Carol Wallace, President & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation announced yesterday her retirement as President & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation effective December 31, 2016. Ms. Wallace will be stepping down from her position December 31, 2015, however, she will serve as a consultant to the Corporation through 2016. At that time, she will have served the Corporation for 25 years. Ms. Wallace said she will continue to work in the meetings and convention industry as a consultant.
“Over the last two decades, it has been my highest professional honor to lead the San Diego Convention Center to become one of the most successful convention facilities in the world. None of it would have been possible without the truly talented and professional team of employees of the Corporation who made it all happen,” Wallace said. “I look forward to continue contributing to the industry in a new capacity,” she added.
Ms. Wallace is responsible for the overall management and operation of the facility, and oversees a full-time and part-time staff of 540 people and an annual budget that exceeds $33 million. Under her leadership, the San Diego Convention Center has become one of the most successful convention and meeting facilities advancing trade, tourism and collaboration across the U.S. and world.
The San Diego Convention Center has been recognized across the industry for its outstanding service excellence. This includes eleven Planner’s Choice Awards from Meeting News; ten Prime Site Awards from Facilities and Destinations; Best Staff from Trade Show Week; and Best Convention Center from Southern California Meetings + Events.
“Carol is truly a recognized leader in this industry and San Diego has been fortunate to have her manage one of our most important community assets, a facility that has been ranked in the top 3 internationally,” said Stephen Cushman, Chair of the Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors. “She has built a top notch team and their record of success running the facility is a testament to her leadership and passion for the industry,” he added.
Ms. Wallace’s leadership and dedication have earned her numerous industry and community accolades. In 2015, the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) presented her with their Lifetime Achievement Award presented to an individual recognized by their peers for outstanding contributions to both IAVM and the convention center industry. In 2014, Ms. Wallace was named Professional Achievement Supplier Honoree by the Professional Convention Management Association. Her other professional affiliations include the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and the International Convention Center Association (ICCA).
From 2011-2012, she served on the board of trustees for the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) Education Foundation and is a past board member of the International Association of Exhibition Management (IAEM).
Ms. Wallace has been a leader in advancing key policy and strategic initiatives for the industry over her 35 year career. She is a currently serving on the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB), a group responsible for advising the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on ways to strengthen the travel and tourism industry and expand economic opportunities for American businesses, including domestic job creation and visa waiver initiatives. Ms. Wallace recently completed service as the North American representative on the AIPC International Association of Congress Centres board of directors, advancing the work of convention and meeting facilities internationally. In September, Ms. Wallace joined the board of directors of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) the definitive authority in education, business networking and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention and business events industry.
Ms. Wallace earned a reputation as a top industry executive working for the Dallas Convention Center and the Colorado Convention Center, where she was part of the team that planned, constructed and opened the original facility in 1990. When she came to San Diego in 1991, she played a pivotal leadership role convincing key constituents to expand the San Diego Convention Center, resulting in an expansion opening in 2001.
Active in numerous professional associations and organizations, she was one of nine industry commissioners for the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) commission that creates industry-wide accepted practices in the meetings industry. She is the past president of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), the world’s largest public assembly facility management association, and in 2004 she received their highest honor, the Charles A. McElravy Award, for her exceptional leadership and extraordinary career-long accomplishments.