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Join us on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at the Galveston Island Convention Center for the Festival & Events Workshop.
This event is designed for festival and event organizers to obtain fresh ideas, networking tools, information from local professionals and ways to identify funding opportunities to enhance or develop sustainable events.
Kelly de Schaun grew up in Kerrville and earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel/ Restaurant Management with a minor in Spanish from the University of Houston. She also received a master’s degree from the University of Texas in Community and Economic Development. After undergrad Kelly followed her parents’ legacy of service into the United States Peace Corps. She served two years as an education volunteer in the Dominican Republic (D.R.).
Kelly went on to work for the D.R.’s pre-eminent tourism operator, Punta Cana Beach Resort. There she worked to bring ecotourism and sustainability into the country’s mass tourism product as the founding Director of the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. Their efforts earned them “Green Hotelier of the Year” from the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). Kelly was recruited by CHA to develop hotel sustainability programs in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kelly worked under the leadership of regional hoteliers and tourism operators to develop the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST).
She returned to the D.R. to serve as the Director of Community & Environmental Affairs at Grupo Punta Cana. Kelly led efforts to confront macro-regional planning challenges hindering the continued growth of the industry. She was recruited back to the D.R. to manage a multimillion-dollar InterAmerican Development Bank project on “Tourism Clusters to Promote Sustainability and Minimize Poverty.” Kelly was recognized by the Ministry of Tourism for participatory planning efforts and the National Dominican Hotel Association for ‘exemplary work.’
Years of coastal experience made her the perfect fit as CEO of the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees (Visit Galveston). The organization is responsible for promoting tourism, coastal zone management, and park administration. During her tenure, the organization tripled their budget, executed over $100 million in coastal restoration projects and repeatedly received national recognition for special projects and operations. Kelly was voted Galveston County Chamber of Commerce 2016 Citizen of the Year and 2022 Woman of the Year. She served as the Texas Tourism Alliance (TTA) Chair (2022) and was recognized by her peers as the 2021 TTA Advocate of the Year for her work with the Texas legislature.
Amy has worked for the City of Suwanee for 17 years. She started as a part-time employee with 27 events and now oversees over 40 events a year. Unless there is a pandemic – then there were 3 events in person and 4 virtual events! Suwanee’s events have won many awards over the years and continue to grow and diversify. Amy is also responsible for creating community engagements by connecting residents with volunteer opportunities. When not at work, Amy and her husband Dan, who has lived in Suwanee for 27 years, enjoy spending time with their three children. In 2015, Amy earned one of her favorite titles, “survivor,” as she battled and beat breast cancer!
Bethany Offer-Moscoso joined Humanities Texas in May 2021. Originally from the San Antonio area, she attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received her master’s in public affairs and her BA in English and government. Prior to joining Humanities Texas, she worked in varying capacities with several Austin-area non-profits. Bethany supports the grants program.
As Director of Group Sales for Visit Galveston, Bryan Kunz develops and implements group sales strategies to promote Galveston Island as a premier meetings destination. He is proud to work with a dynamic team of sales and services professionals to create and deliver first-class experiences for meeting planners and attendees alike.
As a proud BOI (Born on the Island!), Bryan's passion for the island community and its visitors has served him well over the past 25 years in the tourism and hospitality industry, including the last 19 at Visit Galveston.
Caitlin Carnes has served as the Public Relations Manager for Visit Galveston and the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees since November of 2019. Her role includes inspiring visitation to Galveston through earned media by sharing the island's history, cultural heritage, natural resources and attractions. She is also charged with sharing the advocacy efforts of the Galveston Island Park Board through community outlets, social media and grassroots efforts. She is just one part of a rockstar Visit Galveston team whose awards include the Bronze Award for Best Travel Magazine, North American Travel Journalist Association; Public Relations Society of America Houston Chapter Excalibur Winner; Crystal Award, and Houston Chapter American Marketing Association. Caitlin is an enthusiastic purveyor of prose, turner of phrase and lover of words and has built her seven-year career as a communicator by advocating for her passions in about every sector of the industry--travel and tourism, non-profit, military and small business.
