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VisitCalifornia
Back to outlook forum 2022

Speakers

Ziad Ahmed
Founder & CEO, JUV Consulting Founder, Redefy
Ziad Ahmed
Ziad Ahmed is a 23-year-old entrepreneur, recent graduate from Yale University, and speaker.

He is the CEO of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z consultancy that works with clients to help them understand young people. JUV has worked with over 20 Fortune 500 companies, has been profiled by the New York Times and has launched major purpose-driven TikTok campaigns. Because of JUV, he was named to the 2019 Forbes #30Under30 list when he was just 19.
Additionally, Ahmed is the founder of Redefy, a youth-run nonprofit committed to furthering equality. He speaks often on the power of his generation, and he seeks to use his voice to push the envelope forward wherever/however possible. Overwhelmingly though, he’s just another Gen Zer spending way too much time on TikTok. 
JUV Consulting Event Detail Page
norman aynbinder
Co-Founder & CEO, Excursionist
Norman Aynbinder
Norman Aynbinder is the co-founder and CEO of Excursionist, a luxury travel company focused on experiential travel throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Excursionist recently celebrated 10 years in business as the preferred travel partner of major luxury brands such as Virtuoso and American Express.
Excursionist supports families, couples and corporate groups in planning and executing unique experiential itineraries focused on meeting local experts, scientists, chefs and provides special behind-the-scenes access to national parks, museums and special sites. Prior to founding Excursionist, Norman was an executive at American Express in New York and a strategist for Booz Allen Hamilton. He holds an MBA from Stern NYU and a master’s in international relations from the University of Virginia. He lives with his family in Miami, where he is active on the board of Human Rights Watch.
Excursionist Event Detail Page
John Bartell
Travel Reporter
John Bartell
John Bartell is an award-winning television journalist at ABC10 News and host of Bartell’s Backroads, a travel shows that features history and landmarks in all 58 counties in California. Bartell grew up on a farm in rural Northeastern Oregon. He started his television career in 2008 and worked in Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. In 2016, he accepted a job at ABC10 News in Sacramento. In his career, he has covered wildfires, drought, immigration, agriculture and now feature travel reporting.
ABC 10 Bartells Backroads Event Detail Page
Kyle Benn
Vice President of Mid-Market Demand Facilitation, Magnate
Kyle Benn
Kyle Benn is vice president of mid-market demand facilitation at Magnite, leading the North American mid-market sales team. He is tasked with driving national agency and client-direct revenue. With more than a decade of experience with SpotX/Magnite, Benn focuses on efficient access to inventory across programmatic and managed services executions to help media agencies and brand marketers understand the value of digital video for their clients and campaigns. He brings experience to Magnite from his time running the political, auto and travel vertical teams prior to running the national mid-market team.
Caroline Beteta
President & CEO, Visit California
Caroline Beteta serves as president and CEO of the industry-led Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination to increase the state’s share of tourism-related revenues. She simultaneously serves as a strategic advisor for the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). She is responsible for implementing Visit California’s global marketing program on behalf of the organization’s 21,000 investors and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s travel industry. In her tenure, she has overseen a decade of growth for California’s travel industry, peaking in 2019 with a record $144.9 billion in economic benefit to the state. She has shepherded the growth of Visit California into a global marketing franchise and helped restore travel and tourism following numerous natural and economic crises.
Beteta serves as a member of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on issues that affect the U.S. tourism industry. She has previously served as Chair of the Board, as well as Acting CEO for Brand USA, where she provided strategic direction for the $200 million global program, interfacing with national congressional leaders and the administration. During a two-year term as National Chair of the U.S. Travel Association, she guided the successful merger of the Travel Industry Association with the Travel Business Roundtable and the creation of Brand USA. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council — Visit California was the first destination marketing organization invited to join the WTTC.

She has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including induction into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders.

Beteta holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Public Administration/Intergovernmental Affairs from the University of Southern California. She also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Marketing Management Program.
Visit California Event Detail Page
Paul Baribault
President & CEO, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
Paul Baribault joined the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance after two decades with Walt Disney Studios as vice president of animation marketing operations and strategy and general manager of Disneynature. He co-led theatrical film campaigns for Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and The Muppets.
He also oversaw all aspects of the Disneynature film label and was instrumental in the creative development of the first 14 Disneynature films, which is where his passion for meeting the challenges facing wildlife today really took hold. In his work with Disneynature, Baribault pioneered the connection of conservation projects to films, collaborating with leading nonprofits to plant millions of trees and protect millions of acres of land for wildlife worldwide.
Kate Birchler
Assistant Vice President of Tourism Marketing, Macerich Shopping Centers and Fashion Outlets
Kate Birchler
Kate Birchler leads tourism marketing for Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets. Macerich is an S&P 500 real estate investment trust company with 48 shopping destinations throughout the U.S., including major visitor markets such as LA/Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, Scottsdale, D.C., Portland and Philadelphia.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Birchler oversees the strategic marketing initiative to drive international and domestic visitors to experience the No. 1 U.S. activity: shopping. She manages the global travel trade industry partnerships and orchestrates the shopping center portfolio’s tourism community programming.

