch of the award winning (remember to breathe) destination brand that resulted in increased awareness and visitation for Alberta. While at the Canadian Tourism Commission, Royce was part of the team that brought the Canada brand to life for millions of viewers and attendees of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics helping to put Vancouver and Canada on the global tourism bucket list.
Before that Royce developed extensive experience working in corporate, franchise and start-up business in operations, sales, and marketing in various leadership roles.
Royce volunteers on Destination British Columbia’s Tourism Marketing Committee, Expedia Media Select Advisory Board, Business Improvement Association Downtown Vancouver Board Member, and SAIT Dean’s Hospitality and Tourism Council.
Scott is the President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), a public-private, nonprofit partnership focused on catalyzing strategic economic investment and quality jobs in Utah. EDCUtah is funded by the Governor’s Office, about 150 private sector investor firms, and more than 50 communities around the state.
Previously he was COO of The Point, Utah’s generational economic development megaproject, and a management consulting director in the capital projects and infrastructure practice at PwC where he worked on development projects as large as $25B USD.
In Scott’s consulting career, he had the opportunity to advise some of the world’s leading firms including Fortune 5 tech giants, institutional investors, blue chip real estate firms and others across a variety of industries. His project portfolio included North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University, a Master’s in real estate development from Georgetown University and a Master of Science degree in business from the University of Oxford.
Scott is passionate about Utah and thoughtful community development and is privileged to have served on national boards promoting economic empowerment, business and social causes. His wife and three daughters enjoy spending time in the Wasatch mountains and Utah’s national parks any chance they find.
Denise Desatnick is Vice President of Marketing and Research for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, where she leads the organization’s efforts to attract business, industry and talent to the state. A native of Philadelphia, Denise is a life-long marketer who started her career in advertising with Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather, progressed into the B2B and destination marketing spaces, and now happily finds herself doing all of the above for her new home state of North Carolina, which was recently ranked by CNBC as the #1 state for business in the U.S. Denise is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she studied government.
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 and 2022. 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Destinations International Board of Directors, and he is the Immediate Past-Chair of the Board for the Louisiana Travel Association and serves on their board. He is a past chair of the Brand USA Board of Directors, the Travel South USA Board of Directors, and the Louisiana Association of CVBs. He also serves on the U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors.
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.
Kevin Ferguson is the Vice President of External Affairs and Membership at New Orleans & Company. His department is responsible for government affairs, membership strategies, community partnerships and engagement and interfacing with cultural entities across the region. Previously, the New Orleans native worked in professional sports with the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints organizations, as well as the New Orleans Hornets and New Orleans Zephyrs. He received a B.A. in History from Florida State University in 2006. He is civically engaged through board service with Habitat for Humanity, the Contemporary Arts Center, UNO Research and Technology Foundation, and GNOInc. NextGen Council.
Layne serves as the Director of Placemaking for CivicBrand. He is skilled in public space and multi-modal street design and has extensive experience working with cities and districts across the country on placemaking and place-branding initiatives. Prior to CivicBrand, Layne served as the Director of Design for Team Better Block, where he worked with cities on engaging the community through pop-up urbanism projects. Most notably, he co-authored the award-winning ‘Pop-Up Placemaking Toolkit’ in coordination with AARP Livable Communities that has been downloaded in cities across all 50 states by practitioners and active citizens as a tool for actionable steps to engage communities and implement placemaking demonstrations in their communities.
As Director of Destination Development for the Colorado Tourism Office Andrew works with communities across the state to realize their potential as tourism destinations. Guided by the belief that we are all stronger together, he helps identify common challenges and opportunities within a diverse set of tourism stakeholders to develop a common vision for the change they want to see in their community.
Before joining the Colorado Tourism Office, Andrew was the Destination Development Manager for Travel Oregon and the Director of Partnerships for Sustainable Travel International. In his free time, he can be found backpacking to alpine lakes or soaking in Colorado's eclectic hot springs.
Victor Hoskins is President and CEO of the Fairfax County (Va.) Economic Development Authority
Authority (FCEDA). He is an MIT trained Urban Planner and Real Estate Executive that oversees growth of the largest economy in Virginia, which was named the “Top State for Business Climate” in 2022 by the Site Selection Magazine and ranked no. 1 in the 2021 and 2019 CNBC “America’s Top States for Business” study. Mr. Hoskins received a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023 and is frequently chosen for lists of the most influential business leaders in Virginia and the Greater Washington area.
