Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Connect THRIVE Summit
Connect THRIVE Summit is focused on community development through LGBTQ travel, sports, and entertainment. This one-of-a-kind marketing summit features dynamic general sessions and networking events alongside a series of pre-scheduled, one-on-one connections between destinations, resorts, hotels, attractions, domestic and international tour operators and travel agents, sports rights holders, media, marketers and brands.
InterContinental San Juan, Puerto Rico
The InterContinental San Juan is located only two miles from the San Juan Airport in the midst of Isla Verde Beach and conveniently close to the historic Old San Juan. Our full-service hotel has 398 sleeping rooms paired with 24,000 sq.ft. of meeting space all recently remodeled with a multimillion renovation. Offering an array of services from beach and pool amenities, a variety of Food & Beverage options, Spa Services and outdoor meeting space for unforgettable events. Come discover our “In the know” experience. Booking link coming soon.
HOW IT WORKS
Register and Pay
Registration is $1,495
Travel to San Francisco
Meet with a variety of domestic and international companies for pre-scheduled, one-on-one connections.
Build key relationships between destinations, resorts, hotels, attractions, domestic and international tour operators and travel agents, sports rights holders, media, marketers and brands.
Learn from Experts
Enjoy in-depth sessions about relevant topics led by industry experts.
Unwind and Mingle
Build relationships while the networking continues at our entertaining and interactive receptions.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
“We firmly believe that the Connect THRIVE Summit presents an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen our communities by building strong connections between leaders within the LGBTQ travel, sports and entertainment industry.” – DJ Doran, Managing Director, Diversitas Media
2019 AGENDA OVERVIEW
Thursday, October 3, 2019
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Regiception (registration + reception)
2:00 pm – 2:10 pm
2:10 pm – 2:45 pm
Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO, San Francisco Travel
2:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Melissa Maher, SVP, LPS Marketing & Innovation, Expedia Group
3:15 pm – 3:45 pm
3:45 pm – 4:15 pm
David Paisley, Senior Research Director, Community Marketing & Insights
4:15 pm – 4:45 pm
Brian Boitano, Hall-of-Fame Olympic champion figure skater, author, television personality, sponsored by Experience Kissimmee
5:15 pm – 6:45 p.m.
Opening Reception offsite, sponsored by Discover Puerto Rico
Friday, October 4, 2019
7:45 am – 8:15 am
Continental Breakfast and Coffee
8:30 am – 9:30 am
Coffee and Keynote with Anderson Cooper, sponsored by Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
9:30 am – 10:00 am
Photo Opportunity with Anderson Cooper, sponsored by Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
10:15 am – 11:45 am
11:45 am – 12:45 pm
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC & Company
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
LGBTQ Travel Panel 1: The Prism of Opportunities Benefiting Visitors & Residents, sponsored by Reno Tahoe
Angie Briggs, Vice President, Industry Relations, U.S. Travel Association
Clark Massad, VP of Global Partnerships, IGLTA
Mayor Hillary Schieve, Mayor of Reno + Chair of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports (TAPES)
Moderator: Richard Peterson, President & CEO, U.S. Cultural and Heritage Marketing Council
1:45 pm – 2:30 pm
LGBTQ Travel Panel 2: Addressing the Twists, Turns and Delays Along the Way
Thomas Bömkes, Advisor for LGBT Tourism, ITB Berlin and Managing Director of Diversity Tourism, GmbH
Terry Dale, President, CEO, US. Tour Operators Association
David Jefferys, Executive Director, LGBT Meeting Professionals Association
Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida
Moderator: Richard Peterson, President & CEO, U.S. Cultural and Heritage Marketing Council
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Networking Break, sponsored by Reno Tahoe
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
4:45 pm – 5:00 pm
Alia J. Daniels, Co-Founder & COO, Revry
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Louis Duncan-He, Director of Creative Strategy & Services, ICONIC Strategy, Marketing + Design and National Director of Marketing, PFLAG Canada
Ian Mackenzie, Creative Leader, FCB/SIX a data-driven creative agency
Wine Tasting at Parc 55, sponsored by Magnolia Blossom Wines
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Continental Breakfast & Coffee
9:30 am – 10:00 am
Brooke Crain, top tier BMX Racer, U.S. Olympic Cyclist
10:00 am – 10:30 am
Leah Chandler, Chief Marketing Officer, Discover Puerto Rico
Billy Kolber, Founder, HospitableMe
10: 45 am – 12:00 pm
Farewell Reception at Parc 55
Anderson Cooper is the anchor of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, a global newscast that goes beyond the headlines with in-depth reporting and investigations. The show airs weeknights at 8:00pm ET on CNN and is simulcast to an international audience on CNN International.
