Quantcast Meet the Sonoma County Tourism Staff | Sonoma County (Official Site)
 

Meet the Sonoma County Tourism Staff

Lyn Beam, CTA, Executive Assistant to CEO
Nicole Bradin, CTA, Director of Community Engagement and Operations
Chyrl Collins, CMP, CTA, CTIS, Tour and Travel Sales Manager
Erika Costa, CTA, National Sales Manager
Mark Crabb, CMP, CTA, FCDME, Chief Sales Officer
Nancy Garvey, CGMP, CTA, National Sales Manager
Gilda Gonzales, Accountant
Mariah Harkey, CTA, Digital Marketing Coordinator
Ariane Hiltebrand, CTA, Digital Marketing Manager
Paula Johnson, CMP, CTA, Director of Administration
Bill Judson, CTA, Chief Financial Officer
Charmaine Louzao, CTA, Meetings Sales and Services Manager
Lilly Owsley, Sales and Services Coordinator
Tina Luster, CTA, Communications Manager
Suzy Montes, CTA, National Sales Manager
Ginger Myrick, Advertising Traffic Coordinator
Barbara Quigley, CMP, CTA, National Sales Manager
Cheryl Sarfaty, CTA, Public Relations Coordinator
Beth Snow, CTA, Marketing Manager
Susan Takano, CTA, International Tourism Coordinator
Kristin Treiber, CTA, Marketing Operations Manager
Jill Vanden Heuvel, CDME, CTA, Director of Advertising and Industry Relations
Birgitt Vaughan, CTA, Public Relations Manager
Jamie Ward, CMP, CTA, National Sales Manager
Devin McConnell, Office Coordinator
Tim Zahner, CTA, Interim CEO

 

 


Lyn Beam, CTA

Position: Executive Assistant to CEO
Date Started with SCT: Jan. 28, 2017

Executive Assistant activities/responsibilities:

The Executive Assistant is responsible for supporting the Chief Executive Officer’s strategic roles as the public face of Sonoma County Tourism and as the top manager in the organization.

  • Provides the CEO with administrative, logistical, and clerical support, and extends the same spirit of service to those served by the CEO (SCT’s board of directors, SCT staff, industry partners, government and community representatives, and visitors).
  • As a member of the administrative support team, the Executive Assistant also contributes to the smooth operation of SCT’s office and staff.

Professional history:

  • Executive Assistant to C-Level Team, Jelly Belly Candy Company
  • Legal Assistant, Law firm specializing in criminal defense
  • Professional Organizer, owned business for more than eight years specializing in organizational structuring and time management

Places I have traveled:

I have traveled through much of United States and Central America as well as brief trips in Asia and Europe. While exploring new places and cultures is my strongest passion, my fondest travel memories are road trips with my father when I was a child. We camped and hiked through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and Texas. These road trips have been the strongest travel experiences of my life and set the stage for wandering and exploring the world without a strong itinerary.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Trione-Annadel State Park and Spring Lake Park are easy evening walks in the summer while a hike up Hood Mountain is a challenge on a Saturday. A waterfall walk at Sugar Loaf State Park in the winter or a standup paddle board trip to Lake Sonoma in the summer are welcome treats as well. Nothing beats the local feel of Cloverdale, which is my hometown, and people still remember me by name.


Nicole Bradin, CTA

Position: Director of Community Engagement and Operations
Date Started with SCT: May 21, 2010

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Oversee the physical office and its contents, including computer and telecommunications systems, utilizing vendors and subordinate staff to ensure proper repairs and maintenance are performed
  • Develop long-term plans to best meet SCT’s operational needs and oversee procurement of the related furniture and equipment
  • Create and manage Repairs & Maintenance and Office Supplies budgets
  • Sign SCT checks on behalf of CEO when he is out of town
  • Create SCT’s community relations strategy to align with our Strategic Plan and update it annually, with involvement and approval from Board, Committees and staff as appropriate
  • Manage the execution of the initiatives of the strategy
    • In partnership with the Marketing group, keep SCT abreast of local industry developments
    • Attend events and contact businesses or community groups on behalf of SCT
    • Develop and manage the community relations budget each year
  • Manage the Certified Tourism Ambassador program and staff
  • Promote SCT to the local tourism industry
  • Maintain good working relationships with key collaborators such as the County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrape Growers

Professional history:

  • Assistant to the president/business development – Reach Global Music Publishing, New York, New York
  • Business Development Officer –Yale Capital, New York, New York
  • Project manager/business development manager – Seriatim, New York, New York
  • Graduate of Rutgers University (M.F.A. theater arts)
  • Graduate of Sonoma State University (B.A. liberal arts/theater arts)

Places I have traveled:

Much of the United States, Ireland, England, Scotland, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, France, Dominican Republic, Mexico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Holland

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Sonoma County is so wonderfully diverse ... the coast between Bodega and Jenner, the Sonoma foothills, Highway 12 between Sonoma and Rincon Valley, River Road from 101 to Goat Rock, Armstrong Woods, Downtown Petaluma. My "favorite places" in Sonoma County are endless.