She has served multiple industry boards including U.S. Travel Association, National Council of Attractions & Experiences, Shop America Alliance, as well as numerous convention and visitors bureaus.
Macerich Tourism Event Detail Page
Ross Borden
CEO, Matador Network
Ross Borden
Ross Borden is an American entrepreneur and executive producer based in California. He founded Matador Network with $11,000 in 2006 and bootstrapped the company into a fast-growth, eight-figure business and one of the Internet's leading digital media companies focused on travel and adventure. Matador currently reaches over 90 million people per month with its travel content across matadornetwork.com and its social media and channels. Matador creates custom content and media campaigns for over 220 DMOs as well as Fortune 500 brands. Borden has lived and worked in Spain, Kenya and Argentina and currently resides full time in Marin County.
Chief Commercial Officer San Francisco Airport Commission
Chief Commercial Officer, San Francisco International Airport
Kevin Bumen
Kevin Bumen was appointed chief commercial officer of SFO in October 2020. In this capacity, he oversees SFO’s revenue-generating departments, including Aviation Management, Hotel and Special Projects, Parking Management, and Revenue Development and Management.
Prior to joining SFO, he served as the director of airports for San Luis Obispo County as well as director of aviation and business services for the California Special District Airport. He is a former president of the California Airports Council and is currently serving on the Board of the American Association of Airport Executives and Airports Council International – North America.
Flyso Event Detail Page
Adam Burke
President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Serving as president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board — the official, non-profit destination marketing and sales organization for the City of Angels — Adam Burke is responsible for achieving the organization’s mission to “improve the quality of life for all Angelenos through the economic and community benefits of tourism.”
With more than 25 years of travel & tourism industry experience, Burke previously served as senior vice president, Customer Loyalty for Hilton Worldwide with global management responsibility for the award-winning Honors customer loyalty program. He joined the Los Angeles Tourism team as chief operating officer in 2016.
Jay Burress
President & CEO, Visit Anaheim
Jay Burress
Jay Burress is president and CEO of Visit Anaheim, where he has served since Feb. 11, 2013. He leads the organization and oversees day-to-day management of all convention, tourism and destination marketing programs. He also plays a key role in Anaheim and Orange County product and visitor industry business development, as well as future expansion plans for the Anaheim Convention Center.
Prior to joining Visit Anaheim, Burress served for five years as president and CEO of Experience Arlington (their convention & visitor bureau). During his tenure in Arlington, the city hosted the NBA All Star Game, Super Bowl XLV, U.S. Open of Bowling, two World Series games and the AT&T Cotton Bowl, which moved to AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium).

Raised in Edmond, Okla., Burress majored in Business Administration at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has relocated to Orange County, Calif. with his wife and their three children. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys participating in and watching sports with his children.
Visit Anaheim Event Detail Page
Guy Chambers
Managing Director, Visit California United Kingdom
Guy Chambers
With three decades of experience working with multinational brands and destinations around the world, Guy Chambers is responsible for founding the U.K.’s leading integrated travel marketing agency. He has been leading the Visit California team based in central London for more than 15 years and has been involved in large-scale consumer campaigns and airline partnerships.
Chambers is always looking to the future and is passionate about driving recovery for the travel industry with Black Diamond's leading data driven solutions. He likes to think himself as an honorary Californian having visited the state well over 100 times, embracing everything California has outdoors — especially skiing, golf and crushing grapes!
Black Diamond Event Detail Page
Nick Cheetany
Senior Vice President of National Sales, AdTheorent
Nick Cheetany
Nick Cheetany is the senior vice president of national sales at AdTheorent, a programmatic digital advertising leader using advanced machine learning technology and privacy-forward solutions to deliver measurable value for advertisers and marketers. In this role, he oversees the national sales organization for the company. During his tenure, AdTheorent has consistently achieved double-digit revenue growth from new and existing customers.
Before joining AdTheorent, Cheetany helped to build and lead sales efforts for Voltari, a predictive modeling ad tech company. Prior to that, his focus was helping media companies anchored in print expand and maximize their presence in the digital space. In this capacity, he led digital sales efforts for Gannet, as well as previously holding a sales position for YP during its move into digital.

Cheetany also currently serves as president and a member of the board of directors of CIMA, the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association. This is a dedicated group of digital and interactive marketing professionals providing the Chicago Interactive marketing community with opportunities to network, learn and share expertise.
AdTheorent Event Detail Page
President & CEO San Diego Tourism Authority
President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority Commissioner, Visit California Board
Julie Coker
Julie Coker is the president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, 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 organization's mission is to drive visitation to economically benefit the region. These efforts delivered over 25.9 million visitors, $14.38 billion in economic impact and $8.72 billion in visitor spending in FY 2020.
Previously, Coker served as the president & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she oversaw the 2017 NFL Draft and the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which had a combined economic impact of $325 million for Philadelphia. Earlier, she served as 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 the International Association of Exhibitions and Events Executive Committee. 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 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's in hospitality management and graduated magna cum laude.
San Diego Tourism Authority Event Detail Page
Caitlin Collins
Vice President of Client Strategy, NBCUniversal Media
Caitlin Collins
Caitlin Collins is a vice president on NBCUniversal’s Client Strategy team within the Advertising and Partnerships division. In this role, she works with CPG, Beverage and Travel partners to build strategies that best leverage the NBCUniversal portfolio to drive brand and business impact.
Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Collins held several roles at global brand consultancy Interbrand, working in both the London and New York offices. At Interbrand, she served as a strategy lead, advising clients on brand management solutions inclusive of positioning development, brand architecture, naming and brand valuation, among other disciplines.
NBC Universal Event Detail Page
President & CEO Visit San Francisco Travel
President & CEO, San Francisco Travel Association Chief Fiscal Officer, Visit California Board
Joe D'Alessandro
San Francisco runs through Joe D’Alessandro’s blood. He’s the grandson of Italian immigrants who arrived in San Francisco more than 100 years ago. It’s only fitting that he now leads an organization that was founded at roughly the same time.
Since taking the job as president and CEO in 2006, D'Alessandro has driven San Francisco Travel to adopt the San Francisco ethos of community, innovation and openness as its core business values. The association has embraced a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that makes the most of a rapidly evolving technological landscape. It has forged partnerships with and between hotels, venues and neighboring destinations to maximize both the visitor experience and organizational goals. Among his achievements was the development of the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District, which created a unique and sustainable funding structure that has become a national model for tourism promotion.

The results speak for themselves. Since 2009, visitation to San Francisco has grown by nearly 30%. The Moscone Center, which completed a massive renovation and expansion in 2019, is one of the most in-demand convention centers in the nation. And the association has rebranded and refocused, charting an ambitious course for its next 100 years.

D'Alessandro is a leader in the city as well as in the industry. He has lent his knowledge and skill to a number of groups, including the executive committee of the U.S. Travel Association, Visit California and San Francisco’s Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. In 2014, he was named the Most Admired CEO by The San Francisco Business Times and in 2020 he was awarded the Destination Organization Leadership Award by Destination International.

