• Brenda Bazan Confirmed as President & CEO of Houston First

     
    POSTED April 10, 2018
     

Houston City Council approved the appointment of Brenda Bazan as the new president and CEO of the Houston First Corporation (HFC).

“It’s an honor to be selected by Mayor Turner and confirmed by the city council,” said Bazan.

“I look forward to the opportunity to lead this amazing organization and to build on the incredible momentum Houston is enjoying in the travel and tourism industry,” continued Bazan. “I am committed to working with my talented team to position Houston as a premier, global tourism destination that also boasts amazing quality of life.”

Bazan is no stranger to Houston First, having been with the organization since its inception in 2011, serving as the chief financial officer where she oversaw finance, human resources and purchasing functions of the organization.

“Having served as CFO, I am familiar with the organization’s broad and unique range of responsibilities, projects, initiatives as well as our various funding sources and opportunities,” said Bazan. “I know my team, have relationships with board members and many key stakeholders, and I understand many of the challenges and opportunities facing Houston First.”

Bazan also recognizes that while she has a financial background, she is committed to get beyond the numbers. “This is how I will move strategically and creatively to better position Houston as one of the world’s premier destinations.”

David Mincberg, Chair of the Houston First board of directors, noted Bazan’s impressive track record of accomplishments.

“With her valuable financial experience, cooperative nature, and energetic spirit, Brenda will build on our momentum of success. I am confident she will take Houston First and the city to the next level of growth in tourism and travel, which will pump more dollars and jobs into our economy. Houston is poised for greatness as a premier destination and Brenda will provide the strategic leadership to help us get there,” said Mincberg.

Bazan’s career with the city began in 1993 where she held several positions in the Controller’s Office including director of finance and accounting and also with the Convention & Entertainment Facilities department where she served as deputy director.

“The early part of my career was in public accounting, but for family reasons moved to private industry,” said Bazan. “I remember learning the foundations of convention, hospitality and tourism at the Controller’s Office.”

Bazan took what she learned and worked on citywide endeavors such as property insurance, energy procurement and management, and debt-related issues using the Houston First model.

According to Bazan, “The model is the first of its kind in the destination marketing industry and has achieved record successes across the organization, including sales, tourism, marketing and public relations.”

To this day, Bazan said she is fortunate to have an awesome team of professionals at Houston First. “Together, I know we will continue transforming our big dreams into big successes for our beloved city. The future of Houston is bright and I am committed to making sure HFC serves as a beacon of light.”

By Design Collective has announced Denise Smith as its new director of sales and marketing. With 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Smith loves the ever-changing landscape of events, the creativity, and innovation presented to clients. Smith started on the ground floor as an Operations Manager at a destination company called Meeting and Incentive Management in Las Vegas, NV. She worked her way through many stages of the industry.

 

Discover Lehigh Valley, the destination marketing organization that promotes tourism in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh and Northampton counties, announced President Michael Stershic will retire at the end of 2018.

“I’ve been fortunate to live and work in Lehigh Valley for more than 35 years, and it’s been a true honor to serve in this role for 14 of those years,” said Stershic.

 

Maite Kuhns, a corporate trainer and recruiter for Parasole restaurants has been named the Hospitality Hero award winner for fourth quarter by 2017 by Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. This honor that is nominated by their colleagues, is given quarterly to a member who has made valuable contributions to the image and culture within the Minneapolis hospitality community.