Stakeholder Engagement: Working With Tourism and Your Community Partners
Speakers: Erin Donovan, Craig Samborski, Leanne Strathdee, Joseph Marinelli, and Evan Smith
In today’s economy, we need to maximize every connection to promote our events and our business. Advertising is expensive; sponsorship is lean. This panel focuses on the best way to generate visibility in the marketplace by making the most of your community partnerships. Tall ships, tall ship events and destination attractions such as maritime museums generate tourism through overnight stays and day trippers. Panelists will discuss how to work with local tourism agencies and your community stakeholders for another way to market.
Speaker – Erin Donovan, Founder, Capital Resource Strategies, LLC
In 2011, Donovan started her own company called Capital Resource Strategies, LLC. One of her major clients is the Ocean State Tall Ships, an organization committed to bringing the majesty of the Tall Ships back to Newport, RI for a Festival in 2012.
Since the beginning of Erin Donovan’s career, she has been involved with many different types of clients in various industries throughout Rhode Island, including education, construction and historical renovation, tourism, public safety, defense, environmental clean-up, labor, health and long-term care, a regional Chamber of Commerce, trade organizations, non-profit organizations, several municipalities, and a university of higher education. Her areas of focus include government relations efforts, grant writing, project management, and business development.
As Campaign Manager for a statewide political campaign to re-elect Rhode Island’s Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis in 2010, and also in her past position of eight years as the Vice President of the Mayforth Group, Donovan has continuously produced successful outcomes for her clients.
Donovan has recently completed her Master of Science degree in Policy Studies from Edinburgh University in Scotland, UK and also has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. An honors student at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, Donovan graduated with a degree in Political Science and was recently named the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts 2011 Alumnus of the Year. She has also studied International Affairs in Oxford, England.
Additionally, Donovan has served on a number of Executive Boards, including Mount St. Rita’s Health Care Centre, the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation, and the Smithfield Emergency Management Agency.
Craig Samborski is a Minnesota based event planner and live entertainment producer. He began his career as a special event coordinator at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in 1994, eventually becoming the Director of Entertainment.
In 2004 Craig started his own entertainment production company touring extensively with Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Prine, Jewel, Tori Amos, as well as Broadway shows Mamma Mia!, Riverdance, and Cirque. In addition, Craig has produced a wide variety of festivals throughout the US from small intimate events to festivals with attendance exceeding 100,000 guests, including several Tall Ship Festivals.
Craig’s expertise lies in event marketing, sponsorships, promotion, talent buying, budgeting, and technical production. Craig currently focuses his efforts on destination event planning and marketing. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Speaker – Joseph Marinelli, President, Visit Savannah
With more than 25 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Joseph Marinelli currently sits as the president of Visit Savannah, the convention & visitors bureau in Savannah, Georgia.
Prior to taking the helm of Visit Savannah in January 2007, Joe served as Senior Vice President at Experience Columbus, the convention bureau for the Columbus, Ohio region. Before his 10-year stint in Columbus, Joe served in a number of sales and marketing roles for Westin Hotels and Resorts in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Washington, DC, and at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City.
In his role overseeing Savannah’s primary destination marketing organization, Joe and his team focus on attracting both the leisure tourism and conventions/meetings sectors to the Savannah area while maintaining working relationships with the more than 2,000 members of the Savannah Chamber.
Joe sits on the statewide boards of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the Tourism Development Alliance of Georgia, as well as nationally with the Destination Marketing Association International, and locally on the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center and the Savannah Music Festival. He is also a professional member of the American Society of Association Executives, the Professional Convention Management Association and Meeting Professionals International.
In his free time, Joe enjoys golfing and playing tennis and has a passion for the professional sports teams of his home town, Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife Rene have a 9-year old son and live on Savannah’s Whitemarsh Island.
Speaker – Leanne Strathdee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Waterfront Development Corportation Limited
Leanne works with Waterfront Development, a provincial crown corporation responsible for developing the strategic potential of waterfronts in Bedford, Dartmouth, Halifax and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The corporation fosters the creation of waterfronts that drive economic opportunity, enhance tourism, provide experiences, and reflect and protect our marine heritage.
Leanne is here representing the beautiful Nova Scotia, a favorite destination of Captains and Crew for centuries. Her first introduction to Tall Ships was in 2000, as a Liaison Officer for the HMS Rose. It was an experience that she will never forget, and little did she know that just a few years later, she would be working for the corporation that coordinated the events.
Leanne currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Sisters Under Sail, is a member of the Halifax Norfolk Sisters Cities Society, is Past President of the Atlantic Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and she sits on a number of other committees. She has been involved in the coordination and planning of Tall Ships events since 2005.
She has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a Bachelor in Arts from Acadia.
Speaker – Evan Smith, President & CEO, Newport, RI Convention and Visitors Bureau
As President & CEO, Evan leads the Convention & Visitors Bureau team in promoting Newport & Bristol County as a preferred destination for group meetings, special events and leisure travel.
Evan has been involved with travel industry for over 30 years. He served as Vice President of Marketing for the Visitors Bureau for 14 years and was promoted to President & CEO in 2005. Evan has been an active member of numerous travel trade associations both regionally and nationally. He is the cofounder of two important travel industry groups; The North American Travel Journalists Association, and the New England Visitor Center Association. He is also a current member of the board of directors for the Greater Newport County Chamber of Commerce and the Newport Music Festival.
Evan is a 1977 graduate from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Science. Evan resides in Jamestown with his wife Amy and two daughters Allison and Sarah.