About Us

Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM), founded as the collaborative leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and concepts that can address the gaps of ethnic disparities and provide decision-makers in the tourism and events industry access, resources, and tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies that will engage and retain a diverse workforce.

At TDM, we focus on four primary pillars of activity to benefit the Tourism Industry: Apprenticeships, Workforce Development, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Research and Data.

TDM’s goal is to sustain and expand our platform by affiliating with fellow industry partners and notable research institutions, creating solutions that can be implemented, contributing to organizational success.

Executive Committee

Dr. Brandi Baldwin​

Chairman of the Board, CEO, Millennial Ventures Holdings​
Dr. Brandi Baldwin is the CEO of Millennial Ventures Holdings. She is a professor turned entrepreneur and author tackling the world's most relevant business challenges: diversity and inclusion, motivating millennials to level-up their leadership, and advocating for equity in all levels of business. Dr. Brandi’s noteworthy accomplishments include being one of Philadelphia's Most Influential African Americans and receiving Philadelphia Business Journal's 40 Under 40 award, to name a few. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Temple University and holds a Master’s degree in Adult & Organizational Development.

Elliott Ferguson​

Immediate Past Chair, President and CEO, Destination DC​
Elliott Ferguson serves as President and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington DC. He is immediate past Chairman of the Board of the US Travel Association and a 30-year veteran of the travel and hospitality industry. Ferguson leads Destination DC’s efforts to generate economic opportunity for the District through meetings and tourism, overseeing the organization’s convention and tourism sales, marketing, finance, and business development operations.
Brian Stevens

Brian Stevens​

CEO, ConferenceDirect​
Brian Stevens is the founding partner and CEO of ConferenceDirect, a full-service meetings solutions company. With close to a half of a century worth of knowledge and expertise in the travel and hospitality industry; he is an influential leader, volunteer, and fundraiser. Stevens is actively involved on the boards of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and he served as the chairman of ASAE’s and PCMA’s Foundation. In 2000, Stevens was inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders, and was named Chair of MPI Global, in 2017.

Maruiel Perkins-Chavis

Global Diversity Equity + Inclusion, Marriott International, Inc.​
Maruiel Perkins-Chavis has been named Vice President of Diversity and Workforce Effectiveness for Marriott International . She has held several human resources positions, most recently serving as Marriott's Senior Director, Leadership Talent Management and Diversity, where she was instrumental in the design of the Women and Minority Leadership Talent Development Inventory and Leadership Development Workshops.

Carrie Freeman Parsons​

Chair, Freeman​
Carrie is Chair of Freeman, the leading provider of brand experiences for live events. Unwilling to claim success based solely on the bottom line, Carrie is dedicated to leading a socially responsible organization. She has held leadership positions with industry organizations such as PCMA, IAEE, VisitDallas, and CEIR. A believer in the power of business to elevate humanity, Carrie also serves on the Board for Conscious Capitalism, Inc.

Leah Smiley​

President, Society for Diversity, Inc.​
Leah Smiley, CDE, is the Founder and President of the Society for Diversity, Inc. She has 15 years of experience in Diversity and Inclusion, and 25+ years of experience as a Master of Training and Organizational Development. Smiley has facilitated hundreds of presentations for 10,000+ professionals/executives globally. Her work has been featured on numerous media outlets; USA Today, Huffington Post, and more. Smiley holds a Political Science degree from Hampton University and a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)® designation from the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC)®.
Cid Wilson

Cid Wilson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s (HACR)
Cid Wilson is the President and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s (HACR). He brings 20+ years of corporate finance and Wall Street equity research experience. His leadership in the corporate sector includes previous service on the Ethnic Advisory Board for PepsiCo, Inc., and the Consumer Advisory Board for Verizon Communications. Cid is a former board member for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the former national president of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR), and a Gold Life Member of the NAACP.
Mike Gamble 2021

Mike Gamble​

Ex-Officio and CEO​, Tourism Diversity Matters
Mike Gamble is the Founder of Tourism Diversity Matters and Co-founder of SearchWide Global, a full service executive search firm. Prior to TDM and SearchWide Global, he was SVP of Sales and Marketing for the Philadelphia CVB and held various leadership roles with Marriott International. He’s served on the foundation boards of Destinations International, PCMA, MPI and currently on the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

Adam Burke

President & CEO, Los Angeles Tourism
As President & CEO of Los Angeles Tourism, Adam Burke oversees the organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for all Angelenos through the economic and community benefits of tourism. Representing one of the world’s most diverse destinations, Burke is committed to cultivating an environment where Everyone Is Welcome. A 30-year industry veteran, Burke previously served as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, as well as Hilton’s global head of the award-winning Honors loyalty program.

