Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 19 2015

People On The Move This Month


Frits van Paasschen

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced that Frits van Paasschen has resigned by mutual agreement with the Board of Directors as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director. Adam Aron , a Starwood Director since 2006, has been named Chief Executive Officer on an interim basis while the Board conducts a search for a permanent CEO that will include both internal and external candidates. van Paasschen will continue with Starwood as a consultant to assist in the transition.

Christie Hicks

Past PCMA Education Foundation Board Chair and 2005 Supplier Partner Honoree at the PCMA Education Foundation Dinner Celebrating Professional Achievement, Christie Hicks, senior vice president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' sales organization, will step down after 15 years with the company, Starwood president and CEO Frits van Paasschen announced in a Thursday email to employees. Long time PCMA Member, Hicks has agreed to stay on in her current position until Starwood names a replacement, according to van Paasschen.

Denise Suttle

The Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), an organization dedicated to elevating the event and convention services profession, announced it has elected PCMA Member, Denise Suttle, CMP, assistant director of convention services at the Albuquerque CVB, to serve as president of ESPA.

Kathy Denkenberger

PCMA Member, Kathy Denkenberger CMP, of Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, was announced as second vice president of ESPA’s 2015 Board of directors.

Mitch Jordan

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel promoted Mitch Jordan to director of sales. Most recently, Jordan was account director at the hotel.

Jason Kreul

White Lodging is pleased to announce Jason Kreul has been hired as Senior Vice President of Full Service Operations. Jason brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience to White Lodging, most recently the senior vice president of operations at Winegardner & Hammons.

Betsy Baker and Denise Smith

Resorts Mountains and Cities is excited to welcome two new members to its Destination Management team. Betsy Baker has been appointed Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, and Denise Smith joins RMC as Senior Operations Manager.

Enrique Calderon

Longtime industry veteran Enrique Calderon has assumed the top spot at Grupo Posadas, where, as director general and CEO, he will be charged with overseeing the company’s hotel management business, whose six brand and 120-plus properties include Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Americana Grand, Live Aqua, Fiesta Inn, Hotels One and Explorean By Fiesta Americana. He replaces Rafael de la Mora.

Bent Hadler

CEO of Hadler DMC Scandinavia, Bent Hadler has been inaugurated as the president of ADMEI (Association of Destination Management Executives International).

Jason LaCkore

Turnberry Isle Miami announced the appointment of Jason LaCkore as director of group sales.  A seasoned hospitality professional, LaCkore has a wide range of sales experience with renowned hotel brands and fortune 500 companies.

Marsha Morton

The Brando, in French Polynesia’s atoll of Tetiaroa, announced the promotion of Marsha Morton to director of sales & promotions for North America.  Prior to her time at The Brando, Morton most recently held the position of director of sales & marketing, North America for the InterContinental Resorts of French Polynesia.

Raphael Bernard

InterContinental Resorts French Polynesia and Maitai Hotels announced the promotion of Raphael Bernard to the role of director of sales & marketing North America.

Philipp Weghmann

Preferred Hotel Group, a global provider of sales, marketing and distribution services to independent luxury hotels, has announced the appointment of Philipp Weghmann to Executive Vice President of Europe, effective immediately.

Kristian Sonnier

Kristian Sonnier, a 20-year public relations and communications veteran, has been named vice president of communications and public relations of the NOCVB.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark, CEO of the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association, has been elected president of the Travel Industry Association of Colorado board of directors at the association’s Jan. 26 meeting. Clark has been a member of TIAC for 10 years and has worked for decades in the Colorado tourism sector. 

Jessica Baran

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino and the Meruelo Group have hired Jessica Baran as vice president of sales, conventions and meetings. With more than 15 years of experience in developing, leading and executing strategic plans for multiple properties across the country, Baran will lead GSR's sales team, convention services and catering. Baran's experience includes a list of luxury global brands from around the United States, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., the Venetian Resort Hotels Casino, Kerzner International's Atlantis Resort Casino and MGM Grand and Foxwoods Resort Hotels Casino

Mariam Karim

Four Seasons Hotel New York appoints veteran events professional Mariam Karim as its Director of Catering and Conferences Services.

Bethany Murphy

The Moery Company is pleased to announce the recent promotion of Bethany Murphy to Business Development Manager. Bethany joined the Moery team in 2014. A seasoned sales associate, Bethany’s is currently focused on membership and sponsorship sales campaigns for the American Bakers Association, Power Transmission Distributors Association, Council of Institutional Investors, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

Frank Comito

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, representing 32 National Hotel Associations across the region, has appointed hospitality and tourism industry veteran Frank Comito as the new chief executive and director general.

