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

This year we are taking another close look at convention & visitors bureaus across the nation in our continuing effort to document the rate of progress that African-Americans are making in the hospitality/travel industry.  The good news is that industry veteran Rickey Thigpen was selected to head Visit Jackson, after Wanda Collier-Wilson, who had held that post for a number of years, stepped down in 2018.

When you consider that there are approximately 500 CVBs throughout the U.S., and we can only identify 12 African-Americans holding down the president/CEO post, obviously we still have a long way to go. 

As we have reiterated in the past, this recurring feature is our effort to head off the use of that tired old phrase "We'd love to consider an African-American for this position, but we can't find a qualified Black person to hire."  This cadre of eminently qualified, highly skilled and experienced hospitality industry professionals is ready, willing and able to take on the responsibilities of a convention and visitors bureau president/CEO should the opportunity present itself.

The list that follows is only the tip of the iceberg. Suffice it to say that there are many, many African-Americans and other people of color, who based on their qualifications, deserve to be considered for heading a CVB when an opening occurs.

LARRY ATCHISON serves as the Associate Director of Sales, Services & Sports for Visit Albuquer

que. In his position, Atchison's primary responsibility is working with associations and organizations based in the Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland markets. Atchison also works with both the Religious and Diversity markets nationally.

Atchison, a 38-year veteran of the hospitality and meetings industry, has been with Visit Albuquerque for 26 years, including three years in Washington, D.C.

ESSENCE BANKS serves as Executive Director of the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network.   A native of New Orleans, she began her service as chairman of the NOMTN board in 2014. She was Director of Six Sigma/Operational Excellence at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel (Marriott International) as a member of the Executive Committee since 2013, and has a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. Banks also served as Director of Housekeeping and Assistant Director of Human Relations at the hotel. Prior to this, Banks served 12 years at Entergy Services, Inc. where she worked in staffing, training and development, supplier diversity/supply chain management, and project management. She started her career at NOMTN where, from between 1994 and 1998, she served as Convention Sales Manager.

Bank's core competencies include human resource management, leadership, team building, process improvement, strategic planning, and developing and maintaining strategic partnerships/relationships.  Banks has extensive board and leadership experience with several local and national non-profit organizations. She has been the recipient of the Louisiana Minority Business Council Business Advocate of the Year Award (2007 & 2010), the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance 2006 Chairman's Award, Emerging Philanthropist of New Orleans 2011 Graduate, New Orleans City Business 2017 Women of the Year, and 2018 MPI Diversity Award. Banks earned her Bachelor of Arts & Sciences degree from Loyola University and her MBA from the University of New Orleans.

CLEO BATTLE is Executive Vice President of Louisville Tourism.  Battle has worked in the hospitality industry for 34 years.  Prior to coming to Louisville, he spent 12 years as Vice President of Sales & Services of the Richmond Convention & Visitors Bureau in Richmond, VA.  He also held the positions of Director of Sales and Sales Manager at the Richmond CVB.

Battle began his hospitality career in the hotel industry working for Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn, and Sheraton Hotels.  Battle is a native of Denver.  He is a graduate of Metropolitan State University in Denver with a bachelor's degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management.  He earned his Masters of Business Administration in 1997 from Averett University in Virginia.  He is both a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) and Certified Association Sales Executive (CASE).

Battle currently serves on the Meeting Planners International Board of Directors, Kentucky Derby Museum Board of Directors, Louisville Sports Commission Executive Board, Louisville Zoo Foundation Board, and Board Member for Northeast YMCA of Louisville.  He is Past Chair of Destination & Travel Foundation, Destination International Sales & Services Committee, and Virginia State University Hospitality Department Advisory Board. 

STEPHANIE MAYS-BOYD is a member of the senior management team at the Pennsylvania Convention Center serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.   With over 28 years of experience within the hospitality industry, Mays-Boyd is responsible for leading the sales and marketing efforts to steer the Center towards excellence by garnering relationships with clients, representing the Pennsylvania Convention Center at industry tradeshows and conferences and providing strategic leadership and oversight of the Center in all aspects of its fiscal and day to day operations.  Mays Boyd serves as the second vice chair of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Board (PHLCVB).

She started her career in 1991 in her hometown of Macon, Georgia with the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She later relocated to Philadelphia in 1996 where she now enjoys a progressive career at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  Mays-Boyd successfully leads the sales and marketing efforts to promote over a 1 million square feet of saleable space.

Mays-Boyd has a strong belief in community service and lends her time, talent and energy to various organizations.  She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Lincoln University, Board member for the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Delaware River Port Authority, Legacy Youth and Education Tennis Center and Chairman of the Philadelphia Leadership Council of UNCF.  Mays-Boyd is also a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Links, Inc. and serves as a member of the National Executive Council of The Links, Incorporated.

