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News, Santa Monica, Tourism

Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau Appoints Two New Board Members

Posted Aug. 3, 2013, 9:08 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Two new faces have joined the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) Board of Directors -- Nicole Flynn and Kara Altice Montes.

Meanwhile, four prominent Santa Monica businessmen -- Jeffrey Jarow, Ellis O’Connor, Raphael Lunetta, and Gregory Day -- have been installed to the SMCVB Board of Directors as officers.

SMCVB president and CEO Misti Kerns said the 2013/2014 board members and officers bring tremendous diversity of perspective and valuable expertise that will help its organization meet its strategic goals.

"Our team looks forward to working closely with our industry and community as we continue to position Santa Monica as a premier destination to both domestic and international travelers," Kerns said.

New board member Kara Altice-Montes is the Regional Vice President and Area General Manager for the Viceroy Hotel Group and has responsibility for the Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica.

She began her career with the Viceroy Hotel Group in March 2005 as the General Manager chosen to reposition the hotel from the Sheraton Four Points to the Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica.

In 2007, Altice-Montes was promoted to Area General Manager where she also provided leadership to the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel and the Viceroy Palm Springs.

As the leader of the Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica, Altice-Montes is now poised to lead the hotel through another transition when it is rebranded as Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica during the fall of this year.

Altice-Montes and the Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica have been involved with the local community since 2006 through participation in the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL), Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and partnerships with Santa Monica High School, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, the Santa Monica College Associates Program and Heal the Bay, amongst other organizations.

New board member Nicole Flynn has more than 14 years of professional experience in shopping center marketing, and currently serves as Assistant Vice President, Marketing, for Santa Monica-based Macerich.

Flynn influences marketing strategy, public relations, research and retailer marketing for nine properties in the company’s Southern California portfolio.

She has been instrumental in positioning Santa Monica Place as one of the top visitor destinations in Santa Monica by focusing on consumer and business-to-business marketing initiatives that drive awareness and revenue.

Flynn has executed more than a dozen award-winning marketing initiatives recognized by the International Council of Shopping Centers, National Retail Federation and local civic organizations.

Flynn has partnered with SMCVB, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., Starline Tours, Malibu Discover Tours and HIS International to better accommodate transportation into the Downtown District, and looks forward to forging additional relationships with local, regional and international partners to drive awareness and business to the City of Santa Monica.

Jeffrey Jarow, Senior Vice President with Par Commercial, will serve as chairman for a second consecutive year.

A SMCVB board member since 2006, Jarow has held previous officer positions including treasurer and vice chairman.

Jarow specializes in leasing and sales in the office, retail, and industrial markets and has worked in commercial real estate brokerage for the past 30 years.

An active Santa Monica community member, Jarow is chair of the Santa Monica Sister Cities Foundation and Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s "Growth and Development" subcommittee.

In addition, he serves on the board of the Main Street Business Improvement Association, Ocean Park Association, and Santa Monica YMCA.

Highly involved in the local school system, Jarow was appointed by SMMUSD to chair the Prop 39 Bond Oversight Committee.

He also serves on SMMUSD’s Child Development Services on the District Advisory Committee and is legislative chair of the PTSA Board at Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH).

Ellis O’Connor will continue to serve as vice chair of the SMCVB Board of Directors.

An SMCVB board member since 2009, O’Connor previously served as chairman for the 2011/2012 fiscal year.

O’Connor is currently part of the MSD Hospitality team as Asset Manager/Owner’s Representative overseeing MSD Capital’s portfolio of prominent hospitality assets, which includes the Four Seasons Maui, Four Seasons Hualalai, Hualalai Resort, Kona Village and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica.

On Jan. 1st 2012, Four Seasons Bora Bora was added to this impressive roster of hotels and resorts, on a third party asset management only agreement.

O’Connor most recently served as the General Manager of the Santa Monica landmark property.

Prior to his post at the Fairmont Miramar he served as the General Manager of Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel.

Previously, he spent 10 years with Peninsula Hotels, mostly in Beverly Hills, partly in New York, as Hotel Manager.

O’Connor currently serves as past chairman of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, board member for British American Business Council, Britweek board member and member of the Santa Monica Chapter of YPO.

After serving as treasurer of the SMCVB Board of Directors for the past two years, Raphael Lunetta has been appointed secretary.

A Santa Monica native, Lunetta is the well-known chef and owner of Santa Monica’s JiRaffe restaurant.

Honored as one of the "Ten Top New Chefs" by Food and Wine Magazine in 1997, Chef Raphael also received the coveted "Fine Dinning Award" from Nation’s Restaurant News in 2009.

Lunetta is active in the kitchen and is often spotted welcoming guest at his restaurant.

He also co-owns Lemon Moon, a sophisticated eatery in West Los Angeles.

When he is not in the kitchen, Lunetta can be found pursuing his other passion, surfing, a life-long love that has garnered him the title of "Santa Monica’s surfing chef."

Current board member Gregory Day has been appointed treasurer of the SMCVB Board of Directors.

In his 25th year in the hotel business, Day is the current General Manager at famed Shutters on the Beach, a role he has held since January 2008.

Day’s background in food and beverage has served the property well, as evidenced by the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence that the property has achieved in each year of his tenure.

Previously, Day held leadership positions at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts destinations including: San Francisco, New Orleans, and the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

He also headed aspects of the food and beverage divisions at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay, of Pebble Beach Resorts in Northern California.

Day has developed strong ties within the community having previously served on the restaurant advisory council of LA Tourism & Convention Bureau.

He currently serves on the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce as vice chair of the board and chairman of the organization’s Hotel Council.

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