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Tourism Victoria Board of Directors

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Bill Lewis

Chair

General Manager, Magnolia Hotel & Spa 

Member at Large Sector

Raised in Victoria, and having lived most of his life here, Bill is very passionate about our beautiful city and the key role that tourism plays in our economy. Bill holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a proud alumnus of Royal Roads University. He has also completed an MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Guelph. Professionally, Bill has 15 years in management roles in hotels and has been a General Manager of four hotels. He is currently General Manager of the Luxury Boutique Hotel, The Magnolia Hotel & Spa. With strengths in leadership, strategy and marketing Bill serves on the Tourism Victoria Board to provide insight and leadership with the goal to keep this key industry growing and vibrant for generations to come.

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Starr McMichael

First Vice Chair

Chair, Transportation Committee

President, Starrboard Enterprises Inc.

Member at Large Sector

Starr describes herself as a Specialized Generalist having led a successful career as an Executive Manager/Owner/Operator in the Marine Hospitality, Tourism, Food & Beverage and Event Management Industries, for which she is extremely grateful. She has a rich volunteer life that has informed her view of Corporate Volunteerism as it relates to giving back to the community partnered with the successful impacts volunteering can have on business. Starr presently serves as a Vice Chair for Tourism Victoria - Chair Transportation Committee, Director on the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and the Tall Ships Society and is honoured to have been a recipient of the C-FAX Community Leader of the Year Award.

Starr currently chooses to consult on projects that fall under the umbrella of contribution to a greater good for our communities be it in paid or volunteer positions.  Her passion is speaking to groups about leadership; of one's life, in partnership and as a contributing member to the societies' we live in. 

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Derek Sanderson

Vice Chair

Chair, Finance & Membership Committee

CEO, Island IT

Member at Large Sector

Philanthropist, and business owner of The Island IT, and chair of the Victoria Masquerade Ball. Derek is responsible for repositioning the destination on TripAdvisor to more accurately include all 13 regions and municipalities, recognizing travellers do not plan trips based on municipal borders. World travelled, with international work and life experience in Brazil, Europe and Americas, Derek is proudly and philanthropically involved in Greater Victoria. Professionally, he is the CEO of Island IT, a Certified Microsoft partnered business that provides I.T. and surveillance options for companies. He has been involved in international I.T. industry for over 16 years and has Hospitality experience as a Chef, starting his career there, and previous to I.T., restaurant/nightclub ownership and operations. Derek is an active member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, and is a proud 32nd degree Freemason. Derek believes that every aspect of business in Victoria is affected by Tourism, and as Victoria diversifies, so does its Boards representing its interests. He has a strong working relationship with local Police departments with his involvement with RetailCOP, and his surveillance business. His philosophy is strengthening collaboration and working together to promote and develop and sustain an ever-growing, ever-changing Victoria. He believes that quality service and experience drive the best of memories. He has a strong connection to our city and its offerings and looks forward to bringing his vision to the tourism industry in Greater Victoria. Both he and his wife Julie are proud ambassadors of Victoria. His philanthropy to Victoria and British Columbia has been recognized by the Prime Minister and the Premier of BC.

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Kimberley Hughes

Vice Chair

Chair, Sales & Marketing Committee

General Manager, Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa

Accommodation - More than 149 Rooms

Kimberley Hughes manages the gorgeous Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa. Kimberley graduated from Queen's University in 1988 with a BA in Political Science. She moved to Victoria in 2008 from Whistler, BC. Kimberley is an active member of the tourism community and was one of the founding (and current) Board of Directors of the Victoria Hotel Destination Marketing Association, which is instrumental in generating significantly more marketing dollars for Tourism Victoria. Kimberley has been an active member on the TVIC Marketing Committee since 2010. She held director positions on various boards including Treasurer, TIABC and Chair of Policy and Government Relations Victoria Chamber. Kimberley's business acumen and passion for customer service are the driving forces behind her successful career in tourism. Providing a desirable destination goes hand in hand with creating a sustainable community to live in.

