People News: San Francisco Travel, RX and More Welcome New Leadership, Industry Veterans to Teams

November 29, 2023

U.S. trade show and event-related organizations, including CVBs and venues, have been picking up the hiring pace this fall. 

San Francisco Travel Association

San Francisco Travel Association tapped 35-year convention and tourism industry veteran Scott Beck as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Joe D’Alessandro, who will retire in December after nearly 18 years leading San Francisco’s official destination marketing organization. 

Beck brings a wealth of knowledge and proven expertise in attracting events, meetings and international and domestic visitors to destinations to his new role. Prior to joining San Francisco Travel on Oct. 30, he served as president and CEO of Destination Toronto, which he joined in 2019 to lead its sales and marketing efforts. 

Before Destination Toronto, Beck served as president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake for 14 years. He also boasts extensive experience in the hotel industry, including serving general manager roles at the Marriott City Center in Salt Lake City, Ocean Properties Ltd.’s Atlific Hotels and Sedona Resort Management’s Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah, and as director of sales and marketing for Sundance Resort in Provo, Utah. 


RX US recently welcomed senior sales leader Indiya Okam to its senior leadership team as its new group vice president of sales, responsible for driving revenue and sales transformation and fostering career opportunities for sales talents and sustainable growth for RX and the U.S. industries it serves.

Okam joins RX from Fortune 500 global healthcare solutions company Owens & Minor, where she worked as vice president of sales, products and healthcare services, tasked with leading value-based and growth initiatives.

Music City Center

Kelli Donahoe has been appointed senior vice president and COO of Nashville’s Music City Center, for which she is tasked with overseeing day-to-day operations and assisting in planning and implementing all functions and resources of facility departments.  

She is replacing Elisa Putman, who announced her retirement in April after nearly 35 years with the old Nashville Convention Center and the current building, and served as senior vice president and COO for the last eight years. 

A certified meeting professional, Donahoe’s background includes more than 20 years of convention center sales and operations management experience with hospitality entities in Pittsburgh, Orlando, Fla. and San Jose, Calif. Most recently, she served as general manager of the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio. 

Donahoe and Putman will work in tandem in the senior leadership role for an unspecified period of time to ensure a smooth transition. An official retirement date has not yet been set for Putman. 

Impact XM 

Global full-service event and experiential marketing agency Impact XM recently selected Dana McDonald as senior director of new business development. Bringing more than 14 years of experience in sales and project management to her new role, she will work to deliver meaningful experiential programs for new brand partners, enhance overall new business development efforts and develop new and existing relationships across strategic industries of interest for the agency.  

Throughout her time in the experiential industry, McDonald has held many account and sales leadership positions, specializing in B2B and B2C events in various industries, including technology, software, casino, video gaming, beauty/consumer retail and finance.  

ASM Global  

Event venue management and event strategy leader ASM Global, which was recently acquired by live experiences company Legends, appointed Will Berryman as general manager of the new Henrico Sports & Events Center in Glen Allen, Va. He is responsible for managing day-to-day operations at the venue, including overseeing the coordination of plans, programs and events, budgets, training and development, quality assurance, energy efficiency, safety and emergency procedures and crisis management.

Berryman brings more than 15 years of parks, recreation and sports event-operations experience to Henrico County’s newest venue, most recently as assistant general manager for the Virginia Beach Sports Center. Earlier in his career, he helped manage youth and adult programs and worked in marketing, operations and facility maintenance at the U.S. Soccer Federation and Suffolk Parks & Recreation. 

Meet Chicago Northwest  

Meet Chicago Northwest (MCNW) recently welcomed Michele Zurlo as its new partnership and service manager, responsible for working closely with both the MCNW marketing and sales departments to help coordinate convention bureau partnership events.  

In addition to managing signature events including Restaurant Week and the Meet Chicago Northwest Family Days at the Chicago Auto Show and Woodfield Mall, Zurlo will also be welcoming large groups with customized services and visitor resources. 

Bringing more than 30 years of experience in hospitality, sales and business development in Illinois, including Itasca, Lincolnshire and other surrounding suburbs, Zurlo most recently served as the director of sales for Pinstripes. 

Exhibitor Group  

Monica Myhill has joined the Exhibitor Group leadership team as chief learning strategist and Certified Trade Show Marketer (CTSM) director. She joins the organization after many years of directing and managing education, certification, exhibitions and meetings teams, most recently serving as director of education at the Colorado Hospital Association.

Myhill is replacing long-time Chief Learning Strategist Dee Silfies, who is credited with helping to educate thousands of CTSM graduates, candidates and attendees of EXHIBITORLIVE, EXHIBITORFastTrak and EXHIBITOR eTrak educational programs for the past 30 years. Silfies will continue to serve as Exhibitor Group’s chief learning strategist until Nov. 30, when she transitions into a new career in education.

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently announced a citywide executive hire and a long-time employee promotion.

Reneka Edwards has joined the organization as citywide sales executive, responsible for managing groups ranging from 750 rooms or more on peak. Edwards comes to ACVB with more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, having previously worked as senior sales manager at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and across various market segments in myriad cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. 

Thirty-year hospitality industry veteran Zack Laws has been promoted to director of sales, tasked with overseeing day-to-day department operations. In his new role, he will continue to manage ACVB’s efforts to secure sporting events of large-scale format in partnership with Atlanta Sports Council. In 2010, Laws joined the CVB as citywide sales manager. He currently sits on the board of directors for Georgia Sports and IAEE’s Southeast Chapter. 

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact