|VISIT FLORIDA’s Events Team Proudly Represents the Tourism Industry|
As VISIT FLORIDA’s Director of Sales, I am amazed each day by our Events Team’s passion and drive to grow professionally and stay current in the tourism industry’s ever-evolving environment. I take immense pride in seeing each of the individuals achieve their professional and personal goals despite their busy schedules. Their achievements position VISIT FLORIDA and, by extension, the entire Florida tourism industry as leaders at the local, state and national level.
It was just a few months ago when Brenda Bryant, Event Planner, came into my office to tell me she wanted to start the process of running for President of the Travel Professionals of Color National Association. We talked about the level of commitment and dedication it would take and she replied, “I am up for the challenge, I believe in the Association and it is “Time for Change.” I watched Brenda create her campaign flyers, buttons, handbills and goals throughout the last few months and prepare for the Annual Convention in Denver. Right before she left, she shared her speech with me that she would give during the conference and it was truly inspiring. What happened at the Convention was unbelievable! Brenda had the crowd on their feet chanting, “Time for Change, Time for Change.” As you might guess from that lead up, I am proud to announce that Brenda is indeed the new President-Elect of the Travel Professionals of Color National Association.
The good news doesn’t stop there. In May, Lauren Shoaf, Event Planner, graduated from the distinguished “Leadership Tallahassee” program, a division of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. More than a year ago, Lauren was selected to be one of the 35 professionals for “Class 29.” This full-year program’s mission is to cultivate a diverse network of emerging and experienced leaders committed to improving the Tallahassee community. Her commitment and drive to complete the program were commendable and VISIT FLORIDA is extremely proud of her accomplishment. She has strengthened bonds with many community leaders and created networks of opportunity for all of us.
We have long known that Steven Bonda, Meetings & Conventions Manager, is a standout and now it is verified. He has been selected by his peers, both industry and planners, as one of the “40 Under 40 to Watch in the Sales Industry” through Collinson Media & Events. This acknowledgement is not something to take lightly. Each nominated professional is thoroughly measured through references and industry groups. Commitment, professionalism, dedication and distinction as someone who is being talked about in the industry are all factors involved in the selection process. Watch for the featured individuals of the “40 Under 40 to Watch” in the upcoming July/August edition of Connect Publication and the August/September edition of Rejuvenate Publication.
While this last accomplishment will not become official until next month, I wanted to share that Felicia Plummer, Sales Administrator, is graduating this July with the “Travel Marketing Professional” certification from the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College. This is a three-year commitment that provides opportunities for networking with peers from across the country in the premier educational program for the tourism industry in the U.S. To date, Lauren Shoaf, Carolyn Jones and Lily Etemadi on the VISIT FLORIDA Events Team have earned the TMP certification. This fall, the newest member of our team, Whitney McQueen, Event Planner, will begin Marketing College.
I can assure you that the list goes on and on. Not content to rest on their laurels, each of the team members are currently working on new paths of professional development opportunities. From the “Certified Meeting Professional” to “Certified Destination Management Executive” designations, our goals are high for representing the Florida tourism industry as knowledgeable and professional leaders in our field.
Director of Marketing & Events