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NC Tourism Leadership Conference

  • November 16, 2022
  • 4:00 PM
  • November 17, 2022
  • 9:00 PM
  • Charlotte Convention Center



Wednesday, November 16

Time Session
1pm NCTIA Board Meeting
2pm DMANC Board Meeting
Education: Today and Tomorrow's Destination Landscape session with Steve Chandler and Chris Cavanaugh
3pm Tourism Education Foundation of NC Board Meeting 
5:30-6:30pm  Welcome Reception 
Sponsored by

Thursday, November 17

Time Session
8:45am Welcome
9 - 9:45am 

"Visit NC Update" 
Wit Tuttell - Director, Visit North Carolina

10 - 11am "360 Degree Branding"
Steve Chandler - Owner/Brand Strategist, Chandler Thinks
Sponsored by Visit Rowan County
11:15 - 11:45am  Media Relations Panel
12 - 12:45pm Lunch 
Sponsored by Visit Charlotte
1 - 2:30pm

Legislative Session
Senator Todd Johnson

3 - 3:45pm  Workforce Development Showcase 
4 - 4:45pm  Social Districts Panel
6:30pm Cocktail Reception 
7pm Awards Banquet 

Education Sessions

360 Degree Branding
Steve Chandler, Chandler Thinks

Branding can no longer be limited to advertising and graphic identity. Companies, organizations and destinations build their reputation in a transparent world that showcases every aspect of operations. We are represented by our customers, our fails, our imperfections, and our ambassadors. Most importantly, pandemics and economic woes have made many realize our brand is most determined by our delivered value, even if it’s something we never before provided. This talk on 360 Degree Branding shows building a brand is not limited to our consumers, but also our businesses and stakeholders.

Steve Chandler - Owner/Brand Strategist, TMP
Steve is a recognized speaker and a leading practitioner on the topic of place branding. Steve started Chandlerthinks in 2010 to provide consulting for communities seeking to make their brand, marketing and communications stronger. Since then Steve has spoken on the topic of place marketing and place branding all over the country including at the Georgia Municipal League of Cities, the national conference for the City-County Communications & Marketing Association and the state tourism conferences for: Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia and the annual Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College.

Steve has personally worked on over 125 community and destination branding projects. His experience in similar projects gives him the nuanced knowledge, skills and diplomacy needed to guide, work with and lead local stakeholders. Chandlerthinks branding and marketing direction can be found in places such as Macon, GA; Columbus, GA; Columbia, TN; Cedarbrug, WI; Carlsbad, CA; Seguin, TX; and the North Carolina communities of Rowan County, Alamance County, Apex, Currituck Outer Banks and Cabarrus County.

Media Relations Panel

Allison Latos, a veteran TV news anchor in Charlotte shares her thoughts on media relationships and the things you can do to establish yourself as the “go-to” contact for journalists. Joining Allison will be a few of North Carolina’s most successful PR professionals:

Claire Simmons
Senior Director of Clinical Communications 
Atrium Health

Barry Finkelstein
SVP/Director of PR

Karen Brand
Director of Communications

Legislative Session
Senator Todd Johnson

Senator Todd Johnson, who co-chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, will be awarded the 2022 NCTIA Legislator of the Year Award at the Legislative Session on Thursday, November 17 and will participate in a 2023 General Assembly preview discussion led by NCTIA lobbyists Brian Lewis and Skye David. 

NCTIA welcomes Senator Johnson to our conference and we look forward to honoring him for the legislative work he’s done to modernize alcohol laws throughout the state. Senator Johnson was also an early champion for NCTIA’s workforce development project funded by the General Assembly. Additionally, he worked with our industry to make elevators safer in short-term rental homes. 

Workforce Development Showcase

During this session you will hear from 3 essential players who are spearheading Charlotte’s tourism workforce development program. Tracy Milcarek, Director of Human Resources at Hilton Charlotte Uptown, Stanley Weaver, CTE Curriculum Coordinator for CMS’s Culinary Arts Pathway, and Molly Pusateri representing the NC Tourism Education Foundation and the Charlotte Area Hotel Association will each share the program’s latest successes and where to find the necessary resources to get started in your community.    

Social Districts Panel

In July of 2022, Governor Roy Cooper signed a law allowing municipalities across North Carolina to establish outdoor areas in which a person may consume alcoholic beverages sold by a permittee. These areas, known as social districts, have become a topic of consideration for many cities across our state. NCTIA lobbyist Brian Lewis leads a panel of DMO executives who were fully engaged in establishing the new Social Districts in their community. Panelists will discuss the benefits that these districts have had on their respective destinations as well as share any initial challenges during the process.


  • Andrew Schmidt -  Visit Greenville NC
  • Melody Burnett – Visit High Point
  • Sarah Jones – Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau

NCTIA is a 501(c)6

1307 W Morehead St, Suite 207
Charlotte, NC 28208

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