2019 CEO Summit
2019 CEO Summit
Apr 15, 2019
Apr 18, 2019
date_range April 15-18, 2019
location_city Asheville, NC, USA
location_on Omni Grove Park Inn

Creative Change

As innovation and disruption is accelerating in the marketplace, it can be difficult to keep up with the pace. Creativity is not only acknowledged as essential to innovation, it's become the most critical skill requirement for today's leaders.

With a creative mindset, economic pressures, accelerated industry adaptations, increasing volumes of data, and ever-changing customer preferences are opportunities - not obstacles. By applying creative techniques to real business challenges, leaders can broaden their mindsets and learn to break out of the box to create new opportunities. Join Destinations International to learn how creative change and critical leadership competencies of successful change efforts can significantly impact your destination.

Mindset promo
Economic pressures, accelerated industry adaptations, increasing volumes of data, and ever-changing customer preferences become opportunities - not obstacles.
Techniques promo
By applying creative techniques to real business challenges, leaders can broaden their mindsets and learn to break out of the box to create new opportunities.

To register, you may click here. Please make sure you are logged into your Destinations International member account to see the full pricing options. If you need assistance, contact us at 202-835-4200.

Please note that no individual corporate registrations are permitted. Sponsorship opportunities with included registration are available by contacting Nina Winston ([email protected]).

Explore Asheville

Thank you to our host, Explore Asheville, for partnering to organize an incredible CEO Summit! Take a look at all there is to see and do at Asheville's custom website just for Summit attendees.



Monday April 15, 2019
8:00am - 12:00pm
Golf On Your Own
Details +

Arrive to Asheville early and join your fellow industry colleagues for an exciting day of golf at the picturesque Grove Park Golf Course located conveniently at the host summit venue, the Omni Grove Park Inn. We are proud to offer a discounted fee of $70. To register, please contact Frank Holly ([email protected]) directly and reference the group name "Destinations International." The cutoff date to register and receive the discounted fee is April 8. Payment will be collected by the venue onsite.

9:00am - 5:00pm
Hospitality Lounge
Details +

Come to the Hospitality Lounge to pick up your registration badge and welcome packet.

Location: Presidents Lounge, 10th Floor

3:30pm - 5:00pm
Joint Association and Foundation Board Meeting
Details +

Location: Heritage A, 10th Floor

5:30pm - 7:00pm
Welcome Reception
Details +

Location: Omni Seely Pavilion

7:30pm - 8:30pm
Dinner on Own
Tuesday April 16, 2019
7:30am - 8:30am
Networking Breakfast
Details +

Location: Omni Hotel, Skyline

8:30am - 9:30am
Welcome & Opening Keynote
Details +


Don Welsh, President & CEO, Destinations International

Master of Ceremonies

Brad Weaber, Principal, Brad Weaber Consulting Group, LLC

With over three decades of experience in a variety of markets (associations, corporations, government, third party outsource management, hospitality, hotel management and destination marketing organizations), it has allowed Brad and his team to help organizations be transformative in their engagement with their customers by creating Improvement Ambassadors and Paradigm Pioneers. Engaging all stakeholders to be the creators of solutions and efficiencies by helping their client's find their voice and build for the future. Brad will be our official emcee for the 2019 CEO Summit.


Sheryl Connelly, Manager of Global Consumer Trends & Futuring at Ford Motor Company

Sheryl Connelly has served as the in-house futurist for Ford Motor Company for over a decade. In this role, she identifies and analyzes global consumer trends to aide in the discussion of long-term planning and strategy across the entire company, including design, product development, and corporate strategy and help anticipate and predict the needs and desires of consumers.

