The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp has promoted five individuals to the role of senior vice president. They are Corey Hopwood, senior vice president, IT; Bonna Johnson, senior vice president, corporate communications; Debra Smith, senior vice president, visitor experience; David Spencer, senior vice president, events; and Scott Wright, senior vice president, sales.
“These promotions reflect our appreciation of their hard work and also a need to expand our leadership structure as Nashville’s profile as a global destination has risen and more tourism-related projects come to the city,” says Deana Ivey, NCVC president. “We are proud of the instrumental work of our entire staff as we market and sell the city, produce large events and generate economic activity for Nashville.”
Hopwood has more than 20 years of experience in information technology, including the past three years at the NCVC. He previously worked for the State of Tennessee and Wilson & Associates Engineering & Surveying, as well as running his own information technology company.
Johnson has been with the NCVC since 2015 and formerly held the title vice president, corporate communications. She previously served in the mayor’s office under former Mayor Karl Dean, handling duties as press secretary and later as communications director, and before that she was a reporter at The Tennessean.
Smith is a 32-year veteran in the hospitality industry, including nearly 20 years at the NCVC, where she previously held the title of vice president, visitor experience and digital marketing. During her tenure with the organization, she has handled the strategic leadership of website development and other digital initiatives. She previously held roles at Drury Hotels and Dollar/Thrifty Automotive Group.
Spencer has spent 30 years in the events and hospitality industry, including nearly 18 years at the NCVC. He previously served as vice president, events and had also led the organization’s Convention Services team. Prior to joining the NCVC, he worked at the Nashville Arena (now Bridgestone Arena) as part of the venue’s grand opening team and before that at the Miami Arena.
Wright is a 33-year industry veteran and has spent the last 22 years working for the NCVC, most recently as vice president, sales. Before returning to Nashville, he served as associate director of sales at the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau (Calif.) and previously held positions with Fairmont Hotels, Loews Hotels and Hyatt Hotels.
Heather Middleton previously was elevated to the role of senior vice president, marketing in January. Middleton has 25 years of PR and marketing experience across music, sports, television and hospitality, including 16 years with the NCVC as vice president, public relations. She previously held roles at The Buntin Group, Warner Music Nashville, USA Networks and HBO. The NCVC reorganized its top leadership structure earlier this year with the promotion of Deana Ivey to the role of President with Butch Spyridon retaining the title of Chief Executive Officer. Ivey, who has been with the organization since 1997, previously served as executive vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, while Spyridon held the dual title of President and CEO. Additionally, Scott Schult, formerly in the hospitality industry in Myrtle Beach and St. Petersburg/Clearwater, was hired as Chief Marketing Officer. Other promotions earlier this year at the NCVC included: Andrea Arnold elevated to Chief Public Affairs Officer; Adrienne Siemers elevated to Chief Sales Officer; and Marie Sueing elevated to Chief Diversity Officer.