Anthony Cordo

Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau, the department tasked with promoting the city, named Anthony Cordo as its new director. Cordo has worked the past seven years as the senior visitor services manager for the Experience Columbus, Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Steve van der Molen

Steve van der Molen has been named vice-president of meeting operations for the Atlantic City region by Caesars Entertainment. He will primarily be responsible for the opening of the Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Resort/Atlantic City. 

Chanaka Fonseka

Chanaka Fonseka has been appointed Food and Beverage Director at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.  Chanaka is an internationally experienced executive specializing in food and beverage operations and is already part of the AEG Ogden family.

Troy Reynolds

Troy Reynolds, a Certified Meeting Professional of the Convention Industry Council, brings over 25 years of experience in the events and hospitality industry to the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre as Head of Event Operations. 

Sheikha Al Mugheiry

With six years in the local Five Star hospitality industry, new International Business Development Manager Sheikha Al Mugheiry's experience within the international and regional market place will be critical to the OCEC’s relationship with the Omani community and in attracting major international conventions to Oman.

Thomas Joseph

Thomas Joseph has spent almost a decade in the local exhibition, business and live events industry, and will utilize these skills and his knowledge of the regional market to increase the Sultanate's market share in this competitive arena for the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre as Business Development Manager for Exhibitions.

2015 CSM of the Year Awarded

Congratulations to Vikki Valencia Kelly, Visit Denver; Joe O’Donnell, CMP, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort; and McKinna Allen, America’s Center/Edward Jones Dome. More

John Caparella

John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, announced yesterday that Kirsten Dimond has been appointed Vice President of Operations for Sands Expo. Previously, Dimond was vice president of hotel operations at The Venetian and The Palazzo, a position she held since 2005. In this capacity, she provided a strategic and collaborative focus for the Front Office, Housekeeping, Luxury Services, Resort Services, Guest Services, Groups and Concierge teams. She played significant roles in the opening of the Venezia Tower, The Venetian Macau, and The Palazzo.

Tom Marchetto


Tom Marchetto, one of the most respected industry veterans in the contract management business, is joining SMG, the world leader in venue management and facility services, as Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing, to expand the company’s food and beverage portfolio, specializing in concessions, catering and banqueting, and premium services for convention centers, stadiums and arenas, theater and performing arts centers; and newly defined markets, both domestically and internationally.

Apple Woo


Apple Woo was appointed director of sales and marketing of Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.

Camille Olivere


Club Med appointed Camille Olivere senior vice president of sales for the U.S. Most recently, Olivere was senior vice president of sales at Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Kirsten Dimond


Kirsten Dimond has been appointed vice president of operations for Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas. It is expected that Dimond will bring to the Sands Expo the same customer-centric approach and leadership style that she developed as vice president of hotel operations at The Venetian and The Palazzo, a position she has held since 2005.

Solage Hotels & Resorts Announced Promotion of Six Executives


Solage Hotels & Resorts, a California-based hotel and resort management company, today announced the promotion of six executives to key leadership roles within the company as part of its growth strategy for 2015 and beyond. Jonathan Rosenbaum, has been named chief executive officer; Richard Hill, president; Executive Chef Brandon Sharp, vice president of culinary operations; Renee Risch, vice president of sales and marketing; Nicole Winslow, vice president of human resources; and Vito Serrano, vice president of facilities. All six leaders have been with Solage Hotels & Resorts since the opening of its flagship property, Solage Calistoga, in 2007 and have been instrumental in guiding the resort to its award-winning status.

Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre Has Appointed New Senior Executives


The Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre appointed several new senior executives to its team in preparation for the venue opening its doors to the world in 2016. The new appointments include Chanaka Fonseka as Food and Beverage Director; Troy Reynolds as Head of Event Operations; Sheikha Al Mugheiry as International Business Development Manager; Thomas Joseph as Business Development Manager for Exhibitions; Derek Wilson as Audio Visual and Production Manager; Pieter du Plooy as Systems Administrator; and Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati as an Executive Assistant.

Danny Lidder


Semiahmoo Resort, Golf, and Spa, an iconic seaside resort located on the Semiahmoo Spit in Blaine, Wash., has hired Danny Lidder as Canadian sales manager. In his new position, Lidder will be the first point of contact in British Columbia for international travelers regarding meetings, weddings, and conventions.