LGBT Meeting Professionals Association Announce New Board Members Representing the Wide Spectrum of Diversity in the LGBT Community

Today the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association (LGBT MPA) announces the addition of six industry leaders with diverse personal backgrounds to the Board of Directors. The new members hold executive positions in organizations ranging from a worldwide event consulting firm to major international corporations. Their presence adds representation for gay and lesbian people of color and gender fluid individuals. The new members also hold leadership positions in other professional industry organizations.

“Boards of Directors typically reflect the status of their organization’s current membership, who they are, not who they want to become. The LGBT MPA is focused on representing the full spectrum of diversity,” said David Jefferys, Executive Director. “We believe that if you are not consciously striving for diversity, you are unconsciously being non-inclusive.”



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The new board members include Cory Fransway, Director, Strategic Accounts, Experient; Ann Garvey, National Sales Manager, VisitNorfolk; Gary Murakami, Director, Global Sales for MGM Resorts International; Ron Renee Roley, Senior Event Manager, Nike Global Events; Juergen Steinmetz, Chairman ICTP & Publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), and Tami Sortman, Senior Creative and Advertising Director and Destination Marketing Expert.

“We are a working, volunteer board all committed to diversity and inclusion,” said Jim Clapes, LGBT MPA Chairman and Conference & Events Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Our new board members bring a more holistic and global view of diversity and inclusion that will propel our organization forward.”

Here are the new members:

Cory Fransway, CMM
Director, Strategic Accounts, Experient

At Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company, Cory’s consulting work includes the full spectrum of city selection and sourcing of hotels and facilities in the US, EMEA, APAC and Australia. Empowered by experts on his team, he is focused on experience design and next practices throughout the site selection, event planning, registration, housing, and lead management processes. Cory recently served as President of Meeting Professionals International (Chicago Area Chapter) and in other MPI-CAC Board and Executive Committee roles. He has also served on the MPI (Global) Chapter Leadership Advisory Council and a number of CVB advisory boards.

Ann Garvey, CEM, CMP
National Sales Manager, VisitNorfolk

Ann’s career has included hospitality expertise in both operations and sales before successfully transitioning to business development for convention and visitor bureaus. Active on the ASAE Meetings & Expositions Section Council and the local PCMA and MPI chapters, Ann is incoming Chair of the Association of Meeting Professionals.

“I’m excited to accept this appointment to the Board of the LGBT MPA and look forward to working within the organization’s mission to help fellow female LGBT meeting professionals advance in their careers,” said Garvey. “My hope is that women will find the association a welcoming place for connecting and extending their resources and colleague network within the LGBT+ community. I’m delighted to both lead and support the larger hospitality industry in diversity and inclusion.”Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP, CMM

Director, Global Sales for MGM Resorts International  

A seasoned hospitality sales executive and innovative strategic leader with expertise in the hotel and convention management industries, Gary is responsible for raising awareness for MGM Resorts International, as well as developing and maintaining key client partnerships in his strategic territories with corporate, associations, and intermediary/third party segments. An active member in the global meetings, events and travel industry community, Gary has held a variety of leadership director and committee roles with several industry associations both locally and nationally. “I am excited to be involved with LGBT MPA, as the organization elevates the continued dialogue of diversity and inclusion within the meetings and events industry,” added Murakami. 

 Ron Renee Roley, Senior Event Manager, Nike Global Events

From his early days at the Portland Art Museum to Nike Global Events Manager, Ron’s experienced rapid career growth in the non-profit and commercial arenas. At Nike he works with internal clients, industry groups and global vendors producing world class event experiences. He is on a team that designs, develops and manages internal and external events worldwide.

Juergen Steinmetz, Chairman ICTP & Publisher of eTurboNews (eTN)

Beginning as a travel agent to his current role as publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications, Juergen has worked with national tourism offices, NGOs, private and non-profit organizations. His experience includes planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. He is the Chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners.

  “Diversity is the key to make any industry complete. Within our network of publications, organizations and entities, eTN has always stood for equality and inclusiveness,” said Steinmetz. “I am excited to be part of the LGBT MPA board and contribute my resources to make sure the world understands and sees what the LGBT community is adding to the growth of the meeting and incentive travel industry.”

Tami Sortman
Senior Creative and Advertising Director, Destination Marketing Expert

Tami is a seasoned creative director and advertising professional with over 20 years of experience in advertising, media buying and destination marketing. Most recently she was the Creative Director and Advertising Director at Lundy Law. She is past President of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus and was the Director of Marketing and Advertising for MASCO Communications/Philadelphia Gay News. As VP of Client Services at the Altus Agency her team produced the award-winning “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay” destination marketing campaign.

More about LGBT MPA

The LGBT Meeting Professionals Association (LGBT MPA) is the first association for this industry group. Statistically, there are an estimated 100,000 meeting professionals currently practicing in the United States. LGBT MPA predicts 8,000 to 12,000 of these professionals working in the field are members of the LGBT community.

The LGBT MPA was founded in August 2016 by Dave Jefferys, president and CEO of the Altus Agency, a Philadelphia-based marketing enterprise firm specializing in LGBT travel and the Executive Officers and the Board. Membership for LGBT professionals is free. To join the organization visit our site www.lgbtmpa.com.

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