Chyrl Collins, CMP, CTIS, CTA

Position: Tourism Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: May 17, 2006

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Geographic territory – national and international group tours
  • Represent Sonoma County’s lodging and attractions to event and tour professionals showcasing the diversity of beautiful Sonoma County as a desirable Wine Country destination.
  • Coordinate and represent Sonoma County at various tour and travel trade shows, meetings, and special events.
  • Create special events and tours to introduce travel and event planners to Sonoma County’s unique attractions, activities, special event venues and lodging.
  • Distribute, track, and report lead conversion with emphasis on obtaining new mid-week frequent individual traveler (FIT) and group tour business to enhance and increase Sonoma County’s hospitality industry.
  • Work effectively with SCT members, committees, city/county officials, and the hospitality industry to promote SCT’s sales efforts in the group and FIT markets.

Professional history:

  • Director of sales and marketing, Inn at Oyster Point
  • Senior sales manager, Hilton Sonoma County
  • Director of sales and marketing, Sonoma Valley Inn
  • Corporate sales manager, Flamingo Resort Hotel and Conference Center
  • Sales manager, Los Robles Lodge
  • Director of sales and marketing, Crown Sterling Suites
  • Sales manager at various San Francisco and South San Francisco hotel properties

Professional Organizations:

Northern California Chapter Meeting Professionals International, Sacramento Chapter Meeting Professionals International, Society of Government Meeting Professionals International, Northern California Society of Association Executives, American Bus Association, National Tour Association, Travel Industry Association of America

Places I have traveled:

South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, District of Columbia, Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and Mexico

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Wine tasting and picnicking at one of the many fabulous wineries or dining coast side at sunset.


Erika Costa, CTA

Position: National Sales Manager - Northwest
Date Started with SCT: Oct. 10, 2016

 

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Geographic territory: Northwestern States & Canada.  States include: Northern California (Sacramento/Mendocino), Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Based in Sacramento, CA and represent Sonoma County's lodging, attractions, and gorgeous landscape to event and meeting professionals as an attractive group travel destination to increase overnight stays for the Sonoma County Tourism Business Improvement Area.
  • Assist State & National associations, corporate and incentive program planners with requests for proposals, lodging, site tours, and itineraries.
  • Coordinate and represent Sonoma County at various corporate, incentive, and association tradeshows, monthly meetings, and special events in the Northwest market.
  • Produce and direct special client events and site tours to introduce event and meeting professionals to Sonoma County's lodging, special event venues, and attractions.

Professional history:

  • Hilton Waikoloa Village ~ Director of National Accounts, Northwest US & Canada 
  • Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country ~ Senior Sales Manager
  • The Fess Parker, a Doubletree by Hilton Resort ~ Senior Sales Manager
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton, Sacramento Riverfront Promenade ~ Senior Sales Manager
  • Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Sacramento ~ Senior Catering Manager

Places I have traveled:

Throughout much of the United States and internationally including: France, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greek islands, Turkey, Austria, Iceland, French Polynesia, Hungary, Russia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, Czech Republic, China, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Mexico and Canada.  

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

The overall beauty of the destination draws me in every day.  From lush vineyard landscapes to the breathtaking Northern California coastline of Bodega Bay & Jenner, I always enjoy farm-to-table experiences tantalizing the senses.  Memories are always made in Sonoma


Mark Crabb, CMP, FCDME, CTA

Position: Chief Sales Officer
Date Started with SCT: April 9, 2008

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Supervises staff within the sales department. Assist sales managers in setting and reaching measurable goals.
  • Ensure that annual marketing plans and budgets are developed, approved, implemented and tracked for performance (accountability, measurability, and results driven).
  • Ensures that accurate record keeping processes are in place for booking contracts, sales calls, correspondence, and expense accounts, and for other appropriate documentation.
  • Maintains a close and active working relationship with general managers or directors of sales at area lodging establishments so as to develop cooperative sales programs. Coordinates regular partner meetings in conjunction with other SCT departments.
  • Works effectively with volunteers, SCT board of director members, committees, city and county officials, hoteliers and hospitality industry staff in selling Sonoma County as a premier meeting and leisure travel destination.
  • Performs any other duties as assigned by the president/CEO.

