Leading in Times of Crisis: EIC Social Impact Award Recognizes Inspired Leaders

Judy Williams, Senior News Editor
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The Events Industry Council’s (EIC) global recognition program, the 2020 Hall of Leaders awards, has recognized a number of remarkable and inspired individuals for its EIC Social Impact Award: Leading in times of crisis. This award is intended to recognize individuals who helped drive key support programs and adaptations and have offered transformational leadership to address the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on the global events industry.

“This year, in addition to honoring our Hall of Leaders winners, we have incorporated important recognition for those that have lead in a time of great uncertainty and motivated others to do so as well. We are struck by the grace and determination and inspiration these leaders have provided our workforce,” said Amy Calvert, EIC CEO. “This year’s Hall of Leaders inductees and global award winners exemplify our shared values; their contributions will serve as a beacon and a guide for our path forward. These united and inspired story tellers show the impact we will have as an essential driver during the global economic recovery, and of a collective consciousness fostering human connections and meaningful social progress.”

The award recipients who made outstanding contributions in this field are:

  • Black Tourism and DMO Leaders – Nominated by Mike Gamble, SearchWide Global
  • Cleo Battle, CDME, CTA, Chief Operating Officer, Louisville Tourism
  • Timothy Bush, CDME, TMP, Chief Tourism Development Officer, OneSpartanburg, Inc.
  • Julie Coker, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Gregory DeShields, CHE, CDE, Executive Director, PHL Diversity
  • Jason Dunn, Sr., CTA, Immediate Past Chairman, National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals; and Group Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Lorne Edwards, Senior Vice President of Sales & Services, Visit Phoenix
  • Elliott Ferguson, President & CEO, Destination DC
  • Darren Green, Senior Vice President Sales, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
  • Michael Gunn, CMP, CFMP, SVP Convention Sales, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Al Hutchinson, President & CEO, Visit Baltimore
  • Charles Jeffers, Chief Operating Officer, Visit Baltimore
  • James Jessie, Chief Sales Officer, Travel Portland
  • Connie Kinnard, VP of Multicultural Tourism & Development at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Robin McClain, SVP, Marketing & Communications Destination DC
  • Angela Nelson, CTA, Vice President, Multicultural Business Development, Experience Grand Rapids
  • Marie Sueing, Senior Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Melvin Tennant, CAE, President & CEO, Meet Minneapolis
  • Rickey Thigpen, MSL, President & CEO, Visit Jackson
  • Dan Williams, CTA, VP, Convention Sales, Experience Columbus
  • Ernest Wooden, Jr., Former President and CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Award recipient Julie Coker, President & CEO at San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) had this to say about her EIC Social Impact Award: Leading in times of crisis:

Julie Coker, President & CEO at San Diego Tourism Authority
Julie Coker, President & CEO at San Diego Tourism Authority

“This award is not about recognition but about a commitment to progress. It is an acknowledgment that we as an industry can and must do better in creating opportunity for all. The push for diversity, equity and inclusion is about ensuring that hospitality and tourism companies are creating pathways to success for all people no matter their race, religion, gender or background so that our industry reflects the vibrancy of our country and our communities. At the San Diego Tourism Authority, we take this charge seriously and are working to make sure our staff, our board and our partners and stakeholders represent the very best of our region. It is an honor to be recognized along with my colleagues in this necessary and ongoing effort.”

Join the Events Industry Council (EIC) to honor the 2020 Hall of Leaders inductees and EIC’s new Social Impact Award recipients in a Virtual Ceremony, to be held March 25, 11:30–1 pm EST. Watch for registration details here.

Reach Julie Coker at 619-232-3101 or JCoker@sandiego.org