Since the start of his career in 1992, Cooper has worked in more than forty countries and has covered nearly all-major news events around the world, often reporting from the scene.
Cooper has also played a pivotal role in CNN’s political and election coverage. He has anchored from conventions and moderated several presidential primary debates and town halls. In 2016, Cooper was selected by the Committee On Presidential Debates to co-moderate one of the three debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
In addition to his shows on CNN, Cooper is also a regular correspondent for CBS’s 60 Minutes.
At CNN and 60 Minutes Cooper has won a number of major journalism awards. He helped lead CNN’s Peabody Award winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and DuPont award winning coverage of the 2004 tsunami. Additionally, he has been awarded thirteen Emmy Awards, including two for his coverage of the earthquake in Haiti, and an Edward R Murrow award.
Olympic champion, Brian Boitano, single-handedly changed the face of professional figure skating by raising the level of competition. Boitano captured his first National title in 1985 and went on to win the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal. Boitano’s competitive record is unmatched. It includes 4 national titles, 2 world titles, an Olympic title and more professional titles than any other skater in the history of the sport. Boitano is a member of the US Olympic Hall of Fame, The World Skating Hall of Fame and the US Skating Hall of Fame. Boitano is known for his speed and powerful command of the ice and most notably for winning Olympic Gold in the “Battle of the Brians.” Olympic Gold medalist, Brian Boitano, also gives a winning performance in the kitchen. His Food Network show “WHAT WOULD BRIAN BOITANO MAKE” was named one of the top 10 Food Network shows to watch by TV squad. Boitano has published a popular cookbook of the same name. His recipes are designed for anyone with an active lifestyle, who is concerned with nutrition and great food.
Brooke Crain, of Visalia, CA, got her start in BMX when she watched her older brother race at a track in Tulare, CA. Since then she has been riding every track in sight full speed and hasn’t looked back. Brooke advanced up through the ranks of BMX Racing quickly, turning pro at the age of 15 in 2008 and then joining the US Cycling team the next year in 2009. Brooke has represented the U.S. twice in the Olympic Games where she finished 8th at the 2012 London Games and 4th in 2016 in Rio. Today Brooke continues to progress as a top tier BMX racer and is an inspiration and role model for aspiring female athletes all over the world with her sight on Tokyo 2020.
On March 14, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Fred Dixon as President and CEO of NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. With more than 28 years of experience in the travel industry, Fred has the overall responsibility for developing and implementing New York City’s tourism and convention development strategy internationally as well as in domestic leisure and business markets. At NYC & Company, he has built a professional sales and marketing team that is at the core of the organization’s strategy to increase visitation and economic impact across the City. Joining NYC & Company in 2005, Fred led the aggressive and successful expansion of the City’s international marketing efforts. With a strategic focus on growing visitation and visitor spending, NYC & Company focused on emerging global markets, rapidly expanding the City’s presence from six traditionally strong origin markets to 17 offices covering more than 28 countries. With a network of sales, marketing and press professionals in diverse feeder markets from Australia to the UK, China to Mexico and India to Brazil, New York City remains at the forefront of inbound international tourism to the US.
Joe D’Alessandro has served as President and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association since July 2006. In more than a decade of his leadership, San Francisco has seen visitation grow by nearly 30%, has cemented its reputation as a must-visit global destination, and has embraced a motivated, forward-thinking outlook on its future. Major accomplishments of which Joe has been an influential part include successfully bidding for and hosting Super Bowl 50, which generated a positive economic impact of $137 million; launching the Moscone Expansion project, to be completed in 2018, which will add 500,000 square feet of exhibition space to one of the most in-demand convention centers in the nation; and the development of San Francisco’s Tourism Improvement District, which created a unique and sustainable funding structure that has become a national model for tourism promotion. He also helmed San Francisco Travel’s Centennial Project, which rebranded and refocused the organization, charting an ambitious course for its next 100 years.
