Your 2019 Symposium Speakers!

Gary Hernbroth

Chief Motivating Officer - Training for Winners

Gary Hernbroth is a popular, nationally acclaimed professional speaker and business trainer known for his keen ability to make an impact on audiences and inspire them to kick up their games through his straightforward approach. He provides customized programs for a diverse cross-section of industries. His impressive A-list clients include national & regional associations, hospitality businesses, (including hotels, resorts, convention facilities, over 30 CVBs and planner organizations), large and small companies, and public sector teams. Gary is also a popular industry speaker for ASAE, MPI, SGMP, Connect and Smart Meetings, to name a few. Gary's full bio and CVB/Meetings Industry Clients

 

Monica Smith, CMP, CASE, CDME

President & CEO - Southeast Tourism Society 

Monica joined the STS team as President & CEO on August 6, 2018.  She has served on the STS Board of Directors, most recently as Chair, and served on the Recognition and Education Pillar committees. Smith, who has more than 26 years’ experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, most recently was vice president of sales and services for Visit Jacksonville, the city’s tourism sales and marketing organization. She previously was president and CEO of the Macon-Bibb County CVB in Macon, Ga. She also has worked at the Pasadena CVB and the Newport Beach CVB in California and for the Cleveland CVB in Ohio. Smith, who served on the STS board of directors through her positions in Jacksonville and Macon, is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

 

The Honorable Russell K. Paul

Mayor of Sandy Springs, Georgia 

Elected mayor in November 2013, Russell K. (Rusty) Paul brings more than 40 years of federal, state and local public policy and public administration experience to the job. He is currently serving his second term. Mr. Paul was elected to the founding city council for Sandy Springs in November 2005 and served one term. He chaired the city’s charter review commission and the Sandy Springs Development Authority. Mayor Paul's full bio. 

 

 

Jennifer Cruce 

Executive Director - Visit Sandy Springs 

Jennifer Cruce has served as Executive Director of Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism since November of 2014. Cruce was the Senior Marketing Manager for Turner Broadcasting’s Inside CNN Studio Tour and CNN Center for 10 years, during which she directed branding and marketing strategies for the company’s tourist attraction. During her tenure with Turner, she served on the PR and Marketing Advisory Council for Central Atlanta Progress, the ACVB’s Attraction Task Force and the ACVB’s International Business Development Task Force.  Cruce previously worked with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism’s Film, Videotape and Music Office, promoting Georgia as a location for filming.

 

 

Maurice Odoms

Group Sales Manager, Explore Gwinnett

Maurice Odoms is the Group Sales Manager at Explore Gwinnett, the official tourism office in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Maurice has over ten years of sales experience working in the SMERF market. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Earl G. Graves School of Business at Morgan State University.

 

Rashelle Beasley

Executive Director, Albany CVB

Rashelle Beasley joined the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau as Welcome Center Manager in July of 2008, was promoted to Tourism Director in 2012, and is now the Executive Director.  She helped the Albany CVB open Plantation Trace’s first Level 5 Regional Visitor Information Center at the Bridge House. She has successfully completed the three-year curriculum of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College, receiving her Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification in March 2012. As a result of her hard work, Rashelle was chosen as the Southeast Tourism Society’s Rising Star in November 2012 and was award the Larry Allen Leadership Award in September 2015. She serves as President of the Georgia Association of Covention and Visitors Bureaus. Rashelle is also active in the community.  She is Race Director for the SNICKERS® Marathon and Half Marathon. She is a graduate of Leadership Institute Class of 2015, Leadership Albany Class of 2008 and Georgia Academy for Economic Development Class of 2012. She has also served on the executive board of the Southwest Georgia Tourism Association, Albany Junior Women’s Club, Leadership Albany and Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross. Rashelle was recognized twice as Southwest Georgia’s Top 40 under 40. Rashelle is a native of Mitchell County, and her hobbies include running, singing, reading, and hunting. She has two children Zach, 17 and Mary Frances, 13.