At FCEDA, Mr. Hoskins has led a team that has secured approximately $3 billion in capital investment working with companies that announced the creation of more than 38,000 jobs. He also launched a multi-faceted talent initiative aimed at attracting, retaining, retraining, and growing the workforce in Northern Virginia. To-date, more than 1,000 companies and 100 universities have been engaged and 1.5 million job seekers across the U.S. have visited the digital job hub created for Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Previously, Mr. Hoskins directed economic development in Arlington County, Va., where he led the team that brought Amazon's second headquarters to Northern Virginia, attracting $4 billion in private capital investment. During his tenure, his team attracted or retained more than 14 million square feet of commercial office tenants and helped create more than 82,000 jobs. While in Arlington, Mr. Hoskins also collaborated with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to implement a $1.1 billion Tech Talent Pipeline program that has resulted in the creation of two tech innovation campuses.
Mr. Hoskins holds an Honors undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and has held executive leadership positions in real estate in both the public and private sectors. As Deputy Mayor of the District of Columbia, his team transformed Washington with projects such as City Center, the Wharf and Union Market. His career has taken him from Wall Street to Main Street, and he has expanded economies from Los Angeles/Long Beach to the Mid-Atlantic region.
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.
Konrad leads Brand Finance’s place branding and soft power practice. He liaises with clients, directs consulting projects, and is responsible for the creation and promotion of the annual Global Soft Power Index and Nation Brands studies.
Konrad has extensive experience in advising clients in the fields of place branding and public diplomacy. Before joining Brand Finance, he worked at the Polish Embassy in London where he developed and delivered successful marketing communications campaigns as well as media relations programmes of official engagements by the president, prime minister, government ministers, and the ambassador.
In his role at Brand Finance, Konrad has advised a variety of place branding organisations, including New Zealand Story, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Konrad has qualified with the Professional PR Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). He studied European Studies MA at King’s College London and the Humboldt University in Berlin, and International Relations with Political Science BA at the University of Birmingham.
Jordan Kuglitsch is an Account Director for Miles Partnership. She is committed to helping destination brands tell their story and leads Miles’ internal teams to deliver exceptional service and products. Brand strategy is central to her work across accounts where she is an active steward of helping clients achieve their business goals and objectives by laying a strategic foundation for project initiatives.
Jordan has led the rebranding efforts, multichannel campaign development and overall agency of record services for a variety of clients, including Chattanooga Tourism Co., San Francisco Travel, Maine Office of Tourism, and Discover Puerto Rico.
Joining Economic Development Regina from Canadian Western Agribition (North America’s premiere livestock show), Chris Lane building EDR into a data, analytics, and investment attraction powerhouse. With more than six years of executive leadership experience coupled with 15+ years of communications and media experience, Chris is ready to lead and tell the economic development story of Greater Regina Area while attracting businesses and investments from around the world. Serving on the boards of several local organizations and an avid volunteer, Chris is deeply connected to the Regina community. In his spare time, Chris is a private pilot and aircraft owner.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Nancy Mammana is responsible for leading NYC Tourism'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 Tourism, 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 Tourism 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.
Sara Meaney has 25+ years of leadership experience across public, private, nonprofit and government entities. She is a Principal consultant with Coraggio Group and leads the firm’s travel and tourism consulting practice. Sara also serves as senior vice president of the firm’s parent company, Miles Partnership.
Prior to joining Coraggio, Sara served as Wisconsin Tourism Secretary, where she led the state’s $22.2 billion tourism industry. During her tenure as secretary, she achieved the state’s first tourism budget increase in over a decade, established one of the first Offices of Outdoor Recreation in the Midwest, and championed the allocation of over $100 million in CARES Act funding for the state’s tourism-related businesses and organizations. Her career also includes executive leadership and owner/partner roles within the advertising and brand agency space, leading strategy for clients spanning diverse outdoor recreation & active lifestyle consumer products as well as a variety of travel and tourism brands.
Sara is a Business Journals Forty Under 40 alum and was hailed as one of “20 Executives to Watch in 2020”. In addition to her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, she completed executive education programs at both Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management. She has also completed the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) professional training program. Sara and her husband Brian live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with their four children.
Laurence is a brand specialist and a consolidated business developer with 25+ years of experience directing client engagements in brand-building disciplines encompassing valuation, strategy, and corporate identity, across numerous sectors and markets.
As Managing Director for the Americas, Laurence directs the company's operations, reputation, and client relationships for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America. A noted Americas specialist, Laurence has led client engagements in over 20 countries in the region.
In his career, Laurence has serviced clients in banking, such as Citi, S&P Global, Land O’ Lakes, BBVA, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, PromPeru, ProColombia, Visit Florida, Otis, and NTT Data; leading retail brands such as Walmart; and important players in sports and entertainment, including Mexico’s National Soccer Team.