Leah is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico. As CMO, Leah is charged with providing strategic marketing leadership for the organization; responsible for the oversight of the DMO’s paid media, creative, public relations, brand development and management, and digital strategy. Prior to her move to San Juan, Leah was the Chief Marketing Officer for Explore Branson, where she led the growth of the community’s tourism industry for five straight years, repositioning the destination’s brand and posting back-to-back years of record ROI for the organization’s marketing program. In previous years, Leah led the Missouri Tourism account at H&L Partners, the agency of record for the Missouri Division of Tourism. In this role, Leah developed and guided the strategic direction of the Division’s marketing, managing paid and earned media, creative and interactive development, and campaign implementation. Leah led Missouri Tourism’s brand repositioning effort in 2013, introducing a new brand identity and corresponding campaign featuring “Enjoy the Show.”
Across 15 years in the business, first as a writer then creative director, Ian has worked at the forefront of digital and creative innovation. During that time, his work has earned more than 100 international awards for creativity and effectiveness, including One Show, D&AD, Clios, Webby Awards and a total of 17 Cannes Lions. In 2014, he was ranked #1 Copywriter in Canada in Strategy Magazine’s Creative Report Card. Ian was also co-creator and writer of the influential “Our Food. Your Questions.” radical transparency platform for McDonald’s, which started in Canada then rolled out globally. As creative leader of the data-driven creative agency FCB/SIX, Ian helmed “Destination Pride” for PFLAG Canada, which became the most awarded Canadian campaign at the 2018 Cannes Lions – and one of the most awarded campaigns in Canadian history. Also in 2018, Ian was ranked #11 most awarded Executive Creative Director in the world, according to The Drum’s “Big Won” report. Major clients have included Honda, AB/InBev, Cadbury, Taco Bell, and BMW.
Angie Briggs is vice president of industry relations for the U.S. Travel Association. She is focused on engagement and growth across all member levels of the association. Briggs is a frequent traveler, spending time in-market collaborating with U.S. Travel’s national membership. Briggs has spent most of her career in the travel and tourism industry. Prior to joining U.S. Travel, Angie served as vice president, new business development at Miles Partnership. As a member of the leadership team, Briggs helped drive the agency’s strategy and growth. She established a strong track record of collaboration and identifying business opportunities to support national, state, regional and local destination marketing organizations, as well as hotels, airports, attractions and businesses in the international marketplace. Previously, Briggs was vice president, business development of marketing agency TIG Global. During her time at TIG Global, Briggs launched a new destination marketing organization (DMO) division at the agency, and was responsible for building brand awareness, leading the product development process, developing business plans and training staff members for DMO-specific accounts. Briggs received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from North Carolina State University.
Louis Duncan-He is an award-winning marketing strategist, lifestyle designer, and activist. He is the Principal designer at Louis Duncan-He Designs, Director of Creative Strategy & Services at ICONIC Strategy, Marketing + Design, and National Director of Marketing at PFLAG Canada. His career has spanned a variety of sectors including advertising (both client + agency side), government, fashion, interiors, and lifestyle design. Since starting his role with PFLAG Canada in 2016, Louis has spearheaded the implementation of its national brand strategy & guidelines & the development of Destinationpride.org (a global data-driven search tool to help travelers understand LGBTQ+ laws and sentiments) with the goal to promote safer and more inclusive travel. His work with PFLAG Canada has been recognized with numerous awards including 17 Cannes Lions, 8 CLIO’s and has been featured at the Design Museum of London (Hope to Nope Exhibition).