Chip Adams is the Community Relations & Outreach Specialist at the Texas Music Office, heading up the Music Friendly Communities program. He began his career promoting Texas music over twenty years ago in Dallas as a radio DJ, hosting weeknights on the former commercial station KKMR Merge Radio 93.3fm.
Clayton Kolavo is the Digital Marketing Manager for Visit Galveston, with the primary responsibility of overseeing the management and maintenance of VisitGalveston.com. This includes ensuring that consumers have informational, entertaining and up-to-date content that promotes Galveston as a premier vacation destination and an ideal location to hold meetings and events. Additionally, Clayton assists local businesses on how to best utilize partner benefits available through Visit Galveston. He is just one part of a rockstar Visit Galveston team whose awards include Bronze Award for Best Travel Magazine, North American Travel Journalist Association; Public Relations Society of America Houston Chapter Excalibur Winner; Crystal Award, Houston Chapter American Marketing Association.
Darcy has over 25 years of experience in the Hospitality industry including select service, luxury and resort properties. She has risen through the ranks of hotels starting at the front desk and now Regional Sales Manager with The San Luis Resort. She has been with the San Luis Resort for the last 2 years selling events at the Galveston Island Convention Center and rooms at Landry’s multiple hotels on Galveston Island. She enjoys creating experiences and building relationships with her clients and guests.
David has been with the City of Galveston for 42 years, starting his career as a police officer in 1980. He was assigned to the Patrol Division and then took over the Police Fleet operations in 1991. David was also assigned as the Interim Police Chief for a nine-month period in 2015. David joined the City of Galveston administration in 1996 as the Director of Fleet Facilities, which currently supports the procurement, maintenance, and fueling operations for a fleet of 600+ vehicles. David also oversees the Island Transit Department, which provides mass transportation for city residents as well as tourists. This organization has two modes that include a bus system as well as a steel rail trolley system.
Elizabeth is the event coordinator for YAGA’S Entertainment, Inc. in Galveston, TX, where she assists in the development, organization and execution of large-scale events, which include The Yaga’s Chili Quest & Beer Fest, Mardi Gras! Galveston, The Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival, Galveston Island Shrimp Festival and Holiday in the Park. Her daily task includes coordinating operations and logistics, including pre, on-site, and post-event with integrated planning timelines. Implementing project management practices that ensure direction, resources and effective communication to maximize event planning and execution. She is also responsible for planning and executing festival-related vendors and other revenue-generated areas from the conceptual phase to execution. She is a graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.
Ernest Luna is a Program Administrator for Texas Commission on the
Arts. He manages the Cultural District Program, overseeing Texas’ 51 Cultural
Districts. He also represents TCA on the Texas State Agency Tourism Council. In
addition, Ernest manages grants for local arts agencies, multidiscipline
organizations, and public safety and criminal justice projects. He is a
freelance percussionist and lives in San Marcos, TX.
Jennifer Lamm is the Employee Relations and Training Manager at Moody Gardens. She graduated from Dickinson High School before earning a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M, College Station. After college, she joined the Education Department at Moody Gardens. During her nineteen years in Education, she managed a team of up to forty employees and designed and led programs that inspired awe and wonder in wildlife and wild places for visitors. After leading the department for ten years, she moved to Human Resources, where she now works with staff property-wide. She is responsible for recruiting, onboarding and training new employees in over thirty-five departments. She works closely with local high schools and colleges to help promote careers in tourism and hospitality. Jennifer serves on several committees, including the Galveston Island Park Board’s Workforce Development Committee, the Electrical/Electronics Advisory Committee for Galveston College, and the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee for Texas City ISD. She is also a member of the United Way of Galveston Board of Directors.