Laurence is a representative for Mexico before the ISO Technical Committee responsible for reviewing the creation of a transparent, reconcilable, and repeatable approach to brand valuation, ISO 10668 on Brand Valuation and is a member of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB). Laurence is a frequent contributor on marketing and branding topics for Brand Finance and in media outlets such as The Daily Beast in the United States, Mexico’s El Financiero Bloomberg, and Colombia’s La República.
Laurence is fluent in both English and Spanish and holds an undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University and a postgraduate degree from the University of Miami. He is native Spanish and English speaker.
Billy Nungesser is the 54th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana. He was elected in 2015 and took office in January 2016. From July 2019 to July 2020, Nungesser served as Chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, a professional association that charts issues and work to be pursued by the second-highest-ranking officials in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
Under his administration, the state of Louisiana celebrated a fourth consecutive year of record-breaking visitation as Louisiana welcomed more than 53.2 million visitors, bringing in more than $18.9 billion to the state.
Billy left a career as a successful businessman to begin his political career following Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, Nungesser rode out Hurricane Katrina at his ranch in southern Plaquemines Parish. In response to his own frustration over the slow response from the government following Hurricane Katrina, Billy decided to run for Plaquemines Parish President in 2006. He was re-elected in 2010 with over 70% of the vote.
On April 20, 2010, Plaquemines Parish became ground zero for the nation's biggest environmental disaster. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf, Billy became the voice of Louisiana's frustration.
During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the New York Times named him the "Hardest working man in Louisiana" and ABC named him Person of the Week during the same period. He continues to be the "hardest working man in Louisiana" to date on behalf of all of us.
Today Billy is second-in-command in the executive branch and Louisiana's ambassador as Commissioner of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. From natural disasters to promoting our great state...Billy Nungesser is a man for all of Louisiana.
Tourism industry visionary David Peacock is the Senior Advisor to the Future Tourism Group @ Simpleview, the global leader in software and services for digital destination marketing.
Peacock followed up two decades of international success as a senior executive in television and electronic media by accepting a challenge to spearhead the creation of a ground breaking tourism development incubator (RTO4.ca) in Ontario, Canada in 2011. He joined Simpleview in January 2020. He has track record in growing and strengthening tourism economies, as well as working with Destinations International and DestinationNEXT,
Peacock describes the Future Tourism Group as a vehicle for industry leaders to prioritize issues and participate in creating and beta-testing tools and processes to address them, with much of the work mirroring strategies he successfully developed for creating sustainable destination management networks, developing channels for distributed marketing and storytelling and strengthening stakeholder competencies.
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.
Darren Reeder is a passionate, results-oriented industry professional with over 30-years experience providing policy, advocacy and industry development supports to community and economic development-oriented organizations spanning many sectors, most notably food processing, culinary and tourism and hospitality. Darren has been a vocal advocate for the expansion of Alberta’s tourism economy, and, for meaningful labour reforms that will enable this industry to reach its full potential.
A respected thought leader who has inspired various issues coalitions, coordinated advocacy campaigns and who also been an ardent defender of the need for tourism sector to better leverage industry data to advance its needs in front of provincial and federal decision-makers, Darren is driven by a simple philosophy: say what you’re going to do and then follow through, without exception.
He has been a vocal advocate on the importance and value of tourism in supporting Canada’s national park objectives through his work with the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association, and, was the driving force behind the creation of the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta where he currently serves as its President & CEO.
Over the years, Darren has undertaken extensive work on tourism destination development, funding model analysis to support destinations, and, conducted various tourism and event feasibility/expansion studies. Most recently he led the charge on a comparative economic analysis study that benchmarked public investment in tourism relative to other sectors of the provincial economy, arguing that government significantly under-invests in tourism relative other economic sectors, on a jobs and GDP-output basis.
Darren was formerly CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, where he was employed for 13-years. Under his leadership, the Chamber’s efforts to effect substantive provincial fiscal reforms were widely successful.
Darren and his family live in Canmore, Alberta.
Mr. Staufert graduated as a Certified Public Accountant from the University of Tepeyac. In addition, he received his Master's Degree in Hotel Finance and Tourism Marketing through Cornell's Distance Learning Program.
He has developed his professional career in the hotel industry over 27 years, during which he worked mainly at Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), spanning five countries and seven cities throughout Mexico.
In 2000, he was appointed General Manager, a role he would hold for 14 years as both General Manager and Regional Director.
The Intercontinental Hotels Group chain presented him with the Torchbearer Award for Best Hotel in Latin America in 2005.