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Darlene Hollstein

Vice Chair

General Manager, The Bay Centre

Retail & Restaurants Sector

Darlene is the General Manager of The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria where she oversees the strategic direction of the centre. She has been employed in commercial property management for the past 20 years. Darlene has sat on numerous boards including four years on the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce board and is currently the Chair, the Past Chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) 2007/2009 and a Board Member since inception in 2005.  She is the Past President of BOMA Victoria (2009/10) and a Board Member since 2006 and is a Board Director of Tourism Victoria for the past three years.  She has sat on numerous committees including the Greater Victoria Development Agency, City Manager's Advisory Committee, Mayor's Task Force on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness and a past Board Member of the Leadership Council for the Greater Victoria Commission to End Homelessness.

dave cowen bod 

Dave Cowen

Past Chair

General Manager, The Butchart Gardens 

Dave Cowen has been involved in the tourism industry for over 25 years and has been General Manager of The Butchart Gardens since 2007. He is active in the tourism community and serves on the following boards:

  • Director, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
  • President, BC Garden Tourism Coalition
  • Co-Chair - Tourism Committee, Pacific Northwest Economic Development Region
  • Ongoing participation in SKAL; 10+ years' experience as a public speaking trainer assisting UVIC Diploma in Business program
  • Past Board Experience: Vancouver Island Flower & Garden Show; BC Council of Tourism Associations; Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society; Tourism Committee Chair, Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce; previous involvement with the Victoria Quality Council
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Councillor Margaret Lucas

Director

Councillor, City of Victoria

City of Victoria Appointee

Margaret Lucas has been a resident of Greater Victoria for over 35 years. She has been an executive leader in the Tourism and Retail Industry for over 25 years. In 2003, she deployed her visionary business plan and worked tirelessly to lead the transformation of the Hotel Douglas to the Hotel Rialto. The Hotel Rialto now contributes to the appeal and allure of downtown Victoria and will do so for years to come. Margaret cares deeply about her community, is not afraid to get involved and brings her strong business acumen and understanding of regional perspectives to her role on city council. Extensive board committee work has impressed upon her the importance of working as a team. She has a proven track record as the person to whom difficult and unconventional projects and negotiations are assigned. She is valued for her tireless work ethic and sage counsel.

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Geoff Dickson

Director

President & CEO, Victoria Airport Authority

Transportation Sector

Geoff Dickson became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Airport Authority in 2011.  As President and Chief Executive Officer, Geoff is responsible for the strategic planning, operations and financial performance of Victoria International Airport.  During Geoff's tenure, Victoria International Airport won the prestigious Airports Council International Airport Service Quality award for best regional airport in North America in 2012 and 2014.  Geoff has over twenty five years of experience in the airline and marine transportation industries with a background in marketing, business development, operations, customer service and finance.  Geoff began his career with Canadian Airlines where he ultimately led the international marketing team in the development and expansion of the Airline's global network.  He returned home to Victoria where he joined BC Ferries as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development where he oversaw all aspects of their commercial operations.  Geoff is a past member of the Canadian Tourism Commission's Asia and Europe Committees and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Tourism Victoria and the Greater Victoria Development Agency.  Geoff is a graduate of the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.

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Councillor Judy Brownoff

Director

Councillor, District of Saanich 

District of Saanich Appointee

Judy is delighted to join the Board and brings experience as an entrepreneur both in operating a ski school in B.C. and in running a business centre and direct mail marketing company in the Greater Victoria region. She has been involved in public life in the region serving on Saanich Council and the Capital Regional District Board for more than 20 years, including involvement with the regional parks and the planning and transportation committees. 

Judy is a strong believer that the destination's natural outdoor opportunities are a draw for tourism that can make visitors want to come back for more, from cycling on trails both urban and rural to hiking places like Mount Doug in Saanich, to exploring regional parks like East Sooke Park or swimming in the potholes.

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Allison Fairhurst

Director

General Manager, Abigail's Hotel 

Accommodation - 25 Rooms or Fewer

Allison has worked in tourism for more than 25 years. Born and raised in Halifax, she holds a degree in Hotel Management from the Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Before moving to Victoria in 1997, Allison worked in luxury hotels in both Switzerland and France for several years, where she received hands-on training in all areas of the hotel industry.

In Victoria, Allison has worked as Sales and Revenue Manager at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa and the Harbour Towers Hotel. She has been the Director of Marketing at Abigail's Hotel for the past eight years, recently promoted to General Manager when Abigail's changed ownership in June 2015.

Allison's passion for the tourism industry, dedication to first-class customer service, international experience and marketing and revenue management know-how have been key drivers in her success, seen most notably in the year-over-year growth of Abigail's Hotel and its achievement as being voted the Trip Advisor Traveler's Choice #1 Best Small Hotel in Canada three years in a row.

