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Higher Miami Conference & Guests Bureau Appoints David Whitaker President and CEO

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WHY IT RATES: Whitaker returns to Miami after serving as a member of the GMCVB staff for 17 years. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Author


The Higher Miami Conference & Guests Bureau (GMCVB) introduced immediately that David Whitaker has been appointed the following President & CEO of the vacation spot advertising and marketing group (DMO) for Higher Miami and Miami Seashore. The appointment is a homecoming for Whitaker who served as a member of the GMCVB staff for 17 years (1990 – 2007), most not too long ago because the group’s Govt Vice President & Chief Advertising and marketing Officer. 5 years previous to that, he served on the manager employees of the United Manner of Miami-Dade.

Whitaker left Miami initially in 2007 as a result of an appointment to the function of President & CEO of Tourism Toronto (now often called Vacation spot Toronto), the DMO for Toronto, the place he led the group for eight years. Throughout his tenure in Toronto, the group was voted North America’s high conference and guests bureau and conference middle in a ballot of over 650 assembly planners. Whitaker led profitable bids to host an NBA All-Star Sport and a Pan American/Parapan American Sport.

Upon conclusion of his tenure in Toronto and over the previous 5 years, Whitaker has served because the President & CEO of Select Chicago, the DMO for Chicago. Throughout his tenure in Chicago, he had the accountability of selling and promoting the most important conference middle in the US, McCormick Place. Underneath his management, the DMO efficiently bid on and hosted an NBA All-Star Sport, an MLS All-Star Sport, North America’s first Laver Cup worldwide tennis match, a NCAA Frozen 4, and quite a few worldwide soccer and rugby occasions. Chicago, as a vacation spot, has been voted in a prestigious ballot of savvy readers of Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Alternative Awards as “Finest Large Metropolis” to go to for an unprecedented 4 consecutive years (2017 – 2020), all of which occurred underneath Whitaker’s management.

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“David brings again to us a uncommon and highly effective mixture – an immense wealth of expertise and data of our group, coupled with a major world of experiences gained from selling two of North America’s most numerous and world manufacturers in Chicago and Toronto,” mentioned GMCVB Chairman Bruce Orosz. “This mixture, significantly with each cities he led excelling as main conference and occasion locations, will assist our hospitality business and our companions take Higher Miami and Miami Seashore to the following stage. “David has additionally had nice success in selling numerous communities and displays a robust ardour for selling range, fairness and inclusion”.

Whitaker was chosen on the conclusion of a complete six-month nationwide govt search performed by a specifically appointed 14-member search committee comprised of native enterprise and group leaders who replicate Miami-Dade County’s ethnic, racial, gender and sexual orientation range, in addition to the variety of sure associations and industries in Miami-Dade County, significantly the hospitality business.

The search committee was suggested by Mike Gamble, Chief Govt Officer of SearchWide International, the preeminent govt search agency solely masking the DMO house and Jaret Davis, Co-Managing Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, long-time outdoors counsel to the GMCVB. The search committee mandated a complete search of all viable candidates, each regionally and nationally, contemplating Miami’s distinctive nature as a vacation spot.

The search committee additional mandated that the slate replicate Miami-Dade County’s wealthy range, finally leading to a set of first spherical interviews, 75 p.c of which was numerous from a gender, ethnic and LGBTQ perspective and 25 p.c of which consisted of African-American illustration.

The second-round interviews included 50 p.c numerous candidates from a gender, ethnic and LGBTQ perspective, 25 p.c of which consisted of African American illustration. In complete, the group, assisted by SearchWide International, made inquiries or overtures to over 125 potential candidates from the area people, across the nation and internationally, and performed face-to-face conferences with eight candidates within the first spherical and 4 candidates within the second spherical.

“I’m honored, thrilled and blessed to have the chance to return house,” mentioned David Whitaker. “Firstly, I’ve the privilege of following within the footsteps of two superb mentors and leaders–Merrett Stierheim and Invoice Talbert. Secondly, I’m becoming a member of an unbelievable staff in place with a protracted legacy, and a long time of selling Higher Miami and Miami Seashore as one of many world’s most distinctive and desired manufacturers.”

Whitaker will formally assume the function of President and CEO, efficient August 16, 2021, however is anticipated to be formally launched to the group at giant on the GMCVB’s annual assembly held in October 2021. Invoice Talbert, the GMCVB’s present President is anticipated to stay employed by the GMCVB in a consultancy capability till October 2022 to help Whitaker with transition issues.

Members of the Search Committee embrace:

Rick Beasley, CareerSource South Florida; Higher Miami Chamber of Commerce Chair

Maribel Calderon, Reserving.com

Paul Dietrich, B. Riley Wealth Administration

Michael Finney, Miami-Dade Beacon Council; GMCVB Board Member

Miles Gilman, Sultan River Holdings

Steven Haas, Centerplate; GMCVB Previous Chair and Chair of the Search Committee

Elizabeth Hicks, GMCVB Audit and Finance Committee Chair

Eric Jellson, Kimpton Accommodations; GMCVB Board Member

Julissa Kepner, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay; GMCVB Board Member

Grisette Roque Marcos, Miami Seashore Customer and Conference Authority

Bruce Orosz, Act Productions, Inc.; GMCVB Board Chair

Mark Trowbridge, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Christine Valls, American Airways; GMCVB Board Member

Ceci Velasco, Ocean Drive Enchancment Affiliation


SOURCE: Higher Miami Conference & Guests Bureau press launch.

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