Today the travel industry mourns the loss of Karolyn Kirchgesler. Kirchgesler was diagnosed with cancer in October 2019 and stepped down from her role as president and CEO of Team San Jose.
Kirchgesler had been with Team San Jose, which includes San Jose McEnery Convention Center, Visit San Jose and the collection of San Jose Theaters, since 2013.
“I had the great privilege of hiring Karolyn, then witnessing her build Team San Jose into a powerhouse. Her style, wit and tenacity served our city in too many ways to count. We’ve lost a great leader and an even better human,” says Michael Mulcahy, board member and former chair of Team San Jose.
Kirchgesler was incredibly active in her community. She served as a board member of The Silicon Valley Organization, Joint Venture Valley Silicon Valley, San Jose Sports Authority and was vice chair of San Jose Police Organization. Outside of her city, she was on the board of U.S. Travel Association, Cal Travel and Destinations International.
She also played a hand in making San Jose a premier sports destination through her partnerships with the city of San Jose, San Jose Sports Authority, NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, NHL’s San Jose Sharks and MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes, to host numerous sporting events, including Super Bowl 50, 2019 CFP Championship Game and 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend.
Her hard work led her to be recognized as a Woman of Influence by Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2014 and Businesswoman of the Year by The Silicon Valley Organization in 2019, and to be inducted in the 2020 Destinations International Hall of Fame.