Previous Speakers

Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Aaron Buzza, CDME

Executive Director - Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau Aaron Buzza, CDME, grew up and worked in bicycle tourism country in Southeast Minnesota.  Aaron officially began his tourism career in 2002, and has been Executive Director…

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Tourism Academy
President & CEO - GO Cedar Rapids

Aaron McCreight, CDME

Aaron has been the President & CEO of GO Cedar Rapids for three years. During that time the organization has updated its mission to include product development by creating the Cedar Rapids Ale Trail, adding a sell-out Dinner of…

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Tourism Academy
Vice President of Marketing - Visit Saint Paul

Adam Johnson

For more than a decade, Adam has brightened the spotlight on Minnesota’s capital city through social media strategy, digital marketing, and capitalizing on events (like the Super Bowl, Ryder Cup, and St. Patrick’s Day) to drive…

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Tourism Academy
Founder & President - Tourism Economics

Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is the founder and President of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company dedicated to quantitatively-based consulting to the travel sector. Over the past twenty-two years, Adam has worked with hundreds of…

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Tourism Academy
Vice President of Marketing - CrowdRiff

Amrita Gurney

Amrita Gurney is the Vice President of Marketing at CrowdRiff, where she leads a team responsible for brand, content, product marketing, and demand generation. Prior to CrowdRiff Amrita ran marketing at high growth startups…

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Tourism Academy
Director of Research & Analytics - Destinations International

Andreas Weissenborn

Introduced to the world of destination organizations by a random internship application to Visit Baltimore (then known as Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association), Andreas Weissenborn began an unexpected career into…

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Tourism Academy
Executive Director - Visit Santa Rosa

Brad Calkins

Brad Calkins is currently the Chief Eating & Drinking Officer (AKA: Executive Director) of Visit Santa Rosa, a private business organization that brings visitors, conferences and events to Santa Rosa.  Prior to Executive Director,…

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Tourism Academy
Senior Director of Strategy & Education - TwoSix Digital

Brian Matson

Brian has been a part of the travel and tourism industry since 2003 and was the long-time Marketing Director at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau where he pioneered several digital and social media promotional…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Brian Wright

DMO & Executive Relations - Visit California Brian has more than a decade of executive-level experience in the travel industry. He previously served as Visit California’s Senior Director of Communications where he was responsible…

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Tourism Academy
Director of Destination Solutions - Knowland

Carleigh Dworetzky

As the Director of Destination Solutions at Knowland, Carleigh leads the charge on Knowland’s overall product and service offerings from the suite of TAP Products. Through these TAP products, Knowland produces monthly reports that…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Courtney Ristow

Senior Account Executive - CrowdRiff Courtney Ristow is a Senior Account Executive at CrowdRiff. She enjoys working with destination marketers across the globe to reach and engage travelers through visual marketing. Courtney loves…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Dafan Zhang, JD MPA

Managing Principal Attorney - Zhang Law PC Dafan is an attorney with a passion for law, technology, business, and policy. Prior to founding his own law firm, he practiced at one of the most prestigious law firms in the world,…

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Tourism Academy

Darren Dunn

VP, Travel & Tourism - ADARA Overseeing Destination, hospitality, and analtyics divisions at ADARA, Darren brings over 17 years of travel industry experience working for such companies as FarePortal, WorldMate, Orbitz, and…

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Tourism Academy
Vice President - Travel Michigan

Dave Lorenz

Dave Lorenz serves as Vice President of Travel Michigan, where he is responsible for leading the state’s tourism branding, advertising and public relations efforts; overseeing the award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and…

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Tourism Academy
Founder - TwoSix Digital

Dave Serino

Dave Serino is the founder of TwoSix Digital and a 28-year veteran of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. He deployed his first web site in summer of 1995 as the Marketing Director of the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

David Adler

CEO & Founder - BizBash David Adler, C.E.O. and founder of BizBash is a veteran media and event entrepreneur. He founded BizBash as an idea and resource marketplace for event organizers of all types from corporate and association…

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Tourism Academy
Vice President, Tourism and Hospitality Division - ADARA, Inc.