Sheryl is skilled at identifying what’s coming around the corner and the potential influences to customer attitudes and behavioral patterns that directly impact business strategy. With the unique ability to translate how consumer and lifestyle trends will affect organizations across industry sectors, Sheryl outlines how to develop a futuring mindset, to act decisively in high-stakes business environments. Fast Company magazine twice named her one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and TechWeek listed her among its “Top 100 Innovators”. Sheryl was also a featured speaker at TED and TED Global, and her strategic viewpoints have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, and the BBC, and she has been profiled in Automotive NewsForbes, and Edmunds. She has also appeared on CBS’ This Morning with Charlie Rose, CNBC’s Fast Money, and NPR’s All Things Considered with Robert Siegel. She is also a former member of the Global Advisory Council on transportation for the World Economic Forum. 

Her insights into what’s next helps others understand how STEEP factors—Social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends—will affect business in the short-and long-term.

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

9:30am - 10:30am
Networking Beverage Break
Details +

Location: Heritage Foyer

10:00am - 10:15am
Asheville Story & Welcome
Details +

Stephanie Pace Brown, President & CEO, Explore Asheville

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

10:15am - 11:00am
Becoming a Community Shared Value
Details +

Becoming a Community Shared Value

Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Destinations International

Despite our collective efforts over decades, destination organizations continue to be regularly under attack - like they are stuck in some sort of Groundhog Day existence. Through the use of audits, freedom of information requests and public hearings, destination organizations are being labeled wasteful, poor fiduciaries of public money, bad community investments and examples of corporate welfare. Responses that have worked in the past no longer resonate and yet too many destination organizations continue to fall back solely on their economic development argument. In an era where industry performance measurements and ROI that are not understood or believed too many organizations have no other options in the playbook, no allies beyond the core industry partners and nothing to keep an elected official from leaving our corner. To break the regular attack cycle, perhaps it is time to go back and answer four basic questions in a way that can lead a destination organization to become a shared community value that everyone in a destination can support and embrace.

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

11:00am - 11:45am
The Connected City of the Future
Details +

The Honorable Andrew J. Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio

Interviewed by Greg Oates, NEXTFactor

In 2016, Columbus, Ohio beat 77 U.S. cities in the federal Smart Cities Challenge to grow economic mobility, better quality of life and an inspired, connected community. The city and its partners are leveraging these investments to foster a new way of looking at infrastructure, technology and transportation, making Columbus the model for connected cities of the future. Columbus has a vision that starts with the reinvention of mobility, which will lead to a future beyond what anyone has yet imagined. This past December a set of autonomous vehicles started roaming the streets of Columbus in an effort to turn this bustling Midwestern community into the first smart city. This pilot will shape future uses of this emerging technology in Columbus and the nation. And as the Mayor points out, residents win when Columbus adds more mobility options to the transportation ecosystem – making it easier to get to work, school or local attractions. Mayor Ginther will discuss his vision of the connected city of the future and how this is tied to dynamic and inclusive growth strategy through out every neighborhood of his city. 

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

11:45am - 1:00pm
Networking Lunch
Details +

Location: Skyline

1:45pm - 3:15pm
Cultivating Change: Biltmore Time-Tested Strategies for Your Destination
Details +

Ann Ashley, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CFN, Vice President, Talent and Organizational Development, The Biltmore Company

The Biltmore Brand is synonymous with customer experiences that exceed expectations. Acclaimed as America’s Largest Home® with the nation’s most-visited winery, Biltmore continues to distinguish itself in the marketplace as the recipient of countless awards and accolades. Biltmore has remained such a successful family-owned, privately-held company for five generations. How does a historic attraction stay relevant to today’s consumers? At Biltmore, this is achieved by leading change with skill and precision, calling upon more than 120 years of lessons learned as well as innovative strategies and present-day research. Change, whether significant or small-scale, is rarely easy, but your organization can persevere and find success through Biltmore’s time-tested approach to not just enduring change, but leading it.

