People News: Choose Chicago, PCMA, OVG360 and More Select New Leaders, Scoop Up Talent

March 28, 2022

The trade show industry’s hiring and promoting trend continues its forward trajectory as event-related organizations throughout the U.S. appoint new executives, elevate top-performing staff and welcome new team members. Take a look! 

Choose Chicago 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Choose Chicago have tapped Lynn Osmond as the CVB’s new CEO, effective May 9. As the first woman to helm the city’s tourism agency, Osmond brings deep knowledge of Chicago’s tourism and hospitality community to her new leadership role, most recently serving as president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC).  

Under Osmond’s 25-year leadership, the CAC grew from a $2.4 million operation in 1996 to a $25 million organization in 2019, making it one of the city’s top cultural attractions and the largest architecture center of its kind in the world. A former Choose Chicago board member, she has also held key leadership positions with theater, symphony orchestra and architecture nonprofits. 

Osmond was appointed after a global search overseen by a 13-member committee of Choose Chicago Board members representing a cross-section of the tourism hospitality community. She succeeds David Whitaker, who resigned last summer after five years at the helm and was appointed president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since then, Choose Chicago has been under the leadership of Interim CEO and CFO James Meyer.


The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) recently made two senior leadership promotions. Kimberley Gishler, who has served as CEMA president and CEO since 2010, has been appointed PCMA senior vice president global events and experiences and executive director, CEMA (which was acquired by PCMA in December 2020). She will continue to helm CEMA while providing leadership and direction to PCMA global events. 

Meghan Risch has been appointed chief of staff and vice president, corporate communications. In this new role, she will continue to lead the communications team while supporting the president and CEO and the executive leadership team in carrying out PCMA’s 2022 goals, streamlining strategic initiatives, ensuring communications and collaboration between departments, and overseeing board relations and communication. 


Full-service venue management and event programming company OVG360, a third-party, service-oriented division of global venue development, advisory and investment company Oak View Group, has appointed Gregory A. O’Dell as president, venue management. He will begin his new role in April as he departs his current position as president and CEO of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. 

Bringing more than 25 years of experience in sports, entertainment, hospitality, management and development to his new role, O’Dell will lead OVG360’s venue management line of business, overseeing venue operations for more than 230 global properties, including stadiums, arenas, convention centers, performing arts centers, cultural institutions and state fairgrounds. His responsibilities will include setting strategy to bolster sustainable operations, booking and content development, premium and sponsorship sales, public safety, public health and sanitization, parking and transportation, and many other venue operations. 

In his prior leadership role with Events DC, O’Dell oversaw three lines of business: conventions and meetings, sports and entertainment, and special events. His primary responsibilities included oversight of the creation and promotion of hospitality, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities, as well as managing Events DC’s development portfolio.

Previously, O’Dell served as CEO and general manager of the Washington Convention Center Authority, president and CEO of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission and chief development officer for the Government of the District of Columbia.  

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) recently expanded its sales team with several promotions and a new staff member.  

Bringing more than 20 years of experience working in the Philadelphia tourism and hospitality industry, Shane Jackson has joined the PHLCVB as national accounts manager for the Northeast market. He previously served as senior sales executive for the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, and before joining Marriott in 2007, worked as marketing manager for Talley Management Group and national sales manager for the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 

Caryn Mousley has been promoted from destination services coordinator to destination services manager, devoted to servicing the PHLCVB’s large convention groups and citywides, liaising between clients, vendors, city services and hotel partners.

Anthony Nelson has been promoted from national accounts manager to national accounts director, responsible for booking citywide conventions for the western half of the U.S., focusing primarily on association and corporate markets. He is also handling the Southeast market and a vertical in the sports market. 

PHLCVB has promoted Nicholas Rigas from manager, convention sales to director of events and experiences, a role in which he will lead a dedicated events team to coordinate and execute events for partners, clients and external stakeholders. 

Sodexo Live! 

Venue hospitality and management partner Sodexo Live! has promoted Paul Pettas from PR and communications director to vice president, brand and communications. 

In his new role, Pettas will be tasked with developing a clear and effective internal and external communications strategy; continuing to promote thought leadership, SMEs and key executives from the Sodexo team; working with media; and rolling out the next phase of Sodexo’s brand identity to the market. 

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) has hired 20-year hospitality veteran Anthony Molino as director, Chicago area sales, responsible for attracting citywide conventions of 1,200 room nights or greater on peak from the Midwest market.

Molino was most recently with Choose Chicago as director of hotel sales and national sales manager after joining the destination marketing organization in 2017. Prior to that role, he held positions as director of national accounts with Hilton properties in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and began his career in event services at Chicago Marriott Downtown in 2004.

Molino currently serves as chair of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Global’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, and sits on MPI Global’s customer advisory board, as well as multiple committees with Destinations International.


Leading registration, data management, data analytics and lead retrieval services provider CompuSystems has welcomed events industry veteran Julie Ichiba to its sales team as director of business development. Bringing more than 20 years of sales and leadership experience to her new position, she is responsible for encompassing sales team leadership, business development, client management and contributing to the company’s marketing and business strategies.

Prior to joining CompuSystems, Ichiba gained expertise selling, managing clients and leading high-performance sales teams at RX, Advanstar Communications, VNU Exhibitions, Tarsus, Association Management Center and others. 

Clarion Events North America  

Clarion Events North America has promoted senior vice president Mike Carlucci from senior vice president of revenue to executive vice president of revenue and customer delivery, focused on driving revenue growth by aligning the sales, customer delivery and operations teams to enable greater success for exhibitors and sponsors. He will serve as the primary contact in all central operations relationships, including working with venues, decorators and exhibitor service partners on behalf of Clarion’s North American business.  

Since coming to Clarion in 2014, Carlucci has worked across a variety of portfolios leading the sales and sponsorship delivery for North America, building relationships with venues and service providers, leading the exhibitor services team and focused on all aspects of customer delivery. He previously worked at RX for almost five years. 

Visit Jacksonville

Visit Jacksonville recently welcomed four new team members to support its meeting and convention efforts. 

As the new national account manager, Laura Gonzalez is focusing on the sports tourism market to promote Jacksonville as a premier destination for youth, amateur, collegiate and professional sports as well as sports conventions. Prior to this role, she served as director of sales and marketing at Tru by Hilton in Jacksonville.  

Lauren Hickox has been appointed assistant destination experience manager, responsible for assisting visitors through Visit Jacksonville’s numerous Visitor Centers, as well as those visiting as a part of a conference or group, with requests for information, maps and brochures, referrals and trip planning services. Most recently, Hickox was an events and marketing intern at the American Heart Association in Jacksonville.  

As destination experience manager, Paloma Martin works as a liaison between local businesses and provides referrals and amenities to individuals, groups and meeting planners coming to Jacksonville. Previously, she worked as an event manager at Hyatt Regency Jacksonville-Riverfront. 

Certified Meeting Professional Kelly Sanderson has assumed the role of convention sales marketing manager, responsible for marketing initiatives and strategies associated with helping the sales team bring conventions and groups to the city. Most recently, Sanderson was the destination service director for PRI Productions.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact