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News, Santa Monica, Tourism

Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau Promotes Key Team Members

Posted Aug. 21, 2013, 9:31 am

Mirror Staff

Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) has promoted several key team members within its sales, marketing, and leadership teams and added four new members to its team.

The promotions are:

-- Hannah Avol to Director of International Business Development

-- Lauren Rogers to Director of Global Business Development

-- Nika Jalali to Executive Relations

-- Kelly Nagle to Communications Manager

-- Travis Pham to Manager of Domestic Services

SMCVB also welcomes the addition of new members to its expanding team: Visitor and Operational Services Manager Ben Gutierrez, Public Relations Coordinator Jackie Alvarez, Accounting Coordinator Janie Thomas, and Global Sales & Services Assistant Natalie Warren.

SMCVB CEO & President Misti Kerns extended a warm congratulations to Hannah, Lauren, Nika, Kelly and Travis on their hard-earned promotions.

"They have all been instrumental in strengthening Santa Monica’s position as one of the leading destinations in the world," Kerns said. "We are also thrilled to welcome Ben, Jackie, Janie, and Natalie to the team and are confident that they will be monumental in enhancing the future of our beloved beach town."

In her new position as Director of Global Business Development, five-year SMCVB veteran Lauren Rogers will build and oversee business development in the rapidly emerging Brazilian market by managing the in-market public relations and trade representation.

Domestically, Chicago-based Rogers will partner with key associations in order to establish a growing awareness of Santa Monica as a meetings and incentives destination within Chicago and the Midwest.

As a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), Rogers holds the destination marketing organization industry’s highest educational achievement.

She is actively involved in Meeting Planners International (MPI), and in the Chicago chapter of Global Business Travel Association.

As Director of International Business Development, six-year SMCVB veteran Hannah Avol will be primarily responsible for promoting Santa Monica internationally as a desirable travel and incentive destination, with a special emphasis on the European, Australian and New Zealand markets.

In addition to selling the Santa Monica destination to tour operators, receptives and travel agencies, Avol will also be responsible for overseeing trade representation contracts in international markets and tracking and communicating results to SMCVB upper management and stakeholders.

Avol received California Travel Association’s "Emerging Leaders Award", presented to 30 individuals, 30 years of age or younger, who reflect California’s exciting new leaders of tourism.

In her new position in Executive Relations, Nika Jalali will leverage two years of experience with SMCVB to continue her efforts to streamline the execution of bureau-wide service initiatives.

In addition to managing visitor services tourism programs such as "I am Santa Monica" and the Mobile Visitors Center, Jalali will also be responsible for coordinating conference services with the sales and marketing team, and for representing the SMCVB at various community events and functions.

Jalali was recognized by California Travel Association as an Emerging Leader Award Recipient, identifying her as part of the next generation of leaders in the travel and tourism industry.

In her new role as Communications Manager, Kelly Nagle will spearhead SMCVB’s strategic public relations program and be responsible for developing public relations campaigns that bolster Santa Monica’s visibility domestically and internationally.

In addition to consistently generating positive media coverage for Santa Monica as a premier travel destination, Nagle will also serve as the SMCVB liaison with regional tourism, non-profit and community partners.

Nagle was recently recognized as a standout leader in the destination marketing field by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) when she was named to the organization’s "30 Under 30" program.

As Manager of Domestic Services, Travis Pham will leverage two years of experience as SMCVB’s Sales Manager to continue promoting leisure and corporate travel in strategically targeted domestic and international markets.

As SMCVB’s representative to the travel trade market, Pham will generate group bookings from incentive, corporate, meetings, retail travel agent and tourism markets.

As the most recent addition to the sales team, Global Sales and Services Assistant Natalie Warren will provide administrative support to the sales and services team by assisting with leads, trade show coordination, event planning and client follow-up.

Warren comes to SMCVB with an extensive sales and event marketing background, having previously worked as an Event Marketing Coordinator at Mad Dogg Atheltics, where she was responsible for coordinating 20 worldwide events to promote the Madd Dogg brand.

Warren is fluent in French and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Language and Literature, with a double minor in Foreign Affairs and European Marketing.

Newly-appointed Visitor and Operational Service Manager Ben Gutierrez will oversee the retail, operations and personnel at all four SMCVB visitor services locations.

Gutierrez previously held the Assistant Marketing Manager position at the Beverly Hills Convention & Visitors Bureau, where he oversaw the concierge and intern programs while simultaneously managing the daily operations of the visitor center.

Gutierrez has previous experience consulting for community outreach firms, where he managed projects with private developers and various Los Angeles Metro transportation projects, including California High-Speed Rail.

Gutierrez has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Southern California.

As the SMCVB Accounting Coordinator, newly appointed Janie Thomas, CPA, will be responsible for coordinating all areas of the organization’s financial reporting.

Thomas will develop and maintain SMCVB’s accounting practices and procedures in addition to managing general ledger preparation and year-end budget preparation. 

Thomas is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting from Campbell University, and a Masters of Accounting from North Carolina State University.

Jackie Alvarez joins the team as SMCVB’s new Public Relations Coordinator, where she will support the year-round national and international public relations efforts by actively promoting Santa Monica story concepts and themes to media representatives.

Joining SMCVB from Murphy O’Brien Public Relations, Alvarez brings a depth of experience handling the public relations efforts across a portfolio of travel, hospitality and lifestyle clients.

Alvarez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a Masters of Arts in Communication from Pepperdine University.

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