2024 F&D Power Women — Industry Leaders

Kristen Adamo, President/CEO

Providence Warwick CVB
Dust never settles on Kristen Adamo, President/CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention &
Visitors Bureau in Rhode Island (PWCVB). Consider her earlier years when she was formerly
employed as manager of public relations at a full-service advertising agency and then employed
as the director of advancement marketing and communications at Johnson & Wales University.
Then, in 2005, Adamo met her true destiny when she joined the team at the Providence Warwick
Convention & Visitors Bureau as vice president of marketing. There, she was steadily promoted
up to her current position of president/CEO in 2019, which she enjoys today. During this decade
alone, Adamo has also made many prestigious “People to Watch” and “Most Influential” lists.
She also serves on a number of professional boards, including the Governor’s Workforce Board.
Next year (2025) will mark Adamo’s 20th Anniversary with the award-winning PWCVB, so
here’s an early “Congratulations, Kristen!”

Rachel Andrews, Global Head of Events
Rachel Andrews enjoys many roles in life. Today, many know her as Cvent’s Global Head of
Events where she has been employed for more than 13 years. Andrews has been heavily
involved in global events management, meetings and events technology, sponsorship
management, venue/city sourcing management, podcasting, and more. Earlier this year, she was
also appointed to Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) 2024 International Board of
Directors. Proud and honored at both the nomination and the final selection, the Virginia Tech
graduate with a B.A. in communications, marketing, and psychology was chosen by the board for
her deep understanding of the radical transformation of the industry through recent years, one
with more ways to connect and engage than ever before. One senior official at Cvent says she
always did a phenomenal job and is consistently rated as a top one-percent performer in the

Shannon Licygiewicz, GM
Albany Capital Center
According to Shannon Licygiewicz, General Manager of ASM Global’s Albany Capital Center
(ACC), “A building is only as good as the people inside it,” meaning the people who operate it.
Well, she and her team at the center live by those words and prove them every day. One of her
first jobs upon graduating from college was as an event coordinator at the Rhode Island
Convention Center, but then she made a switch to the position of director of sales at the Albany
Capital Center two years prior to the building’s actual opening in 2017. As general manager,
Licygiewicz is responsible for facility sales, finance, event coordination, overall operations and
more. She recently reminisced that one of her fondest moments in life was during the construction of
the Albany Capital Center when the last beam was raised into place. Her comment: “I will
forever have my signature on this amazing facility, which is an honor.”

Martha Sheridan, President/CEO
Meet Boston
With more than 30 years of experience in destination sales and marketing, Martha Sheridan now
leads a team of professionals as President/CEO of Meet Boston. Her mission is to generate
economic revenue, as well as enhance the quality of life for Boston and the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts through the deployment of a dynamic destination sales and marketing program.
Always a proven leader with strong communication and advocacy skills, Sheridan successfully
rebranded the organization from the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau to Meet
Boston several years ago. Among her many achievements, Sheridan is past chair of the
Destination Marketing Association International and she holds or has held leadership positions
with several local, regional, and national organizations, including the US Travel Association, the
Destinations International Foundation, the RI Hospitality and Tourism Association Education
Foundation, Meeting Professionals International New England Chapter (MPINE), and the New
England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Julie Coker, President/CEO
San Diego Tourism Authority
Julie Coker has been President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) for the
past four years. There, Coker has been extraordinarily successful in its efforts to promote
San Diego as a top destination for meetings, conventions, international travelers, and
leisure visitors. She has had a huge amount of success, too. For instance, under her guidance,
tourism jobs returned to pre-pandemic levels, with more than 200,000 people employed. Also,
San Diego County’s Transient Occupancy Tax generated more than $360 million for regional
services; SDTA’s sales and marketing programs delivered a $30 to $1 return on investment, and
the retention rate among SDTA members was 93 percent. Bravo to the Johnson & Wales
graduate who holds a BS in hospitality management and was recently appointed to the U.S.
Department of Commerce’s U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, joining 31 other leaders
from the domestic travel and tourism industry.

Rose Noble, President/CEO
Visit Spokane
Last year (2023), Visit Spokane announced it had hired Rose Noble to be the next President/CEO
of Lilac City’s destination marketing organization. Visit Spokane said that after long hours of
deliberation, its proactive search committee picked Noble over many other talented candidates.
Upon the official announcement, Noble said she felt fortunate to have the opportunity to move
from Illinois to award-winning Spokane, Washington, with her whole family, as well as
professionally advocating for the beautiful capital city. Noble is a graduate of Clarke
University and holds a degree in communications with an emphasis on public relations.
Currently, she is also the board director for Washington State Tourism. And aside from being a
board of director at large for Destination International Association, Noble is well-rounded and
maintains a perfect work/life balance not only in her commitment to the meetings and hospitality
industry, but arts and culture, civil rights, animal welfare, and more.

