Submitted by Travel Tacoma + Pierce County
Travel Tacoma + Pierce County’s board of directors today announced that it has selected Chelene Potvin-Bird as interim president and CEO, effective immediately. The announcement follows the departure of Bennish Brown, who served as president and CEO of Travel Tacoma + Pierce County since June 2012, and is leaving to take a role at the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Potvin-Bird, previously Travel Tacoma + Pierce County’s vice president of sales and servicing, has been with the organization since April 2013. She began with the organization in April 2013 as director of convention center sales before being promoted to vice president in October 2014.
“Chelene has faithfully served Travel Tacoma + Pierce County as the leader of the sales department for several years and has demonstrated leadership skills that have enriched the organization and our industry at-large. We have full confidence in her ability to be a bridge-builder in the tourism community, and her knowledge of the organization and its mission will ensure that the organization does not skip a beat during the search for its next top executive,” board chair Evan Marques said. “We thank Bennish for his years of service, and the growth that the organization has experienced under his direction.”
Prior to joining Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Potvin-Bird had a 15-year history in the hotel industry with international brands such as Doubletree and Hilton, focusing on segments that strongly influence the Pierce County hotel industry here: business travel, tour and travel and the meetings market.
In her tenure with Travel Tacoma, Potvin-Bird has led the sales efforts for the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and the region, raising the destination’s profile to the national level as a place to hold meetings.
Under her leadership, the county has seen booked room nights increase 184 percent from 2013 to 2017, securing on average a future economic impact of $25 million per year. Her team earned the Smart Meetings magazine 2017 Platinum Award, which made Travel Tacoma the only destination marketing organization in Washington state so recognized.
Additionally, she has been a key contributor in defining the minimum development requirements for the new $85 million Convention Center Hotel project with the City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Department, and has consulted for investors and branding consultants to help enhance Pierce County’s economic vitality.