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Meet the Sonoma County Tourism Staff

Lyn Beam, CTA, Executive Assistant to CEO
Nicole Bradin, CTA, Director of Community Engagement
Erika Costa, CTA, National Sales Manager
Sierra Downey, Digital Marketing Coordinator
Nancy Garvey, CGMP, CTA, National Sales Manager
Gilda Gonzales, Accountant
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
Devin McConnell, Office Coordinator
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 Sales Manager
Kristin Treiber, CTA, Marketing Operations Manager
Jill Vanden Heuvel, CDME, CTA, Director of Advertising and Industry Relations
Birgitt Vaughan, CTA, Public Relations Manager
Claudia Vecchio, President and CEO
Jamie Ward, CMP, CTA, National Sales Manager
Tim Zahner, CTA, Chief Operating Officer

 

 


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.


Nicole Bradin, CTA

Position: Director of Community Engagement
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.


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.  


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.

 


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.

 


Sierra Downey

Position: Digital Marketing Coordinator
Date Started with SCT: March 19, 2018

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
  • 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
  • Create and edit photos, videos and visual storytelling content
  • Curate and moderate user generated content (UGC) via digital platforms
  • Coordinate video projects and post videos to online channels

Professional history:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism at California State University, Fresno


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
  • Marketing Manager at Intrepid Suntrek
  • International 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.


Paula Johnson, CMP, CTA

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

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Support SCT Board and Committees:  produce Board and Committee meetings, retreats and events, and manage communications.
    Document and oversee implementation of Board governance policy changes, board member orientation, and board functions.
  • Manage the physical office and technology, to ensure procurement, repairs, and maintenance are performed.
  • Create and update Standard Operating Procedures to provide staff direction to meet goals
  • Interface with County contacts to ensure resolutions are completed for Annual Report and Marketing Plan
  • 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.

 


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.


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. 


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.      

 

 


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.

 


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.


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.


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.

 


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.

 

 


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.

 


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.

 


Susan Takano, CTA

Position: International Sales Manager
Date Started with SCT: Jan. 30, 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

Promoting Sonoma County as an overnight destination to tour operators, travel producers, receptive operators, travel agents and some consumer activity in the international marketplace.

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!

 


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

 


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.

 


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.

 


Claudia Vecchio

Position: President and CEO
Date Started with SCT: Nov. 2017

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Responsible for creating and executing the organization’s strategic plan, which will lead the organization for the next several years: "A robust economy for Sonoma County businesses and residents amplified by results-driven tourism planning and marketing"
  • Lead Sonoma County Tourism’s dynamic team of professionals in sales, marketing, communications, and administration with the core values: Service centered, collaborative, innovative, accountable, and strategic.
  • Be involved with industry and trade associations to carry SCT’s message.

Professional history:

Claudia Vecchio brings more than 25 years in the destination and consumer marketing arena to her post as President/CEO of Sonoma County Tourism.

  • Director of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
  • Lead the Ohio Division of Tourism and oversaw the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau rebranding program designed to reach a new generation and evolving demographic of travelers. 
  • Within the public relations agency arena, Claudia has promoted major travel and consumer brands such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Taco Bell, Frito Lay, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Illinois tourism, and the Smithsonian Institution.   
  • In 2015, Claudia was named among the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Marketing by the Hospitality, Sales & Marketing Association International and was presented the J. Desmond Slattery award for Marketer of the Year by the Travel and Tourism Research Association.
  • Her campaigns have been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association with an Odyssey Award for the Best State Tourism Office Public Relations Program and by the Public Relations Society of America as a Silver Anvil Winner for the agency’s innovative outreach to Millennial travelers.
  • Claudia has served on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and on the national boards for the Public Relations Society of America and the Travel and Tourism Research Association.

Places I have traveled:

I’ve had the great fortune to visit a number of destinations across the county and around the world. I’ve been to almost all 50 states, with the exception of Alaska. I’ve also traveled to China, Australia, New Zealand, western Europe, and South America for work-related trips. My personal travels include Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Central America. Still many places I have yet to visit!

 


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

 

Tim Zahner, CTA

Position: Chief Operating Officer
Date Started with SCT: Dec. 12, 2006

SCT activities/responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership, management and vision to ensure proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures. Implement systems to effectively grow and ensure financial strength and operating efficiency of organization.
  • 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 and Community:

Windsor Service Alliance Board of Directors

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.

 

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