RONNIE BURT is a destination marketing professional who has served in a leadership capacity for major markets around the country.  Burt most recently was the President and CEO of Visit KC until February 2018. 

During his time in Kansas City Burt was named to the (i)Kansas City Business Journal's(ei) Power 100, a list of the region's business elite; one of "KC's 50 Most Powerful" by (i)435 Magazine(ei) and "Ingram's 250" by (i)Ingram's(ei) magazine , a list of the most powerful business leaders in the Kansas City area.

With a very impressive career that started as an intern in Atlantic City, NJ.,  Burt began his career in marketing for Caesars Hotel and Casino before joining the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Association and accelerating to leadership positions at Visit Baltimore, Visit Indy and Destination DC where he served in the role Chief Sales Officer for those destinations as VP Sales and Services. 

Burt has been actively involved with several professional industry associations, including the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP), International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and has served on the Board of Directors for Destination International. 

GREG DESHIELDS serves as Executive Director PHL Diversity a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.  DeShields is responsible for developing and implementing plans, strategies and initiatives specifically designed to raise Philadelphia's image as a diverse multicultural destination leading to hotel room nights and economic impact for the region.  He also hosts PHL Diversity Podcasts brief insights, views and opinions regarding specific hospitality, tourism and diversity topics.

JASON DUNN serves as Group Vice President of Diversity Sales & Inclusion at the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau.   A community leader and advocate for diversity, Jason Dunn Sr. has been a change maker in Cincinnati for more than 15 years.  Dunn currently leads efforts to continue growing Cincinnati's diversity convention business, supplier diversity initiatives, Vibe Cincinnati, and the Dan Lincoln Institute for Hospitality Leadership. Tactful in his efforts, he's helped build corporate, government, and community support for the CVB and its industry initiatives.

LORNE EDWARDS has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Sales & Services at Visit Phoenix after seven years overseeing and directing convention sales efforts first as Director of Sales, and then as Vice President of Sales & Services.  Edwards joined Visit Phoenix seven years ago after a 16-year sales career at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where he served as Director of Sales and Marketing at two Boston-area hotels. As Senior Vice President of Sales & Services, Edwards will guide the overarching strategic sales and services initiatives and operational core competences of the DMO.

Edwards also spent three years as Associate Director of Sales at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. There, he was responsible for pre-opening sales operations, and he coordinated sales and marketing efforts with the Colorado Convention Center and Visit Denver.

A native of Antigua in the West Indies, Edwards began his career with Hyatt in Orlando before being elevated to a senior sales position at one of Hyatt's iconic flagship convention hotels in Atlanta.

Edwards received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. His industry memberships and affiliations include American Society of Association Executives, Professional Convention Management Association and Destinations International. Edwards also served in DMO advisory capacity for American Express Meetings & Events and Helms Briscoe.

Edwards enjoys spending time with his family, travel, reading, music, and sporting activities.

DARREN K. GREEN is Senior Vice President, Sales of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism), the City of Los Angeles' official Destination Marketing Organization. He is responsible for leading the citywide convention sales team, the hotel sales team and the destination services team. Green joined L.A. Tourism in February 2014.

Green brings more than 20 years of hospitality sales experience to the role, having worked with top brands such as Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Nikko Hotels International, and KSL Resorts. Previously, Green was a Director of Sales for the Starwood Hotels of New York Metro Market Team, which drove the sales efforts for 8 hotels including the Westin, St. Regis, W and Sheraton brands.

He has held sales positions with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in Buffalo, N.Y., Hilton Head, S.C. and Maui, HI.  In 1995, he joined the Hilton Hotels Corporation as National Sales Manager for the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kamuela, HI. Green spent seven years at various properties as Director of Sales and Marketing throughout Hawaii including The Ihilani Resort and Spa, The Orchid at Mauna Lani and The Grand Wailea Resort and Spa. In 2002, he was named the Director of Sales and Marketing for two of the top Starwood Hotels and Resorts properties in Los Angeles, The Westin Century Plaza Hotel and Spa and The St. Regis Los Angeles. In 2006, he subsequently served as Vice President, Hotel Marketing for Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino by Sheraton in Las Vegas. Darren moved to New York in 2009 to lead the sales and marketing team for the four W Hotels in Manhattan as Complex Director of Sales and Marketing.

Green was selected as one of HSMAI's 2018 Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing & Revenue Optimization. He currently serves on the 2019 Global Board of Trustees for MPI Foundation, a non-profit organization that propels the meeting and event industry forward through innovative research and pan-industry initiatives. 

