People News: Visit Salt Lake, Bluefin and More Build Leadership Teams, Welcome Seasoned Industry Professionals

October 12, 2023

The U.S. trade show industry appears to be continuing its robust hiring momentum as summer turns to fall. Check out all the industry professionals getting hired and moving up at event-related organizations, companies and venues throughout the country. 

Visit Salt Lake 

Visit Salt Lake (VSL) recently welcomed two experienced industry professionals to its growing team: Stuart Webber as director of convention sales and Celina Sinclair as director of strategic alliances. 

In his new role, Webber will pursue citywide conventions with 1,700+ attendees from the health, medical, public administration, legal and governmental markets. Bringing more than 15 years of tourism industry and destination marketing organization experience to VSL, he served as Sioux Falls Convention Center’s director of sales since 2007 and worked with Global Spectrum in Sioux Falls as manager of corporate sales.  

In her new role, Sinclair is tasked with overseeing and executing strategy and implementation associated with the long-term stewardship of VSL’s strategic partners. Playing a leading role in managing the newly created Convention and Tourism Assessment Area (CTAA), she serves as the primary liaison with regional hotels and stakeholders and will work to enhance collaboration to drive tourism growth and development. She previously served as partner relations lead at the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT). 


Custom digital signage solutions company Bluefin International strengthened its commercial sales team with the addition of Susan Wilhite as senior director of business development. She will focus on cultivating key relationships with channel partners as well as establishing the company as the go-to digital signage resource in the commercial audio-visual space. 

Wilhite previously held business development and sales directorship roles at companies including Snap One, VIP Cinema Seating and Stewart Filmscreen, to name a few. She is also the founder and director of Women in AV/IT (WAVIT), a nonprofit created by and for women in the AV/IT industries. 

Meet Chicago Northwest 

Meet Chicago Northwest, the official DMO for the northwest suburbs of Chicago, recently hired Mario Farfan as its newest group sales account executive. A U.S. Army veteran, he brings more than 22 years of experience in community and business development across the Midwest, including Milwaukee, Chicago and surrounding suburbs. In 2015, Farfan founded the Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on business development in the Latino community across Chicago’s northwest suburbs. 

International Association of Venue Managers

The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) announced the retirement of President and CEO Brad Mayne, effective next year. He will officially step down at the conclusion of IAVM’s VenueConnect conference and trade show, set for July 28-31, 2024, in Portland, Ore.

Mayne took the helm of IAVM in 2016 and under his leadership has led its membership to a historic high. He also led IAVM and the venue management industry successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic, tirelessly advocating for state and federal assistance to keep venues open.

Prior to being appointed president and CEO, Mayne was a member of IAVM for more than 30 years. He previously served as the president and CEO of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. 

Following a detailed plan of succession for leadership, a Board CEO Selection Committee will soon be established to begin the process of identifying IAVM’s new president and CEO. 

Impact XM  

Global full-service event and experiential marketing agency Impact XM recently welcomed Robynne Weaver as vice president of strategic accounts. She joins Impact XM’s client service team and some of the agency’s largest client accounts, continuing to expand its B2B and B2C client portfolios.

Weaver brings two decades of industry experience in large-scale events and strategic experiences to her new role, including citywide corporate events, user conferences, product launches, trade shows and brand activations, and has worked with clients in the finance, technology, consumer and nonprofit industries. 

Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) recently added two regional directors of convention sales: Christina Henshall and Misty Sparks representing Reno Tahoe’s group events business in the Northwest U.S. and the Midwest, respectively, responsible for soliciting and selling the Reno, Sparks and North Lake Tahoe area as a convention destination.

Henshall has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 25 years with some of the largest global and national brands, including Marriott, Hilton and Caesars Entertainment. Based in Northern California, she oversees the territory that includes Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington State and Western Canada. 

Bringing more than 20 years of experience working with Caesars Entertainment and Hyatt brands, Sparks operates the Midwest regional office from Ohio and is responsible for booking business throughout Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

Skyline Exhibits

Liza Farm joined trade show exhibit company Skyline Exhibits as its new vice president of human resources, responsible for developing and executing a human resource strategy supporting the company’s business plan and strategic direction, as well as enhancing the Skyline team experience.  

An experienced and certified leader in human resource strategy, Farm joins Skyline from Master Builders Solutions, where she served as senior human resources manager for more than four years. Her professional experience spans a variety of industries, including glass and food manufacturing, franchising, SaaS and most recently, commercial construction. 

Visit Spokane 

Visit Spokane recently appointed 20-year marketing professional Jeff Hawley as its new vice president of marketing, responsible for leading the destination marketing organization’s team of marketing professionals. A Spokane native, he most recently served as global marketing manager, small business empowerment at Amazon, where he focused on helping small businesses gain recognition in their communities and nationally through the retail giant.  

Hawley previously worked as senior director and manager at global marketing agency Seattle Wunderman Network, and prior to that, began his career as a senior marketing analyst at Coldwater Creek.

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Partner Voices
Just when it seems like Las Vegas can’t get any bigger, brighter or more exciting for groups, MGM Resorts raises the bar again. The company continues to invest and innovate across its portfolio of Las Vegas resorts, with new attractions and upgraded experiences for attendees of all interests.  Remodeled Guest Rooms MGM Grand is the largest single hotel in the world with over 5,000 guest rooms and an 850,000-square-foot conference center. It is home to the newly remodeled MGM Grand Studio Tower—700 reimagined guest rooms with a fun mid-century vibe. Nearby, the iconic New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino recently completed a $63M redesign and remodel of its 1,830 guest rooms and 155 suites. Down the street, Bellagio Las Vegas is sporting renovated rooms in the Spa Tower with sunrise-inspired decor and luxurious soaking tubs in Premier King rooms after a $110-million transformation. Reinvented Luxury Experiences The Luxury Meetings District, made up of Bellagio Las Vegas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas, is now more connected than ever before. A new interior walkway opened this October for a seamless attendee experience – connecting Vdara, Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, guests can now walk from Park MGM to Bellagio in around 15 minutes. New on the scene in the Luxury Meetings District is Cathedrale at ARIA, TAO Group’s upscale establishment specializing in exquisite French-Mediterranean cuisine offering elevated private dining experiences that opened in May. Heralded by World’s Best 50 Restaurants, GQ and VOGUE, LPM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is opening this fall and will deliver its signature spontaneity and imaginative celebration of France’s Mediterranean cuisine, art, and culture to the unique luxury resort in impeccable fashion.  A “New Wave  for Mandalay Bay A new wave of enhancements and experiences has arrived at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, including Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar, an 8,445-square-foot restaurant that opened this June, perfect for pre- and post-game eats and drinks. Event planner’s favorite, Chef Michael Mina’s StripSteak, received a full renovation and now includes one of the largest private dining rooms on The Strip. Retro by Voltaggio debuts a one-year residency with a fun take on pop culture of the 80s and 90s with classic American dishes. An exciting addition planned for 2024 is Swingers, a 40,000-square-foot oasis of street food, miniature golf and art at Mandalay Bay. Most exciting for meeting planners, the 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center  is undergoing a complete refresh, with lightened space, added eye-catching art, and improved technology infrastructure for even more flexible space. Energy-efficient digital signage now leads the way with faster internet speeds and new AV options. From renovated guest rooms and meeting spaces to celebrated dining options and dedicated teams, MGM Resorts is dedicated to delivering exceptional and innovative meeting experiences.