Professional history:

  • Deputy director sales, marketing and communications, Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Executive director, Muncie/Delaware County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Muncie, Ind.
  • Executive director, Rising Sun/Ohio County Convention and Tourism Bureau
    Rising Sun, Ind.
  • Bachelor of arts, Visual Communications, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Fellow, Certified Destination Management Executive (FCDME)

Professional Organizations:

Conference and Convention Council Advisory Board, Destination Marketing Association International, Education Committee, Florida Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Education Committee, FGCU Professional Golf Management School Board Member, FGCU Resort and Hospitality Management Wanderlust Committee, Florida Society of Account Executives, National Tour Association, Visit Florida, Sales Committee, Tour Indiana Motorcoach Council president, Association of Indiana, CVB, president-elect and treasurer

Places I have traveled:

The majority of the U.S., Canada, London, Germany, Puerto Rico, St. Marten, St. Thomas, and would like to take a mission trip to Africa with my family.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

The sheer diversity of Sonoma County lets you be in the mountains looking over rolling vineyards in the morning, dangling your feet in the Russian River while redwoods shade the afternoon sun, and then being blown away by a brilliant sunset over the rugged Pacific coast in the evening. Enjoying that diversity is the best part of Sonoma Country.


Nancy Garvey, CGMP, CTA

Position: National Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: May 4, 2015

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Geographic territory - group market for the Southwest Region
  • Relocating back to my home in Orange County, CA, after living in Sonoma Country for the past 3+ years, I represent Sonoma County's lodging, attractions and breath taking landscape to meeting, event and individuals from the perspective of a person that has lived, and experienced the Sonoma County passion and hospitality.
  • Coordinate and represent Sonoma County at various incentive, corporate and association tradeshows, monthly meetings and special events.
  • Produce, distribute and report lead conversion with an emphasis on obtaining mid week or off season group business.
  • Assist with association, corporate and incentive program planners from the Southwestern Region with requests for proposals, lodging, site tours and itineraries. 

Professional history:

  • Group Sales Manager at Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
  • Senior Sales Manager at Doubletree Guest Suites
  • Senior Sales Manager at Doubletree Hotel Anaheim Orange County
  • Catering Sales Manager at the Doubletree Hotel Anaheim Orange Country
  • Social Catering Manager at the Doubletree Hotel Costa Mesa (now known as Hilton Costa Mesa)
  • Senior Consultant for Turnip Rose "Elite Catering" in Orange County

Professional Organizations:

  • CalSAE - California Society of Association Executives
  • SGMP - Society of Government Meeting Planners
  • WomenSage (nonprofit)
  • MPI - Meeting Planners International - Southern California Chapter.

Places I have traveled:

  • Baja Mexico - many times as the co-founder of a ministry that provided shoes and clothing to the needy.
  • Most of the United States.
  • I look forward to the opportunity to travel aboard in the next five years.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:
I can't even begin to name all of my favorite locations in Sonoma County, but to name a few.


Gilda Gonzales

Position: Accountant
Date Started with SCT: Aug. 3, 2015

SCT activities/responsibilities:

Responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, inventory and the general ledger.  Also provides support for the Chief Financial Officer in the areas of audit, budgeting, financial reporting and regulatory compliance.

Professional history:

  • Staff Accountant-Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire, Santa Rosa, CA
  • Accountant- Fair, Isaac and Company, San Rafael, CA
  • Business Development Specialist- UEDC, Mayor’s Office, San Francisco, CA
  • Research Associate- IMF, Washington, DC
  • Senior Fiscal Planning Specialist- Dept. of Budget & Management, Philippines
  • M.A. in Development Economics- Williams College, Williamstown, MA
  • M.A. in Economics- University of the Philippines, Philippines
  • B.S. in Accounting - University of Santo Tomas, Philippines

Places I have traveled: 

I have visited most places in the US and Hawaii and have traveled to England, France, Switzerland, Thailand, Korea and Japan. I have been to Pakistan and Bangladesh as I volunteered to help the homeless children in Karachi, Islamabad and Dhaka and volunteered in Lourdes, France to help the sick pilgrims.

My favorite place in Sonoma County

My favorite place is the coast between Bodega Bay and Jenner as this was where my late husband and I used to spend our Saturday afternoons watching the sunset and have a Sonoma coastal dinner.

 


Mariah Harkey, CTA

Position: Digital Marketing Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: Sept. 6, 2016

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Implement and assist with coordinating the social media and online communications plan
  • Moderate, post and comment on SCT’s own social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and online community forums such as TripAdvisor and other travel related platforms
  • Build and maintain Snapchat presence
  • Increase “Millennial” audience engagement
  • Edit and publish content from freelance writers to SCT’s website and blog
  • Write copy for digital marketing and content distribution according to SEO best practices
  • Edit photos and visual content
  • Curate and moderate user generated content (UGC) via digital platforms
  • Coordinate video projects and post videos to online channels

Professional history:

  • Media Relations & Sales at Authentic Ireland Travel Company
  • Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds
  • Social Media Marketing/Videographer for Angel Island and The California Parks Company
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing at California State University, Chico

Professional Organizations:

Sonoma County CTA, International Festival and Events Associations (IFEA)

Places I have traveled:

Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Canada (BC), Florida, Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Germany, The Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Thomas.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Being surrounded by the giants of the Armstrong Redwoods in Guerneville.