Key takeaways:

• Understanding of the psychology behind change

• Discover applicable stories of Biltmore best practices in change management

• Learn practical tactics to create change momentum in your destination

3:30pm - 3:45pm
National Travel and Tourism Office Report
Details +

Phil Lovas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the National Travel and Tourism Office in Industry and Analysis

Prior to his arrival at Commerce, Lovas was appointed Regional Advocate for the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy covering Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. While there, he worked with small business owners and proponents advocating against overly burdensome federal rules and regulations. Mr. Lovas was previously appointed to the Arizona House of Representatives 2012-2016. During his tenure in the legislature, he chaired the Rules and Insurance committees and served on the Health, Education, Transportation, Government, and Children and Family Affairs committees. Outside the legislature, Phil worked in the hotel business for nearly 15 years as a franchise developer.

Location: Amherst A

5:15pm - 6:30pm
Biltmore Estate Tour & Reception
Details +

Location: Biltmore Estate/Library Terrace

7:30pm - 10:00pm
Beer City Base Camp
Details +

From 6pm-7:30pm, charter buses will travel to The Omni Grove Park Inn and Cambria Downtown hotels, downtown area and drop-off at Catawba Brewery.

7:30pm- 10:00pm: Beer City Base Camp

Explore Asheville and Magellan Strategy Group hosts your Beer City Base Camp in the heart of the South Slope. Stop in for bluegrass, brews and BBQ at Catawba Brewery. You’ll be within a short walk of dozens of breweries, independent restaurants and nightlife. 

Wednesday April 17, 2019
7:30am - 8:30am
Networking Breakfast
Details +

Network with your fellow peers during breakfast.

Location: Skyline

8:30am - 9:35am
Details +

Don Welsh, President & CEO, Destinations International

Emcee Brad Weaber, Principal, Brad Weaber Consulting Group, LLC

Destinations International Planner Influencer Board

Business Events & Meetings Strategic Initiative


·       Meaningful and sustained strategy to planners on the CVB value proposition

·       Meaningful and sustained strategy to CVBs on delivery of value proposition by providing tools, resources and best practices to deliver the promise

·       One united voice: CVBs, planners and industry partner groups coming together

·       Cohesive campaign and consistent content frequency across internal and external platforms

MPI Media Campaign

Paul VanDeventer, President & CEO, Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

Dr. Michelle Rozen, Leading Expert on Dealing with Change

Dr. Rozen is a nationwide authority on leadership through change. She holds a Masters and a PhD in psychology, specializing in human interaction and interpersonal dynamics. Dr. Rozen has been Featured in The New York Times and on multiple media outlets including NBC, ABC, CNN and FOX News. She is a Fortune 50 ‘fan favorite’, trusted by some of the world’s biggest companies when it comes to motivation of the self and others through change.

An author of three published books and a regular Huffington Post contributor, Dr. Rozen will share with you on how to lead forward by hitting the change button. Leaders in all industries find themselves dealing with the challenges of a rapidly changing work environment- management, procedures, technology, generation changes and more. But what can be perceived as rocking the boat is also a great opportunity for growth. In this motivational experience, Michelle will share the best kept secrets for initiating, dealing and leading through change not only in the best possible way but also in a way that will lead toward extraordinary engagement, motivation and performance through change.

You’ll leave this motivational experience with the best and most practical tools for professional and personal growth through challenge and change, and lead yourself, your team and your organization to new levels of success and performance.

You’ll learn to:

·       Identify potential obstacles in leadership through change

·       Understand the causes- and powerful solutions- for resistance to change

·       Master the CHANGE model for effective leadership through change

·       Master the Three Golden Rules for increasing motivation, engagement and growth through change

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

9:40am - 10:35am
U.S. Travel Update
Details +

MMB 2019 Initiatives and GMID Update

Speakers: Julie Coker Graham, President & CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Nan Marchand Beauvois, Senior Vice President, Membership and Industry Relations; General Manager, ESTO, U.S. Travel Association

