TRAVEL BRANDS & TOURISM MARKETER PROFILES

BETHANY STEPHENS

MARKETING EXPERT — SOAPBOX INFLUENCE

Bethany Stephens is a marketer with a knack for big ideas and building brands. She is the president of Soapbox Influence, leveraging brilliant content creators and social influencers on behalf of the world’s best brands including Mattel, Kimberly-Clark, Danone, the NBA and S.C. Johnson. Beth spent seven years in the tourism and hospitality sector as the director of the Rogers Convention & Visitors Bureau, and her passion for travel and tourism has remained strong. The rules of engagement are the same for destination marketing as for Fortune 500 companies, and the Soapbox team has supported tourism-focused campaigns for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21C Museum Hotels and the Bentonville Film Festival. Beth will be sharing her insights during The Business of Influencer Marketing plenary session at Texas Travel IdeaFest.

CAITLIN BEVERIDGE

TOURISM MARKETER - MAKEREADY

Proof that not everything that happens in Vegas stays there, Caitlin honed her marketing skills at MGM Grand and ARIA resorts, Caitlin moved to DFW where she was able to join the world of ad agencies as a Sr. Account Exec. Eventually she returned to the world of hospitality joining The Adolphus as their marketing director and most recently their management company Makeready as Area Marketing Director. Caitlin will be sharing her expertise during the Influencer Collaboration Workshop at Texas Travel IdeaFest.

WESLEY LUCAS

TOURISM MARKETER - Visit Frisco

As Communications Manager for Visit Frisco, I oversee all social media efforts, including content creator collaborations, as well as manage media relations and our digital editorial content. With more than 10 years of experience in the industry, I enjoy connecting with and learning from colleagues and partners. I'll be sharing my influencer marketing experience and insights at TXTI during the Influencer Collaboration Workshop. I’m blessed to represent an exciting and growing city, and love to share the #iHeartFrisco love with others.

CAMBRIA JONES

TOURISM MARKETER - Visit Southlake

I am the Tourism Marketing Manager for Visit Southlake, responsible for planning and overseeing the development, implementation, and administration of Southlake's tourism marketing programs. I have a passion for the travel and tourism industry, especially destination marketing, and am a proud alumnus of Destination International's 30 under 30.

AMBER BUFKIN

TOURISM MARKETER - Omni Dallas Hotel

Amber Bufkin (Buffy) has over 18 years of hospitality experience and is currently the Marketing Manager at Omni Dallas Hotel in downtown for the past four years.  In her time, she has worked with countless influencers and brands to create content, promoting and developing lasting relationships. Amber will be sharing her expertise during The Business of Influencer Marketing plenary session at Texas Travel IdeaFest.

DEBORA MANUSAMA

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT

Debora Manusama is a freelance content planner and creator who has helped multiple brands tell their story on social media since 2015. Over the years, she has managed the social media platforms of Rescue Her, VisitDallas, Margarita Mile, Melt Ice Creams, among other brands. With a passion in film and photography, Debora strives to create unique, original content that is both inspirational and aspirational. Debora will be sharing her tips for growing your online presence as a brand during the Growing Content Engagement Performance session at TXTI.

VERONICA MALDONADO

TOURISM MARKETER - Discover Denton

I'm the Director of Marketing & Brand Strategy for the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau, and I manage content development and distribution across all of Denton CVB's platforms and channels. From the moment I discovered the tourism industry in 2007, I was an eager and quick learner and immediately became passionate about Denton. Since then, I've developed Denton CVB's presence in the social media world.

MILLERANN MOYA

TOURISM MARKETER - Visit Plano

Millerann has served as the Senior Marketing Specialist for Visit Plano for 8 years. Millerann manages Visit Plano’s website, digital marketing and public relations efforts, and also writes their blog and editorial content. Millerann created their new Plano Insiders program to feature Plano’s attractions and unique eats via content created from hosted influencers, journalists and content creators. Millerann will be speaking at TXTI in the plenary session, The Business of Travel Influencer Marketing.