On two separate occasions, in 2008 and 2012, he was named General Manager of the Year by the IHG.
In 2014, he became the Director of the Visitors and Convention Bureau of Guadalajara, where he continues to date.
Currently, he holds the positions of Technical Secretary of the Tourism Trust of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, General Director of the Guadalajara-Guadalajara brand, Secretary of the Mexican Meetings Industry Council, as well as consisting of 1 of the 12 board members of the BestCities Global Alliance.
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 three years ago.
Whether he's 'working' or not you can find him in a quaint pub in Ireland, Orleans, 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
Melvin Tennant, CAE, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. The private 501(c)6 business organization has a team of 73 who are dedicated to positively impacting the economic and social prosperity of the Minneapolis community. Under his leadership, Meet Minneapolis and Sports Minneapolis annually secure an average of 700 large, mid-sized and smaller meetings, conventions, and sporting events, including major events such as the 2018 Super Bowl, 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four, multiple years of ESPN’s Summer X Games, and the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four.
His current board positions are with Association Forum, the U.S. Travel Association, the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four local organizing committee, Minnesota Sports & Events executive board (the newly formed regional sports marketing entity) and Minnesota USA Expo 2027, as well as local community boards for the Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Twin Cities and YouthLink as board member emeritus.
Mark Anthony Thomas is the President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the first since the organization's spring merger with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB).
Mark has served in public leadership roles in Pittsburgh, New York, and Los Angeles shaping economic development strategies and partnerships. Before entering the public sector, Mark worked in the media sector, shaping content and investigative journalism on social impact development, and effective governance.
He is a graduate of the University of Georgia (BA), Columbia (MPA), and MIT (MBA) and has served on several boards supporting college access, creative arts, and civic innovation.
As president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, Angela Val is charged with building Greater Philadelphia’s image, driving visitation and boosting the economy through day and overnight leisure visitation. The tourism marketing agency’s work supports local businesses, creates jobs, generates taxes and ultimately enhances residents’ quality of life.
A recognized trailblazer within Philadelphia’s tourism and hospitality industry, Val brings more than two decades of destination-marketing experience to her role, which she assumed in June 2022.
Previously, Val served as the chief operations officer at Tempest, an integrated marketing agency helping destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus across the country strengthen their local communities. She was responsible for establishing policies that fostered company culture and vision and implementing business strategies.
Val brings more than two decades of destination-marketing experience to her role.
In 2021, Val led Ready. Set. Philly! as executive director, initiating the yearlong collaborative initiative with the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to reopen and reinvigorate the city’s economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to joining Tempest, Val served as deputy executive director of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the DNC and then as chief administration officer at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), where she oversaw government and external affairs while managing day-to-day operations.
Val’s homecoming to VISIT PHILADELPHIA is a full-circle moment for her. She began her career at the organization in 1998 and worked her way up from executive assistant to the executive leadership team. Her efforts helped establish the organization as a powerhouse, and Val was at the helm of some of its most successful campaigns and initiatives, including With Art Philadelphia, Philly 360, Philadelphia Neighborhoods and the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package. Val concluded her first tenure at VISIT PHILADELPHIA in 2016 as chief external affairs officer.
Val is an effective leader, connector and culture builder, always striving to lead by example with an approachable and earnest executive style. She is committed to bringing vibrancy to Philadelphia’s business and cultural communities and currently serves on the board of Horizons Greater Philadelphia.
A Maryland native, Val moved to Philadelphia to attend Drexel University, where she received her bachelor’s degree. Thirty-one years later, she is still living in Philadelphia and currently resides in Point Breeze with her husband Joe.
Joe Veneto, Chief Experience Officer, Veneto Collaboratory, is a placemaking and experience design expert partnering with Destination Management Organizations, Economic Development Agencies, Travel Attractions and Corporations. Through the Experience Design Studio process, he creates innovative places as well as new customer experiences that transform tourism landscapes and convert customers into destination brand ambassadors.
The Experience Design Studio process has been implemented in multiple destinations throughout North America. Sample experiential destinations include Louisville, and Paducah, KY; Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL; Deadwood, SD; Madison, Green Bay and Eau Claire, WI; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Scottsdale, AZ; Richmond and Columbia Valley, BC, Canada, and others.
Joe is also a highly regarded thought leader and professional speaker on tourism trends, destination placemaking and customer experience. He presents programs annually at Industry Conventions, Tourism Conferences, National Associations and Economic Development Agencies. His content-rich programs provide innovative ideas and insights that make him one of the industry’s most requested experts on Experiential Tourism and Destination Development.