Kiki Mannear serves as the Communications and Engagement Manager for Louisiana’s River Parishes. In this role, Mannear works closely with local festivals and events to grow attendance and increase economic impact. Previously, Mannear served as Tourism Manager for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she engaged with festivals to increase overnight visitation. Mannear executed and organized the Brews and Bites Festival in Central Arkansas. She serves on her local chamber of commerce’s committee to develop and implement successful programming. When she is not working, she enjoys rooting for the LSU Tigers with her loving fiancé and three fur babies. She holds an accreditation of Festivals and Events Planner (FEP) through the Southeast Tourism Society. She is looking forward to working hand in hand with Visit Galveston to increase community engagement in their festivals and events.
Kim has over 35 years of hotel sales management experience in the hospitality industry. After spending 5 years with the Tremont House and 5 years with the Hotel Galvez, Kim joined Moody Gardens as Senior Sales Manager, a position she has held now for over 25 years. She has an extensive understanding of the property and resources required to provide the superior, four-diamond experience her clients appreciate and return for each year.
Monica Brown is a Senior Client Success Specialist and Marketing Coordinator. She started her insurance career with Galveston Insurance Associates (GIA) in 2007 and has been blessed to work with members of the community on their commercial insurance and projects since. She is passionate about insurance education and helping consumers make informed decisions about their insurance needs. Monica is a graduate of UT Arlington, and when she is not keeping busy with family and friends, you can find her taking local hiking trails with her dog/co-adventurer.
Robert M. Quintero was born and raised in Galveston, Texas. He graduated from Ball High School, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and South Texas College of Law. Robert has been a member of LULAC Council 151 for 48 years and has served on the LULAC District, State, and National Board of Directors. As a member of Council 151, Robert has chaired the Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, 16 de Septiembre Celebration, and the Dia de Los Muertos Fall Fiesta.
Roberto Torres was born in 1959 in Galveston. He attended public schools on the Island and graduated from Ball High School in 1977. He attended Galveston Community College for 2 years before transferring to the University of Houston (UH) Central Campus. In May 1981, Roberto graduated cum laude from UH with a bachelor of art degree. In the Fall of 1981, he enrolled in the UH Law Center, and in 1984 he graduated in the top 20% of his class and was awarded his Doctorate in Jurisprudence degree.
Susan Keeble has a passion for people and enjoys building community by connecting and collaborating with others in both her career and volunteer work. She is honored to have been involved in the development of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan for the Park Board of Trustees in Galveston and is part of the team ensuring the implementation is strategic and sustainable. As a human resources professional, she is excited to serve employees by helping them grow in their careers and have the right tools in place to help them succeed. Before joining the Park Board, Susan spent 30+ years leading teams in healthcare and governmental human resources.
As a pre-teen, Sydney loved getting on MySpace and Facebook; little did she know that social media would soon run the world. Yet, when she graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017, she did not think a career could revolve around social media. Sydney found a love for videography and storytelling through her internship at KBTX News 3, but it wasn’t until one of her first jobs for a start-up organization that she had the opportunity to brand and create a whole social media initiative. Since then, creating visual experiences through content has been her passion. Being behind the phone to capture people doing what they love keeps Sydney motivated as social media continues to be an integral part of everyday life.
Tom Singleton is the Grants Manager for the Park Board of Trustees of the City of Galveston. In this role, he works to enhance tourism, quality of life, and Galveston’s natural assets to benefit Galvestonians and visitors alike. Through these efforts, the Park Board is able to provide exceptional services and vital support to hundreds of businesses, thousands of residents, and millions of visitors each year.
Vicky Gomez is a Galvestonian native who has dedicated more than 40 years with LULAC and Fiestas Patrias. She became a member of the LULAC 151 Council in 2008 and was awarded Woman of the Year for the state of Texas in 2017. Vicky volunteered as Treasurer from 2013 til the present. She and her husband, Larry Gomez, are owners of Gomez Catering and have helped LULAC with Scholarship dinners, Christmas parties and numerous other events. She has coordinated the food vendors, sponsors and volunteers for our Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Los Muertos Festivals, where we have raised a significant sum of money for our Galveston high school and local area college student scholarships.