MICHAEL D. GUNN, CMP serves as Senior Vice President for the Greater Birmingham CVB.  With more than 30 years of industry experience, Gunn is responsible for the operation of the convention sales staff in booking state, regional, national and international convention business for the Birmingham area.  He supervises a staff of 15 sales and administrative professionals.

In addition to his supervisory responsibilities, Gunn oversees a multimillion dollar budget for the convention sales department and compiles monthly, quarterly and annual sales and marketing business plans.  He also directs placement and media buys for the CVB's million dollar advertising budget.

Gunn is a member of the board of directors of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and serves on the board of Certified Meeting Professionals.  He is a past member of the Destination Marketing Association's International Foundation Board.

The National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners named Gunn the "Supplier of the Year" in 2001.  He received his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2003, and in 2004 he was honored with the Venus de Milo Award from the Meeting Industry Ladies Organization, Ltd. 

In 2007, Gunn received the Apex Award from (i)Black Meetings & Tourism(ei) magazine.  The Alabama Tourism Department named him "Tourism Executive of the Year" in 2009, the most prestigious award in the state's tourism industry.  The honoree is chosen each year by votes from industry peers in Alabama's hospitality community.

Gunn is often called on to speak on behalf of the CVB at civic organizations and public events.  He is regarded as an expert on economic impact statistics and effective marketing programs.

SANDI HARVEY, vice president of sales for Meet AC, has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for more than 25 years. Harvey made her debut in Atlantic City in 1983 as the Manager of Hotel Sales at the Sands Hotel & Casino. Harvey gained a great amount of experience and grew her footprint by starting at the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) in 1995. From there, she worked her way up through the ACCVA with various positions and landed in the sales department, which is where Harvey flourishes today with Meet AC. 

Harvey has been responsible for productivity reporting, ensuring the sales team has the resources they need to meet their goals, and managing the synergy between the Atlantic City Convention Center and property partners.

SHUN HATTEN, Vice President of Sales, Visit Jackson, is a dynamic, self-starter with over 23 years of sales experience in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry.  Hatten started with Bristol Hotels and Resorts in 1996 (which later became Intercontinental Hotels) as a sales manager and was soon promoted to an Area Sales Manager.  This position afforded her the opportunity to move from state to state and utilize her sales skills to develop and train hotel sales staff.  She held this position for six years before starting her career with Visit Jackson.

In her current position, Hatten oversees a staff of seven tourism professionals.  Selling….is the driving force that motivates Hatten. She and her staff are responsible for soliciting and attracting new business to Jackson, Mississippi on a local, state, regional and national scale.  During her career with Visit Jackson she has contributed to the development of Jackson, into an amazing premier destination.

ROY JAY is considered one of the pioneers of convention and tourism marketing. Native of Portland, Oregon it was Jay that put his city on the map in spite of being known as one the whitest cities on the west coast. Jay knows how to promote, sell and close the deal. He spent tax dollars like his own and was supportive of many organizations nationwide. Jay served on boards and was an advisor and mentor to many over the past 40 years.  Although a competitive business, he would also provide training and counseling to others on how to effectively promote and win friends from coast to coast.  He was the first to produce ethnic oriented convention promotional videos, would hire people of color because they are qualified not to simply meet an affirmative action quota like some bureaus.

Jay was the driving force (for over 20 years) behind Portland finally being able to get their first headquarter hotel.

Today, Jay serves as a consultant for hotels and bureaus on how to efficiently compete for the business.  "Roy is one of the main persons responsible for me being in this business and has helped so many others achieve their positions. If it had not been for Roy speaking up and not being afraid, they would have given the job to someone less qualified" said Robert Kaz of Las Vegas.

Jay has over 40 years experience in the convention and hospitality industry.  He was one of the original collaborators of the NAACP report card.  Created the longest FAM trip for people of color, (10 days) in Oregon.   He was the recipient of too many awards, including Martin Luther King Jr. Drum maker for Justice, Portland Oregon Visitors Association (now Travel Portland) Presidents award,  NOBLE award,  Hispanic Meeting Planners,  City of Portland Spirit Award just to name a few.

Roy Jay is not just a sales person, he is a brand.  A workaholic, he always wanted everything to be perfect and would sometimes be up until early morning hours to satisfy clients. 

CHARLES JEFFERS, Chief Operating Officer, Visit Baltimore, has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and destination marketing industry. He joined Visit Baltimore in 2017 and leads the operations and finance departments overseeing the operation of the administrative, information technology, research, human resources, accounting, finance and hospitality functions.

