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The former director of sales and marketing at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC), Kay Hollander passed away peacefully in Weston, Fla., on May 9 in the company of her closest family.

Hollander retired back in December 2012 after over 30 very successful years of service in the convention industry. She had a tremendous impact personally and professionally on so many who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her. She became a role model for many and a true icon in this industry.

ECN 052014_OBIT_Cherished convention industry icon_Kay Hollander“Kay was a key valued member of the Miami Beach Convention Center for so long and was instrumental in establishing the City as a major convention destination” said Max Sklar, director of tourism, Culture & Economic Development, City of Miami Beach. “She touched everyone who worked with the Center and she will be missed by all.”

Hollander originally grew up here in South Florida but then made several stops along the way before eventually returning. She held a variety of titles in different parts of the country over the years, serving on both the facility side and working for Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

She began her distinguished industry career as the assistant director for the City of Miami Convention Bureau, spending four years there.  From there, she worked for almost nine years as the senior associate vice president of sales at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB). She then spent a short time as associate vice president of Midwest region sales with the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau before taking over in 1995 as the senior director of sales and marketing at McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center.

Hollander came back to Miami Beach in 2003 and served as director of sales and marketing at the MBCC until her retirement. The return to Miami Beach reunited Hollander with many of the industry leaders she had worked with during her stint with the GMCVB and the hotel industry.

“Kay was a true sales professional who passionately sold our destination with elegance and determination!  She was a great mentor, teacher and a friend to many of us and will be missed by her Bureau family” said Ita Moriarty, senior vice president of Convention Sales, GMCVB.

Despite her hectic schedule at work, Hollander always managed to effectively balance her career and home life.

“Kay Hollander–an industry icon, a dedicated mother and grandmother, a mentor to a large number of industry professionals and a true friend to even more.  She will be missed greatly and remembered fondly,” said Tom Mobley, senior vice president of Convention Centers, Global Spectrum.

Kay was known for many things, but most importantly for her sharp mind and sense of humor and her absolutely incredible dedication to her family. Her perspective on her career mirrored her viewpoint on life as she had the following to say when she retired.  “It was a fun and always interesting career, and I leave it with many great friendships that I made along the way.”

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