He lives in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the city’s official destination marketing organization, promoting San Francisco and the Bay Area to the world as the premier destination for conventions, meetings, events and leisure travel. In D'Alessandro's decade of leadership, the association has become one of the largest membership-based DMOs in the country, with employees stationed across the country and around the globe.
San Francisco Travel Association Event Detail Page
Colleen Dalton
CEO, Visit Truckee-Tahoe
Colleen Dalton
Colleen Dalton is CEO of Visit Truckee-Tahoe, the Destination Marketing & Management Organization for Truckee, California. Dalton brings 25 years of Brand, Adventure Travel, Hospitality and Ski Area executive experience to Truckee’s first official tourism authority. Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s mission is to promote, protect and enhance Truckee as an authentic mountain town — serving lodging business members, partnering with key organizations and balancing actions for the well-being of the community.
Visit Truchee-Tahoe Event Detail Page
President & CEO, Visit San Luis Obispo
President & CEO, Visit SLO CAL
Chuck Davison, CDME
Chuck Davison has held the role of president and CEO of Visit at SLO CAL since 2015. Davison previously served as vice president and general manager of Expedia, Inc. where he led the Local Expert division for North America. Prior to working at Expedia, he was the executive director of an international nonprofit organization. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration - marketing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He lives in San Luis Obispo, California with his wife and four daughters.
Visit SLO CAL Event Detail Page
Adam_Decaire
Vice President of Network Planning, Southwest Business
Adam Decaire’s primary responsibilities at Southwest include all network aspects from the development of capacity through schedule creation, publication, and execution for the airline’s domestic and international network. He is also responsible for developing a mid-term network strategy and vision, including identifying new markets and geographies.
Decaire is charged with developing Southwest's entry into airline partnerships through interline and codeshare agreements. He specializes in innovative solutions addressing complex industry challenges and has led the way on several of the company's change initiatives designed to generate revenue, reduce costs and maximize aircraft productivity.
Southwest Airlines Event Detail Page
Joe Diaz
Co-Founder, AFAR
Joe Diaz is the co-founder of AFAR, the leading media brand for and by travelers who care. Founded with Greg Sullivan in 2009, AFAR inspires, guides and empowers travelers to have enriching experiences that make a positive impact on the world. Through its flagship magazine, AFAR; its digital platform, afar.com; its non-profit foundation, Learning Afar; and its deep commitment to sustainability as a public benefit company, the company fulfills its mission by enriching the lives of travelers, directly supporting and contributing to the communities visited, and minimizing the negative effects on our planet.
AFAR is currently the third fastest growing media company (+2.5 million monthly unique visitors) with the third most affluent audience (median household net worth $1.1 million) in all measured media, according to IPSOS. Check out afar.com and sign up for AFAR’s newsletters to see how we attract the world’s best travelers to our platforms.
AFAR Event Detail Page
Tonya Dowse
Executive Director, Siskiyou County Economic Development Council
Tonya Dowse
Tonya Dowse has served as executive director for Siskiyou County Economic Development Council since 2005 and has over 25 years of experience in rural economic development. Along with a team of 10 professionals, she oversees programs ranging from small business development to brownfields reuse.
Recently named as one of CALED’s 40 at 40 honorees, Dowse has been recognized many times throughout her career for best practices in economic development. She has also served in a variety of regional and state leadership roles. Under her guidance, the Siskiyou EDC spearheaded the Siskiyou Tourism Improvement District and launched the Discover Siskiyou brand.
Caroline Droessler
Senior Director of Strategy Consulting, Zeta Global
Caroline Droessler
Caroline Droessler is the senior director of strategy consulting at Zeta Global, a cloud-based marketing technology company. Since joining in 2017, she has been advising clients on how to create cohesive, omni-channel experiences that are centered around their customer. Prior to that she led early omni-channel strategies, and market research at the BonTon Stores. She is passionate about finding innovative ways to leverage data and connect channels in a way that will anticipate and meet the needs of travelers. Droessler lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Luke. She is an avid traveler and also enjoys hiking and camping.
Zeta Global Event Detail Page
Rose Ferraro
Head of West Coast Sales, Tastemade
Rose Ferraro
Rose Ferraro is a recognized leader in the advertising sales industry with more than 25 years of experience at various digital media companies, including SpinMedia, MySpace, AltaVista and CBS. Currently, she serves as the head of West Coast sales at Tastemade, a modern media company whose award-winning lifestyle programming commands a global audience of more than 300 million across all major digital, mobile and streaming television platforms, with more than 2.5 billion views per month.
Ferraro has extensive experience creating digital, mobile and TV solutions for brands at emerging and mature companies, driving more than $1 billion in gross revenue over the course of her 25-year career.

Prior to joining Tastemade, Ferraro served as the senior vice president of national sales at Omnia Media.
Craig Forman
Lead People Scientist, Culture Amp
Craig Forman
Craig Forman is a Lead People Scientist at Culture Amp, an employee experience platform used by over 5000 organizations worldwide. He supports organizations in building effective people and culture strategies and is focused on building the world's largest community of people focused on building a better world of work. Behind all of his work is a mission to help the world work better by improving the places we work. He holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology and is a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Culture Amp Event Detail Page
Jo Franco
TV Host & Content Creator
Jo Franco
Jo Franco is a writer, traveler, Afro-Brazilian and host on Netflix’s “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals.” Her story is a journey from immigrant to influencer, giving her a multicultural perspective in her travels and life experiences.
She has created content for over a decade in several languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Greek and Italian across more than 600 videos across two YouTube channels, DamonAndJo and Jo Franco, which have amassed more than 1.3 million subscribers. She is also the founder of JoClub, an online global journaling movement where she leads workshops and events around writing for self-discovery.
Jo Club Event Detail Page
Co-Founder Local Adventurer
Influencer, @jacobthefu Co-Founder, localadventurer.com
Jacob Fu
Esther JuLee and Jacob Fu are the co-founders of LocalAdventurer.com, one of the largest travel blogs. They have worked with hundreds of brands over the years and focus on creating SEO-driven content pairing informative writing with beautiful imagery and videos.
Local Adventurer focuses on exploring our own backyard, exploring the outdoors and photography. As two not-that-outdoorsy people, Julee and Fu push themselves to experience new things outside their comfort zones to encourage and show others that anyone can do it.
Local Adventurer Event Detail Page
Managing Director Visit California Scandinavia
Managing Director, Visit California Scandinavia & Finland
Karin Gert Nielsen
Karin Gert Nielsen has more than 30 years of experience in tourism. She founded Atlantic Link in 2001, bringing 20 years of experience from the tour operator & MICE side of the industry. She is a true entrepreneur with strength in marketing and sales. Her team delivers on innovation, creative skills and relationship-building at every level in the value chain and is recognized in the industry as a leading expert in Scandinavian tourism. She holds several positions on industry boards and is also very active in local business travel and travel Industry organizations.