Clark is Vice President – Global Partnerships for IGLTA. Oklahoma native Clark Massad moved to France in 1999 after a successful eleven years with leading advertising agency, BBDO, in Chicago and Los Angeles. As Advertising Director of Têtu magazine, the world’s leading French-language gay & lesbian lifestyle and fashion monthly, Clark helped create in 2006 France’s only LGBTQ travel magazine: Têtu Voyage. In 2009, Clark began devoting his leisure time to the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), serving as IGLTA French Ambassador. Clark was named IGLTA European Ambassador in May, 2010, and appointed to Vice President – Europe of the Association in March 2012. In October the same year, Clark began managing IGLTA’s Global Partnership & Convention Sponsorship programs. His role with IGLTA provides him the opportunity to work with leading global travel brands such as Delta Air Lines, Disney, Hilton, Marriott, Belmond, Hyatt and MGM, supporting their LGBTQ market initiatives and helping them develop further outreach to LGBTQ consumers worldwide. Clark has represented IGLTA on the Belmond LGBTQ Advisory board and served on the culture & tourism organizing committee for Paris2018, the 10th edition of the Gay Games, held in Paris in August, 2018.
David Jefferys is the Executive Director of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association (LGBT MPA) and President of Altus Agency, a Philadelphia-based Marketing Firm. His awardwinning advertising campaign for the city of Philadelphia, “Get Your History Straight”, earned him the number one spot in the destination marketing world. Not satisfied with the lack of organized representation of the LGBT community in the meetings industry, he founded LGBT MPA in 2016. When he isn’t working on LGBT MPA’s growth, he is sailing the Chesapeake Bay. David lives in Philadelphia with his husband Ron.
Terry Dale was named President, CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, in January, 2011. A well-known and respected travel industry leader, Dale has had a distinguished career, most recently as President & CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) since 2003. His previous positions include five years with NYC & Company – The NYC Convention and Visitors Bureau– where he was Executive Vice President; and ten years as President & CEO of the Greater Providence Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as President of the New England Society of Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus. Dale has also served on the Board of Directors of the US Travel Association, HSMAI, and Visit Florida. He has been a course instructor and Grossinger Lecturer at NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, and served as a Distinguished Lecturer at Johnson & Wales. Among Dale’s responsibilities at USTOA are developing the association’s strategic marketing initiatives, managing the association’s government advocacy on issues affecting tour operators, and working with other leaders and decision makers in the travel industry to identify mutual challenges and opportunities. Dale also serves as a key ambassador and spokesperson for USTOA. He holds the distinction of being the third president in USTOA’s 45 year history.
Nadine Smith is the Executive Director of Equality Florida, the state’s largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. An award-winning journalist turned organizer, Nadine was one of four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington. She was part of the historic meeting between then – President Clinton – the first Oval Office meeting between a sitting President and gay community leaders. She served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization. She is s a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee and served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee. Nadine has been named one of the the state’s “Most Powerful and Influential Women” by the Florida Diversity Council. She has recieved the League of Women Voter’s Woman of Distinction Award and in 2018 was named one of the 100 Most Influential Floridians by Influence Magazine. She currently serves as chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee.
With three decades of tourism expertise in marketing, executive leadership, and strategic business development, Richard’s passion for cultural experiences, art, museums, music, history and all things
food are not only a business focus, but a personal one as well. He is the President & CEO of the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Marketing Council – and Publisher of The Cultural Traveler – headquartered in San
Francisco. Most recently, Richard has collaborated with global clientele within the tourism, museum and destination marketing arenas – facilitating product launches and signature initiatives throughout North America and key international markets. This is complemented by his ongoing engagements with leading industry organizations such as: Brand USA, California Travel Association, New York State Travel Industry Association, IGLTA, American Alliance of Museums, AIANTA, WTTC, and U.S. Travel Association. His career is complemented by senior leadership contributions within the Los Angeles Tourism Bureau, Hilton Hotels Corporation, the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, the California Academy of Sciences and Santa Monica Travel & Tourism.
Mayor Hillary Schieve
Hillary L. Schieve was elected as Reno’s Mayor on November 4, 2014. She was sworn in on November 12, 2014, as the 28th Mayor of the City of Reno. Prior to being elected Mayor, Hillary was elected as At-Large Reno City Council Member on November 6, 2012, and was sworn into office on November 14, 2012.
Hillary brings to the Council her entrepreneurial experience as an employer and local business owner, as well as her out-of-the-box thinking which helped her businesses prosper during the economic downturn. Hillary is the owner and operator of three businesses in the City of Reno. She wants to use her business knowledge to help eliminate bureaucratic red tape and spur job creation.