 

 

Dennis Kemp

Director of Sales - Visit Sandy Springs

 In his current role as the Director of Sale for Visit Sandy Springs Dennis is responsible for developing, managing, and implementing the sales team strategy.  He and his staff are responsible for generating leads and prospecting for groups and meetings to fill the 20 hotels in Sandy Springs. Dennis started his hospitality career in Atlanta as an intern at Delta Air Lines.  After his internship, he went to work for the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Business Travel.  Dennis was a National Sales Manager and sold for both the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead and the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta.  The next step in his hospitality career was at the Georgia Aquarium in the Group Sales department.  

 

 

David Wright 

Vice President of Partner Relations - Religious Conference Management Association (RCMA)

David Wright has been a part of RCMA (Religious Conference Management Association), a nonprofit focused on enhancing the faith-based meetings market, developing their marketing and partnership strategies for the better part of the last decade.  He is now the Vice President of Partner Relations whose sole purpose is working with members of the Supplier market to help develop and tell their destination’s story specifically to the faith-based meetings segment. 

 

Melissa Legaux, CMP

National Sales Manager - Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau 

As a National Sales Manager at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), Melissa Legaux, CMP, assists the bureau to increase visitation to Atlanta through meetings, events and conventions. Under Melissa’s tenure at the bureau within the last 5 years, her sales market has reached an annual average of over 100 percent of lead volume goals and secured over 409k hotel room nights. Legaux is active in the city’s hospitality industry and beyond. She sits on Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Georgia’s Board of Directors for the last three years. She is a 2018 Lorraine M. Powell Membership Award Winner and the 2019 Chapter Leader of the Year. She also currently holds a position on the MPI Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Legaux’s career in hospitality began at The New Orleans Steamboat Company and continued to thrive within multiple sales and marketing management roles at American Classic Voyages and Cobb Travel and Tourism. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Legaux attended The Lester W. Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration at the University of New Orleans with a concentration in Meeting and Convention Management and continues to be an avid SAINTS fan.

 

Ted Basco

Group Sales Manager - Visit Roswell 

Originally from Northern California, Ted Basco relocated to Atlanta in 2009 where he and his family now reside. Ted has over 20 years of hospitality industry experience serving a sales manager at several hotels – including the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Digeo, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, the Century Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Glenn Hotel here in Atlanta.  Additionally, Ted assisted with the pre-opening teams at the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort and Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort.  He lead teams as Director of Sales at Westin Buckhead Atlanta, InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina.Ted is currently responsible for leading all sales efforts of the convention and visitors bureau – focusing on Corporate, Association and SMERF markets for Roswell’s current and future hotel landscape.  Ted also serves as the lead liaison for the CVB on any film production leads the organization generates and receives.

  

Lorri McQueary

Vice President - Destination South Meetings + Events, a DMC Network Company

Lorri McQueary is a hospitality industry and marketing professional who brings over twenty years’ brand strategy and event design experience to her role as Vice President of Destination South Meetings + Events, where she just celebrated her fifteen-year anniversary. Lorri has produced attention-getting events ranging from intimate VIP gatherings to larger- than-life celebrations for global brands. She has led marketing campaign strategies for universities and also enjoys teaching for one- as an Event Planning instructor for the Continuing Education department for Emory University. Lorri is a proud citizen of Roswell, and the mother of two children, whom she affectionately refers to as, "Thing One & Thing Two"; Her other first loves are the arts, books, movies and everything design related.

 

Edward Dramberger, PhD

Principal - Destination Dr. Consulting & Training 

Edward Dramberger, PhD is Principal of Destination Dr. Consulting. Ed’s clients include CVB’s, Hotels, Tour Operators, DMO, and Tourism boards globally.  As a speaker, author, trainer and consultant; Destination Dr. facilitates sales/marketing training and consults with Hotel companies, DMO’S, CVB’s, Tour operators and Countries Tourism boards. His research consists of the “buying-seller” relationship within the MICE and Tourism industry. He has developed a proven results oriented selling model “Compass Selling®” within the convention/meeting/tourism sector.  His research and training seminars are vital for all sales and marketing professionals, aimed at increasing Destination brand awareness, market share and expanding overall tourism revenue by 15% guaranteed. He partners with global Universities offering strategic course curriculum and developed an International Hospitality/Tourism Training Institute. Edward's Full Bio