 

Atlantic Link Event Detail Page
Mike Gallinari
Travel & Leisure Analyst, Mintel
Mike Gallinari
Mike Gallinari has been Mintel's travel industry analyst since 2018, providing consumer-based insights on all aspects of travel. His experience in the advertising industry has furthered his ability to provide valuable insights in an easily digestible manner. He was the recipient of the Mintel Insight Award in 2020 in recognition for his forward-thinking analysis of the cruise industry.
Mintel Event Detail Page
Mike Gambelli
Vice President & Director of Video Investments, Havas Media
Michael Gambelli
Michael Gambelli joined Havas in July 2016. He currently oversees direct investments for Visit California as well as other advertisers within the Havas Media U.S. Investment team.
Gambelli is an innovative thought leader with 18 years of industry experience. As a seasoned cross-channel investment lead, he brings creativity and insight to negotiations in order to drive favorable business outcomes. He has deep and wide-ranging senior-level industry relationships across network, digital and data partners.

Prior to joining Havas Media, he worked with Omnicom and GroupM, which provided him with a well-rounded perspective. He has expertise in navigating cross-channel teams to drive best-in-class collaboration and value. In addition to Visit California, he has represented Universal Pictures/Focus Features, Paramount Pictures, PlayStation, Hilton Hotels, Nature’s Bounty, Proximo Spirits, TracFone Wireless, Keurig Dr Pepper and many more. He also specializes in larger sports partnerships as well as media corporate trade (barter).
Havas Media Event Detail Page
Dave_Goulden
Vice President of Product, Sojern
Dave Goulden
Dave Goulden is an ad tech industry veteran, having led product and client development for some of the top digital marketing and technology companies. Today, he is the vice president of product at Sojern. He is responsible for product vision, strategy and execution for this leader in travel marketing.
Prior to Sojern, Goulden held client and product development roles working for recognized technology and media companies including OneMarket, Conversant, Zuberance, Claria and Intuit. Recently, he served as chief product officer for OneMarket, a tech spinout of Westfield Malls, where he led the development of a unique customer activation platform for retail. He began his career in product development at Intuit.
Sojern Event Detail Page
Director of Social Strategy & Insights ICUC Social
Director of Social Strategy & Insights, ICUC
Jazmin Griffith
Jazmin Griffith is a social media leader with an ability to tell a brand’s story in a way that is engaging and meaningful. She's passionate, driven and a self-starter with a true love of storytelling. She has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies globally such as Facebook and Google.
While Griffith spends most of her time in creative development, social media strategy and multicultural marketing, you can also find her traveling the world, listening to jazz music, cooking or creating content for TikTok. You can also catch her at many live concerts, sporting events or really any excuse to come together that the world has to offer.
ICUC Social Event Detail Page
mai_hezi
Managing Director, Visit California Italy
Mia Hezi
With more than 25 years in the travel industry, Mia Hezi gained her marketing knowledge working for Italian tour operator Alpitour and leading airlines such as British Airways and KLM.
She spent six years living and working in California, handling business development for a boutique tour operator in Los Angeles while earning her degree in business marketing at CSUN University. She currently coordinates and oversees all the activities, relations and special projects for both Marketing and PR areas for AVIAREPS Italy. She speaks Italian, English, Hebrew and Spanish.
AVIAREPS Event Detail Page
Mike Higgins
Vice President of Operations and Development, Passport Resorts
Michael Higgins
Michael Higgins is a career hospitality professional. As vice president for Passport Resorts, he focuses his passion for hospitality on guaranteeing guest satisfaction is exceeded on each visit. As part of the original management team of Post Ranch Inn, he is committed to assuring the Passport Resorts culture is instilled in all employees when sharing the company’s beautiful resorts with our guests. Positive stewardship of the properties and their stunning natural settings along with world-class service and amenities are the core values he uses to guide his management and service styles.
Higgins is a graduate of Lincoln Technical Institute in Philadelphia. With more than 25 years of luxury operations experience in hospitality, his career has spanned internationally — including his own Inn and managing the famed Skywalker Ranch.
Passport Resorts LLC. Event Detail Page
CEO & Founder Crowd Riff
Co-Founder & CEO, CrowdRiff
Dan Holowack
Dan Holowack is the co-founder and CEO of CrowdRiff and Localhood.com. He works closely with industry leaders in travel, technology and marketing to uncover the most cutting edge challenges and solutions for sourcing and scaling visual storytelling. His goal is to create stories that compel travelers to explore new experiences locally and around the world. By day, he loves big data, user-generated content and marketing automation. By night and on the weekend, you can catch him windsurfing, camping with his better half or jamming on his bass guitar.
CrowdRiff is a visual marketing platform used by more than 800 destinations to discover, organize, acquire rights and publish the most engaging visual content across every channel, at scale.
Crowd Riff Event Detail Page
Anna Hrach Headshot
Strategist, Convince & Convert
Anna Hrach is a content expert who loves tackling her clients’ toughest digital marketing problems. In case you’re wondering, her last name is pronounced “her-ROCK.”
Hrach is an ad agency veteran, and for more than a decade she’s been developing super-smart content strategies for companies ranging from up-and-coming startups to Fortune 500s. Her experience includes pretty much any industry you can think of, including some of the world’s biggest brands, like Nike and Farmers Insurance.