Prior to joining Visit Baltimore, Jeffers served as an industry advisor to destination marketing organizations throughout the United States as principal of his own consulting firm The Jeffers Group and held roles as COO and SVP of Operations at Destinations International and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, respectively. Jeffers possesses wealth of leadership experience in all aspects of operations, technology, membership, strategic planning, and budget management.

JAMES JESSIE currently serves as Senior Vice President of Convention Sales for Travel Portland.  Jessie's current role encompasses Strategic Direction and Business Sales leadership for the 17-member Sales Team at Travel Portland and its regional offices in Washington DC and Chicago, Il.

Jessie has enjoyed a successful 25+ year career in DMMO Sales and Services. Prior to Jessie's current 2nd term at Travel Portland, he served as Sr. VP of Sales & Services at Visit Phoenix during an 18 -year tenure.

Jessie's professional memberships include PCMA, ASAE and serves on various industry boards and committees. A proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Jessie is also a proud father of three kids and married to his wife Jolie for 22+ years.

MYRON JONES currently works with the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau as Director of Sales.  His primary duties are to market and promote Fayetteville and Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, tournaments, and individual travel.  Jones works closely with meeting planners to help ensure their meetings exceed expectations.

Among the professional organizations Jones has membership in are;  Meetings Professionals International-Carolina's Chapter (MPI-CC) where he currently serves as a proofreader for the Blitz, North Carolina Society of Government Meeting Professionals (NCSGMP) where he served as photographer and he's a member of the Honors and Awards Committee, and the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC), NC Society of Human Resource Management Association (NCSHRM) and Fayetteville Area Society of Human Resource Management Association (FASHRM) serving currently as Past President. 

Jones is actively involved in his community.  He is a member of Silver Square Lodge #791 (PHA), Fayetteville/Cumberland County Ministerial Council, Hope Mills and Spring Lake Chambers of Commerce, Association United States Army, Disabled Veterans Association and American Legion.

DZIDRA JUNIOR, CMP is Director of Global Sales at MGM Resorts International.  Ms. Junior's creates the strategy to grow convention revenue within the Diversity Market Segment.  Her role is the business case for diversity for MGM Resorts International Diversity initiatives.   Diversity-based conventions and meetings is a previously untapped market segment that has generated increased revenue for the company.  Since joining the Company several years ago, she's remonstrated how diversity can be translated to business.  Notable groups she has secured are NAACP, National Council of LaRaza, National Association of Latin Elected Officials, Japanese American Citizens League, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Council, Women Business Enterprise Network Council, Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards and The Links, Inc.   This is just a few of the organizations that Ms. Junior has convinced to hold their convention at a MGM Resorts property.

Prior to joining MGM Resorts International as a National Sales Manager in March 2006, Junior served in a similar capacity with Caesars Entertainment. Previously, she served in a variety of operations and food and beverage management positions with the Las Vegas Hilton and Mandalay Bay.

A native of Las Vegas, Junior is an active member of several organizations including  National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Professional Convention Management Association, American Society of Association Executives,  The Links, Inc. Las Vegas Chapter.  Additionally, she has served on the boards and committees for Destination International Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, Association Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting Las Vegas Chapter; DeltaEd; National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners Governing by Laws Committee & Current Treasurer, The Links, Inc. National Assembly Committee & Former Treasurer for The Links, Inc. Las Vegas Chapter, and International Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners.

Junior is a recipient of the 2018 Urban Chamber of Commerce Women in Business and Politics Awards, 2015 Corporate Award by National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners; 2011 Women of Distinction Award by National Association of Women Business Owners, In Business Diversity in Action Award and was honored in 2010 by MGM Resorts International as a "True Diversity Leader". 

CONNIE W. KINNARD is Vice President of Multicultural Tourism & Development for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Kinnard leads the department in efforts to promote the multicultural neighborhoods, attractions and events in Miami.  She also supports convention/travel sales initiatives in securing business. The Multicultural & Tourism department not only leads efforts internally, but with Kinnard's leadership, the department spearheads external business development programs in the heritage neighborhoods for tourism capacity building along with a cultural program called Art of Black Miami. Art of Black Miami is a marketing platform that highlights all forms of art in Miami that touches the African Diaspora. 

Kinnard has worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and holds a Master's Degree in Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Tennessee State University.  She is active with numerous civic/service organizations and has served on various professional boards throughout her career. Kinnard has been in Miami for almost four years now and loves promoting the culture and diversity found in the 305. Prior to joining the GMCVB, Kinnard worked for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation for 19 years and held the position of SVP of Multicultural Sales & Development.