David Bahlman 

David Bahlman is Vice President of the Tourism and Hospitality Division at ADARA, Inc. When he's not managing ADARA's Tourism and Hospitality Media and Analytics Solutions, David's favorite destinations to visit include the…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

David J. Atkins

Vice President of Digital Marketing - VisitPITTSBURGH A multi-faceted marketer with more than 25 years of experience, David J. Atkins possesses a unique and well-honed ability to communicate even the most complex concepts to any…

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Tourism Academy
Executive Director - Visit South Jersey

Devon Perry

Devon Perry joined Visit South Jersey as marketing director in 2015.  In this role, she closely shadowed the executive director, and when the opportunity presented itself, she was well acquainted with the position and truly the…

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Tourism Academy
Director - Arlington Convention and Visitors Service

Emily Cassell

Emily is Director of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, a division within Arlington Economic Development and the official destination marketing organization for Arlington County. In this role since 2006, Emily has been…

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Tourism Academy
Director of Data Analytics and Market Insights - Tourism Economics

Erik Evjen, CHIA

Erik Evjen is Director of Data Analytics and Market Insights for Tourism Economics. Upon joining Tourism Economics in 2019, Evjen was tasked with developing and managing a new division for the company focused on data analysis &…

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Tourism Academy
Vice President of Marketing - VisitLEX

Gathan Borden

Gathan D. Borden is the Vice President of Marketing for VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this role, he is responsible for the overall advertising, branding, marketing, public relations, social media, visitor…

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Tourism Academy
Meetings Manager - American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA)

Heidi C. Borter, CMP, HMCC

Ms. Borter graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Secondary Education (English/Communications) and has since earned her Certified Meeting Professional and Healthcare Meetings Compliance Certifications.  Heidi…

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Tourism Academy
Chief Advocacy Officer - Destinations International

Jack Johnson

As Chief Advocacy Officer, Jack Johnson manages the overall public policy operations at Destinations International including member advocacy education and training, development of destination tools and best practices, coalition…

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Tourism Academy
Executive Director - Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau

Jack Wert, FCDME

Jack has dedicated over 25 years to tourism destination marketing. He has created and led two destination marketing organizations in Florida, first in Seminole County near Orlando and for the past 15 years in Collier County. Jack…

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Tourism Academy
President/CEO - Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Jennifer Wesselhoff

Jennifer Wesselhoff is the President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. With more than 18 years of organizational management experience, Jennifer oversees all aspects of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Jessica Wright

Founder & Editor - Bon Traveler Jessica Wright has worked in the travel industry for four years. She began as a 22-year-old independent travel consultant and is now the full-time face behind Bon Traveler, a travel blog committed to…

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Tourism Academy
Digital Communications Manager - Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Josh Collins

There’s a way things work, a certain ordained rhythm if you will. And if we’re curious and courageous enough to ask the hard questions, we’ll discover the melody creating and attracting life in the community around us. That’s where…

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Tourism Academy
Consultant - Work Wisdom LLC

Kate Coleman, MA, MA

Kate has built a career out of facilitating experiences and learning opportunities for business and community leaders from around the world and maximizing individual and organizational potential.  Toward this end, she has completed…

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Tourism Academy
Senior Director, Membership Engagement - Destinations International

Kate Skidmore

Kate Skidmore joined Destinations International as Subscriber Services and Engagement Manager for the empowerMINT product in October 2013. Prior to her role at Destinations International, Skidmore spent seven years at the San Diego…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Lauren Cleland

Social Media Strategist - Visit Savannah and Visit Tybee Named one of the "Top 20 Most Influential Tourism Professionals on Twitter" and the "2014 Industry Leader of the Year" by Georgia's Historic Heartland Travel Association,…

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Tourism Academy
Director of Marketing & Partnerships - Craft CMS

Leah Stephenson

Leah Stephenson is the Director of Marketing & Partnerships at Craft CMS where she works to grow the Craft community by helping agencies and businesses effectively utilize Craft to reach their goals. Prior to Craft Leah spent 10+…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Loren Simpson

Director of Digital Communications - Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Loren oversees digital strategy for the Visit Long Beach consumer market, including content marketing, social media and eCommunications. She also…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Lucas Luxton

Senior Account Executive - CrowdRiff Lucas Luxton is a Senior Account Executive at CrowdRiff. Lucas enjoys collaborating with digital marketing leaders at destinations of all sizes, around the world.  Lucas’ passions include…