Today, she’s with Convince & Convert, a digital marketing strategy consultancy headed up by New York Times best-selling author and world-renowned speaker Jay Baer.
Convince and Convert Event Detail Page
Maya Kachroo-Levine
Luxury and Experiences Editor, Travel + Leisure
Maya Kachroo-Levine
Maya Kachroo-Levine is the luxury and experiences editor at Travel + Leisure digital. She's previously edited at Departures, Expedia, GOOD, Medium and The Balance and written for LA Weekly, TIME, The Atlantic, Marie Claire and Refinery29 among others. She has lived in Montreal, Boston, Geneva, Ithaca, N.Y., Paris and Los Angeles, where she's currently based.
Kachroo-Levine has been travelin since she was young, taking the TGV through France and riding on the back of a motorized scooter in New Delhi as a toddler. More recently, she's covered Greece, France and Singapore's reopening on the ground, copiloted a private jet, roasted agave to make mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico, and ventured to Sweden's Arctic Circle in the middle of winter. She loves being the first in at new hotels and improving the Bloody Mary mix in airport lounges (the trick is to find celery salt, FYI.)
Travel + Leisure Event Detail Page
sherrif karamat
President & CEO, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)
Sherrif Karamat
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is president and CEO of PCMA. He also serves as president of the PCMA Foundation and is the publisher of Convene magazine.
As CEO, Karamat leads the vision, mission and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. He serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling the 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.
PCMA Event Detail Page
Chairman & CEO Northstar Travel Group
Chairman & CEO, Northstar Travel Group
Tom Kemp
Tom Kemp joined Northstar Travel Group in January 2009. He has a unique combination of experience as a senior operating executive and private equity investor in B2B information, events and media. He has provided the strategic vision and leadership to transform Northstar into the leading high-growth, multi-platform information, marketing solutions and e-commerce company serving the global travel industry.
In 2008, Kemp founded Oakstreet Media, a company formed to invest in and acquire lower-middle market business-to-business media and information companies. From 2004 to 2008, he was a Managing Director at Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a leading private equity firm investing in the media and communications industry. Prior to VSS, he was the chairman and CEO of Penton Media Inc., an NYSE listed public company and one of the largest business-to-business information companies in the U.S. Earlier, he was president and COO of Miller Freeman Inc. a market-leading business to-business information, events and media company headquartered in San Francisco.

Kemp has extensive experience in sourcing, negotiating, closing, and integrating more than 100 transactions in his career as well as successful exits. He has experience as a public company CEO including successful execution of equity, high-yield bonds and senior secured debt offerings.

He is currently a board member of The Society of Show Operators, the leading global association for event and exhibition for-profit producers. He was recently a board member of Destinations International, the global association for destinations and CVBs, as well as Connectiv, the association for B2B marketing services and information providers. Kemp has previously served on the boards of several business media companies and industry associations, including American Business Media, SIIA, and BPA International. In June 2010, he was honored as the CEO Top Innovator in business publishing by BtoB Magazine. He was honored by American Business Media as the 2014 McAllister Top Management Fellow and was named a C-Level Visionary by the 2015 Folio: 100 Honorees.

Kemp received his bachelor's with honors from Amherst College. He lives with his family in Mill Valley, Calif.

 

Northstar Travel Group Event Detail Page
Regional Business Development Specialist California Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development
Community Based Solutions Supervisor, California Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz)
Derek Kirk
Derek Kirk serves as community based solutions supervisor with the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. He is responsible for supporting communities and economic development organizations to implement local and regional economic development strategies with an eye towards equity and recovery. Before coming to GO-Biz, he worked for Visit SLO CAL as director of community engagement & advocacy and for several chambers of commerce.
Kirk has a master's degree in social justice and community organizing from Prescott College and a bachelor's in political science and women's studies from PLNU.
business.ca.gov Event Detail Page
Emily Jane Johnston
Founder & CEO, EmilyJaneJohnston.com
Emily Johnston
Emily Johnston began her career in the arts, working in PR for an auction house in London for more than a decade. In 2009, she founded her blog, which led her to discover a passion for writing about travel, food and fashion. Today, she shares those adventures, packaged with her love of photography and storytelling in general, on her Instagram and blog.
Emily Jane Johnston Event Detail Page
Andy Levine
Managing Director, Visit California Canada
Andy Levine
Andy Levine is Chairman of Development Counsellors International, the leader in marketing places. Since joining DCI in 1991, he has worked with a broad range of places from “A” (Alabama, Asheville, Australia) to “W” (Wales, Wichita Falls, Wyoming). The company employs 65 talented individuals with a passion for travel and economic development marketing. DCI has represented Visit California in Canada for the past decade and worked with Visit Huntington Beach, North Lake Tahoe, Visit Tuolumne County, Visit Redding and the San Francisco Travel Association.
DCI Event Detail Page
General Manager AVIAREPS Korea
Managing Director, Visit California South Korea
Irene Lee
Irene Lee established the Korea branch of AVIAREPS Marketing Garden in 2004. With a wealth of experience in the field of tourism and communications, she is responsible for all operations and services on behalf of the office’s tourism clients. She is recognized in Korea as a leading destination marketing and PR specialist on behalf of overseas destinations. She is best known for her aggressive media programs, initiating and developing millions of media exposure value on the basis of negotiation and networks. For the past 18 years at AVIAREPS, she has overseen powerful marketing communication campaigns in Korea on behalf of major destination clients.
AVIAREPS Event Detail Page
Amber Mamiam
Founder & CEO, Global Munchkins
Amber Mamian
Amber Mamian is a luxury lifestyle and travel writer, Oprah Daily Ambassador, family travel expert, social media influencer, founder of GlobalMunchkins.com, and the owner of RookieMoms.com. Her work has been featured in Lonely Planet, Oprah Magazine, The Today Show, Red Tricycle, and various news publications including Yahoo & Huffington Post.

 

Prior to her work in travel, Mamian was a successful entrepreneur, marketing strategist for a publicly traded company, and board member for several non-profit organizations.

