ConferenceDirect is pleased to announce that Brian Stevens has agreed to serve on the first Tourism Diversity Matters Board of Directors.
Launched on February 1, TDM’s collective impact model will work to inspire authenticity and inclusive leadership throughout the tourism and events industry. TDM’s mission is to be a resource to foster diversity, equity and inclusion practices that will educate, advocate, engage and empower in collaboration and cooperation with all industry initiatives.
Brian Stevens will join Elliott Ferguson, TDM’s chairman of the Board and president and CEO, Destination DC, and Mike Gamble, TDM’s founder and president and CEO of SearchWide Global as part of a 22-member board.
Elliott Ferguson (pictured left), one of the few Black leaders in destination marketing, has been a long-time advocate for repairing diversity deficiencies and misrepresentations in the corporate environment. “Addressing racism should impact how you lead—it’s an American issue,” says Ferguson. “As many are confronting these issues for the first time, we can’t turn a blind eye and we can’t turn back. The pandemic has forced us to slow down and focus on being human. We need to be comfortable with uncomfortable conversations and having these discussions not only at home, but also in the workplace.”
TDM’s four guiding pillars include Apprenticeship Programs; Workforce Development; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Research and Data. The goal is to sustain and expand the platform by collaborating with associated organizations and industries and notable research institutions to develop impactful solutions for all involved.
“Tourism Diversity Matters is a dedicated resource focused solely on creating long-term solutions through complete industry engagement and participation,” says Gamble (pictured right). “The intention is to not replace existing good work happening in this area, but rather to shine a light on it, and add value and insight where needed.”
Greg DeShields (pictured left), CDE, CHE, a respected leader on behalf of DEI and regarded for initiatives to raise Philadelphia’s image as a multicultural visitor destination, has been named executive director. In addition to this new leadership role, he will continue to lead PHL Diversity, a division of PHLCVB.
The inaugural Board of Directors includes:
· Dr. Brandi Baldwin, CEO, Millennial Ventures Holdings
· Debra Blair, Director of Organizational Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management
· Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX
· Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEM, EVP & COO, International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE); Chair-Elect, Events Industry Council (EIC)
· Amy Calvert, CEO, Events Industry Council (EIC)
· Gregg Caren, President and CEO, PHLCVB
· Mark Cooper, CEO, IACC; Chairman, Events Industry Council (EIC)
· Melissa Cherry, COO, Destinations International
· Roger Dow, President and CEO, US Travel Association
· Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line
· Mike Gamble, President and CEO, SearchWide Global
· Al Hutchinson, President and CEO, Visit Baltimore
· Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO, PCMA
· Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, CQIA, President and CEO, Association Forum
· Brad Mayne, President and CEO, International Association of Venue Managers
· Lynette Montoya, President and CEO, Latino Hotel Association
· Carrie Freeman Parsons, Chair, Freeman
· Leah Smiley, President, Society for Diversity, Inc.
· Brian Stevens, CEO, ConferenceDirect
· Paul M. VanDeventer, President and CEO, Meeting Professionals International
· Telesa Via, VP, Sales, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
· Carl Winston, Director of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, SDSU
Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) is a 501 C (6) founded as the collaborative leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and concepts that can address the blind spots of ethnic disparities and provide decision-makers in the tourism industry access, resources and tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies that will engage and retain a diverse workforce. At TDM, they focus on four primary pillars of activity to benefit the Tourism Industry: Apprenticeships, Workforce Development, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Research and Data. TDM’s goal is to sustain and expand their platform by affiliating with fellow industry partners and notable research institutions, creating solutions that can be implemented, contributing to organizational success. For more info, follow @TDM Matters on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Based in Folsom, California, ConferenceDirect is a full-service global meetings solution company whose portfolio of services includes: Virtual/Hybrid Meetings, Site Selection & Contract Negotiation, Conference Management, Housing & Registration Services, Event Technology, Strategic Meetings Management Programs, Incentive Programs, Cruise Services and Marketing Support. Their 450+ associates manage more than 13,000 meetings, conferences and events for more than 4,400 customers. For more info, visit www.conferencedirect.com.