• In Memoriam: Carrie Donovan Ford

    POSTED February 5, 2019

    Remembering Carrie Donovan Ford’s contributions to Minnesota tourism.

Last July, the Minnesota tourism industry was shattered to learn of the passing of Carrie Donovan Ford, a longtime fixture with the Roseville Visitors Association. She was known for her attention to detail, supportive presence on any project and love of another Minnesota native—Prince. Those who were lucky enough to work with Carrie are still feeling the absence of her bright spirit. Our condolences go out to those that knew her best, including her husband and two daughters. A few of her colleagues offer their remembrances and tributes here.

“I had the pleasure of working with Carrie for over eight years at the Roseville Visitors Association. Carrie loved the hospitality industry … Carrie is the reason we are accredited by Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) today. She gave 100 percent and our organization was all the better because of that. She truly left a legacy.” —Julie Wearn, CDME, Roseville Visitors Association

“Carrie was like the big sister I never had. From our first trade show back in 2006 to play dates with my two kids and her two girls, Carrie helped me in so many ways throughout my career and personal life. ‘Care Bear,’ as we affectionately called her, was the person I could call on and share everything with. Carrie was known by so many people, was passionate about her work and kept busy at home with her loving husband and two girls, yet always found time for you. I feel blessed having met her and thank her for all the great memories we shared together.” —Michael Hernandez, Meet Minneapolis​

“Carrie was a great co-worker and friend. I was lucky to have been able to work with Carrie and Roseville even back when I was at Visit Saint Paul. She was so easy to talk to and happy to share Roseville with the rest of the world. Carrie was the first to always be involved and help with groups coming into the Twin Cities area. I knew I was fortunate to work with her every day once I realized how many people loved her light, smile, energy and passion for this industry.” —Shannon Thomasser, Roseville Visitors Association​

“Carrie was a Minnesota tourism icon with a wealth of industry knowledge. I would not be where I am today without her advice and guidance. She took me under her wing when I started my tourism career in 2007 at Meet Minneapolis and would always go above and beyond to make me feel included and introduce me to her clients, friends and colleagues at trade shows and events. She was always there for me professionally and personally. She is irreplaceable, and I miss my dear friend and colleague every day.” —Casey Kluver, Meet Minneapolis​

“Carrie always brought so much knowledge, creativity and fun to the table. She really took pride in the area she represented. She had a huge presence and therefore has left a huge void in our industry and our hearts.” —Jessica Dodge, Explore Minnesota​

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 


Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.


In the midst of the pandemic last year, Loris Menfi joined San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk as general manager. At the time of her hire, Rivercenter had recently unveiled a renovation to its 70,000-plus square feet of meeting space.