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Todd Babiak worked for a decade helping organizations and places build brands and strategies. He did it by uncovering a common narrative, and using it to inspire unity and action. Like all consultants, he sometimes wondered why his clients didn’t do everything he suggested. When one of his clients, the State of Tasmania, was looking for someone to lead the story and strategy work Todd had completed, he leapt into implementation. Today he is learning a lot about the real world as CEO of Brand Tasmania.
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.
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 and Tourism Commission, Visit California, The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and Meeting Planners International. She is currently one of the vice chairs on the U.S. Travel Association board.
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). In 2016, she served on the transition team of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. From 2016-2019, Coker co-chaired the Shared Spaces Initiative to combat homelessness.
Additionally, Coker is a member of the San Diego 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.
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.
Diane Edwards is the President of Jamaica’s Investment and export promotions agency, JAMPRO, where sheoversees national projects in the tourism, manufacturing, energy, mining, logistics, agriculture, creative industries and the knowledge services sectors and is instrumental in leading investment negotiations for Jamaica. A former Trade Commissioner for Jamaica in New York, Brussels and London, Diane is a respected thought-leader and strong advocate for the development and advancement of Jamaica’s business brand, and transformation of the nation’s business environment.
She has successfully managed and executed product launches for Jamaican food brands into mainstream markets, and negotiated substantial European Union funding for the ‘Target Europe’ Trade Development Programme; an initiative that positioned Jamaican products in the European market. This project subsequently evolved into a five-year Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP).She was also successful in landing investments in Jamaica for Spanishresort investors RIU and Iberostarand pivotal to the development of Jamaica’s garment sub-contracting and information and communications technology (ICT) industries.
Diane currently serves as the President of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) and a member of the UK Institute of Directors, a Trustee for the British Foundation for the University of the West Indies.
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.
Liina Maria is the Director of the Estonian Tourist Board since March 2020 when the tourism as we knew it ended. Her previous background has been in different sectors - she was active in finance sector and building an Estonian bank for over a decade, few years in film industry kickstarting Tallinn Film Industry hub and recent years as Estonian digital society promoter managing e-Estonia Briefing Centre. Kick-starting new projects and rebuilding strategies, managing changes and innovation have been a recurring theme and exciting challenges. And something she believes Estonian tourism also needs in this moment of time.
Director of the GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland campaign, 10 Downing Street and Cabinet Office Communications
Andy returned as Director of the GREAT campaign in November 2021, having previously worked in Director of Communications roles in the Northern Ireland Office, and No 10 and Cabinet Office National Security Communications.
A career diplomat by background, Andy’s overseas assignments have included Brasil, Poland, Ireland and Yemen.
Andy was deeply immersed in the final stages of the Peace Process and was awarded an OBE in 2009 by HM The Queen for Services to Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Sequeira is the Managing Director of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, CINDE. Mr. Sequeira joined CINDE in 2014, after the Trade Promotion Agency of Costa Rica, PROCOMER, where he served for four years as the General Manager.
Prior to that, Mr. Sequeira co-founded and acted as CEO of Exactus Corporation, a business software development company with presence in 12 countries throughout Latin America. Mr. Sequeira acted also as Vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries, as well as of GS1 Costa Rica, the local office of the Brussels-based global organization for the facilitation of commerce.
Mr. Sequeira graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University, in Boston, Massachusetts, where he obtained an Engineering degree in Computer Science and Applied Math. He then obtained a post-graduate degree in Administration and Management from the Harvard University School of Extension, also in Boston.