By: Misti Kerns

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) has announced the appointment of its newest Board of Directors member along with the installment of its 2018/2019 executive committee. Lauralee Asch has been newly appointed to the SMTT Board of Directors. The new Board of Directors executive committee is comprised of: Chairman Richard Chacker, President/Owner, Perry’s at the Beach; Vice Chair Nicole Flynn, Assistant Vice President, Marketing, Macerich; Treasurer Damien Hirsch, General Manager, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot; Secretary Albin Gielicz, Santa Monica resident.

As President/CEO of SMTT I’m pleased at the wealth of expertise, leadership ability and commitment to our destination that each of our 2018/2019 board members bring to the table. These skills will be key in propelling SMTT forward to meet our strategic goals benefiting our local community. Our position as an integral part of Santa Monica’s municipality will be expanded as we leverage the diversity of their expertise.

New board member Lauralee Asch is a recent retiree of the Santa Monica Police Department where she served for 29 years, most recently as Lead Crime Prevention Coordinator. She played a key leadership role within the police department, planning National Night Outs, facilitating Community Police Academies and more. A longtime resident of the City, she also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Police Activities league.

Local small business owner Richard Chacker will step into the role of Chairman after serving on the SMTT Executive Committee as treasurer for two years and the organization’s board of directors for six years.  He opened Perry’s Café and Beach Rentals in 1977 and continues to run the local company with five locations on the beach in Santa Monica as well as Blazing Saddles on the Pier.  In addition to Perry’s, Chacker is also part owner of the Santa Monica Bike Center and a Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce executive board member.

Chacker will be supported by Vice Chair Nicole Flynn, who brings with her more than 20 years of experience of marketing strategy and public relations for 16 regional shopping centers located throughout the state of California. Flynn is the assistant vice president of marketing for retail leader Macerich, the country’s third-largest owner, operator and developer of major retail projects in many of the nation’s most desirable markets. Flynn has previously served on the board of directors for the past four years in both secretary and treasurer roles.

Damien Hirsch joins the executive committee as treasurer. Currently the General Manager of JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot, Hirsch has proven passion for tourism and guest service. Beginning his career as a banquet server, Hirsch worked his way up through the hospitality industry and has served as a General Manager for the past seven years as well as on the TMD committee.

Santa Monica resident Albin Gielicz will serve as secretary, having been a member of the board of directors for the past two years. As the International Channel Director for Revitalash Cosmetics, Gielicz is a marketing/business development generalist and sustainability advocate with substantial international experience in the United States and in emerging markets. A strong community advocate, Gielicz is a Buy Local Executive Committee Member, Montana Avenue Merchants Association Board Member and is a Recreation and Parks Commission Member.

About Santa Monica Travel & Tourism

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), formerly Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 2427 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call (800) 544-5319 or (310) 393-7593; visit; or email Follow SMTT on Instagram (@SeeSantaMonica), Twitter (@GoSantaMonica) or Facebook


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