Board of Directors

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason


President and CEO at American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
Michelle Mason serves as President and CEO of American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). For over 25 years, she has advanced the professional practice of association management. Prior, she served as President and CEO of Association Forum, Managing Director of Strategy and Innovation at the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and Vice President of Strategic and Future Focused Research Programs at ASAE. Michelle currently serves on the Boards of Choose Chicago, DI’s Foundation, and Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin. Michelle is a Chicago Business Journal Women of Influence Honoree 2019, Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Honoree 2019, and the CEO Update Professional Society CEO of the Year 2020.
Roger Dow

Roger Dow​

Partner, FutureWrx Solutions
Roger Dow is the former President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the national trade association that represents all segments of America’s $2.6 trillion travel industry. During his time with the U.S. Travel Association from 2005 - 2022, Dow led the transformation of the formerly fragmented organization into a united advocacy force now recognized as one of the most effective industry associations in the country.

Gregg Caren​

President and CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB)​
Gregg Caren is the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) where he oversees the organization’s efforts to promote and sell Philadelphia as a premier destination for meetings, conventions, sporting events and overseas travelers. Previously, he served as the Executive Vice President, Sales and Strategic Business Development for ASM Global (formerly SMG), operator of over 350 venues worldwide, including the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Al Hutchinson

Al Hutchinson​

President and CEO, Visit Baltimore​
Al Hutchinson is the President and CEO of Visit Baltimore. Hutchinson has 28+ years of experience in the destinations marketing industry and has been recognized as one of the Daily Record’s 2019 Most Admired CEOs in Maryland. Hutchinson currently serves on the Board of Directors for Destination International’s Foundation, US Travel Association, the Sports and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Tourism etc., to name a few. Hutchinson’s Alma Mater is the University of Alabama.
Telesa Via

Telesa Via​

VP, Sales, Kimpton Hotels and Restuarants​
Telesa Via is the Vice President of Sales at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Over two decades, Telesa has built a successful career overseeing hospitality sales, marketing, and public relations operations. She is a member of the Professional Conference Management Association (PCMA) and the International Association of Exhibition Executives (IAEE), among others. In recognition of her accomplishments, Telesa was awarded the Bill Kimpton Award in 2014 and the Washington Business Journal Top Minority Business Leaders Award in 2015. Telesa earned her BA in Communications from the University of Virginia and she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Ray Bloom

Ray Bloom​

Chairman, IMEX​
Ray Bloom is the chairman and founder of the IMEX Group. He founded and developed what has become the world’s leading tradeshow in the global meetings and travel sector. Ray is actively involved in numerous industry associations. He currently serves on the MPI European Council. Ray’s recent honors include receiving the EN Pioneer Award (2019) and being inducted into the ICJ Hall of Fame (2019).

Chip Rogers

President & CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)
Chip Rogers has been President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) since the start of 2019, leading America’s only national association dedicated to serving the interests of the entire hotel and lodging industry.

In his role as President & CEO, Chip has led the AHLA team and the lodging industry to achieve tangible results for AHLA members. Subsequently, he has received numerous awards. Prior to joining the hospitality industry, Chip served in the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to office six times and was unanimously elected twice to serve as Senate majority leader.
Melissa Cherry

Melissa Cherry​

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Miles Partnership
Melissa Cherry serves as the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Miles Partnership. Prior to Miles Partnership, Cherry was Chief Operating Officer at Destinations International where she was responsible for the development and execution of the overall Marketing and Communications, Information Technology, Meetings and Education Strategies to promote and elevate the Association's mission. Melissa is also former Senior Vice-President for Marketing and Cultural Tourism at Choose Chicago. Cherry's 20 plus years of experience in the industry includes prior positions at the Chicago History Museum and the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.
Sherrif Karamat

