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Women Impact Virginia to feature hospitality and tourism leaders

Top leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry will take the spotlight at the second session of the Women Impact Virginia virtual series on May 26. Rita McClenny, president and chief operating officer of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Melissa Baker, director of Virginia State Parks, will deliver the keynote addresses at the half-day session.

This free series is aimed at engaging, connecting, and inspiring women who want to impact their own communities. Join us as we explore topics of leadership, communication, mentorship, empowerment, and much more.

Held from 9 a.m. to noon, the virtual event will also showcase the expansive Virginia Tech partnerships and initiatives impacting the hospitality and tourism industry in the commonwealth including remarks from:
· Kristin Lamoureux[DD2] , visiting professor in the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, who has over 25 years of experience as an educator, researcher, and consultant in tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, tourism development, destination management and marketing, hospitality management, marketing, strategic planning, and research. Prior to Virginia Tech, she served as the associate dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University and was the executive director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies.
· Elizabeth Sandoz, the university sales manager at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, where she has worked for 23 years.
· Laurie Bond, senior sales manager at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, who has been part of the hospitality industry for 36 years in various roles including front-desk clerk, sales and catering manager, and corporate sales.

Meanwhile, several Fast-Track speakers will provide a 5-minute overview of their business/organization and how they are addressing sustainability, innovative COVID pivots, and diversity and inclusion.
Diversity & Inclusion:
· Eola L. Dance, acting superintendent and supervisor of resources, stewardship, and science at the Colonial National Historical Park, Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and Fort Monroe National Monument
· Alex Conner, general manager at Starr Hill Roanoke Pilot Brewery & Side Stage
· Katy Brown, producing artistic director at Barter Theatre
· Beth Brummel, chief operating officer at Wolf Trap
· Idalina Walker, creative economy development specialist at Friends of Southwest Virginia
· Bridgette Bywater, vice president and general manager at Kings Dominion at Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
COVID-19 Pivots & Adaptations
· Julee Midden, director of sales and marketing at Primland Resort
· Lisa Pacheco, vice president of sports development at JEMS Hospitality Group
· Kisha Moore, owner of Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts

If you are interested in the work being led by women across Virginia, this series is for you! For a comprehensive look at the speakers’ bios visit www.cpe.vt.edu/impact/speakers.

Register today at www.cpe.vt.edu/impact or contact Mallory Tuttle for more information.

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