Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), one of the top destination management organizations in the United states, is off to a running start in the new year with Julie Coker Graham at the helm. Coker Graham assumed her new position in January, succeeding former President and CEO Jack Ferguson.
“Julie Coker Graham is a talented, experienced and respected professional, and her hard work and dedication to Philadelphia during her tenure at the PHLCVB has been pivotal to the city’s continued recognition as a first-choice destination for all visitors,” says Nick DeBenedictis, chairman of PHLCVB. “I have great confidence that she is the right leader to build upon the successes of Jack Ferguson and maintain PHLCVB’s reputation as one of the most recognizable destination marketing organizations in the country.”
Coker Graham joined PHLCVB in 2010 as senior vice president of the convention division and was promoted to executive vice president in June 2014. As president and CEO, she continues to lead convention sales efforts while overseeing all departments and operations. Coker Graham brings 21 years of hospitality experience, including leadership training through Hyatt Hotels Corporation. She is the only female African American president and CEO to lead a major convention and visitors bureau that ranks among the top 50 domestic markets.
“On the heels of a visit by Pope Francis in September, Philadelphia’s star continues to rise across the globe,” Coker Graham says. “It is an extremely exciting time to be taking the reins. As we look ahead to a year that includes the city of Philadelphia hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention and tens of thousands of delegates and leaders from around the world, I look forward to sharing Philadelphia’s story.”
Scott Mason has been named general manager of the new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa
in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Mason will be responsible for management, operations and marketing of the resort when it opens later this year. He has spent 17 years with Hyatt in various management roles. Most recently, Mason oversaw an $8 million rebranding of The Driskill, a historic property in Austin, Texas.
Marriott Marquis Houston has appointed Scot Cotton to be general manager of the hotel when it opens in October. He has a 30-year tenure with Marriott International, with a focus on sales and marketing and worked his way up to leadership positions. Cotton has worked at Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront and Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, where he oversaw a $35 million renovation. He is a board member of Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and Houston Hotel Lodging Association.
Hilton Miami Airport welcomed Michael Hooper as general manager of the 508-room hotel at Miami International Airport. Previously, Hooper served as hotel manager of Hilton Chicago, where he oversaw all operations departments. In his 30-year career, Hooper has spent 27 years with Hilton Hotels. He has a diploma in hospitality and tourism management from British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, British Columbia.
In the Spotlight: Ebony Recognizes LA Tourism CEO
Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, was included in Ebony Magazine’s 2015 Power 100 list of influential African Americans. In the December/January issue, Wooden is named alongside inspiring personalities, such as musician Prince, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, performance artist Zendaya and actress Viola Davis.