Ariane Hiltebrand, CTA

Position: Digital Marketing Manager
Date Started with SCT: Jan. 9, 2012

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Oversee the interactive and online marketing initiatives of Sonoma County Tourism.
  • Develop and implement digital marketing strategy to drive overnight visitation from SCT’s three core market segments: individual travel, meetings and groups, and tour and travel.
  • Manage Sonoma County Tourism’s online presence, including websites, social media channels and mobile applications. Coordinate technology providers and application development.
  • Manage online content distribution and SEO/SEM strategy.

Professional history:

  • Master of Science in Marketing, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley
  • Direct Marketing Manager at Intrepid Suntrek
  • Marketing Manager at Suntrek Tours Inc.

Places I have traveled:

Born and raised in Germany, I have studied at universities and colleges in Muenster, Paris, London, Berkeley and Manchester (NH). I have traveled to most countries in Western Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Australia, Peru, Mexico and Canada. Within the U.S., I have visited Alaska, Hawaii, all of the Western states, as well as Montana, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. I have had the chance to explore many North American national parks on guided adventure trips while working for an internationally renowned adventure tour operator: Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Joshua Tree, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, Kenai Fjords, as well as Banff, Jasper, and Yoho in Canada.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

I very much enjoy the diversity of Sonoma County. On weekends you can find me and my family jogging around Spring Lake, relaxing at Doran Beach or swimming in the Russian River. I like exploring Sonoma County’s fantastic wineries, especially in the Sonoma Valley area. You can also spot me shopping at the Petaluma Premium Outlets or strolling around Petaluma and Sonoma’s historic downtowns with all those quaint boutiques, galleries and cafes. In the evenings I like trying out trendy restaurants to eat a delicious dinner with fresh California produce and seafood or international delicacies. Coming from Europe, I also appreciate Sonoma County’s gourmet-European restaurants for a taste of French, Italian, or German cuisine.


Paula Johnson, CMP, CTA

Position: Director of Administration
Date Started with SCT: June 13, 2005

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Support SCT Board and Committees: Schedule and produce Board and Committee meetings, retreats and events, and manage communications.
    Coordinate Board reporting, monthly staff reports, and quarterly ROI reports. Document and oversee implementation of Board governance policy changes. Set-up new board member orientation, ethics training and Form 700 collection.
  • SCT Liason to County of Sonoma staff, including Board of Supervisors, Deputy Directors and County Clerk. Arrange quarterly meetings with County Advertising Committee.
  • Manages SCT Telecommunications/AV: coordinates vendors and staff training, manages equipment adn updates.
  • Coordinates and submits Destination Marketing Accreditation Program annual updates.
  • Manages Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Professional history:

  • Director of Group Sales, Sonoma County Tourism
  • Director sales, Sonoma Wine Country Meetings
  • Senior sales manager, Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
  • Sales/marketing manager, Crowne Plaza Foster City
  • Executive kitchen manager and trainer, Chevy's Mexican Restaurants
  • Bachelor’s of science, hotel administration University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Associate of science, hotel and restaurant management City College of San Francisco

Professional Organizations:

Meeting Professionals International, Society Government Meeting Professionals, Hospitality Sales Marketing Association International, California Society of Association Executives, American Society of Association Executives, Professional Convention Management Association, and SITE.

Places I have traveled:

I’ve visited every state in the Continental United States and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Italy, and Western Mediterranean countries. Australia, New Zealand, Paris, Hong Kong, and Bali are on my wish list.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

I love to walk my dogs at various parks in the redwoods, around lakes, and dog-friendly beaches in Sonoma County. Discovering new vintages at the various wine regions throughout Sonoma County is always a favorite, especially when paired with a picnic, gorgeous view, and family and friends.

 


Bill Judson, CTA

Position: Chief Financial Officer
Date Started with SCT: March 21, 2011

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Maintain effective financial management of the organization.
  • Review, develop and monitor systems of internal controls.
  • Oversees purchase decisions, obtaining multiple bids on major expense items when appropriate.
  • Oversee payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable and the general ledger.
  • Prepare financial reports for both internal and external purposes.
  • Oversee financial forecasting and budgeting.
  • Oversee financial analysis and various revenue and expense studies.
  • Oversee HR and IT service delivery for the organization.

Professional history:

  • B.S., business administration, accounting concentration, San Jose State University
  • Certified Public Accountant (currently inactive)
  • E.F. Hutton Life Insurance Company – accountant
  • DBSI Discovery Services, Inc. – investor accounting manager
  • Crew Concepts, Inc. – controller
  • Blue Shield of California – director of finance
  • Neighborhood Housing Services – chief financial officer

Places I have traveled:

Most of the continental United States, Hawaii, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Choosing a favorite place in Sonoma County is like choosing your favorite song. There are far too many great choices. The best I can do is to pick the one that best fits my mood at the moment. It might be sampling world-class wines while chatting with the winemaker in a quaint winery, playing with my son at the beach, hiking through the awe inspiring towering redwoods, cycling down a quiet back road enjoying the breathtaking mixture of vineyards and forest or enjoying basking in the sun while paddling down the Russian River. My list goes on and on ...



