People News: UFI, EIC, eventcore, Louisville Tourism and More Welcome New Leaders, Board Members and Staff

February 9, 2021

A slew of new hires and promotions at event-related organizations are a positive sign of growing confidence in the resurgence of the trade shows and events industry this year. Check them out:  

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has tapped Marie-Laure Bellon to serve as its next COO, effective March 1. She will work out of the organization’s Paris headquarters.

Bellon is currently the CEO and general manager of French exhibition organizer Eurovet, a trade show organizer for lingerie and swimwear, and a subsidiary of Comexposium and the French Knitting and Lingerie Federation. 

She has held various senior executive positions over the years at Eurovet, including the strategic positioning and restructuring of the business, launching new activities in Asia and the U.S. and leading the organization’s overall international development. Her career also includes leadership positions in management and business development for Reed Expositions France.

Bellon succeeds current UFI COO Sonia Thomas, who will leave the association in late March to launch her own business. 

Global B2B media group, Tarsus, has appointed Joe Zhou as CEO of Tarsus China. He will take the helm on March 1, replacing John Liu, who is leaving Tarsus after three years. Zhou will spearhead Tarsus Group’s growth strategy in China, working closely with Tarsus Asia CEO Nino Gruettke. 

Zhou joins Tarsus from Reed Sinopharm, where he served CFO and deputy managing director. In his time there, he successfully launched new events and doubled the number of shows run across China. 

“[Joe’s] blend of professional experience combined with a personal approach is exactly what is needed in the most exciting region in the events industry,” Gruettke said. “I’d also like to wish John the very best in his future endeavors — he has been instrumental in our growth in China and led the business through the challenges of 2020, successfully re-opening our shows in the wake of the pandemic.”

IAEE Executive Vice President and COO Cathy Breden has been selected as the 2021 chair elect of the Events Industry Council. In this role, she will also serve as treasurer and will move forward as EIC Chair in 2022. 

Breden has served on the EIC board of directors since 2017 as well as chair of the 2016-2017 research committee and on the 2010 CMP board. She is also the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). 

Breden is a frequent presenter at ] events on topics including exhibition industry trends and the power of exhibitions in face-to-face marketing, in addition to serving as adjunct faculty at Dallas Community College District-Richland College.

Reed Exhibitions has appointed Richard Prentice as sales analytics manager of its new global group sales analytics team, effective Feb. 1. He reports to Julian Barker, group strategy director.

In this role, Prentice will lead a new team of specialists to support the company’s face-to-face business and the rapidly increasing use of digital products by leveraging sales and marketing data analytics to create value and efficiency for Reed customers.

With diverse consulting and experience translating data into strategic insights to drive performance, Prentice joins from PwC, where he most recently led a sales and marketing team.

Leading registration company eventcore has hired 16-year event industry sales and leadership veteran Chris Emerson as its vice president of sales and marketing. 

Emerson gained expertise driving enterprise sales, as well as growing and leading high-performance sales teams at organizations including Certain, Inc., Lanyon Solutions and Cvent, where he served most recently as regional director of enterprise solutions.

Emerson’s responsibilities will include sales team leadership, accelerating eventcore’s revenue by expanding the company’s presence in new verticals and geographies, development of new channel partnerships and contributing to the company’s marketing and business strategies. 

Louisville Tourism has selected Dan Kyle as its information technology manager, a new position in which he will be responsible for the support, maintenance and enhancement of the CVB’s technology infrastructure. He began his new position on Jan. 19 following the retirement of IT Director Randy James on Dec. 31. Mark Perry, the CVB’s director of technology, is also assuming some of the duties formerly held by James.

Kyle previously served as the systems administrator for Experience Grand Rapids in Michigan.

The San Francisco Travel Association has named 30-year hospitality industry veteran Nicole Rogers as its executive vice president and chief sales officer, effective March 1. Rogers comes to the organization after two decades at Marriott International, where she held positions including on-property director of sales and marketing (Marriott Union Square, Marriott Marquis and Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf), area sales leader, market account leader and account sales leader/regional director — U.S. and Canada.

In her new role, Rogers will oversee all convention division activities, including the development and implementation of sales strategies, citywide group business optimization, long-range sales and marketing of the city and county of San Francisco’s major convention facilities including Moscone Center. 

Event strategy, marketing and design agency, 360 Live Media, has promoted 20-year event planning veteran Beth Surmont to vice president of event business strategy. She previously served as the company’s design director of experience design. 

In her new position, Surmont is helping organizations reimagine and reinvent their events and trade shows for a post-COVID, omnichannel environment to strategically advance the their mission and bottom line.   

Visit Plano recently welcomed two new staff members: Steve Yearwood as association and SMERF sales manager, and Olivia Woodward as event services coordinator.

Yearwood, who joined Visit Plano in January, is responsible for booking SMERF and association conventions, meetings, events and securing hotel room nights in Plano. He comes to Visit Plano from Aimbridge Hospitality, where he served as group sales manager. 

Woodward joined Visit Plano in November 2020. Besides managing all logistics, arrangements and services for Visit Plano clients once they have been booked by its sales team, she also assists meeting planners in coordinating events in targeted market segments including corporate, association, government, sports and SMERF. Woodward most recently served as dual event specialist with Marriott International in Richardson, Texas. 

Event software company Ungerboeck has hired Casey Jessmon as its chief information security officer. Jessmon brings more than 10 years of experience in operational information security to his new position, including serving as business information security officer at Equifax Workforce Solutions. 

At Ungerboeck, Jessmon will be involved in evaluating and recommending the latest tools and technologies to ensure that the company is proactive and well-prepared in its approach to security, as well as interfacing with customers to discuss security processes, protocols and certifications. 

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau’s board of directors has chosen 30-year restaurant industry veteran Kris Reinhard to be its 2021 chair. Reinhard is a partner in Fifth Group Restaurants and serves as general manager of Bold, Fifth Group’s Catering and Design Division. 

Reinhard started working in Atlanta’s hospitality community in 1993 and joined ACVB’s board in 2007. He has chaired ACVB’s membership committee since 2010 and began serving on the organization’s executive committee in 2012.   

“His leadership will help drive our hospitality community’s continued recovery in the months to come,” said William Pate, ACVB president and CEO.

The board of directors of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism recently selected Beth Gendler as the CVB’s future president and CEO upon the retirement of Herb Malone in late 2021. For the immediate future, Gendler is serving as COO, a role to which she was appointed on Dec. 1. She currently leads the organization’s sales/meetings and sports commission efforts.

Gendler will become GSOBT’s second president and CEO in the organization’s 27-year history. She has been on staff with the Alabama CVB for 18 years, beginning as director of sales and being promoted to vice president of sales in 2011, where she has led all efforts for the meetings/convention and sports commission segments. 

As GSOBT’s longtime leader, Herb Malone helped create the official tourism marketing organization for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and the Fort Morgan peninsula in 1993. Under his leadership, the destination has seen steady increases in lodging tax revenues and became one of the top southeastern beach destinations.

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