Sherrif Karamat


President and Chief Executive Officer, PCMA
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is the President and CEO of PCMA. Karamat’s goal is to drive global economic and social transformation through business events creating the largest business events platform in the world for participants to engage. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Destinations International and also a Director of the Events Industry Council (EIC) and serves as the President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene Magazine. Karamat holds an MBA from York University in Toronto Canada.
Brad Mayne

Brad Mayne​

President and CEO, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)​
Brad Mayne is the President and CEO of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and the IAVM Foundation. Under Mayne’s leadership, IAVM’s membership has grown 10% yearly, and revenues by 35.5%. IAVM has created diversity, equity and inclusion, safety and security and economic impact initiatives that strengthens the industries served with partners IAEE, ESCA, DI, SISO etc. Mayne has served on the Board of Directors of DMOs, Super Bowl XLVIII, Cotton Bowl Classic, and area Chambers of Commerce. Brad’s leadership experience spans across venues including MetLife Stadium, American Airlines Center and Ogden Entertainment.
Amy Calvert

Amy Calvert​

CEO, Events Industry Council (EIC)​
Amy Calvert is the Chief Executive Officer of the Events Industry Council (EIC). Amy provides strategic oversight for EIC’s programmes, including the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) programme, the EIC Centre for Sustainable Events, the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) Commission, and EIC Hall of Leaders. As EIC’s CEO, Ms. Calvert represents the business events industry and the 26 million jobs and 1.5 Trillion USD in global GDP that the industry supports. She is a strong advocate for equitable, sustainable and responsible practices in our industry and for the communities we serve.
Paul Van Deventer

Paul M. Van Deventer​

President and CEO, Meeting Professionals International (MPI)​
Paul is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). He serves on the board of the Events Industry Council (EIC), as past-Chair; the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMB), as past Vice-Chair; the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association; the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC); and the California State University Hospitality and Tourism Alliance Council.

Debra Blair​

Associate Professor, Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management ​
Debra Blair is the Director of Organizational Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Temple University. She has 25+ years of industry experience designing and implementing inclusive sport, tourism and leisure programs and events. Debra has worked with numerous organizations, providing capacity building trainings around LGBTQ Awareness, Unconscious Bias, Disability Inclusion, etc. She has served on the Board of Directors for numerous local, regional, and national committees, such as the National Equality Forum, Philadelphia LGBT Affairs, etc. Debra holds an Ed.D. in Health Education at Temple University.

David DuBois

President & CEO, International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE)
David DuBois is the President and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE). As IAEE’s president, DuBois is responsible for the management of 23 full-time professional staff, producing the annual business operating plan and budget, overseeing the support of all meetings of governance units, leading business development, directing fundraising efforts, advocating for the industry and the organization’s members, providing organizational leadership and strategic counsel to the board. Also, he serves as the association’s representative with industry coalitions, partner organizations and strategic alliances.
Lynette Montoya

Lynette Montoya​

President & CEO, Latino Hotel Association
Lynette Montoya is the President & CEO of the Latino Hotel Association and has been actively involved in the hotel industry for 20+ years. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lynette serves on the Advisory Council of the California State University Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Alliance, and as a board member of Architecture 2030. Currently, she is also a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters gala committee.
Valerie Gavin

Valerie Gavin

Senior Vice President, Hotel Sales & Marketing, Accor
Valerie Gavin is the Senior Vice President of Hotel Sales & Marketing, and she oversees hotel sales and marketing for the 100+ Accor properties in the North American region. Valerie possesses over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, and has held various sales positions with Hilton and Walt Disney Resorts prior to joining Accor in 2002. Throughout her career with Accor, Valerie’s roles has progressed from property level and Regional Director of Sales and Marketing to Vice President of Sales. The integration of FRHI (Fairmont Raffles Hotels International) Hotels & Resorts in 2016 has led to her current role.
Gregory A. O’Dell

Gregory A. O’Dell

President of Venue Management, OVG360
Gregory A. O’Dell served as the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. Mr. O’Dell oversaw Events DC’s three lines of business: Conventions and Meetings, Sports and Entertainment, and Creative Services. His primary responsibilities include overseeing hospitality, sports, entertainment, cultural initiatives inclusive of venue management, event attraction and content creation, and generating economic and community benefits for the District of Columbia.