In September 2017, Mayor Schieve was selected as Chair of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports (TAPES). She is the first woman to Chair the committee in more than 25 years. Another national and local issue the Mayor is passionate about is mental health and addiction; as such, she hosted a community conversation on the topic in October 2017.
David Paisley is the Senior Research Director with Community Marketing & Insights (CMI). He has been with CMI for over 24 years. David coordinates the company’s LGBTQ quantitative and qualitative client research projects. With decades of experience, organizations utilize his expertise that comes from coordinating over 200 LGBTQ-specific survey initiatives and personally moderating CMI’s focus groups and consumer interviews. David is also a featured speaker at research and marketing conferences, and conducts training webinars for corporations, destinations and hospitality groups.
Alia J. Daniels
Alia is the Co-Founder and COO. From a very young age, Alia J. Daniels has been captivated with the entertainment industry. Determined to make an impact, Alia equipped herself with bachelor’s degrees in Music and Communications Studies with a Mass Media emphasis, and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. As a business and entertainment attorney, Alia has not only represented clients in the digital entertainment and tech space, but is a featured speaker on legal and business issues in the digital entertainment arena. Since 2015, Alia has been consistently named to the prestigious Southern California Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers for five years in a row. Today, Alia has found her niche at the intersection of entrepreneurship, digital media and law as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for Revry, a global queer digital media network where she oversees the content and marketing departments, as well as executive produces several podcasts. She is the Co-Festival Director for QueerX, the first queer music, film and industry festival dedicated to highlighting short form content made by and for the global LGBTQ+ community. Her dedication to inclusion within the Queer and Allied community is a cornerstone of Alia’s personal mission to create avenues for authentic representation in media.
Since 2010, Thomas Bömkes is Managing Director of Diversity Tourism GmbH, Munich, Germany. A consulting and marketing agency, specialized in LGBT and Medical Tourism worldwide. Offering strategic development, creative marketing solutions and MICE business activities
for tourism suppliers. Since 2010, Thomas is also the ITB Berlin advisor for LGBT Tourism and since 2016, he is also in charge of the development of the Medical
Tourism Segment at ITB Berlin. His company operates the online travel guide TomOnTour.com and other websites for Medical and LGBT Tourism. After graduating at Munich’s University with a Masters degree in economics in 1996, Thomas worked as a marketing consultant since then in different positions.
He has been a member of the board of directors of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) from 1999 – 2009.
As senior vice president for Marketing & Innovation, Melissa Maher spearheads the teams responsible for creating Expedia Group’s highly promising tech, marketing and data solutions for the lodging industry, as well as the B2B marketing and communications for hotel partners. On the innovation side, Maher’s team drives creation, adoption and engagement of Expedia Group’s white-label solutions, Rev+, Partner Loyalty Enrollment and VIP Access. Maher also leads Owner Relations, the team focused on owners and management companies’ relations, as well. Maher also oversees Partner Marketing, tasked with building a scalable marketing engine that powers hotel partner engagement. As one of Expedia Group’s leading executive sponsors for Diversity & Inclusion, Maher led the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion team in 2017. The team is responsible for celebrating and championing diversity and creating a sense of belonging for our employees, customers, partners and communities. Maher and the team take an intersectional approach to diversity and inclusion across many identities and lived experiences. To date Maher has led deep dive initiatives focused on gender representation in leadership, world pride and the LGBTQIA community, and allyship generally. Maher also sits on the board of WINiT for GBTA, a leading network serving as a catalyst to drive positive change for the career mobility of women in travel industries.
Billy Kolber is the founder of HospitableMe, the global leader in LGBTQ+ strategy and training for tourism and hospitality. He co-founded OUT&ABOUT, the first gay/lesbian travel magazine in the US, and ManAboutWorld, one of the first mobile-only magazines of any kind. He and his team provide learning and training around issues of sexuality and gender diversity, empowering destinations and brands to provide authentic, welcoming service to diverse travelers, and more personalized service to everyone. Billy traveled and sang around the world with the Yale Whiffenpoofs and has visited 71 countries, but still lives in New York City, where he was born.