Events Industry Job Trends
Stay up to date on new positions, promotions and other career changes for your partners and peers in the meetings and events industry. Have a job change announcement for consideration? Get in touch with Lizzie Wilcox.
Spotlight: Chris Brown
Chris Brown has announced that he will be leaving his role as executive vice president and managing director of global connections of events for the National Association of Broadcasters following the 2024 NAB Show next April.
"First and foremost, it has been an honor and privilege to be part of the NAB team, and to have had the opportunity to help shape one of the great trade shows in the world in the NAB Show," said Brown. "Trade shows work. They work really well. I think we all rediscovered this coming out of the pandemic. The people-to-people connections that are created through trade shows are powerful, lasting and cannot be replicated any other way."
Brown has been with the association for nearly 25 years.
"You are only as good as the people around you," he said. "It would simply not have been possible for me to achieve any of the things I have without a great team around me. The best decisions I have made over the years are tied to the people that I have brought in to be part of the team."
While he is stepping down from NAB, he isn’t planning to fully retire.
"There is a next act for me, and I am taking the next several months to work through what that may look like," he said. "That may involve staying engaged with the events industry if the right opportunity is there."
His advice for event professionals new to the industry?
"Challenge the status quo. This industry has not always been the quickest to adapt and innovate. There is a need for events to evolve, and we need good, young energy and minds to help us push to a new level," Brown said. "Make sure you don’t get lost in the day-to-day; take the time to step back and appreciate the kind of work you are doing."
NAB has launched a nationwide search to fill the role, and is looking for an experienced executive with a strong trade show and strategic business background to execute the NAB Show, NAB Show New York and NAB Amplify.
Brand USA announced that Chris Thompson will retire as president and CEO. He has been with the country's destination marketing organization since 2011, and his retirement will be effective May 31, 2024. Brand USA says it is committed to finding a successor who will build upon Thompson’s legacy and continue to drive the organization forward.
Adriana Molina has been appointed vice president of strategic partnerships for Meeting Priorities. Prior to joining the event management company, she had been vice president of association sales at Teneo Hospitality Group for more than five years.
Chi Hoon Bang
Chi Hoon Bang has joined Highgate, a real estate and hospitality management company, as global executive of sales and luxury experience for the Hawaii region. He was most recently director of sales and marketing for Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, where he oversaw sales strategies for all markets, including the United States, Oceania and Asia.
Michael Swasey is the new senior vice president of operations at AJS Hotels. In his role, he will oversee all aspects of day-to-day financial and operational functions, while executing numerous large-scale events and conferences across the company’s portfolio of hotels in Louisville, Ky. Swasey most recently was senior vice president of operations for Crescent Hotels and Resorts.
Kelly Wildfong has been appointed director of national accounts for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau in Texas. She joins the CVB from Caesars Entertainment, where she was national sales manager for their 50-property portfolio.
David DuBois will be stepping down as president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, effective Oct. 1. Originally planning to stay until his contract expired at the end of the year, he is leaving the position earlier than anticipated to become CEO of the Exhibitor Group, a marketing and media company. IAEE has retained SearchWide Global, an executive search firm, to look for his replacement.
Amy Boek has been promoted to vice president of the Amelia Island CVB in Florida. She has been with the organization since 2014, and most recently held the position of chief marketing officer.
Stephen Zito, Michael Flores, Victor Caballero, Lenzy Mora, Troy Ragland
The Alamodome in San Antonio recently made several personnel changes. Promotions include Stephen Zito to assistant director for convention and sports facilities, and Michael Flores to general manager. New additions to the staff are Victor Caballero as marketing manager, Lenzy Mora as graphic designer, and Troy Ragland as manager of public safety and transportation.
Steve Prebble is now CEO of Incentive Solutions, a provider of channel marketing and sales solutions. He joins the company from Appriss Retail, a provider of data and analytics solutions used by retail chains worldwide, where he was also CEO. Prebble replaces Mark Herbert, who will remain on the board of directors and serve as an advisor during the transition period.
Loren Christie has been named managing director of BestCities Global Alliance. He has worked in the travel, tourism and events industries for more than 25 years, including at Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Destination Toronto, as well as hosting a travel segment on Canada’s national TV network. Christie began his new role on July 1.
David Sargent and Rebecca DeLuca
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has hired David Sargent as its new senior director of tradeshow and convention sales. Prior to joining the organization, he was vice president of national accounts for Campfire Social, a social network and ecommerce platform. Additionally, Rebecca DeLuca is rejoining the LVCVA as vice president of destination sales after spending nearly four years with Caesars Entertainment Meetings and Events.
