DMAI Cuts Nine Staff Members as Don Welsh Begins CEO Role

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Destination Marketing Association International chairman Bob Lander and president and CEO Don Welsh today announced a strategic realignment of the organization "in preparation of a renewed commitment to focus on member and partner needs." Effective today, nine staff members were "vacated for further evaluation." Among those affected are Valencia Bembry, senior vice president; Vickie Singer, senior vice president, marketing and communications; Nancy Elder, executive vice president; Mitchell Gehrisch, director of member relations; Linda Andreani, vice president, education and professional development; Alan Lotenberg, manager, member relations; and Tonia Williams, office coordinator. Charles Jeffers, COO and interim CEO since September 2015, will remain with the organization through the end of May 2016.

The current DMAI leadership team includes Welsh; Christine Shimasaski, managing director of empowerMINT and EIC; Julie Hart, chief financial officer; and Paul Ouimet, executive director of DestinationNEXT.

"Following significant analysis, discussion and deliberation, the timing of this organizational realignment is appropriate and essential," said Lander. "The executive committee fully supports the strategies and initiatives that Don plans to implement in the very near future. On behalf of the board of directors, we thank Charles for his commitment to DMAI and wish him the very best in his future endeavors."

Welsh, who formally took over the helm of DMAI last week, said, "This organizational realignment will allow the team to accomplish the key tasks that will help take DMAI to the next level. We exist for the benefit of our members, and moving forward, we will provide the services and products that they want, need and are willing to financially support. I echo Bob's thanks to Charles and look forward to working with him over these next few weeks."