WENDY HAUN

TOURISM MARKETER — Discover Denton

Wendy is the Creative Marketing Manager for the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has an extreme passion for telling stories and loves to do so in all mediums. As the Creative Marketing Manager, Wendy promotes all of the fun events and businesses that Denton has to offer across all social media platforms. She also creates the printed materials for the CVB, including editing and designing Denton Live magazine. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Kansas State University in 2008, Wendy moved to Kentucky to work at a small local paper, covering Eastern Kentucky University athletics before deciding to go back to school, where she completed her Master’s degree in sports marketing at Indiana University in May 2013. She hails from both Amarillo, Texas, and Abilene, Kansas. In her (very limited) spare time, she likes to watch college sports, knit, play the piano, be cuddled within an inch of her life by her two cats Royal and Star, go to trivia nights to put all of her useless knowledge to good use in pursuit of free beverages and experience all of the music and food that Denton has to offer.

ALEX COLEMAN

FOUNDER — Here & Now Travel

You love the freedom of solo travel, but hate the loneliness. You love the companionship in traveling with friends, but hate planning around everyone's schedules. We're Here & Now, a group travel company providing young professionals with adventurous, international, group trips. Travelers no longer have to compromise their freedom to go when they want and where they want, or wait on their friends to plan. Through our company, travelers get to meet cool, new people, explore amazing destinations, and never worry about any of the planning, allowing them to fully experience their trip in the Here & Now.

TABBI BURWELL

TOURISM MARKETER — Visit OKC

Tabbi Burwell is the Senior Manager of Destination Communications for Visit OKC where she manages both their social media strategy as well as all communication efforts. Since 2014, Tabbi has pitched an average of 350 stories a year to publications, hosted over 250 journalists and received numerous awards for her work in the industry. Tabbi’s past speaking engagements have been shared at many conferences on topic’s such as “Creating brand ambassadors for your destination”, “Going beyond speed dating with media in your drive market” and “Best practices in working with a CVB” to organizations like Women in Travel Summit and the Public Relations Society of America’s Travel and Tourism Annual Conference.  Tabbi is a 13-year board member for the Public Relations Society of America Oklahoma City Chapter and volunteers her time in the community all while keeping busy with two toddlers at home.

MARISSA MARAK

DIGITAL CREATIVE SERVICES MANAGER — Omni Hotels & Resorts

At Omni Hotels & Resorts’ corporate office, Marissa focuses on the brand social media strategy and creates custom content for social channels. In addition, she coordinates and assists on photoshoots at both the brand and property-level. Previously, she worked on the Omni graphic design team producing print and digital content for the brand and properties. Marissa graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations and new media.

KIMBER FOSTER

TOURISM MARKETER — Grapevine CVB

A love of travel, tourism and community, combined with 18 years of non-profit and agency marketing/communications experience, have helped Kimber Foster lead successful re-branding and advertising campaigns for Visit El Paso and the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).  Kimber has served as the Director of Marketing & Brand Management at the Grapevine CVB for nearly four years and is responsible for brand management and strategy, creative direction, content creation, strategic partnerships and media relations. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her Schnoodle, Ludivine; watching French films; and serving as a certified wine ambassador for Australia’s Barossa Valley.

GINA ROKAS

TOURISM MARKETER — Ennis Visitor Center

Gina has always been in the hospitality industry since graduating from SWT (Texas State University) in 1985. In Sept. 2000, Gina was hired as the first Tourism Director of the city of Ennis.  She worked from Sept. 2000 to July 2002, and then moved to Austin, Texas for two years.  In Oct. 2004, she moved back to Ennis and was re-hired as Tourism Director and has been in this position since then. She offices in downtown Ennis at the Ennis Visitor Center and will soon be moving to the fantastic new Ennis Welcome Center along with her Ennis Economic Development team. Gina is married to her husband, Jim, since 1986, and has two children, Allie, 26, and Austin, 23. Gina loves her job in promoting and advertising Ennis, a Texas Main Street City. Ennis is currently going through a wonderful downtown revitalization and the future is bright!  She loves working with her team and the different organizations in town and sharing the warm Ennis, Texas hospitality to all who visits. You can find information on Ennis, the bluebonnet spirit of Texas, at www.visitennis.org.

MORGAN HALE

TOURISM MARKETER — Visit Midland

Morgan is the Marketing and Events Specialist for the Destination Marketing Organization, VisitMidland. She is passionate about many things, including graphic design, social media marketing, traveling, and making sure people have great experiences. In her role, she can do just that! She strongly believes in taking risks and trying (almost) anything just once – if it doesn’t work out, at least it was an experience and a new story to tell. In her free time, Morgan enjoys painting, going to concerts, cheering on Texas Tech in every sport, and trying new places to eat in West Texas.

