Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2022

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B M & T ••• May/June 2022 ••• 10 N E W S M A K E R S TIMOTHY BUSH HEADS DI'S EDI COMMITTEE Destinations International, the world's largest resource for official destination organizations and convention and visi- tors bureaus, announced Timothy Bush, chief marketing offi- cer of Visit Lake Charles, as co-chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee for the organization. "It is vital that destina- tions everywhere prioritize EDI programs within their organizations to ensure that employees feel comfortable in their differences, which fosters higher degrees of engagement, productivity, and innovation. The signifi- cance of building awareness around unconscious bias, cul- tural competence, and other barriers are invaluable in strengthening and growing our industry for the future," said Bush. "It is evident that Timothy has demonstrated leadership and determination for shaping the future of EDI initiatives in the hospitality and tourism industry over the span of his career. His selection as co-chair will support efforts to provide a solid framework to move the industry forward which is encouraging for Destinations International, Visit Lake Charles, and Southwest Louisiana as a whole," said Kyle Edmiston, president/CEO of Visit Lake Charles. Bush joined Visit Lake Charles in February as chief mar- keting officer. Prior to returning to Louisiana, Bush was the chief tourism development officer for OneSpartanburg, Inc. During his 17-year career, Bush served as the President/CEO of Louisiana's Cajun Bayou Tourism, the marketing manager for Visit Macon, and the vice president of sales and marketing for Experience Ruston. His tourism career started in Beauregard Parish with the Beauregard Tourist Commission as executive director. EVENTS DC NAMES CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER SAMUEL THOMAS INTERIM PRESIDENT AND CEO Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, recently named Samuel Thomas as interim president and chief executive officer following a unanimous vote by the orga- nization's board of directors. Thomas, Events DC's current chief operating officer, will replace longtime president and CEO Greg O'Dell, who announced his resignation last month. Thomas has worked at Events DC for over 15 years and previously served as sen- ior vice president and general manager of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center before his promotion to Chief Operating Officer. With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, he managed some of the country's most prestigious and celebrat- ed events, from four presidential inaugural balls to an Alpha Kappa Alpha function that broke the Guinness World Record for largest sit-down dinner ever recorded. \"It was a natural choice to have Samuel to step into this role," Max Brown, chairman, Events DC Board of Directors, said after the vote. "Samuel has been an asset to this organi- zation's growth and his experience is vital to our continued success. He is in a position to take the helm, ensuring a seam- less transition in leadership." "I am honored for this opportunity and look forward to working with our dynamic team," Thomas said. "I am proud of our accomplishments, especially over the past two chal- lenging years, and am eager to continue our work in hosting world-class event experiences for residents and visitors." Thomas will assume his new role on May 1. A search com- mittee has been formed and the Board of Directors hopes to have a new President and CEO named this fall.

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