Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 01 2015

People On The Move


James Riley

 Mandarin Oriental has confirmed that Edouard Ettedgui is to step down as Group Chief Executive on March 31, 2016. He will be succeeded by James Riley. James Riley is currently the group finance director of Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited. He joined the Jardine Matheson Group in 1993 from Kleinwort Benson, and has held a number of senior finance and commercial roles within the group prior to taking his current position in 2005. He has served on the board of Mandarin Oriental’s management company for the past ten years and has an extensive knowledge of the group’s operations.

Tania Armenta

Tania Armenta has been appointed president and CEO of the Albuquerque (New Mexico) Convention & Visitors Bureau, effective January 6, 2016, following a unanimous vote by the board of directors. Armenta currently serves as the CVB’s chief operating and marketing officer and has been with the organization for more than 17 years.

Melanie Frey

Melanie Frey was appointed director of sales and marketing Swissôtel Le Plaza Basel in Switzerland. Previously, Frey was director of sales and marketing at Käfer Schweiz AG.

Dena Soden

Dena Soden has been promoted Corporate Director of Strategic Accounts at John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts. Soden will be responsible for driving leads for the company’s national hotel portfolio from within all market segments, including SMERF, association, among others.

James Ficalora

James Ficalora has been appointed Director of Sales & Marketing at DoubleTree Hotel & Suites Houston by Galleria.

Karen Wilson

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts appointed Karen Wilson regional director, sales and marketing or Canada’s western mountain region. Most recently, Wilson was director, sales and marketing at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Canada.

Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions, part of RELX Group, has acquired Legend Exhibitions, the organization behind two of Europe’s leading retail technology and retail design events. Legend Exhibitions’ portfolio includes RBTE (Retail Business Technology Expo), Retail Design Expo, Retail Digital Signage Expo, as well as three online content platforms (Essential Retail, Retail Design World and Essential Ecommerce). The company also runs summits and forums for the retail sector that address the dynamic developments taking place in-store, online and in the multichannel environment.

Brand USA

The board of directors of Brand USA today announced the re-appointment by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker of Marriott President & CEO Arne Sorenson, who currently serves as board chair, to its board of directors, as well as the appointment of three new board members.  The newly appointed and reappointed members include:

Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International, Inc., who currently serves as the chair of the board (re-appointment)
Kyle Edmiston, assistant secretary, Louisiana Office of Tourism (new appointment)
Maryann Ferenc, owner & CEO, Mise en Place (new appointment)
Rossi Ralenkotter, president & CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (new appointment)
Each appointment is effective Dec. 1, 2015 for a term of three years.

Kyle Edmiston, assistant secretary, Louisiana Office of Tourism, has served in his capacity since 2012.  Prior to his current position, he served as President/CEO of the Ruston Lincoln CVB. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Southeast Tourism Society, U.S. Travel Association and is the Vice Chair of the Travel South USA Board of Directors.  Additionally, he serves on the DMAI Destination Foundation Board of Trustees, the U.S. Travel Association Board executive committee, the U.S. Travel Association Project: Time Off Advisory Board, and is a member of the National Council of State Tourism Directors.  Mr. Edmiston previously served as president of the Louisiana Association of CVBs and Vice Chair of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.  He has also served on the Brand USA Marketing Advisory Committee. He received his Certified Destination Management Executive distinction from DMAI in 2008 and was named as tourism's Rising Star by Southeast Tourism Society in 2010. During 2013, the Louisiana Office of Tourism received the Southeast Tourism Society state tourism office of the year, and the Louisiana Office of Tourism is only the second state to receive international accreditation from DMAI.

Maryann Ferenc, president and owner of Mise en Place, has spent her entire career in the hospitality industry. Maryann and her partner, James Beard award-winner Chef Marty Blitz made their mark in Tampa Bay, Florida, with the opening of Mise en Place, a hospitality group that began as a catering company in 1986. Since that time, Mise en Place has grown into an upscale urban restaurant in downtown Tampa and diverse operations that include in-house events; a full-service catering and event company; retail marketing, exclusive contracted events at the Tampa Museum of Art with an on-premise restaurant; a wine bar and bistro at the Tampa International Airport; and a wine bar and café at Amalie Arena, the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  A passion for hospitality and independent business led Ms. Ferenc to community roles as founder and board member of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance; board member and past chairperson of Visit Tampa Bay, Super Bowl Host Committee, Tampa Bay World Cup Soccer Bid Committee and RNC Host Committee. She was appointed to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in 2009 and is now serving a third term. In addition, she was appointed to the board of directors for Visit Florida in December 2011 with a term through June 2019 and currently serves as treasurer of the board.  Maryann's love of the industry goes beyond her own dining room to a variety of hunger relief efforts including Share our Strength, Feeding America, and Taste of the NFL. Community and business work have led to awards, such as Lou Groza Kick Hunger, Gonzmart Ambassador and TBBJ Businesswoman of the Year. She is active in the animal rescue community and lives with nine fabulous dogs.

Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), is responsible for marketing and branding Las Vegas and Southern Nevada as the world's most desirable destination for leisure and business travel. Under Mr. Ralenkotter's leadership, the LVCVA launched the most successful branding campaign in tourism history, which is best known for its oft-repeated tagline, "What happens here, stays here.™"  It was selected the No. 1 campaign by the voting public and was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011. The LVCVA owns and operates the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With Mr. Ralenkotter's oversight, Las Vegas remains the world's trade show capital, hosting 60 of the largest 250 trade shows.  Mr. Ralenkotter began his career at the LVCVA in 1973 as a research analyst. Prior to becoming president/CEO in 2004, he was the LVCVA executive vice president and senior vice president of marketing. Before joining the LVCVA, Mr. Ralenkotter worked for a local telephone company and served in the United States Air Force. Mr. Ralenkotter is a technical advisory committee member of NV Governor Brian Sandoval's Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. He also is the past Chair of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. He has served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism and as chair of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce where remains on the board. He is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the American Society of Association Executives and the Hotel Sales Marketing Association. He was named "Employer of the Year" by the Employee Service Management Association in 2006, one of the "25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry" by Meeting News in 2005, and in 2004, he was selected "Co-Brand Marketer of the Year" by Brandweek magazine. In 2013, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events honored him with its "Pinnacle Award" in recognition of extraordinary achievement in the exhibitions and events management field. Additionally, he was inducted into both the U.S. Travel Association's "Hall of Leaders" and DMAI's "Hall of Fame" in 2014.  Mr. Ralenkotter was honored with UNLV'sDistinguished Nevadan Award in 2009 and UNLV Alumni of the Year in 2008. He served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force with the 468th Medical Service Flight.  He is a member of the Las Vegas Ad Club, which inducted him into the Las Vegas Advertising Hall of Fame for lifetime marketing achievements. He also received Lifetime Achievement honors from the American Marketing Association and the Travel and Tourism Research Association.

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