 

Mike Vescio

Sales Manager - Discover DeKalb

Mr. Vescio currently is a Sales Manager for the Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau – headquartered  in Tucker, Georgia. Mr. Vescio has been in the hospitality industry for the past 37 years.  He most recently was the Tourism Sales Manager for the new City of Brookhaven.  At the Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau his focus is to bring motor coach groups – student and seniors to the county - thus making it a preferred destination. He also regularly teaches Motor coach seminars – recently taught one for Maryland Motor coach Association and the Tennessee Motor Coach Association.   Topics include – working with a Group Leader, Motor Coach 101 and how to get the most out of Trip Advisor. He is one of the Top Reviewers in Georgia for Trip Advisor – his main focus is hotels and restaurants. He currently is a Board Member for the Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association Atlanta Metro Travel Association, Out Georgia Business Alliance and Art Station Theatre located in Stone Mountain Village. 

 

Talicia Bosso

Director of Marketing, New Business & Events - Simpleview

Talicia Bosso oversees the global marketing and events activities at Simpleview. She is responsible for generating new business opportunities around the globe, while also managing Simpleview's presence at more than 120 tradeshows and events, including Simpleview’s annual Summit Conference. Talicia has over 14 years of experience working in B2B marketing and events in the not-for-profit, healthcare and travel industries. She has earned her bachelor's in marketing from Concordia University, in Canada and her Global Masters of Business Administration from the SBS Swiss University, in Switzerland. Talicia was born and raised in Brazil and has lived in Montreal, Toronto, Abu Dhabi, Tucson, and now calls a small town in south-east Maryland home. 

 

 

Muzette Randall

Director ǀ RFP Valet® Services, ConventionPlanit.com

Muzette Randall has more than 30 years of advertising sales, marketing and management experience. Her career has included broadcast, direct mail and interactive media as well as direct print and advertising agency sales development. She got her start in newspapers, where she held several advertising sales positions culminating with a regional and national advertising sales assignment with Landon Media representing newspapers across the country, including publications in every major city in Georgia. Muzette served as President of the Atlanta chapter of the Newspaper Advertising Sales Association. She was a pioneer in the industry’s effort to streamline multiple newspaper placement and billing through her efforts with The Newspaper Network and The Associated Press. In 2007 Muzette launched her own consultant company, Ten20 Marketing, where she has taken on several internet marketing initiatives involving online news, manufacturing industry resource sites, real estate consumer marketing and digital media initiatives. She has worked closely with a wide variety of clients from small family-owned business to Fortune 500 companies. Her hospitality clientele has included cruise lines, major hotel chains, Convention & Visitor Bureaus and national travel services. She translated her skills to work with meeting and convention planners from corporation, government and association market segments as a third-party planner for a national consortium. Muzette began her tenure with ConventionPlanit.com as a Regional Director of Sales and has now assumed the newly appointed position as Director of RFP Valet® Services.

 

Jeff Hewitt, CDME

Senior Vice President for Visit Savannah

Jeff manages the Destination Sales and Service efforts for Savannah. These efforts include Conventions, Meetings, domestic and international Group Tourism, Sporting Events, Festivals and Special Events as well as the Services that Visit Savannah provides to support these efforts. With over 25 years of hospitality experience, his work includes senior management positions with Visit Charlotte and Visit Tampa Bay where he helped organize the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention, the Super Bowl and the NCAA Men’s Final Four. He’s also worked with Marriott and an independent luxury resort. He serves on numerous boards and committees both locally and nationally.

 

Shelley Fulghum

Events Marketing Manager - Stibo Systems

Shelley Fulghum is the Events Marketing Manager for Stibo Systems, managing both internal and external conferences and tradeshows globally. She has been on all sides of the tradeshow and events industry from tradeshow management to the supplier side working for a decorator to now corporate events. With more than 17 years’ experience in the industry, her unique 360 degree perspective of all sides of events has enhanced her passion for event planning and creating experiences for the attendees. In addition to her passion for events, Shelley loves to travel, discover different cuisines, and attend as many sporting events as possible.

