Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 48

B M & T ••• November/December 2020 ••• 21 Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Marie moved south in 1986 to attend college in Atlanta, GA. Since then, she has served in a variety of hospitality roles over the last thirty years in Atlanta, Memphis and Nashville. Prior to joining the NCVC in 2006, she gained invaluable industry experience in hotel sales and operations with Marriott International, Gaylord Opryland, and Starwood Hotels Worldwide, respectively. In recent years, Nashville's hospitality community has grown to a $7 billion dollar indus- try. Diversity in all areas is critical to the city's continued success as a welcoming des- tination for all. Marie's features in several news articles and news media programs (including The TN Tribune and StyleBlueprint) speak to the importance of the NCVC's role in promotion of Nashville's rich history, cultural and entertainment offer- ings. Marie is a member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals and Religious Conference Manager Association, is a member of the Equality in Tourism Group and serves on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for Destinations International. Locally, she serves on the boards of the National Museum of African American Music (including committee work), the Nashville Children's Theatre, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and From the Heart International Education Foundation. RICKEY THIGPEN joined Visit Jackson (formally the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau) in 1987 as the Manager of Information Systems. For the past 33 years, Thigpen has served in multiple management positions within the administrative and marketing disciplines. In October of 2018, the Visit Jackson Board of Directors named Thigpen as the Interim President of Visit Jackson. Before being named the Interim President, Thigpen served as the official destination marketing organization's Executive Vice President, where he was responsible for governmental & community engagement, stakeholder relationships, signature event management, and new & untraditional market initiatives. On February 1, 2019, the Visit Jackson Board voted to remove "Interim" from Thigpen's title and to make him the official President & CEO. Thigpen is a member of numerous professional organizations, including Destination International, where he serves a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Mississippi Tourism Association Board of Directors, the Mississippi Tourism PAC, where he serves as Chairman, and the Downtown Jackson Partners Advisory Board. Thigpen is also engaged civically, includ- ing 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc., Mississippi Valley State University National Alumni Association (Life Member), Greater Leadership Jackson Alumni Association, Alpha Foundation, Inc. (Vice-Chairman), and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., National Chairman of the Committee on Life Membership and the 10th Mississippi District Director. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, he holds a baccalaureate degree in Computer Science from Mississippi Valley State University – '87 and a master's degree in Leadership from Belhaven University. Thigpen is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, finalizing degree requirements in Psychology/Organizational Leadership. Additionally, Thigpen has earned professional certifications from the University of Southern Mississippi, the Mississippi Tourism Association, and Destination International. Thigpen has appeared in Black Meetings & Tourism magazine as one of the most influential African-Americans in the tourism industry multiple times. In 2019 Thigpen was named Mississippi Tourism Association's Member of the Year. Thigpen is a member of Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves as a member of the Music Staff and Public Relations Ministry.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Black Meetings and Tourism - November/December 2020