CRYSTAL GABLE

TOURISM MARKETER — Visit Longview

Crystal Gable is a passionate marketing professional who loves to promote tourism in unexpected ways. An avid independent film and art lover, she brings a discerning eye to projects and looks for the extraordinary in everyday life. As an ENFP with wanderlust, she has tried everything in travel from camping in an off-the-grid, floating cabin on a glacier-fed lake in British Columbia to a week long juice fast in Northern California to searching for psychics in Salem, Massachusetts. As a vegan and an early adopter of social media, Crystal has happily collaborated on campaigns for Vegworld Magazine, The Vegan Voice, Get Healthy Marshall, and Vegan Mainstream. In her free time, she organizes HealthFest, the annual 3-day whole food, plant-based conference and takes orders from her Siamese shelter cat, Suge Knight.

MELINDA STEPHENS

TOURISM MARKETER — City of Lewisville

I'm the Electronic Communications Specialist with the City of Lewisville, and I oversee social media channels for the City of Lewisville and the Lewisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. I also manage content on three city websites, and produce several city e-newsletters. I started my career with the City of Lewisville in 1999 and moved to the Community Relations and Tourism Department in October 2006. I have lived in DFW all my life and in my spare time I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, Lucille and Savannah, hiking, reading a good book, and doing yoga.

JAMIE MILSTEAD

TOURISM MARKETER — City of Lewisville

As an Events Specialist with the City of Lewisville, I plan festivals and events to bring the community together and visitors to this City. I also manage content for event websites and social media campaigns. In my spare time I like to read, workout (spin class is my constant), watch movies, and go to the theatre. I'm always on the lookout for fun, unique things to do, so DFW is the perfect place to be!

PHYLLIS COX

TOURISM MARKETER — City of Lewisville

Phyllis Cox is the Marketing & Tourism Manager for the City of Lewisville. She coordinates citywide marketing efforts with a focus on tourism experiences. She is responsible for publishing the Southern Denton County Visitors Guide. Currently in her 12th year with the Lewisville CVB, Phyllis brings 38 years of experience in CVBs and hotels to her position. She was previously in sales at the Arlington CVB and Grapevine CVB. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new restaurants, reading James Patterson books, dancing at Lewisville's outdoor concerts, and all-inclusive beach vacations!

KELLY HUNTER

Shiroma Southwest

Kelly Hunter has had the unique opportunity to be a content creator, a content connector and the promoter of some of the region’s top destinations.  For over two decades, Hunter has served as Vice President – Client Services for Shiroma Southwest where she has had the honor of marketing some of the region’s top destinations (Galleria Dallas, Town of Addison, National Videogame Museum), festivals (Addison Kaboom Town, Wings over Dallas, International Day of Happiness) and restaurants (Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill, III Forks, Tillman’s Bishop Arts, Primo’s, Cantina Laredo). In that role, she’s produced award-winning influencer events and internationally recognized media campaigns.  Additionally, she has served as a content creator for sites as varied as Dallas Food Nerd, GenPink and 50FabWeekends. She enjoys creating synergies between people, places and ideas to share all that is amazing in North Texas.

MEG CATHEY

TOURISM MARKETER — Visit OKC

Meg Cathey is the Communications Coordinator for the Destination Marketing Organization, Visit OKC, where she supports marketing and communication efforts through content development. As a native to Oklahoma, she loves being able to collaborate with others in her community to promote tourism to her favorite city. She has been involved in the Public Relations Society of America Oklahoma City chapter for the past year and a member of the student chapter before that. Meg is an avid art lover who enjoys being a full-time dog mom, attending outdoor concerts, painting, discovering new local restaurants and telling anyone and everyone about how lively Oklahoma City is.

LORI SIRMEN

TOURISM MARKETER — Visit Irving

Lori Sirmen has been the Director of Communications / Visit Irving PR Gal for 5 years. She has good stories from many years in PR and promotions with brands like Planet Hollywood and American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars. Marketer. Marathoner, Adventure Seeker. High Energy. Creative. Fun & Fun-loving. Loves food & wine, dogs, running & travel.