Her main passion is FAMILY and she has created a tight-knit super fun crew who enjoy traveling the world and finding fun activities to do together. Her family uses social media and her blog to inspire other families to get out and have fun together too. She’s like to point out that you only get 18 summers!
Global Munchkins Event Detail Page
TaraLynn Marinho
Senior Manager of Performance, Roku
TaraLynn Marinho
TaraLynn Marinho is responsible for managing Roku’s growth performance team, with a focus on driving performance for marketers in a streaming environment. Prior to joining Roku, she worked at a data and analytics company bringing targeting and data solutions to market for auto, retail, entertainment, CPG and QSR verticals. She has deep expertise in driving revenue for emerging media platforms, programmatic, first-party data, measurement, mixed media strategies and custom content curation. In her early media years, Marinho held positions at AOL, MapQuest and Comcast. She holds a bachelor’s in communications with a minor in business from St. John’s University.
Michelle Mason
President & CEO, American Society of Association Executives
Michelle Mason
Michelle Mason serves as the President & CEO of the American Society of Association Executives. She is passionate about the advancement of the professional practice of association management. Prior to joining ASAE, she served as the president and CEO of Association Forum for seven years, managing director of strategy and innovation at the American Society for Quality, and vice president of strategic and future focused research programs at ASAE.
Mason currently serves on Destinations International Foundation and Tourism Diversity Matters. She is a Chicago Business Journal Women of Influence Honoree 2019, Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Honoree 2019 and the CEO Update Professional Society CEO of the Year 2020. She is a certified association executive, fellow of the American Society for Association Executives and a certified quality improvement associate.
ASAE Center Event Detail Page
Executive Vice President Signature Travel Network
Executive Vice President, Signature Travel Network
Ignacio Maza is a seasoned professional with more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry. His career started in the airline industry, working for Pan Am and TWA in various roles related to passenger services, pricing and industry affairs. In 1988, he joined American Express, where he served in corporate consulting services and supplier relations for the leisure travel division.
Maza later joined Virtuoso as executive vice president of supplier relations and partnerships. For the last 18 years, he has worked at Signature Travel Network primarily focused on supplier relations and business development. Recently, Ignacio took on a new role spearheading the development of Signature’s luxury business. In his current capacity, he works closely with the network’s management and travel industry partners to build the network’s luxury sales.

Maza is originally from Cuba. An avid traveler, he has visited over one hundred countries on seven continents. He currently lives in New York City.
Signature Travel Network Event Detail Page
Founder and Chairman AVIAREPS Asia
Managing Director, Visit California China
Michael Merner
As founder & chairman of AVIAREPS Asia, which has 16 offices from Dubai to Tokyo, Michael Merner has worked the past 20 years to establish representative offices in Asia for a wide variety of destinations. This includes many California organizations, such as Visit California, San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs and Orange County, as well as more than 50 additional world class destinations. AVIAREPS has also established Asia PR and sales offices for major hotel groups such as Marriott, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and Ritz-Carlton and for global airlines such as United and Cathay Pacific.
AVIAREPS Event Detail Page
Taylor Micaela Davis
Senior Director of Marketing, Autocamp
Taylor Micaela Davis
As AutoCamp’s senior director of marketing, Taylor Micaela Davis is responsible for brand-level and property marketing strategy, innovation and execution. Under her leadership, AutoCamp has grown into a national brand and media favorite, with regular coverage in Forbes, USA Today and Conde Nast Traveler.
Previously, Davis worked in B2B marketing and travel journalism, with bylines in publications including Santa Barbara Seasons, Edible Magazine and The Bold Italic. She even wrote a piece covering the opening of the first AutoCamp property in 2013.

Davis resides in San Francisco, where she’s always searching for the next best cup of coffee or dozen oysters.
AUTOCAMP Event Detail Page
Senior Vice President SMAR Insights
Executive Vice President, SMARInsights
Denise Miller
Denise Miller has 40 years’ experience and accomplishment in tourism marketing and research. She joined Strategic Marketing & Research Insights and began conducting tourism research thirty years ago, after serving as the director of two convention and visitors bureaus and state tourism director.
As SMARInsights’ executive vice president, Miller serves as the project lead for tourism projects for destinations across the country. She works with state and local organizations that promote tourism development in the areas of target marketing, advertising effectiveness and economic impact. She is also active in the Travel & Tourism Research Association and was awarded the Distinguished Research Award from TTRA.

Her knowledge of the DMO side of the business provides the experience to analyze and present research findings in a way that is meaningful and helps drive policy and implementation.
SMAR Insights Event Detail Page
CEO and Manging Director MNOrganisation
Managing Director, Visit California France & Belgium
Murielle Nouchy
Murielle Nouchy was born a child of tourism and has traveled widely for different companies including Club Med and for SkiSet, where she worked as director of sales and marketing. 
After spending 20 years in the tourism industry, Nouchy resumed my studies at École Centrale Paris. He goals were diverse, but ultimately, she wanted to improve her knowledge of the latest marketing and online marketing concepts. In 2004, she created MN Organization. The company quickly attracted a large clientele of new and returning clients who chose MN because of its diverse team that does what it takes to live up to every clients' brand and always gets the job done. 

Each day, her team has grown more committed as their reputation has increased. They are leaders in the tourism industry at improving a clients' reputations, in the media sphere, within the industry and with the general public.
mN'Organization Event Detail Page
 Director of Tourism Development Visit Greater Palm Springs
Director of Tourism Development, Visit Greater Palm Springs
Gary Orfield
Gary Orfield is the director of tourism development for Visit Greater Palm Springs. Orfield started his hospitality career in 1989 and has held positions with Hyatt Hotels, Ritz Carlton and Starwood Hotels. In his current role at Visit Greater Palm Springs, he is responsible for promoting the destination to the international and domestic travel trade, developing air service, and attracting new business and destination events. 
Orfield serves as the Chair of Visit California’s International Marketing Committee, an avid golfer and passionate about travel’s benefits to society. From 2001 to 2005, Orfield was a Nike Golf Player Staff member selected as 1 of only 50 people in the US to assist the ‘Just Do It’ brand with grassroots marketing and promotions as it entered the golf market. He resides with his wife in La Quinta and is the father of four children.
Visit Greater Palm Springs Event Detail Page
Justin Orkin
Vice President of Sales, Viant Technology
Justin Orkin
Justin Orkin has spent the last 15 years in media and ad tech focused on helping brands tell incredible stories. He is vice president of sales at Viant Technology, where he helps brands and agencies accelerate their innovative marketing programs.
He previously worked for more than 14 years at Verizon, Yahoo!, AOL and the Goodway Group, enabling Disney, Netflix, Airbnb and Tourism Boards to grow through data-driven initiatives across the U.S. and Asia.