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Tourism Academy
VP, Marketing & Business Development - Arrivalist

Matthew Clement, CDME

Privileged to lend marketing experience and expertise while working with more than 150 destination marketing brands across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean to promote local economic development through the power of…

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Tourism Academy
Marketing Manager - Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Melissa Williams

As Marketing Manager for the Colorado Springs CVB, Melissa works closely with her team to deliver results-oriented marketing campaigns for the Pikes Peak region. Her specialties include marketing strategy, implementation, graphic…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Melyssa Laughlin, CDME

President & CEO - Visit Vacaville Melyssa has worked in various facets of the tourism industry for the last 16 years. In her current role, Melyssa has been able to successfully elevate a small and relatively unknown city into a…

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Tourism Academy
Executive Director - Pennsylvania Tourism Office

Michael Chapaloney

Michael Chapaloney is Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Tourism Office at the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Previously, Chapaloney was Director of Marketing & Sales at Whitaker Center for Science and…

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Tourism Academy
CEO - Bandwango

Mo Parikh

Mo is the CEO of Bandwango, a Salt Lake City-based company serving the DMO & CVB industry. Bandwango uses a Destination Experience Engine focused on improving the visitor and local experience through the creation of curated…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Natalie Alvanez

Vice President Marketing and Business Development - Visit Oakland Natalie has been the heading the marketing for Visit Oakland for four years. Previously she worked as the Senior Marketing Officer for Amtrak in Oakland.  She has…

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Tourism Academy
President & CEO - St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches

Richard Goldman

Richard Goldman is the President & CEO of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, a DI accredited organization, where he is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the area's success as a tourism and meetings destination. Under…

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Tourism Academy
President - Meridian Reservation Systems

Robin Garrett

Robin Garrett is President of Meridian Reservation Systems, a provider of leading-edge reservation and ticketing technology for destination marketing organizations and their partners. Robin is an experienced tourism professional…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Sara Toliver, CDME

President/CEO - Visit Ogden Sarah is President/CEO of Visit Ogden. Sara received her BS and MBA degrees from Utah State University before opening three retail stores on Historic 25th Street. The ensuing redevelopment of this…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Sean Keliiholokai, MHA, CHSP

Executive Director - Visit Dana Point Sean Keliiholokai is the Executive Director for the newly-formed destination marketing organization Visit Dana Point. He has held management positions in within the tourism industry as Director…

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Tourism Academy
Writer & Speaker - Tourism Currents

Sheila Scarborough

Sheila Scarborough is a writer and speaker specializing in tourism, travel, and social media. She's written for many blogs and print publications and is also a certified Navy Master Training Specialist, with years of experience as…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Steve Goodling

President & CEO - Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Steve Goodling is President & CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (LBCVB), an organization that makes up a vital part of Long Beach’s economic health.…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Thomas Mooney

Founder & Chief Creative Officer - FourthIdea Thomas is Founder and Chief Creative Officer for FourthIdea, a branding + advertising practice focused on travel, tourism and hospitality marketing. With extensive experience in…

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Tourism Academy
Chief Executive Officer - Travel Oregon

Todd Davidson

Todd was appointed Executive Director of the Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon) in June 1996 and was named Chief Executive Officer in September 2004. Under Todd’s leadership, the tourism industry in Oregon has flourished…

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Tourism Academy
Facilitator and Consultant

Troy Thompson

Hi, I’m Troy. I help people find human-centric ways to build teams, solve problems and do great work. Most people hire me to help them train teams, explain change, and define transformation. I speak frequently about empathy and…

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Tourism Academy
Meeting Event Manager - Maritz Travel

Una Kilberg CMP, CEM

Una Kilberg has over 20 years of experience in the meeting and hospitality industry. On the industry side she has experience as both a hotel sales and convention services manager all within the Hilton family of hotels. In her…

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Tourism Academy
Tourism Academy Alumni

Wes Rhea

CEO - Visit Stockton Wes Rhea is the CEO of Visit Stockton and has held that position since 2005. Wes prides himself on being a very tech savvy DMO leader, and loves to work with new and emerging technologies and vendors in the…

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