The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Foundation has selected Kathleen (Kitty) Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis, as its Lifetime Achievement Supplier honoree. The other two honorees are one each in the categories of Business Event Strategist and Educator. She will be recognized at the PCMA Visionary Awards, which honor exceptional stars for their significant contributions to their organizations and the business events community. Ratcliffe will receive this award at the national ceremony in National Harbor, MD in March during Business Events Industry Week. PCMA is the world’s largest, most respected and most recognized network of business event strategists, with a global audience of over 100,000 business event stakeholders in 40 countries.
“I can’t think of a more deserving honoree. Kitty has a long history of overcoming adversity on behalf of the communities she has led – from Jacksonville during the 9-11 crisis to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina to St. Louis during the pandemic. She has been a valiant champion for the hospitality industry both locally and nationally. We are so fortunate to have her ingenuity, experience and can-do attitude leading us,” says Andrew B. Leonard, Chair of the Explore St. Louis Board of Commissioners.
Ratcliffe has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She became president of Explore St. Louis in May of 2006. Prior to this, she was the executive vice president for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, president of the Jacksonville & The Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, and vice president of Sales and Marketing of the Baltimore Area Convention & Visitors Association. She was the youngest female Chair of Meeting Professionals International and received their International Supplier of the Year Award, was honored by Black Meetings & Tourism with its Apex Award for Distinguished Service and was inducted by Destinations International into its Hall of Fame.
“This prestigious award is a testament to Kitty’s hard work on behalf of our region,” says Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “St. Louis City residents congratulate Kitty and appreciate the expertise and dedication she brings to her role.”
Explore St. Louis is the driving force behind St. Louis’ $5.8 billion convention and tourism industry, the official destination marketing organization of St. Louis City and County, and operator of the America’s Center Convention Complex.