Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) announced the staff promotions of Evan Edwards to Chief Operating Officer, Todd Mitsuhata to Director of Global Business Development, and Rachel Lozano To Chief People Officer, positions within the Executive Leadership Team, effective immediately.
Similarly, SMTT confirmed the new slate for the 2021-2022 Board Executive Committee including Albin Gielicz, Chair, Neil Carrey, Vice Chair, Jan Williamson, Secretary, and Younes Attallah, Treasurer.
Edwards joined SMTT in 2014, with her most recent post as Director of Operations. In her new role as Chief Operating Officer she will be responsible for managing the overall business operations strategy of SMTT in this crucial time for the organization’s growth and continued success. Edwards will also be in charge of guiding the workflow strategy and organization of all essential business processes for SMTT and Santa MoniCARES.
Mitsuhata joined SMTT in 2016 as Manager, Asia Pacific & Latin America, and was subsequently promoted to his most recent position as Senior Global Business Development Manager. In his new role as Director of Global Business Development, Mitsuhata will further position Santa Monica within the international markets in this critical recovery period by leveraging his knowledge and understanding of the global industry, first-hand experience working with top travel retailers and operators, building co-op campaigns with giants like United Airlines, and leading the launch of in-market activations such as Pier One at Sydney Harbour in Australia.
Lozano joined SMTT part-time in 2007 as Project Manager and became full-time in 2015 as Director of Visitor Experience, and continues to grow in her leadership role and responsibilities. She was instrumental in the visitor services department growth, retail services and “I am Santa Monica” program. In her new role as the Chief People Officer, Lozano will lead the implementation and development of the Workforce Strategy and continue to oversee Visitor Services management for SMTT. The Chief People Officer develops, implements, and aligns Human Resource programs with business objectives and supports employees in their day-to-day Human Resource needs.
Leading the Board Executive Committee as Chairman is Santa Monica resident Albin Gielicz. He served as a member of the board of directors for the past seven years, previously in the role of Vice Chair. Gielicz is a marketing-business development generalist and sustainability advocate with substantial international experience in the U.S. and in emerging markets. He is a working member of the Montana Ave. merchants association and volunteers with the City of Santa Monica’s Community Working Group (CWG) whose charge is to perform a comprehensive review and to make suggestions and recommendations on the future of the City’s boards, commissions and task forces.
Neil Carrey, a Santa Monica resident and attorney with Baker & Hostetler, LLP, now serves as Vice Chair of the Board Executive Committee. Carrey brings nearly 50 years of experience as a tax, business and exempt organization attorney, representing clients across industries including nonprofits. His experience also includes serving with the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and Police Activities League (PAL).
Carrey helped establish the Chris Carrey PAL Education Fund, which provides scholarships for post-high school education expenses to PAL members. Now in its 19th year, more than 116 scholarships totaling more than $310,000 have been awarded to PAL youth.
Jan Williamson, a member of the community since 1995, continues to serve as board Secretary. Under her leadership as Executive Director of the 18th Street Arts Center, the organization has evolved from a small, alternative artist-run space to Southern California’s largest artist residency center.
18th Street Arts Center provides a platform for diverse local and international artists who provoke public dialogue through their art making. During her tenure, the organization purchased 18th Street Arts Center’s 1.25-acre property and Williamson has been leading the planning and fundraising efforts for the renovation and redevelopment of the site. She holds a certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Younes Atallah serves as board Treasurer. Atallah has over 20 years of hospitality leadership experience and oversees the general operations of the 347-guestroom Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, which is located just steps away from the sand and iconic Santa Monica Pier. He also directs the hotel’s dining venues and its 30,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor event space. Previously Atallah was with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. He is an expert at delivering luxury service with a focus on growth, positive guest and team member experiences, and bottom line profit.
“We are fortunate to have high-caliber individuals that are so well-qualified to assume such important roles within our Executive Leadership Team and are now poised to help accelerate our tourism recovery efforts locally and internationally,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism. “And to now lead our board with tourism expertise and professionalism are four incredibly gifted individuals to serve on the 2021-2022 Board Executive Committee. Combined, our new team and committee members will contribute strong leadership qualities and in-depth hospitality experience that will serve Santa Monica well in the current economic environment and for the long-term challenges of recovery and sustained growth.”
For more information visit santamonica.com.
Submitted by Cameron Andrews