Don Welsh

President & CEO, Destinations International
Don Welsh is the President and CEO of Destinations International, the global trade association for Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Tourism Boards. Welsh possesses more than 40 years of tourism leadership experience in the industry. Before joining Destinations International, Welsh served as the President and CEO of Choose Chicago, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau. Before joining the destination marketing industry, Welsh served as Senior Vice President for Westin Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. Welsh has served on various boards and committees throughout his career and currently serves on the Event Industry Council Board of Directors.

Fred Dixon

President & CEO, NYC & Company
Fred Dixon is President and CEO of NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization. With over 30 years of experience in the travel industry, Dixon has built a sales, communications and marketing team that is at the core of the organization’s strategy to maximize travel and tourism opportunities through the City, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world. Fred holds leadership positions on various travel industry association boards and committees, including the U.S. Travel Association and Destinations International.

Dan Fenton

Executive Vice President, JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group
Dan Fenton is an Executive Vice President with JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group specializing in tourism and destination strategic planning. He provides operations, sales and marketing support for destinations, public assembly venues and hotels.

With more than 25 years of experience in hospitality and tourism, Mr. Fenton has extensive knowledge of market research and tourism development. He has managed a number of large renovation projects, negotiated contracts and created a new approach to destination branding.
Carl Winston

Carl Winston​

Director of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management San Diego State University​
Carl Winston is the founding Director of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at San Diego State University and founding Managing Director of the China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI). Carl has 35+ years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Prior to academia, he was the Chief Operating Officer for Trigild Corporation and Executive Vice President of Operations for Jeepers!, to name a few. Carl holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California San Diego and a MPS in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Shelly Cruz


Vice President, Global Sales, MGM Resorts International
Shelly Cruz is the Vice President of Global Sales for MGM Resorts International, where she leads and supports the overall corporate strategies of the organization’s global sales team. Throughout her 20-year tenure at MGM Resorts, Cruz has held various executive sales positions at the corporate level and on property. She is dedicated to advancing the next generation of sales executives and is a two-time “Mentor of the Year” nominee at the University of Las Vegas School of Hospitality. Cruz is also past-President of Toastmasters and Chairwoman of Park MGM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
Ryan George

Ryan George

CEO, Simpleview
Ryan George is the CEO of Simpleview, overseeing the company’s strategy, direction, growth, acquisitions, and business operations. Simpleview is a leading provider of technology sales and marketing solutions for DMOs worldwide and has twice been named the “Best Place to Work” in Southern Arizona. Before co-founding Simpleview, Ryan was a governmental auditor and IT director at a regional accounting firm. Ryan also serves on the Destinations International Association Board and the Events Industry Council Equity Task Force. A native of Oro Valley, Arizona, Ryan’s Alma Mater is the University of Arizona.

Erika Broadwater

National President, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR)
Erika Broadwater is the National President of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), leading the charge of organization expansion, globalization, and strategic partnership and enhancing members' careers and the strategic direction of their organizations.

She possesses 28 years of leadership in Talent Acquisition as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant and Recruiting Operations Manager, optimizing employee engagement.

Erika is a key member of the People CoE, EATA CoE, and DE&I Counsel, focused on improving talent performance, DEBI, HR operations, leading and driving local and global recruitment, and implementing strategies by building solid relationships with key stakeholders and partners.

Jason Dunn, Sr.

Executive Director, National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP)
The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals selected Jason Dunn as its new executive director in October of 2022. Dunn has long been a trailblazer and outspoken diversity advocate within the industry.

