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Puget Sound Economic Summit

Regional Recovery


David Blandford

Interim Executive Director, Washington Tourism Alliance

Blandford assumed this role in May 2020 with immediate priorities to re-establish a statewide tourism marketing program and create recovery and destination development programs for the state tourism industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blandford has a long tenure in state tourism marketing and industry advocacy. He was part of the industry coalition that fought to preserve state tourism office funding in 2009-2010 and, following the closure of the state tourism office, he continued to work with the WTA to establish a new and sustainable funding mechanism for state tourism marketing, which was achieved in 2018. He served on the WTA Board of Directors and as Co-Chair from 2018 to 2020.

Ali Daniels

Senior Vice President and CMO, Visit Seattle

Ali Daniels is SVP/Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Seattle. Daniels serves on the organization’s leadership team, oversees its marketing departments and drives strategic planning and development across convention and leisure travel markets, as well as manages the marketing activities for the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area. During her tenure she has led the organization through their company-wide rebrand, website redesign, publications overhaul and launched Seattle’s first leisure campaign.

Carla Murray

COO, The Americas - Western Region, Marriott International, Inc.

Carla J. Murray, is the Chief Operations Officer for Marriott International Americas’ Western Region. As COO, she leads the teams responsible for 170 properties in the Western United States across the recently merged Starwood and Marriott brands. She was promoted to the position of COO following her roles as Senior Vice President Operations, Western Region for both Marriott and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. These positions were preceded by a series of regional positions between 2002 and 2016 as well as General Manager positions from 1998 to 2002 at the Sheraton Boston, St. Regis Aspen, the Westin Seattle and the Sheraton Grand Seattle.

Her responsibilities include delivering full P&L accountability for $9.1B in sales. The geography spans from the Midwest U.S. to French Polynesia. She supports customer efforts by delivering a superior customer experience enabled by technology and enhanced by loyalty. Sourcing, developing and leading 10,000 world class associates in the dynamic world of hospitality is a key focus for her as she leads the enterprise.

John Oppenheimer

CEO, Columbia Hospitality

John Oppenheimer is a travel and tourism visionary and entrepreneur with a passion for the hospitality industry.

John has founded five successful, private hospitality-related businesses. In 1995, he founded Columbia Hospitality to manage Bell Harbor International Conference Center for the Port of Seattle. Today, Columbia Hospitality manages properties in over 30 communities and also operates a consulting division, which has completed more than 80 hospitality development projects throughout the United States and abroad. John was a founding general partner of Seattle Hotel Group, the investment group that developed the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Seattle.

Moderator to Be Announced

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