Orkin is an avid traveler, lived in Singapore and is excited about the future of travel. He currently lives in Marina del Ray, California, with his 12-year-old rescue named Pepper.
Viant Technology Event Detail Page
Eric Otto
Founder & CEO, Connect Worldwide
Eric Otto
With 40 years in the travel industry, Eric Otto is recognized as an international sales and marketing leader with expertise in global revenue and visitation generation. He founded Connect Worldwide in 2002 to market hotel companies and destinations around the world in new and innovative ways. CWW is a global sales, marketing and digital services company serving tourism destinations, hotel brands, and travel-related companies with a focus on international market expansion and revenue development. The company represents 20 hotel brands and 25 destinations through 21 international offices
Otto has previously held leadership positions with Hilton Hotels and Marriott. He speaks four languages and enjoys cycling.
Alex Pace
President & CEO, Global Marketing & Sales
Alex Pace
Alex Pace has achieved great success in two very competitive and challenging markets — the travel industry and the Latin American and Caribbean regions. His results-oriented approach has captured the attention of well-known global brands and gained him widespread recognition and respect in the travel industry. His success is a testament to his extensive leadership, team-building and marketing expertise.
As president and CEO of GMS, Pace is directly responsible for the development of each client’s marketing, sales and public relations initiatives in Mexico, Central and South America, the U.S. and Canada,

His vision, dynamism and focus on results are key pillars for developing GMS Group, a business and added-value generator for its clients and tourism environment, with a full-service portfolio and operational infrastructure.

Pace’s in-depth knowledge of the Mexican and Latin American market is widely recognized in the industry. He was president of the Visit USA Committee in Mexico and actively participates in several travel industry associations worldwide.
Jo Palmer
Managing Director, Visit California Australia
Jo Palmer
Jo Palmer founded tourism marketing agency Gate 7 in 1998. She’s been the driving force behind this organization as it has grown and evolved to represent and market blue chip tourism destinations and products in the Australian and New Zealand market.
In 2007, Gate 7 became the representative for Visit California. Since that time, Palmer has overseen the in-market strategy for the state and extensively grown the distribution, diversity, awareness and demand for Australia’s California tourism offerings. This team has also spearheaded recovery programs for the Australian market.
Gate 7 Travel Event Detail Page
Lulu Phongmany
Principal, Lulu Phongmany Consulting Inc.
Lulu Phongmany
Lulu Phongmany is a seasoned management executive with more than 20 years of experience growing teams, operating businesses, managing M&A and investment deal flow and creating new revenue streams for global brands and Fortune 500 companies.
Phongmany is a strategic thinker with a global network of senior executives, know for launching and operationalizing profitable digital businesses across multiple global markets and market segments. She has proven track record of negotiating large, complex, multi-platform, multi-market, multi-million dollar deals. She is an accomplished public speaker and industry commentator with appearances at leading trade conferences and opinion pieces in leading trade publications globally.
Howard Pickett
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, San Francisco Travel Association
Howard Pickett
As executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the San Francisco Travel Association, Howard Pickett is responsible for marketing San Francisco as an international convention and leisure destination, with the mission of producing significant numbers of visitors to stay overnight in San Francisco hotels. He is the chief architect of San Francisco’s iconic brand and the global visitor marketing programs that define it with consumers around the world.
San Francisco Travel Association Event Detail Page
chris pomeroy
Owner & CEO, Travellyze
Chris Pomeroy
Over the last 30 years, Chris Pomeroy has implemented marketing strategies for dozens of tourism destinations. Based in Madrid, he has coordinated many pan-European campaigns for destinations from Europe and Central and South America. In 2021 he brought together seven tourism marketing agencies in six countries to create ITG International Tourism Group, the leading tourism communications and marketing group in Europe.
Travellyze is ITG's unique traveler intelligence platform delivering detailed traveler profiles and actionable insights. Pomeroy is also CEO of destination management and marketing consultancy THR Tourism Industry Advisors and a member of World Innovation and Change Management Institute.
Travellyze Event Detail Page
Greg Reeves
Managing Director, Connections
Gregory Reeves
An entrepreneur by nature, Connections Managing Director Greg Reeves is never short on business ideas, seeks support from his team and always wants to know if something could be iterated on or done differently.
Reeves enjoys the challenge of working on and providing effective solutions to exceed client expectations, which is why two of his major passions are connecting industry leaders to one another and driving value to clients.

Prior to joining Connections, he worked with Reed Exhibitions, where he discovered his love for travel and luxury travel events. He has also worked on many of the industry's leading exhibitions including World Travel Market London, WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market.

Reeves is also the founder of the Thump Clothing brand and UnEarth Travel app.
Laura Smith
Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience, Hertz Corp.
Laura Smith
Laura Smith has served Hertz as executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer experience since December 2020. She brings more than 20 years of expertise in the travel industry and customer experience.
Smith joined Hertz in 2002 in Dublin, Ireland where she held multiple leadership roles at the company’s international customer contact center. In 2013, she relocated to the U.S. to lead Hertz’s North America Customer Care team and contact center. In 2019, she was promoted to Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, overseeing the company’s global Customer Care and Customer Experience organization before being named to her current role in June 2020.
Hertz Event Detail Page
Petra Stušek
CEO, Ljubljana Tourism President, European Cities Marketing
Petra Stušek
Petra Stušek is CEO of the Ljubljana Tourism and President of the Board at European Cities Marketing, an organization focused on improving the competitiveness and performance of the leading cities of Europe. In recent years, her team has won several prestigious titles, such as the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow 2015 (the most sustainable destination in the world), ETIS and Accessible Tourism Joint Award 2016, WTM Responsible Tourism Award 2017, Digital Tourism Think Tank Award, the Emerging Europe Tourism Campaign of the Year 2018, ITB Best of Cities 2019 Award and the ITTA Best Food Destination Highly Commended recognition. Ljubljana also won in two categories of the European Capital of Smart Tourism and is the only city in the world to make Global TOP 100 Sustainable Destinations list six times in the row.
Stušek has been active in tourism since high school. For several years she was also an active member of National PR organization, leading the central communication section for PR experts from different fields and organizing debates with different communication specialists. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and a master’s degree in business and marketing from the School of Economics & Business, University of Ljubljana. Stušek is an avid recreational athlete and, of course, a passionate traveler.
Lauren Thomas
Senior Manager, Communications & Social, Intuit
Lauren Thomas
Lauren Thomas develops social media strategies for billion dollar brands.An award-winning marketer with more than 10 years of experience, Thomas has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit and AT&T.
Her career highlights have included: launching Intuit TurboTax’s first-ever TikTok Hashtag Challenge, spearheading a 24-hour livestream that achieved a Guinness World Record and producing livestream Q&As and viral videos with WWE Superstars. As a speaker, Thomas shares social media tips and trends with a dash of pop culture and a side of straight talk, inspiring audiences to develop innovative campaigns that build the bottom line.
Intuit Event Detail Page
President & CEO Meeting Professionals International
President & CEO, Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Paul Van Deventer
Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as president and CEO. In this role, he leads the strategic direction of MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for leading its global staff and overseeing its operating budget, membership programs and community services.
Throughout his career, Van Deventer has established a proven track record for driving business growth, creating brand value and organizational development. Prior to joining MPI, he served as divisional vice president of the Health & Wellness Division at Walgreens, the largest drug store chain in the U.S. Before Walgreens, he was the senior vice president of sales and field services at Mitchell International Inc., a leading provider of information, software and business solutions for the automotive insurance and collision repair markets. He joined Mitchell after leaving American Express, where over a 22-year career he held a number of domestic and international positions in publishing, business travel, meetings and events, and corporate payments, including his last position as the vice president and general manager of the Multi-National Client Group.

