Michael J. Sawaya
The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority has appointed Michael J. Sawaya as president and general manager of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He succeeds Robert. L. Johnson, who retired in September. Sawaya is a 40-year hospitality industry veteran who previously served as executive director of the convention and sports facilities department for the City of San Antonio, Texas.
Naomi Rolfe has been appointed as sales manager of DuPage CVB in DuPage County, Illinois. Rolfe will focus on the corporate and third-party markets as the team continues to secure new and recurring meetings in the region. Rolfe has more than 13 years of sales and marketing experience in the hospitality and print industries, and most recently worked at Chicago Marriott Naperville.
Visit Spokane has named Ruth Fitzgerald as its new director of sales effective Jan. 17. Fitzgerald will oversee the local sales force while also overseeing sales efforts in Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. She previously held positions at Hotel RL Spokane at The Park and DMI Hotels in Chicago.
DeLaine Bender, CAE, has been promoted to vice president of AMR Management Services and has joined the organization’s executive team. Bender previously served as executive director of AMR’s client team. In her new role, Bender will oversee the work of other AMR executive directors and will help guide AMR’s marketing and business development initiatives.
Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has promoted Jennifer Erney to regional vice president. In this position, she will lead ALHI’s U.S. Mid-Atlantic team based in the global sales office in Washington, D.C. and will also oversee global sales teams in Richmond, Virginia. Before her promotion, Erney served as ALHI’s vice president of sales for the Mid-Atlantic region. Erney was named the 2017 Supplier of the Year at the 2017 PCMA Education Foundation Visionary Awards.
Jeanette Ulepic has been named director of group sales for the Anaheim Marriott. In her new role, she will lead the property’s group sales effort and develop tactics to leverage strategic partnerships with Marriott’s local, national, and global sales channels to identify group and convention business. Most recently, Ulepic served as global accounts manager for Marriott International’s Convention and Resort Network.
Warren Jones has been named the new CEO of Keppler Speakers. Founder Jim Keppler will assume the role of chairman of the company, while Jones will oversee all sales, marketing, operations, and administration, and will be responsible for accelerating the company’s growth. Jones has extensive experience in the technology and entertainment industries, previously working as president and CEO of Enterworks, Inc. He also founded Comedy Hosting LLC, a comedy booking agency.
Julie Barajas has joined Viceroy Hotel Group’s Hotel Zelos in San Francisco, California, as director of event sales. She has over a decade of hospitality experience. In her new role, Barajas will assist with implementing strategic sales initiatives and oversee catering and events for the property.