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Tourism Agency Announces Leadership Changes

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By Lookout Staff

August 6, 2021 -- Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) recently promoted three members of its Executive Leadership Team and saw several shifts made within its Board, agency officials announced.

Evan Edwards was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Todd Mitsuhata to Director of Global Business Development and Rachel Lozano to Chief People Officer,

Edwards, who joined SMTT in 2014, will be responsible for managing the agency's overall business operations strategy during a "crucial time for the organization’s growth and continued success," agency officials said.

Mitsuhata, who joined SMTT in 2016, will help to "further position Santa Monica within the international markets in this critical recovery period," officials said.

As Director of Global Business Development, he brings a "knowledge and understanding of the global industry and first-hand experience working with top travel retailers and operators."

As Chief People officer, Lozano, who joined SMTT part-time in 2007, "will lead the implementation and development of the Workforce Strategy and continue to oversee Visitor Services management."

“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 SMTT President and CEO Misti Kerns.

Albin Gielicz assumed the post of chairman of the Board Executive Committee, where he has served for seven years, most recently as vice chair.

Gielicz is a marketing-business development generalist and sustainability advocate "with substantial international experience in the U.S. and in emerging markets."

Neil Carrey, a Santa Monica resident and attorney with Baker & Hostetler, LLP, is the new vice chair.

"Carrey brings nearly 50 years of experience as a tax, business and exempt organization attorney, representing clients across industries including nonprofits," officials said.

He has served on the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and Police Activities League (PAL), where he established an education fund 19 years ago that has awarded more than 116 scholarships totaling more than $310,000.

Jan Williamson, executive director of the 18th Street Arts Center and a member of the community since 1995, continues to serve as board Secretary.

Under her leadership the Center "has evolved from a small, alternative artist-run space to Southern California’s largest artist residency center," officials said.

Serving as board Treasurer is Younes Atallah, who oversees the general operations of the 347-guestroom Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and directs its dining venues and 30,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor event space.

Kerns called the four board members "incredibly gifted individuals" who will "lead our board with tourism expertise and professionalism.

"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,” Kerns said.

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