Van Deventer  serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association, the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) and the California State University Hospitality and Tourism Alliance Council. He has served on the board of the Events Industry Council as chair and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMB) as vice-chair. 

He holds a bachelor's in history from Villanova University and an MBA with a finance concentration from Columbia University. He and his wife Dennie have been happily married for more than 30 years and they are the proud parents of five young adults. He is an avid fan of Villanova basketball.
Meeting Professionals International Event Detail Page
Sheema Vohra
Managing Director, Visit California India
Sheema Vohra
Sheema Vohra is the co-founder and Managing Director for Sartha Global Marketing and Director for Mileage Communications (India) Pvt. Ltd. She is a graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with over two and a half decades of experience in tourism, hospitality and public relations.
She has a wealth of knowledge in developing comprehensive strategies for tourism development of destinations and maintaining relationships with significant industry stakeholders. Her past work experience includes senior positions with the Oberoi Group of Hotels and Marriott International. Her current professional affiliations include IAC chair for IPW since 2001 and industry co-chair for U.S. India Travel & Tourism.
Susie Vowinkel
Industry Director of Travel, Google
Susie Vowinkel
As the industry director of travel, Susie Vowinkel leads Google partnership efforts with some of the largest global brands in the industry. Her teams provide partners with clear insight and strategy for partnership with Google across marketing, technology and product. She has been leading efforts in the travel industry for Google for the past 14 years.
In 2013 PhoCusWright named Vowinkel to be part of an elite group of travel leaders under the age of 35. She is a member of the Google Washington site leadership team, with oversight over the Seattle and Kirkland offices. She is also co-founder of the women’s leadership group for Washington and involved in local programs promoting STEM initiatives for young women. She sits on the board of both Sea.Citi and Kindering. She has over 20 years of experience in the technology and online media space, including Seattle startup Go2Net/Infospace and Time Warner in New York City.

Vowinkel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and she currently resides in Seattle with her husband and three daughters. She loves to travel, and it’s a toss-up between sun and snow.
Google Event Detail Page
Managing Director MSi - Marketing Service International
Managing Director, Visit California Germany, Austria & Switzerland
Martin Walter
Martin Walter is the owner of MSi and has a broad management experience working for many international tourism clients in the field of destinations, airlines, transportation companies, hotels and many more.
He has deep knowledge and strong relationships in the German travel industry from his professional experience, which spans more than 30 years in the destination representation business.

He has been the active managing director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland since the organization entered the market in 1994.
MSi Event Detail Page
President and CEO Visit Greater Palm Springs
President & CEO, Visit Greater Palm Springs Commissioner, Visit California Board
Scott White
Scott White is the president and CEO of Visit Greater Palm Springs. The organization is the destination management organization for the Coachella Valley, which comprises nine cities: Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella. Tourism attracts over 13 million visitors and generates more than $7 billion for the local economy each year. In 2016, Visit Greater Palm Springs launched a Destination Development Plan with a goal of attracting over 16 million visitors by 2026.
A native of California, White came to Visit Greater Palm Springs in 2010 following four years as the executive director of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau and eight years at the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. He began his hospitality career in Monterey, California, in the hotel industry, including nine years with Renaissance Hotels.

White is a past chairman of the California Travel Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee of Destinations International and on the board of trustees for the California Travel Political Action Committee. He also serves on the Chairman’s Circle of the U.S. Travel Association. Locally, he is on the board of directors for the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Rachel, and being outdoors golfing, hiking or exploring new destinations. His favorite quote: “In the midst of chaos lies creativity.”
Visit Greater Palm Springs Event Detail Page
CEO Casa de Fruta
Partner, Casa De Fruta PARKWAY, LLC Chair, Visit California Board
Gene Zanger
Gene H. Zanger learned at an early age the value of working in the family business. Summers were spent learning first-hand the reality of farming in California, cutting apricots and picking cherries, pears, prunes and walnuts at Casa de Fruta Orchards.
During high school he worked alongside his father at the Casa de Fruta Restaurant. After undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley, Zanger entered Santa Clara University to pursue a Masters in Business Administration. During his tenure at SCU, he worked at Levi Strauss Company in San Francisco. Upon graduation, he was hired as a food service product manager for Oscar Mayer Foods in Wisconsin. After three typical Wisconsin winters, he returned home to California and Casa de Fruta.

Casa de Fruta is a family run business that has grown into a diverse agricultural and tourism retail business in Hollister, California which includes the original fruit stand, 24-hour restaurant, RV Park, 24-hour Chevron station, Zanger Vineyards Wine Tasting, scale-model railroad, carousel. The grounds are also home to the Northern California Renaissance Faire. Over the last 20 years, he has been responsible for marketing & government relations at Casa de Fruta.

In his free time, he enjoys biking and traveling. He resides in Hollister, with wife Anni, son Lukas and daughter Caitlin.
Event Detail Page Back to Outlook Forum 2022