Fae Desmond, Executive Director of Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Comic-Con is dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through conventions and events that celebrate the contribution of comics to art and culture.

Fae’s career began as a volunteer in 1976 and was hired as general manager in 1985. Fae has been with Comic-Con from its days as a one-day fan organized event at the El Cortex Hotel, to the current nonprofit educational corporation. This mega San Diego event is a four-day experience that highlights the best in genre-related filmmaking with attendance topping 130,000 costumed fans at sites including the San Diego Convention Center, satellite locations, local hotels and outdoor parks.

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LESLEY COHN, CO-FOUNDER COHN RESTAURANTS

Lesley Cohn, co-founder of Southern California’s premier hospitality collective, Cohn Restaurant Group, has been deeply rooted in San Diego’s philanthropic community, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. True dining scene icons, Lesley and her husband David have earned a reputation as the most giving and generous restaurant group in Southern California, making regular donations of time, money and resources to regional and national organizations such as the Garfield High School Foundation, Rady Children’s Hospital, Balboa Park Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Special Olympics, KPBS and more.

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Carol Wallace, President & CEO, San Diego Theatres, Inc.

Carol Wallace is the president and CEO of San Diego Theatres, Inc. San Diego Theatres is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit corporation that manages, operates, and markets the San Diego Civic Theatre and the historic Balboa Theatre under long-term leases with the City of San Diego. The Civic Theatre and the Balboa Theatre are the performing homes of Broadway/San Diego, the San Diego Opera, and California Ballet. With an annual budget of approximately $8.1 million, San Diego Theatres welcomes over 500,000 patrons annually to the theater venues. San Diego Theatres partners with presenters and artists to ensure the community has access to performing arts that are inclusive, thought-provoking and entertaining.

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Pat Pfohl

Pat began her career in 1975 in hotel catering. She moved quickly through the ranks of several large hotel corporations from Catering Assistant to Director of Catering and Convention Services by her tenth year. She then turned to a different arena within the industry and worked in the party rental industry for the next eighteen years. She received the Presidents’ Award for top sales person from Classic Party Rentals several times.

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Sin Bosier

SIN is the Founder, President & CEO of: GEM – Gaslamp Event Management, Inc. | www.GaslampEvent.com San Diego’s award winning event production, management, hospitality consulting and promotion powerhouse. GEM specializes in launching and marketing nightclubs, restaurants, bars, casinos and resorts.

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Madelyn Marusa

Madelyn Marusa, DMCP, CIS Vice President of Industry Relations, has been with PRA Destination Management since 1983, serving a broad base of corporate and incentive clientele. In 1998, when PRA launched its franchise company expansion, Marusa began to oversee key areas of business development for the corporation, national marketing, industry relations & tradeshows initiatives. Today she continues to support the global sales team on strategic initiatives and projects specializing in the incentive group marketplace.

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Kerri Verbeke Kapich

Kerri Verbeke Kapich is the COO for the San Diego Tourism Authority, one of the nation’s leading destination marketing organizations.  The SDTA represents over 900 hospitality organizations and serves as the San Diego region’s tourism marketing engine.

Kapich is a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences nationwide as well as a guest lecturer at the San Diego State University School of Hospitality.  In 2001, she was named as one of the “Top 100 Marketers” in the nation by Advertising Age magazine

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Yolanda Hernandez

Yolanda M. Hernandez is CEO and President of Five Star Tours and Charter Bus Company, with more than 30 years in the regional and charter motor coach industry.

 Yolanda is shaping the future of the cross-border transportation bus business, providing sightseeing tours in San Diego and Baja, Mexico; charter services for a wide variety of events and customized shuttle ground services. 

 Together, with her two sons, Yolanda manages a fleet of 9 deluxe coaches, 3 mini-coaches to include vans.  She partners with other community and cross border businesses to grow their tourism stakes in the Western United States. 

 

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DeeAnne Snyder

DeeAnne Snyder is a native of San Diego and has been with the San Diego Convention Center Corporation since 1993. DeeAnne first came to the Convention Center as a client, organizing one of the first local consumer shows when the center opened on behalf of local publication. DeeAnne served on the then Gaslamp Merchant's Association from 1987 to 1993.

After only a year and half on the Event Service team, DeeAnne received the 1994 HSMAI, San Diego Chapter JV Cunningham Award for Excellence in Service.

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Karima Zaki

“It is difficult to stand on the precipice of perfection because the law of nature dictates that which does not move forward, SLIPS BACK!”

-Author Unknown - 1600AD

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Shirley Hirai

“We move toward that which we think about so I try to stay positive. I don’t know what I don’t know so I try to stay flexible and open minded. And, sometimes a change of perspective helps to move forward.”

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