Charmaine Louzao, CTA

Position: Meeting Sales and Services Manager
Date Started with SCT: Nov. 16, 2015

 

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • I have the overall responsibility of assisting our National Sales Managers with sites, welcome amenities, offsite venues for their clients traveling to Sonoma County.  As the Wedding Specialist, I provide complimentary wedding assistance and connect brides directly to our BIA partners.

Professional history:

  • Events Coordinator/Operations Manager, Sonoma County Vintners
  • Wine Sales Associate/Brand Marketing, Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • Catering Sales Manager, Courtyard Marriott, Santa Rosa
  • Event Manager/Wedding Coordinator, Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club
  • Ropes Course Guide/Lifeguard, Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds
  • Sales and Finance, Hansel Auto Group

Places I have traveled:

Born and raised in Southern California, I’ve traveled the beautiful state of California and have seen the coastline from many different vantage points.  As a child, I spent summers south of the border in Tecate, BC.  I’ve visited Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Nevada and Utah with Hawaii still on my bucket list. Internationally, I have been to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico. 

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

As a ropes course facilitator at Alliance Redwoods Conference grounds, high above the forest floor, I would hang in any number of the redwood trees. Then I would coax students and adults alike to “let-go” and enjoy “ride”.  Wherever they are -tall, majestic redwood trees - that’s my favorite place to be!

 


Lilly Owsley, CTA

Position: Sales and Services Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: Jun. 1, 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Providing administrative support to the National Sales Managers in their mission to promote Sonoma County’s lodging and attractions, activities, events on a national platform
  • Working alongside the Meeting Sales and Events Manager on following wedding leads

Professional history:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies - San Jose State University. Minor in Art History and Visual Culture

Places I have traveled:

I’ve mostly stayed close to home in/around California. I grew up in Sebastopol and I’ve lived primarily in Santa Rosa, as well as spent a few years in both San Jose and Chico. I’ve vacationed in South Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and Hawaii (3 times!) The farthest I’ve ventured so far has been Twinsburg, Ohio (lived there for 1 year), and Edmonton Alberta, Canada. For our next grand adventure, my husband and I are looking at a cruise to Mexico.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Lately it’s been wherever is a good place to play Pokemon GO! Howarth Park, a Place to Play, Luther Burbank Gardens. However I do have a special place for the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. My very first job was there dressing as the mascot, Barnabee, and I have worked with a great promotions team at the racetrack for a few years, as well as recently working the Color Me Rad 5k. It’s a great consecutive community place for events. I also love going out to eat, one of my favorite Sonoma County places is China Delight in Rohnert Park. 


Tina Luster, CTA

Position: Communications Manager
Date Started with SCT: Dec. 10, 2007

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Manage communications for SCT: Primary writer/editor for company-level communications
  • Editor of SCT publications: Monthly Tourism Update and Visitors Chronicle; blogs
  • Write business-oriented press releases about the work SCT is doing
  • Write travel-oriented press releases to entice visitors to discover Sonoma Country
  • Create and maintain SCT’s communications strategy
  • Write, edit, and project manage SCT’s annual report and marketing plan
  • Assist the PR manager with journalist itineraries and article pitches, as needed
  • Graphic design projects as needed

Professional history:

  • Graphics designer, Napa Valley Register
  • Communications coordinator, State Farm Insurance Companies
  • Newspaper editor for arts and entertainment publication, Laughlin, Nev.

Places I have traveled:

“From sea to shining sea.” I’ve traveled through a lot of the country by train: California Zephyr from the Bay Area to Chicago; Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle; Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles; Sunset Limited from Los Angeles to New Orleans. I’ve done a lot of traveling around the Southwest, Southeast, and West, explored the mid-Atlantic region, New England (a baseball game and the venerable Fenway Park in Boston!), and the Midwest (another baseball game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field - Go Cubs!); and Hawaii – the most relaxing vacation ever.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

My very favorite is the view of the Mayacamas Mountains from my back deck in Sonoma Valley – best enjoyed while sipping some Sonoma County Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. My second favorite is watching the wild surf hit the cliffs below the overlook at Bodega Head. After hiking or whale watching (when in season), it’s nice to climb back into the car, roll the windows down a bit, lean the seat back and let the sound of the crashing waves lull you to sleep for a quick nap.


Suzy Montes, CTA

Position: National Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: Aug. 16, 2007

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Overall responsibility of attracting and booking conventions, conferences, trade shows, group meetings, tours, and social groups to Sonoma Country.
  • Provide premium service to facilitate and accommodate the meeting/event planner, their staff, and program attendees.
  • Work with hotel/venue staff to provide event planning services for corporate groups wishing to plan functions and activities outside of their hotel.
  • Develop customer relationships through the promotion of attendance, extended stay programs, local venue site tours, referrals, and customized services.
  • Create unique marketing collaborations that increase overnight stays in Sonoma County and increase brand awareness and knowledge of area.
  • Produce and coordinate special events and tours to introduce event and meeting professionals to Sonoma Country’s lodging, special event venues, attractions and activities.
  • Develop MINT database/lead generation.