Established in 1995 in Houston, Texas. FLY Dance Company is a world-renowned dance company that tours and performs all over the world.
FLY is wholesome family entertainment blending classical music, classic pop tunes, and street dance with a touch of vaudeville!
Along with our evening shows, we offer a wide range of outreach through our educational programs, which include educational performances, classes, workshops, and residencies on topics such as self-identity, goal-setting, respect, acceptance, growing-up pressures, cyber-bullying, depression, suicide, preventing school violence through positive life choices, and developing a positive self-image.
The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. Decades later, the theatre has evolved from a touring company operating from the trunk of Mr. Hawkins’ car to being one of Houston’s finest historical, and cultural institutions. The Ensemble is one of the only professional theatres in the region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience, the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest and holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. The Ensemble Theatre has fulfilled and surpassed the vision of its founder and continues to expand and create innovative programs to bring African American theatre to a myriad of audiences.
Alex Thomas is a Jackson, Mississippi native that has worked diligently in the field of marketing and a leader in the tourism industry for over 20 years. Alex was recently named Product Development Manager for Visit Galveston, where he is charged with developing and promoting the cultural and heritage attributes of Galveston Island.
Thomas is the former President and CEO of Blue South Entertainment, LLC, (BSE) a Southern-based entertainment agency providing professional services through talent booking, artist management, consulting, and event planning. Alex served as the Music Development Program Director for the Mississippi Development Authority, Division of Tourism, where his focus was to promote the beauty of Mississippi’s history and distinctive culture of musical genres through driving and walking trails. The position was initially created as the Cultural and Heritage Program Manager which oversaw product development for various niche markets for tourism promotion. In that capacity, Alex managed the development of the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Country Music Trail, two award-winning projects designed to highlight musical heritage throughout the Magnolia State.
Thomas is also accountable for the development and production of the Yazoo Music Festival an effort of the Yazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival presented by Visit Jackson. Alex took on the responsibility in December 2012 when he launched BSE and helped make the event a tremendous success for the City of Jackson. Prior to that role, Alex coordinated the Mississippi Stage for the Chicago Blues Festival for over 10 years with a host of international performers on his stage. He was also instrumental in serving as the Entertainment Chair for the Medgar Evers 50th Anniversary Commemoration, the Inaugural Celebration for Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (2013) and Mayor Tony Yarer (2014).
He has served on the Jackson Convention Complex Board of Commissioners, National Trust for Historic Preservation Board of Advisors, Blues Foundation Board of Directors, Pinetop Perkins Foundation Board, Mississippi Main Street Association Board of Directors, Howlin’ Wolf Blues Foundation, Mississippi Blues Commission, New Stage Theatre Board of Directors, and the Executive Board for the Mississippi Humanities Council. Accomplishments include Leadership Mississippi 2015 Graduate, 2012 and 2013 Jackson Hometown Hero Award recipient, 2011/2012 Who’s Who in Black Mississippi, Southeast Tourism Society’s 2012 Forty for the Future, 2010 Jackson Tourism Visionary Award, 2009 Mississippi Tourism Association’s Excellence in Tourism Award, 2008 Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award, 2008 Jackson Hometown Hero Award, 2007 Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 Business Professional, 2003 Southern Living Rising Star Award, and 2002 Recipient of Jackson Hometown Hero "Shining Example" Award, among many other accolades.
Prior to working for the Mississippi Development Authority, Thomas was the Director of Marketing for the Jackson Zoological Park and the Marketing Coordinator for Visit Jackson. Alex is a resolute tourism professional who received his bachelor’s degree of Science in Mass Communications from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Travel Marketing Professional Certification (TMP) from the Southeastern Tourism Society Marketing College in Dahlonega, Georgia, and recently became a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for Galveston Island.