Chris Stanley has joined the 1,001-room San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and its connected property, the 507-room San Antonio Riverwalk, as executive chef. In his new role, Stanley will be the head of the hotels' five dining outlets. He most recently was executive chef at the Westin Dallas Downtown Hotel, since 2019.
Rainell Mano and Susan Barnes
Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii has hired Rainell Mano as director of sales and events, and Susan Barnes as director of incentive sales. Previously, Mano served as general manager and managing director of PRA Business Events, Hawaii’s West Region, while Barnes served as global sales director of incentives for KSL Resorts.
The Hilton San Diego Bayfront has named Shaun Robinson as general manager. He joins the 1,190-room hotel from the Hilton Anaheim, where he had been general manager since 2011.
Jeffrey Miller and Kelly Teo
The Thompson Palm Springs welcomed Jeffrey Miller as general manager and Kelly Teo as director of sales and marketing. They previously served as general manager of the Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows, and director of sales and marketing at the Thompson Dallas, respectively. The 168-room hotel is scheduled to open later this year.
L'Auberge de Sedona in Arizona has hired Ryan Swanson as its executive chef. With more than 20 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry, he aims to bring a renewed imagination to the resort’s flagship restaurant, Cress on Oak Creek. Prior to joining the 83-room property, Swanson was executive sous chef at Ocean House in Rhode Island.
Chris McCutcheon and Lindsay Laubenstein
The 106-room Lytle Park Hotel in Cincinnati has appointed Chris McCutcheon as director of food and beverage, and Lindsay Laubenstein as beverage manager. Most recently, McCutcheon was director of restaurants at Reunion Resort in Orlando, and Laubenstein was beverage director at the Phoenix hotel in Cincinnati.
Hyatt Indian Wells Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, Calif., has named Omar Salinas as executive chef. Prior to joining the 530-room property, he served as executive sous chef for the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in his home state of Texas.
Jack Benton joined the Embassy Suites by Hilton Asheville Downtown in North Carolina as director of sales and marketing. He was previously director of sales and marketing for the DoubleTree Asheville Downtown. The 188-room hotel is scheduled to open this winter.
Anna Gregori and Janet Parton
Celestyal Cruises welcomed Anna Gregori as vice president of brand and customer journey. In this newly created position, she will focus on building the cruise line's global brand. She joins Celestyal from Simmons x Schmid, a creative agency in London, where she was head of strategy. Janet Parton also joined Celestyal Cruises as vice president of business development for the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. She most recently had been sales and marketing director for Cosmos Tours Limited and Avalon Waterways. Parton is currently chairwoman of the CLIA Specialist Cruise Committee.
Karen Earp has been hired as general manager of Hotel Barrière Fouquet’s New York. Prior to joining the 545-room property, she served as general manager of the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara in California for 15 years.
The Fairmont Dallas has welcomed James Phillips as its new executive chef. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the culinary industry to the 545-room hotel, and had previously been executive chef at the Omni Dallas.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach in Hawaii has promoted Regan Rosdil to director of sales and marketing. She has been with the 552-room resort since 2018, previously serving as senior sales manager.
Carrie Murphy has been promoted to director of sales for the Hiltons of Chicago Sales and Marketing Complex, representing the Palmer House, the Hilton Chicago and the Drake Hotel. She began her career with Hilton in 2006, and was most recently director of sales at the Hiltons of O’Hare.
Mark Tricano, Michelle Reda, Kimberly Virtuoso
The Fontainebleau Las Vegas announced new executive leadership, with Mark Tricano as president, Michelle Reda as chief casino marketing officer and Kimberly Virtuoso as senior vice president of people. The 3,644-room resort is set to open in December.
The Trump National Doral Miami has hired Tracy Solly as director of sales and marketing. With more than two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, she joins the 643-room resort from Luxury Compass, an independent luxury hospitality consulting firm, which she founded and owned.
Alisha D. Staes
Alisha D. Staes has been appointed director of sales of the 106-room Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans’ Garden District. A native of the Big Easy, she previously was senior sales manager of the Nopsi Hotel.
Montage Hotels and Resorts has named Scott Gubrud as director of sales and marketing for the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. He brings more than 30 years of experience to the role, most recently serving as president and CEO of Epic International, a full-service meetings and events company in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Montage has 154 rooms, 81 residences, and more than 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.