While at Visit Cincinnati, he became the CVB's first Black vice president in its 77-year history and played a pivotal role in bringing diverse conventions to the destination. During his tenure, the number of multicultural /diverse meetings in Cincinnati has represented more than one-third of all CVB new business from 2008-18. Dunn's leadership also included the development of the Dan Lincoln Institute for Hospitality Leadership.
John Page

John Page


ASM Global- Greater Columbus Convention Center
John Page is the General Manager for ASM Global’s Greater Columbus Convention Center. Page is a 20+ year industry veteran and has been serving in his current position since 2013. He has professional memberships with PCMA, IAEE and NCBMP. Most recently, Page was honored among the A-List of Midwest Convention Center Executives, named one of the Most Admired Chief Operating Officers in Columbus and recognized as a Central Ohio Champion of Diversity. He is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University.
John Tanzella

John Tanzella

President & CEO, International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA)
John Tanzella is President/CEO of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA), a nonprofit association and the global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel, and the only LGBTQ+ Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization. IGLTA's network consists of 10,000+ tourism business professionals in approximately 80 countries. The IGLTA Foundation, founded in 2012, is the philanthropic arm of the association, supporting the tourism industry with leadership, research, and education. Tanzella is a 25-year tourism industry veteran, and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Stonewall National Museum & Archives. He attended the University of Georgia and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Stacy Ritter

President & CEO, Visit Lauderdale
Stacy Ritter is the President and CEO of Visit Lauderdale, the official destination marketing organization for Broward County, Florida.

She serves as a member of the United States Travel Association Board of Directors, Destination International Foundation Board, the Steering Committee of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Board Member of Winterfest, Inc., and the Executive Board of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Ms. Ritter has been a community activist for years with the National Council of Jewish Women and other organizations prior to her election to State office, she was inducted into the Broward County Women’s Hall of Fame; and named Woman of the Year by the American Jewish Congress and a First Lady of Broward.

Geoff Freeman

President & CEO, U.S. Travel Association
Geoff Freeman is the leading advocate for the $1.1 trillion U.S. travel and hospitality industry. He is charged with ensuring the industry’s full recovery from COVID-19, positioning the industry to seize emerging opportunities in a post-pandemic market environment, and further establishing travel as a vital economic force in the United States.

Freeman is a seasoned association CEO with a proven track record of building successful organizations that unite member interests, grow member value, increase revenue and unlock growth opportunities. Prior to joining U.S. Travel, Freeman was president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, the trade association for America’s $2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer products industry.


Greg DeShields


Executive Director​
Greg Deshields is the Executive Director of Tourism Diversity Matters and he is a Qualified Tourism/Hospitality and Academic Professional Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), proficient in developing and implementing plans, strategies, and initiatives specifically designed to raise destinations image for diverse, multicultural travel. DeShields is also an Experienced Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), with demonstrated cultural competence. Prepared to strategically position an organization to remove systemic barriers to inclusion, lead culture change, and transform the brand.

Sofia Mendoza

Executive Assistant
Sofia Mendoza is the Executive Assistant for Tourism Diversity Matters. She is responsible for the general day-to-day support of TDM to ensure efficient operations and communication for the organization.

Cambria Jones

Marketing & Communications
With over ten years of experience in destination marketing, market research, digital marketing, and public relations, Cambria supports marketing and communications for TDM. She is also the Director of Marketing at SearchWide Global, managing the planning, development, and implementation of all marketing programs. Cambria proudly serves on the 30 under 30 Alumni Council and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee for Destinations International and the Texas Travel Alliance Board of Directors.

Yvonne E. Drayton


Director of Operations
Yvonne E. Drayton is the Director of Operations for Tourism Diversity Matters. As director of operations, Yvonne develops, maintains, and evolves strategic partnerships and creates strategies to support the organization’s DEI consulting practice, educational training, and workforce development, which includes the national apprenticeship program. Yvonne is also a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant who conducts culture analyses and devises strategies to assist clients by generating value for DEI through the role of data as a strategic asset that guides the evaluation of organizational strengths and weaknesses and builds DEI competencies across the organization to support successful, incremental change.

Kellie Henderson​

Kellie Henderson serves as an important advisor to TDM. She is a Senior Vice President for SearchWide Global and heads up their DE&I practice. She works in all sectors of hospitality, travel and tourism. She is an expert at recognizing clients’ needs, identifying best-in-class talent, and leads SearchWide Global's industrywide diversity initiative. She proudly serves on the Destinations International Foundation Board of Trustees and is very involved in several other industry organizations. Previously, Kellie worked in the DMO and hotel industry.