Professional history:

  • Graduate of Empire College – Tourism, Hospitality, and Wine Industry with American Hotel and Lodging Association certificates in convention management, front office operation, supervision, marketing, hospitality sales and marketing and tourism and the hospitality industry
  • Event coordinator- Empire College fundraiser
  • Hotel and catering – Motherwell College, Scotland

Places I have traveled:

Born and raised in Scotland, I have visited varies parts of United Kingdom. Other countries: France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Mexico. USA: Oregon, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, Alabama, New Orleans,and Hawaii.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Staying in The Sea Ranch and hiking along the coast. Amazing scenery! 


Ginger Myrick CTA

Position: Advertising Traffic Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: Dec. 2, 2012

SCT activities/responsibilities: The Advertising Traffic Coordinator has the overall responsibility of assisting the Director of Advertising by tracking the ad production schedule and following up on all ad campaign materials.

Professional history:

  • Meeting Planner, RDL enterprises, Sacramento
  • Operations Technician/Crew Chief, KOVR-TV

Places I have traveled: Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando and many trips throughout the Southwest. One of my favorite trips was a cross-country road trip from Berkeley to Miami with my aunt.

My favorite place in Sonoma County: I love cycling through the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoma County and refueling at one of the local cafés.


Barbara Quigley, CTA     

Position: National Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: Dec. 1, 2007

SCTB activities/responsibilities:

  • Geographic territory: Midwestern States:  Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Kentucky, Kansas and Iowa.
  • Based in Chicago, Ill. and represent Sonoma County's lodging, attractions, and gorgeous landscape to event and meeting professionals as an attractive group and individual travel destination with numerous activities such as golf, spa, wine and culinary programs, kayaking, hot air ballooning, biking, and hiking.
  • Assist national association, corporate and incentive program planners with requests for proposals, lodging, site tours, and itineraries.
  • Coordinate and represent Sonoma County at various corporate, incentive, and association tradeshows, monthly meetings, and special events in the Midwest market.
  • Produce and direct special events and site tours to introduce event and meeting professionals to Sonoma County's lodging, special event venues, and attractions.

Professional history:

  • Sonoma County Tourism, Midwest Sales Representative
  • The CVB Source, Inc., President
  • Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, Midwest Sales representative
  • Sotheby’s Real Estate, Realtor
  • Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, sales director
  • San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, Midwest sales director

Places I have traveled: Throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Israel, England and Scotland.

My favorite place in Sonoma County: I can’t say that I have a favorite place, since I am based in Chicago and so many of my experiences have been a memory for a lifetime.  The overall beauty of our destination is the first “favorite” that comes to mind, visiting a winery and experiencing the passion of our winemakers as they explain the process of making wine, zip lining in the redwoods early in the morning with views of our beautiful landscape, and a drive along our coastline are just a few of my favorites.

 


Cheryl Sarfaty, CTA

Position: Public Relations Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: Feb. 23, 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the communications team and industry partners to promote Sonoma County as a travel destination
  • Coordinate media visits for domestic and international markets
  • Write and submit pitches, weekly e-newsletter, and other press materials
  • Monitor, track and report coverage

Professional history:

  • Bachelor of Arts degree (journalism), California State University, Northridge
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (NJ) – Public Relations Manager
  • NJBIZ, weekly business newspaper – Deputy Editor
  • Home News Tribune, daily newspaper (NJ) – Business Editor
  • Bloomberg TV (NYC) – Field Producer

Places I have traveled:

I have visited most of the United States, thanks to several cross-country road trips. From coast to coast and everywhere in-between, I am continually fascinated by the geographical, climate, and cultural changes that gradually take shape along the way. But my “Heaven on Earth” is Lake Tahoe. I would never attempt to count how many times I’ve been there, or how many more times I’ll go. Hawaii also is a favorite. Outside of the states, I’ve toured the western portion of Canada, including British Columbia and Alberta.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Today, it’s downtown Santa Rosa. But that could change tomorrow. There’s just so many offerings in this diverse region to explore and enjoy. I particularly like trying out the variety of restaurant offerings in Sonoma County. But having lived in New York and New Jersey for many years, it was hard to contain my excitement when I discovered Mac’s (hint: deli/diner). It’s really a dream to live in Sonoma County, sweetened by its dog-friendliness.

 



Beth Snow, CTA

Position: Marketing Manager
Date Started with SCT: July 21, 2008

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Manage partner information that is used for marketing programs (seasonal promotions, visitor guide, map, websites, and social media) and for sales efforts in meetings, tour and travel and weddings.
  • Develop collaborative marketing partnerships to increase brand awareness and promote Sonoma County as a destination.
  • Work with partners in developing partnerships and community relations programs to support local business marketing goals.