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Erika Stenson

Director

Head of Marketing and Development, Royal BC Museum

Arts, Culture & Societies Sector

Erika joined the Royal BC Museum in 2010, bringing extensive experience in marketing communications in both the private and public sectors. She attended Harvard Business School, is a communications and advertising accredited professional, and has a Liberal Arts Diploma. Erika was a member of University of Victoria's Congress of the Humanities 2013 Community Partnerships committee, and a member of the Tourism Victoria Sales and Marketing Committee (2011-2013). She also currently serves on the Boards of the BC Museum Association and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria.

As Head of Marketing and Development, Erika is responsible for the marketing communications team, media relations and corporate communications, publishing, consumer research and tourism/travel trade and other related activities. She also leads development and implementation of fundraising and sponsorship initiatives.

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Suzanne Gatrell

Director

General Manager, Oswego Hotel

Accommodation - From 26-149 Rooms 

Suzanne Gatrell has more than 25 years international hotel experience specializing in four and five star hotels both in Europe and Canada, Fairmont hotels, Hilton International and various independent properties. Suzanne has also worked for Holland America Cruiselines onboard. She currently sits on two volunteer Board of Directors: the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) and Artemis, an independent school for girls in Victoria. Suzanne values giving back to the community and has lived in Victoria for 20 years. She knows the Victoria market well and believes her knowledge operating a boutique-style hotel along with passion for tourism in Victoria bring a unique perspective to Tourism Victoria's Board of Directors.

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Janet Docherty

Director

Owner/Operator, Merridale Ciderworks Corp.

Tourism Vancouver Island Appointee

Born and raised in Vancouver, Janet's background is in business. She now owns and operates a growing business in the Cowichan Valley, Merridale Ciderworks. Merridale is a destination focusing on cider and distillery production with a bistro, bakery, and boutique store on the farm property. Products are sold only in B.C. Janet believes that Merridale's success is best achieved by promoting the growth of the community as a whole and then distinguishing Merridale within it. To this end, Janet has been a director or involved with numerous marketing and tourism associations on the island and B.C., and assists with many festivals, events and fundraising efforts year-round. Currently she sits on the board of Tourism Vancouver Island, marketing committee of Tourism Vancouver Island, finance committee of Tourism Victoria, Chair of WIVA (Wine Islands Vintners Association), and President of Tourism Cowichan Society. Her volunteer efforts have focused heavily on the food and beverage industry as well as the viability and sustainability of agriculture.

 tom benson BOD

Tom Benson

Director

CEO, Wildplay Element Parks 

Attractions Sector

As Chief Experience Officer and co-founder of WildPlay Element Parks, Tom is responsible for expanding this network across North America. A business generalist, Tom is an uncompromising values-based leader in his execution of strategic and tactical plans. His 35 year career has included mountain guiding, management and consulting in the private sector, implementation of business initiatives/strategies, sourcing and managing IT resources for complex system implementations, risk management in various business settings, and several successful start-up businesses in different industries, including the tourism hospitality sector.

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Brett Soberg

Director

Owner/Operator, Eagle Wing Tours 

Sport & Outdoor Adventure Sector

Brett has been involved in tourism and hospitality since 1993, beginning at the Accent Inns and then moving on to the Delata Ocean Point Resort for eight years. Most recently, Brett is involved in the industry as co-owner and operator of Eagle Wing Tours Ltd. Eagle Win operates year-round in the whale watching industry and Brett has been running tours since 1997, winning numerous awards and maintaining a #1 Trip Advisor ranking since 2007. 

Brett has been heavily involved in many aspects of the business including marketing, web design, social media, networking, boat maintenance, office operations, staffing, reservations, and other. With a fine arts background, Brett also brings a creative element in thinking outside the box about tourism in the region.

mark mawhinney

Mark Mawhinney

Director

Investment Advisor, Odlum Brown Limited

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Appointee

Mark Mawhinney, CPA, CMA is an Investment Advisor in the Victoria offices of Odlum Brown Limited. Prior to moving to Victoria in 2011, Mark worked in corporate development with the Armstrong Group in Vancouver with an emphasis on identifying and assessing business opportunities in the U.S. market for Rocky Mountaineer and assisting leadership with management of Armstrong's Gray Line West subsidiary.

Mark is chair of both the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society and Fairway Gorge Paddling Club Society boards of directors. He is also a member of the board of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and is a member of its Executive Committee. Mark volunteers for both the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University on "Dragons' Den" style business plan competitions. Additionally, he founded the J. Donald Mawhinney, QC Lectureship in Professional Ethics for the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC - the first of its kind in Canada. Mark is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and in 2009 was awarded the CMA Society of BC's province-wide Top Talent award for leadership.

He enjoys jogging, biking, boating and spending time at his cabin on Mayne Island.

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