Cassandra Matej, President/CEO
Visit Orlando
Casandra Matej is the President and CEO of Visit Orlando, the most visited destination (75
million visitors) in the United States, and Theme Park Capital of the World®. In her post, Matej
utilizes many talents, including branding, marketing, and selling the Orlando destination, in
order to drive Central Florida’s $76 billion meeting and tourism industry. She holds a degree
from the University of Texas, and since then, she has more than two decades of experience in
the tourism industry. She has served as President and CEO of Visit San Antonio and has held
leadership roles at Visit Dallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and Hyatt Hotels.
Orlando magazine named her one of the most powerful people of 2023 “for making Orlando the
best place in the world, ensuring our region remains a hub of activity, a destination of choice, and
a place where people and opportunities converge.”

Jacquelyn Y. Powell, President/CEO
Destination Dayton
Jacquelyn Y. Powell has been at Destination Dayton for more than 30 years. Obviously, she’s
been through all of the ups and downs any CVB might experience during such a span and has
always been a major force in driving the city’s huge success onward and upward. For instance,
Powell was instrumental in the recent rebranding of the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau to
Destination Dayton last month (May 2024). She believes that the new moniker underscores the
role that travel and tourism have as an economic driver for the area – a $2.4 billion economic
impact. While it seems life couldn’t be any brighter for Powell and Destination Dayton, it was
recently announced that the City of Dayton and Montgomery County will host the 2025 Spring
Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. It will be the first time in more than 20 years that
this prestigious event has been held anywhere in the U.S.

Stephanie Turner, Senior VP
New Orleans & Company
Stephanie Turner has been Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Strategies for New.
Orleans & Company for the past five years. Her work history includes such tourism giants as
the New Orleans Convention Bureau, InterContinental Hotels, and Le Meridien Hotels, where she
has held leadership positions. In fact, she is so well-rounded in her profession that she has also spent
six years as director of sales and marketing at Artisan Fine Wines, so she has the beverage
side of the industry on her resume as well. Turner was born in New Orleans and also attended
Tulane University, where she studied business. She believes that the success of any city depends
on its ability to attract a wide range of corporate and association group businesses. Turner and her
team do that every day and have helped make New Orleans & Company a meeting and event
planner’s best friend.

Tammy Blount-Canavan, President/CEO
Visit Seattle
Tammy Blount-Canavan has a passion for elevating team performance within the travel industry.
She has a track record of proven success in developing resilient, high-functioning teams. So
much so she calls herself a “travel evangelist!” Now more than 30 years into her career,
including executive leadership at Tourism Vancouver, Tacoma Regional CVB, the Washington
Tourism Alliance, and the Monterey County CVB she continues to grow in her most recent post
as President and CEO of Visit Seattle. On that subject, Blount-Canavan reminds everyone that
Seattle is “more than a good cup of coffee; it is multifaceted!” She says, “No matter who you are,
where you’re from, or what you love to do, we are proud to welcome all those who seek to
explore this city of seven hills.” More than that, Blount-Canavan is a past chair of Destinations
International and she has often been named on various top-rated lists within the meetings and
hospitality industry.

Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer
Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
Lisa Messina serves as Chief Sales Officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
(LVCVA), The destination marketing organization for Las Vegas and Southern Nevada also
owns and operates the 4.6-million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), one of the
largest in the world. In her role, Messina is responsible for leading and growing meeting,
convention, and tradeshow sales for Las Vegas and for the LVCC – and with huge success. It’s
been said that Messina’s customer-focused sales acumen and experience allow her to forge
meaningful connections with existing customers, attract new meeting and convention business to
Las Vegas, and collaborate with resort partners. She joined the LVCVA from Caesars
Entertainment, where she was senior vice president of sales, and, prior to that, she served in
several sales leadership roles for more than 16 years with Hilton Worldwide. Messina attended
Cornell University, where she attended the School of Hotel Administration.

Janet Zaldua, CEO
Marina del Rey Tourism Board
Heading the post of the Marina del Rey Tourism Board is a CEO who “makes things
happen,” Janet Zaldua. At Marina del Rey, Zaldua and her team entice meeting and
event planners to put a creative spin on their corporate meetings or events in Los
Angeles’ premier waterfront playground. From meeting rooms to yacht charters, all
types of planners find what they need to have a successful and memorable meeting
or conference here. As she reminds the industry, the Marina del Rey destination
offers an unmatched level of convenience and enjoyment for all types of groups and
is a convenient four miles from LAX. Prior to that, Zaldua was CEO of the Marina
del Rey CVB, and prior to that, she was director of marketing at the Pasadena CVB.
As a graduate of California State University with a BA in communications and an
MA in public policy and administration, colleagues have called her a great team
player and leader, among other high compliments.

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