KERMIT MADISON serves as Senior Director of Multicultural & West Coast Sales for Memphis Tourism  where he manages the multicultural market nationally and also manages the west coast market (association, corporate). He's a 2011 past winner of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners Supplier of the Year award and also a four-time winner of Memphis Tourism Sales Person of the Year.   Madison is  a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.

MARCUS MARGERUM, vice president of government and community affairs, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), represents the interest of ACVB and its members in government issues impacting the hospitality industry. Margerum plays an integral part in ensuring the hospitality industry's voice is heard by local and state legislators. He sits on the board of directors for Georgia Travel Association, Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau, Destination International Advocacy Committee, Destination Marketing Accreditation Program and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation.

STEPHANIE MONROE is the Director of Specialty Market Sales for Explore St. Louis, who leads a team in the areas of sporting events, religious conferences, fraternal organizations and military meetings. Monroe is a graduate of the University of MO, Columbia.  Monroe joined the organization in 2007 as National Convention Sales Manager and has been responsible for booking some of St. Louis' largest events, such as Church of God in Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses, 7 th Day Adventists, National Baptists,  National Urban League and National Society of Black Engineers. 

CHERYL RICHARDS serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at VisitDallas. VisitDallas was the first tourism bureau in the nation to create a dedicated diversity and inclusion department, aimed at elevating Dallas as a leader in the industry and building new partnerships to grow business.

Richards' goal is to imbed diversity into the fabric of VisitDallas, which she has accomplished by developing creative programs and partnerships to honor diversity of all kinds. The diversity and inclusion team focus on high levels of attendee customization for diverse groups. Richards was instrumental in working with the board of directors to amend the by-laws of the organization to focus on diversity and inclusion at the board level which added a board-standing committee on Diversity and Inclusion. 

Richards and her department have been honored with numerous awards including the Greater Dallas Best Practices and Diversity FIRST Corporate Achievement Award, the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce Diversity Award, the Black Meetings & Tourism APEX Award, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President's Awards, Dallas Business Journal 2017 Minority Business Leader Award, and featured  in Professional Convention Management Association Convene Magazine as a one of the Ascent program Luminaries.  

Richards, who has been with VisitDallas for 30 years, is also a member of several community and civic organizations, including Women's Foodservice Forum Global Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, Texas Diversity Council, Downtown Dallas Inc. Board of Directors,  Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) , and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Richards is a graduate of North Texas State University (currently the University of North Texas) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations and a minor in Business Marketing.

LOREN ALEXIS SIMPSON serves as Director of Digital Communications for the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. The former celebrity stylist oversees digital strategy for Visit Long Beach, including content marketing, social media, public relations and Communications. She's revamped the @visitLB voice on social media, doubling followings across platforms. National media wins include features in CNN Travel,, TravelAge West, Orbitz and Travelocity. She's an accomplished professional with a well-rounded understanding of the digital landscape.

KASEY L. SUMMERVILLE currently serves as Director of National Accounts for the City of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She promotes Little Rock as the place to host National Conferences, Meetings, and Events in a Multicultural context and especially in the Faith Communities.  Kasey is already distinguishing herself and is establishing seminal relationships across the nation about the gains of southern hospitality, along with the genuine people and popular attractions Little Rock has to offer.

Prior to assuming this assignment, Summerville was elected eight consecutive times as the Assessor for Clark County, Arkansas, where she served for almost 15 years.  An avid community activist, Kasey is a member of the Saint Paul A.M.E. Church of Arkadelphia, and has given effective leadership to a number of local community and state initiatives.  She is a past President of the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus where she served for two terms.

A published author, Kasey wrote (i)Bridges and Footstools: 365 Days of Wisdom to Help You Live, Learn and Grow(ei) (2010), which is a collection of inspirational and motivational quotes for encouraging wellness and being.  

Summerville is a graduate of Arkadelphia High School and began her college education at Henderson State University, and completed the Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management at Philander Smith College.  She also holds a Masters of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University.

Summerville is fondly loved and respected, and quite often invited to speak by a variety of community groups and professional organizations.  In her spare time she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, dancing, and reading inspirational books and blogs.  Summerville has two adult children. 

KEITH TALBERT is a native of Kansas and has served in his current position for 2 years as the director of sales for the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau. Talbert's responsibilities include overseeing the convention sales staff and monitoring sales efforts. Prior to OKC, he served two stints at Visit Wichita in Wichita, Kansas and a stint at the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation in Nashville, Tennessee, both as a convention sales manager. Talbert is a proud Shocker alum of Wichita State University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing degree and a Master of Business Administration degree.