10:35am - 11:00am
Beverage Break and Networking
Details +

Location:Heritage Foyer

11:00am - 12:00pm
What are We Doing in Community Activism?
Details +

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

12:00pm - 1:30pm
Networking Lunch
Details +


1:30pm - 2:30pm
Global Opportunities
Details +

Moderator: Amanda Hills Balfour, Founder and CEO Hills Balfour

Location:Heritage BC, 10th Floor

2:40pm - 3:40pm
Shirt Sleeves
Details +

Three Topics & Breakouts: TBA

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

3:50pm - 4:20pm
Details +

Shirt-Sleeves Report Out

Location:Heritage BC, 10th Floor

4:20pm - 5:00pm
Welcoming Environment
Details +

Speakers: Michelle Mason, CEO Assoc. Forum

Mike Waterman, President & CEO Visit Houston

Butch Spyridon, President & CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

7:00pm - 10:00pm
Closing Reception & Dinner
Details +

Omni Seely Pavilion

Thursday April 18, 2019
7:30am - 8:30am
Networking Breakfast
8:30am - 9:00am
Sticking Your Tongue on a Frozen Flagpole: Managing Enterprise Risk in Destinati
Details +

George Morvis, President & CEO, Financial Shares Corporation

To continue to deliver value to employees, partners, suppliers and the community, destination organizations must increasingly understand and oversee the risks faced across their operations. Risks related to strategic threats, operational issues, governance, legal/regulatory compliance and reporting obligations must be proactively managed. By strategically addressing such risks, through an organized framework encompassing risk identification, assessment and mitigation, destination organizations can reduce the probability and impact of financial and reputational loss from adverse events, preserving their ability to achieve their core missions of creating economic and social opportunity for key stakeholders.

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

9:00am - 9:30am
How to Defend Your Salary (And a Whole Lot of Other Stuff)
Details +

Speaker: TBA

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

9:30am - 10:00am
Are You A High Risk for Raids on Your Public Funding? And What To Do If You Are!
Details +

John Lambeth, President & CEO, Civitas

What makes certain destinations more likely to find their funding under attack? Knowing whether you fall into that group is essential to being able to position yourself to respond. It also means you will need to consider alternatives. How should you be educating stakeholders on the importance of your funding? What are your options in regards to your organization’s budget? Can you use this situation to increase your funding or change the source? All questions you will need to answer.

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

10:00am - 10:20am
How To Fight Back When You Are A Target of a Travel Boycott: The Weaponization o
Details +

How To Fight Back When You Are A Target of a Travel Boycott: The Weaponization of Travel Toolkits

Andreas Weissenborn, Senior Director of Research & Advocacy, Destinations International

Travel boycotts in the United States have risen in popularity in recent years and are regularly making headlines today. Travel was once a question of where to go, when to go and how much to spend. Now, disputes over immigration, marriage equality and gender identity have made travel much more of a political act. Where people decide to host a conference or an event can be a sign of direct support (or critique) of state-based policies. After much study, Destinations International working with other organizations is releasing two toolkits. One assisting destination organizations and a second assisting meeting and event planners to help deal with both the threat of a travel boycott and being an actual target of one.

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

10:20am - 10:35am
Summit Wrap Up
Details +

Emcee Brad Weaber

Location: Heritage BC, 10th Floor

* Schedule subject to change.
2019 CEO Summit-Sponsor
2019 CEO Summit - Destination
This is a member only event. Please click Register Now and log into your Destinations International member account.
2019 CEO Summit - Attendee Spouse or Guest
Spouses or VIP guests of attendees are welcome to participate in all Summit functions.
Omni Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Ave
Asheville, NC, USA

The hotel block at the Omni Grove is now sold out. Events will be held at the Omni as well as off-site. Shuttle service will be provided from all hotels to all programmed activities.

To edit or cancel your existing reservation, please click here.
Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville
15 Page Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
+1 828-255-0888
Shuttle service will be provided from all hotels to all programmed activities.