Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2014

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Mayor Kevin M. Johnson recently became the 72nd president of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) at a gavel passing ceremony in Sacramento. This special inauguration was scheduled because the former president of USCM, Mesa, AZ Mayor Scott Smith announced his candidacy for the office of Governor of Arizona; and local law in Mesa dictated that Mayor Smith vacate his seat as mayor for his gubernatorial run. Mayor Johnson, who previously served as the vice-president of USCM, will serve the balance of Mayor Smith's presidential term, which would have ended in June 2014, in addition to a full one- year term as president of the organization until June 2015. As president, Mayor Johnson will preside over all official meetings, develop and advocate for the bipartisan agenda adopted by the nation's mayors, appoint committee and task force chairs to serve in the leadership of the organization, as well as serve as the organization's national and global spokesperson. "It is a privilege and an honor to serve in this role, representing the nation's mayors," said Sacramento Mayor Johnson during his inaugural speech. "Mayors are at the helm of America's cities and represent the best of this country developing innovative, pragmatic solutions to the challenges they face. I look forward to learning from them while delivering results for Sacramento." Mayor Johnson laid out the goals of his Presidency and shared what makes mayors unique from other elected officials. "During my Presidency, we will engage in a full-court press in Washington so we can get the dollars we need to get things done. We will unleash our politi- cal capital to create new partnerships, create jobs, and keep the momentum going so that America maintains its competitive advantage in the global economy. … Unlike other politicians, mayors don't have the luxury of pointing fingers or arguing on ideological grounds, because we're elected to be responsible for the day-today services that make the difference between a great city and a failing one. We are the faces of practi- cal action." B M & T ••• May/June 2014 ••• 6 SACRAMENTO, CA MAYOR KEVIN JOHNSON BECOMES THE 72nd PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF MAYORS The Commission of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has appointed veteran hospitality industry executive Karen Williams as the head of the city's tourism agency. She assumes the title of president & CEO after serving as Interim following the departure of Jim Wood in January of this year. Williams will represent the Louisville Bureau at industry tradeshows and conferences and provide strategic leader- ship and oversight of the Bureau in all aspects of its fiscal and daily operation. Williams has worked in the hospitality industry for 32 years beginning as a sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta. After opening 18 hotels worldwide, Williams returned to Louisville and served 23 years at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, retiring as executive vice president in 2012. She has served on boards of Leadership Louisville, Meeting Professionals International, Destination Marketing Association International and APEX Commissioner with the Convention Industry Council. Williams has also served as chair for Destination & Travel Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to serving the interest of destination mar- keting professionals and highlighting the impact of travel around the world. Most recently, Williams has been working with leading hospitality industry clients as a consultant with her destination marketing company Inspired and also serving as director of Industry Relations for Schneider Publishing, a best-of-class organization among the meetings-industry media. N E W S M A K E R S LOUISVILLE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU NAMES KAREN WILLIAMS AS NEW CHIEF Photo Credit: Credit Dianna Miller

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