Professional history:

  • Sonoma County Farm Trails – chair of the marketing committee; special projects manager, webmaster and marketing consultant
  • John Ash, world-renowned chef, cookbook author and educator – Special Projects Manager, Webmaster and Marketing Consultant
  • Apple Creek Design Studios – co-founder of full service web design company specializing in the food and wine industry within Sonoma County.
  • Board member of Sonoma County Farm Trails (2006-2008)
  • Board member of Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (2013-2015)

Places I have traveled:

I’m a Colorado mountain girl (at heart), who ventured further west. Since I’ve been in Sonoma County, I have been to Hawaii several times, and many places throughout California. Within the U.S. I have visited all the western states as well as the great cities of Portland, Ore., Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans (I’m determined to return for Jazz Fest!). Outside of the U.S., I've been to Finland in the summer, an unforgettable trip and I want to return for their winter.  Other memorable places travelled to include Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon National Parks.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Depends on my mood! I love visiting each town with its own distinct personality and flavor. Getting a great cup of coffee and bite to eat tops the list. Walking in Armstrong Woods. Sunset picnic at Goat Rock beach. Drive through Dry Creek Valley in the fall. Or just staying at home and watching the moon rise over the redwoods while sipping a glass of wine.

 


Susan Takano, CTA

Position: International Tourism Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: Jan. 30, 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Providing administrative support to the Director of International Sales in her mission to promote Sonoma County’s lodging and attractions, activities, events on an international platform.
  • Building itineraries for familiarization tours showcasing key features of Sonoma Wine Country.

Professional history:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Art Studio – University of California, Davis

Places I have traveled:

Born and raised in Sonoma County, I have also lived in various cities in California — including Sacramento, Davis, Berkeley, and San Diego. I’ve traveled extensively on the East and West coasts of the U.S. — and have hopped over to Hawaii — but have so many more places yet to visit! As a university freshman, I had the good fortune of studying abroad in Kyoto, Japan, for a language and culture immersion program during my spring quarter. After university, I traveled with friends to Spain, Italy, and France (I hope to include many more countries on my next tour abroad.) My most frequented foreign excursion was cycling over the border from San Diego, California, to Tijuana, Mexico, and its adjacent cities — I ventured countless times!

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

When I’m not in the office, I’m outside soaking in the rays and taking in the view. You will most likely find me hiking in one of the many regional or state parks in Sonoma County. Year-round, this is a place of breathtaking beauty, with an endless supply of activities and delicious, locally sourced food and wine.

 


Kristin Treiber, CTA

Position: Marketing Operations Manager
Date Started with SCT: Jan. 27, 2014


 

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Coordinate monthly Partner Information Presentations
  • Oversee distribution of visitor guides and maps requested by guests & partners
  • Support the PR & Marketing Team with shipping and collateral for tradeshows & events
  • Coordinate ordering and shipping of marketing collateral, including working with vendors to facilitate merchandising needs
  • Support local events sponsored by SCT, such as the annual public meeting & Board retreat
  • Schedule travel and meetings for Chief Marketing Officer
  • Schedule & arrange team meetings, site tours and events
  • Maintain travel calendar

Professional history:

  • Film & Television Industry – Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles
  • The Office of George Gund III - San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco Film Commission - San Francisco, CA
  • Graduate of University of Colorado, Boulder (B.A. Film)

Places I have traveled:

Throughout much of the United States including five of the eight Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, US and British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cuba, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, China

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

The drive from Petaluma to Valley Ford for lunch at Rocker Oysterfeller’s, wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley, hiking in Armstrong Woods, enjoying the many Farmer’s Markets.

 


Jill Vanden Heuvel, CTA

Position: Director of Advertising and Industry Relations
Date Started with SCT: Aug. 2005

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Advertising strategy and planning, negotiate, place, and traffic annual media schedule
  • Manage annual advertising campaigns
  • Create in-house collateral materials
  • Manage creation of additional collateral created by marketing agency
  • Assist sales department with various sales and client events
  • Board member, CalTravel Association

Professional history:

  • Executive director, Battle Creek/Calhoun County Visitor and Convention Bureau
  • Director of tourism – Long Island CVB
  • National tourism manager – Horizon Group

Professional Organizations:

  • CalTravel Association
  • Meeting Planners International, Sacramento Sierra Nevada Chapter; annual event committee
  • California Society Association Executives

Places I have traveled:

Continental U.S., Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico: Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, and Taxco.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

TOO many wine country restaurants to be good for the diet plan! I also love driving through the vineyards and rolling hills.

