October 3 – 5, 2019

San Francisco, California


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.


Parc 55 in San Francisco

Parc 55 San Francisco is a Hilton Hotel is located in the heart of San Francisco, close to the Financial District and on the cusp of SOMA (South of Market), so is the perfect setting for a stay in the City by the Bay. Their hotel is also well connected to the city’s colorful neighborhoods so you can enjoy dining, cultural attractions and the local coffee shops. We are also just a short walk away from the Moscone Center and Union Square. Book your room here by Sept. 12.



Register and Pay

Early-bird registration is $1,495 and good through July 1

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, attractions, hospitality businesses, sporting events, marketers, media and influencers.

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.


“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



Thursday, October 3, 2019

11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Regiception (registration + reception)

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Welcome, Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO, San Francisco Travel 

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Brand USA

3:15 pm – 4:00 pm


4:15 pm – 4:45 pm

Brian Boitano, Hall-of-Fame Olympic champion figure skater, author, television personality, sponsored by Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB

4:45 pm – 6:15 p.m.

Opening Reception at Parc 55, sponsored by Discover Puerto Rico

Friday, October 4, 2019

8:30 am – 9:30 am

Coffee and Keynote with Anderson Cooper

9:30 – 10:00 am

Photo Opportunity with Anderson Cooper

10:30 am – 12:30 pm


12:30 pm – 2:00 pm


1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC & Company

1:45 pm – 2:30 pm

Thomas Bömkes, ITB Berlin
Angie Briggs, Vice President, Industry Relations, U.S. Travel Association
Terry Dale, President, CEO, US. Tour Operators Association
David Jefferys, Executive Director, LGBT Meeting Professionals Association
Clark Massad, VP of Global Partnerships, IGLTA

2:30 pm – 3:00 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

3:15 pm – 5:00 pm


5:00 pm

Wine Tasting at Parc 55
Open Night

Saturday, October 5, 2019

9:00 am


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

10: 45 am – 12:00 pm


12:00 pm

Farewell Reception at Parc 55


Anderson Cooper

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.

Rick Calvert

Brian Boitano

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

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.

Rick Calvert

Fred Dixon

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.

Rick Calvert

Leah Chandler

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.”

Sarah Quinlan

Louis Duncan-He

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).

Rick Calvert

Ian Mackenzie

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.

Sarah Quinlan

Angie Briggs

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.

Sarah Quinlan

Terry Dale

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.

Sarah Quinlan

Clark Massad

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.

Sarah Quinlan

David Jefferys

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.

Sarah Quinlan

Joe D’Alessandro

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.