 

 

Donna Carpenter, CDME

President & CEO, Cabarrus County CVB

Donna Carpenter joined the Cabarrus County CVB as President and CEO in 2009 bringing more than 14 years of experience in destination management, sales and marketing to the Bureau. Donna most recently served as the director of tourism and partnership development for five-plus years with Visit Charlotte. She was also executive director of the Stanly County Convention & Visitors Bureau, director of sports and public relations for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and was the executive director for the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, Donna was named one of the area’s Top Women in Business by Business Today. The same year, she became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CMDE) through Destinations International and is also certified as a Tourism Marketing Professional through the Southeast Tourism Society. Donna is an active member of Southeast Tourism Society and the National Tourism Association. Donna currently serves on the boards of 600 Festival, NC Travel and Tourism, Southeastern Tourism Society, NC Travel and Tourism Coalition, UNCC Advisory Board, Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce and Cabarrus Economic Development Council. She is also Chair of the Hickory Ridge High School Tourism Academy Advisory Board, Sister Cities Association and Past President of Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina (DMANC). In September 2015, Donna received the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Beacon Award, a prestigious honor recognizing an individual who best exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of excellence and who has advanced the tourism industry.

 

Andy Williams

Executive Director, Visit Roswell

Andy Williams serves as Executive Director of Visit Roswell, the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Roswell, Georgia. At the CVB, he and his team are charged with leading the efforts of tourism promotion through marketing and sales activities relevant to the destination’s hotels, restaurants, venues, special events and attractions. Andy’s entire career has been in the travel industry. He previously held positions at the Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Dunwoody Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Atlanta-based destination management company Destination South Meetings & Events. His responsibilities spanned marketing, sales and event production. Andy is a past president of the Georgia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International, and he currently serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus. He is a Certified Meeting Professional through the Events Industry Council and a Travel Marketing Professional through the Southeast Tourism Society.

 

Lisa Anders

Executive Director, Explore Gwinnett

Lisa Anders is the Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett, Gwinnett’s official tourism agency and film office. Explore Gwinnett’s mission is to draw conventions, meetings, conferences and sports tournaments to Gwinnett’s convention center, hotels, and event facilities, as well as destination marketing of Gwinnett County’s cities. Explore Gwinnett is currently overseeing the public-private expansion of the Infinite Energy Center, as well as working with North American Properties on the $600 million dollar Revel mixed use project. Lisa is Gwinnett County’s Camera Ready representative, serving as the county liaison to the booming film and movie industry as well as to the Georgia Film Office. Lisa serves on the boards of the Aurora Theatre and Partnership Gwinnett PFE. She is a Certified Destination Management Executive, 2018 graduate of Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute and a 2013 Leadership Gwinnett graduate.  Lisa and her husband Jim have 2 kids, Ben and Isabella, both college students.   

 

Randy DuTeau, CSEE, TMP

VP of Community Strategy & Development, Tourism Strategies, LLC

Randy has over 25 years of experience working in event management and destination marketing. Before becoming VP of Community Strategy & Development for Sports Strategies, Randy held a variety of positions that make him uniquely qualified to speak on the benefits of sports tourism. Previous positions include Executive Director of Columbia County CVB, Sports Development Manager of the Augusta Sports Council and General Manager of the Wolf Creek Olympic Shooting Complex. His event management experience includes four USA Cycling National Championships, AAU XC National Championships, ISSF World Cup Shooting, NCAA D2 Soccer Championships, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and Paralympics. Randy has a BS in Parks and Recreation Management from Georgia State University. He is a Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) through the National Association of Sports Commissions and has his Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification from the Southeast Tourism Society. He lives in Evans, Georgia with his wife and two children. 

 

Rob Wells

Director, Savannah Sports Council 

Rob Wells joined the Savannah Sports Council in October of 2017. Since arriving in Savannah, Rob has worked to carry on the legacy of the Sports Council’s existing events including the Enmarket Savannah Hockey Classic, Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K, Georgia Power Sports Awards, and the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run. Additionally, Rob has worked to secure two new NAIA events, the NAIA Senior Football Classic in December of 2019 and the NAIA Lacrosse National Invitational in May of 2020. Before arriving in Savannah, Rob led the sports tourism efforts for Visit Sarasota County in Sarasota, Fl and the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB in Naples, Fl. Prior to the sports tourism field Rob worked in Parks and Recreation, Hospitality, and Aviation sector. Rob is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard where he served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rob is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Oh. Outside of work, Rob is active as a high school football referee. Rob is married to his wife Megan. They have two daughters, Rose and Josephine.