 


Birgitt Vaughan, CTA

Position: Public Relations Manager
Date Started with SCT: Aug. 2011

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Promote Sonoma County as a destination to travel media
  • Deskside visits to target media markets to promote Sonoma County as a destination
  • Assist incoming media with itineraries and story ideas
  • Track and analyze media stories about Sonoma County

Professional history:

  • California Travel and Tourism Commission Contractor
  • Kleber PR Network (Germany) – Account Director California and Tasmania
  • DERTour (Germany) – Product Manager North America
  • Aeroworld Fernreisen (Germany) – Product Manager Caribbean

Professional Organizations:

  • Public Relations Society of America

Places I have traveled:

Coming from Germany, it is kind of a natural to start travelling around Europe. Beside of traveling all over Europe, I have been to Nepal, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa, South America, North America, and many Caribbean Islands. I feel lucky to have travelled to places in five continents, but there are still so many more places I would like to explore.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

That depends on the season and day! One day it is hiking and hanging out in Trione-Annadel State Park or in Armstrong Woods. The other it is letting a kite rise along the beach, especially in November. I am always enjoying the bounty of Sonoma County’s produce and wines – no matter where I am sitting – at the coast, the forest, the vineyards or in one of the many great restaurants.

 


Jamie Ward, CMP, CTA

Position: National Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: Aug. 7, 2006

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Geographic territory – group market for Texas and the East Coast
  • Represent Sonoma County’s lodging and attractions to group meeting planners and incentive planners showcasing the diversity of beautiful Sonoma County as an authentic wine, spa, and coastal destination
  • Coordinate and represent Sonoma County at various incentive and corporate tradeshows, meetings and special events.
  • Distribute, track, and report lead conversion with emphasis on obtaining new mid-week, off-season group business to enhance and increase Sonoma County’s hospitality industry.
  • Work effectively with SCT partners, committees, city/county officials and the hospitality industry to promote the Bureau’s sales efforts in the many diverse group markets in Texas and the East Coast.

Professional history:

  • Sales manager, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
  • Sales manager, Hotel Crescent Court and The Mansion on Turtle Creek
  • Sales manager, Westin City Center Dallas
  • Executive meetings manager, Fairmont Dallas

Professional Organizations:

DFW Chapter, Meeting Professionals International, Texas Society of Association Executives

Places I have traveled:

Most of the United States, The Caribbean and Mexico, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, France, Spain, Prague, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, and British Columbia

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Too many! However my favorite day in Sonoma would be a day of wine tasting at several of the gorgeous wineries followed by a massage at one the local spas, and then an elegant dinner at one of our fantastic restaurants.

 


Devin McConnell, CTA

Position: Office Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: June 19, 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Support services for Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Vintners, and Sonoma County Winegrowers
  • Execute fundamental day-to-day office operations
  • Provide customer service to tourist and county organizations

Professional history:

  • Graduate of San José State University (B.S. in Advertising)
  • Demo Specialist (Santa Rosa) & Demo POD Leader (North Bay Region) for Whole Foods Market
  • Board Member and Marketing Chair for Actors’ Theater For Children
  • Production Assistant at the Institute of Reading Development

Places I have traveled: 

I have visited Mexico and have spent time in most of the western United States. I have yet to experience much international travel, but when you live in a place as beautiful and diverse as Sonoma County, it’s difficult to find a reason to leave.      

My favorite place in Sonoma County: 

The outdoor place I treasure the most in Sonoma County is Spring Lake. The indoor place I call my favorite? That would have to be any number of the amazing local theatres we have: Left Edge Theatre and the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, the Raven Players in Healdsburg, Main Stage West in Sebastopol, CPAC in Cloverdale, the list could go on and on. We are so lucky to have such a large and varied performing arts community – I encourage everyone to check it out!    

 


Tim Zahner, CTA

Position: Interim CEO
Date Started with SCT: Dec. 12, 2006

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Duties of CEO during interim, guiding strategy and promoting mission of Sonoma County Tourism, reporting to Board of Directors and assuring uninterrupted operations of sales, marketing and admin teams
  • Strategic communications: advertising, customer relationship management (CRM), online marketing strategies, collateral and messaging of organization.
  • Public relations: direct strategy for organizational message in mass media, online and in response to needs.
  • Community relations: detail the work of SCT and the billion-dollar hospitality industry in California's wine country. Speak to industry groups and local business organizations.
  • Management: Lead team of professional marketers, communicators, and vendors to increase market share for Sonoma’s Wine Country. Work with sales team to promote meetings and group tour business.

Professional history:

  • San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau (now San Francisco Travel)
  • Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady: Haiti Mission, Inc.
  • Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee
  • Institute for Wisconsin’s Future
  • Freelance Travel and News Writing

Professional Organizations:

American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America. On the board of directors for Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.

Places I have traveled:

Many of these fine United States, backpacking in Southeast Asia, lost weekend in Montemartre, honeymoon by bus in Costa Rica, Haiti with nuns, and the Dominican Republic with friends. Also Mars Cheese Castle in Racine, Wisconsin. Got the ’fridge magnet, too.

My favorite place in Sonoma County:

Hiking in the redwoods or playing football at the beach with my family. Otherwise, I’m always on the prowl for the perfect espresso, the best chocolate croissant and a good book shop willing to take my money.

 

Back to About Sonoma County Tourism