Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

SARA B. HAMLIN has been in the tourism industry for more than 20 years. She has been vice president of Tourism for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau for eight years. Hamlin is responsible for promoting and booking motor coach business, family reunions, implementation of the tourism division's marketing plan and budget for the greater Birmingham area. She also supervises the operations of three Birmingham area visitor centers.

Hamlin serves on the Board of the American Bus Association. She's also on the Board of the Transportation Review Board for the City of Birmingham. Hamlin serves on the Scholarship Foundation Board of the American Bus Association. She is involved in the following organizations: International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Bank Travel, National Tour Association, YWCA, Ontario Motorcoach Association, African-American Travel Conference and City Stages (a music festival).

AL HUTCHINSON is vice president of Convention Sales & Marketing for the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Hutchinson oversees the responsibility of generating direct spending revenue to Virginia Beach by bringing meetings, conventions, professional tradeshows and sports-related events to the City and it's state of the art 500,000-sq. ft. Virginia Beach Convention Center. Through his vision, professionalism, and highly regarded reputation, Hutchinson has opened the City's door to distinguished opportunities and numerous accolades.

THEO JACKSON serves as director of Tour and Travel for the Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau. In this post he is responsible for developing the tour and SMERF (Sports, Military, Education, Religious, and Fraternal) markets for the Oakland area. The 38-year industry veteran began his career at American Airlines, where he parlayed his entry-level position on the front line at Chicago's O'Hara Airport, into a supervisory and later managerial role. Thirteen years later he relocated to Oakland where he assumed the role of general manager for American Airlines. Jackson opted to take early retirement in 1995, accepting a managerial position with an airport shuttle company in Oakland and purchased a Little Caesar's Pizza franchise, which he operated along with his wife Brenda, also an American Airlines' employee, and his family from 1995 to 1999, before joining the Oakland CVB.

TIMOTHY JAMES has worked for the Greater Rochester Visitors Association since 1990 when he was brought in to develop the benefits on an emerging religious market. In his 19 years with the GRVA James has not only become the director of Sales, but has produced a market which has booked hundreds of thousands of room nights in Rochester. His main sales element is Rochester's easily commutable accommodations and attractions. Its Rochester Riverside Convention Center is within a two-block radius of three major downtown hotels as well as within five minutes of its major arena and entertainment district. The many years Frederic Douglass lived in Rochester and his cultural impact is also another important element to the many unique groups he strives to attract.

JAMES JESSIE, JR. is the director of Sales for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. A CVB veteran for over 16 years, Jessie has been with the Bureau for 10 years - serving as director for the past five and one-half years after previously holding sales positions with the Portland Oregon Visitors Association and the Lane County CVB. Jessie manages a staff of 17 people including regional sales offices in Washington, DC and Chicago. His responsibilities include overseeing the daily operations of the citywide convention and resort sales staff; assigning and administering a $1.5 million sales budget and promotions calendar; and fostering and maintaining relationships with local business and civic leaders. Meanwhile, Jessie is also responsible for convention sales to the African-American and major sports convention market.

CONNIE W. KINNARD is senior vice president of Multicultural Sales & Development for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Kinnard's career has evolved with the NCVB for 13 years where she heads the organization's increased efforts in marketing and securing large multicultural conventions. Her responsibilities also include creating multicultural marketing programs involving special events, product development, membership and general diversity marketing for the city. Specifically regarding product development, she is very involved with the forthcoming Museum of African American Music, Art & Culture and served administratively as the foundation's chief operating officer respectively from 2003-2009.

Current Board and Advisory Council designations & Achievements - NCBMP Board, Nashville City Club Board of Directors, African American History Foundation of Nashville Inc., Leadership Middle TN Board, the R.H. Boyd Leadership Society(United Way). Connie is a 2007 graduate of the University Phoenix with a Masters in Management degree. Most recently she received the 2008 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) in hospitality category which is sponsored annually by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the 20/20 Leadership Alliance.

STEPHANIE MAYS-BOYD is vice president, Sales, Marketing and Convention Services at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Mays-Boyd has had a progressive career at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where she arrived in 1996 as an Events Coordinator. Mays-Boyd will lead the sales and marketing efforts to promote the new expansion project of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a construction project that results in one million sq. ft. of saleable space.

Ms. Mays-Boyd served as an Executive Board member for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). In 2007, Mays-Boyd received the esteemed Supplier of the Year award from the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners where she currently serves as the chair of the Membership Committee. She is a Board Member for Girls, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA), and is a member of the following hospitality organizations: Professional Convention Management Association,, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, American Society of Association Executives, Association of Convention Marketing Executives, Religious Conference Management Association, and the Multicultural Affairs Congress of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is currently a member of the 2009 class of the Urban League of Philadelphia's Leadership Summit.

The Macon, GA native began her career in hospitality in 1989 at the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a graduate of Clark-Atlanta University.