 

Chris Klauda, CHIA

Senior Director, Market Insights – STR

Chris Klauda leads the research and analytic efforts for STR’s market insights division which includes market level hotel performance, compression analysis, special event impact and group meeting trends. She is instrumental in producing STR’s biennial study of meeting planners titled Destination MAP (Meeting Assessment Planning). The 2019 issue was released in July, 2019. Chris also manages all internal and external survey research conducted by STR. Chris was previously a VP with DK Shifflet in McLean Virginia where she managed research projects for hotel clients including Marriott, Choice and Best Western. Chris is often called upon to present industry insights at travel industry conferences and as a guest lecturer at various universities. Chris graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business. She currently lives in Nashville, TN.

 

Ann Hortman, CSEE

Director, Rome Sports

Ann has been with Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism since 2006, focusing on the sports market since 2008, and creating the new division of Rome Sports in 2013. She was instrumental in hosting the NAIA Football National Championship (2008-2013), ACC Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships (2017, 2020-2021), and one of the longest running stage races for handcycling for 12 years. An avid advocate for adaptive sports, Ann was the catalyst to focus on accessibility of the new Rome Tennis Center. Under her direction, Rome now hosts a prestigious ITF Wheelchair Tennis tournament annually. Ann has been active with Georgia Sports since 2010, and has served as secretary and president of the organization. A member of NASC since 2011, Ann earned her CSEE (Certified Sports Events Executive) in 2017. In February 2020, Ann will add TMP after her name, proudly graduating from STS Marketing College!

 

Ashley Woitena, LEC, TMP, MBA

Senior Vice President, VisitColumbusGA

Ashley is the Senior Vice President, Sales for VisitColumbusGA. She has over 12 years of experience with VisitColumbusGA. In her current role she is responsible for the development and implementation of the sales teams strategy and goals. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Columbus State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Troy University. She currently serves on the Board for the Georgia Association & Convention & Visitors Bureaus (GACVB). She earned the GACVB Leadership Excellence Certification in 2014, Southeast Tourism Society (STS), Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP) distinction in 2014, and is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Columbus. She is currently working on becoming a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) though Destinations International (DI). She is also an active member of Columbus Uptown Toastmasters Club. A highlight of her career is working with Military Reunions and conquering her fear of heights in 2019 by tandem jumping into Fort Benning with the Army Golden Knights Jump Team.

 

Joel Peacock
Director of Operations, Georgia Association of Water Professional

Joel is the Director of Operations for GAWP, and is the man behind the success of virtually every conference and event GAWP holds.  In the beginning of his career, Joel worked at the GA DNR Environmental Protection Division for 5 year before being recruited to GAWP in 1992.  For the past 27 years, Joel has consistently raised the bar on our creativity and gadgetry, to advance our mission of education and support for the water professionals in Georgia.  Throughout his life and career, Joel’s faith and family have been his guiding light.  Joel is a very busy guy who wears a LOT of hats, but finds time to enjoy cycling, “Glamping”, hiking, church activities and doing for others who need his help.  His life philosophy seems to be – when you do something, go ALL IN, and have the gadgets to back you up!

 

 

Jay Markwalter, LEC, TMP

Executive Director, Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus 

Jay represents Georgia’s association of convention and visitors bureaus / destination marketing organizations as GACVB Executive Director.  GACVB serves as the unified voice, educational resource and professional development for our state’s tourism marketing and management professionals. Prior to GACVB, Jay joined the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau as Director of Marketing Communications in September 2014 and transitioned in 2016 to Director of Sales.  As DOS, he led the group services/Guest Experiences team in strategic planning and executing sales and servicing across market segments including SMERF, Association, Reunions, Corporate, Government, Sports, and Festivals. Full bio. 

 

....Speakers page updated 11/5/2019. More to come with 28 Total Speakers!