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ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2022) – Visit Orlando welcomes new community and business leaders to serve as its 2023 board of directors. Visit Orlando is the not-for-profit trade association responsible for branding, marketing, and selling the Orlando destination globally to attract leisure visitors and meetings and convention business for local economic impact. Its members represent over 1,300 companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community. 

Terry Prather, chief operating officer at Lift Orlando, was appointed as the board chair for 2023. Prather succeeds Brian Comes, board chair in 2021 and 2022, and area vice president at Hyatt Regency Orlando.  

“Terry’s extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry, along with his commitment to collaboration and service our community, makes him an invaluable asset to Visit Orlando,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “I am looking forward to working in partnership with Terry and our 2023 board of directors to further our mission to be the most visited, welcoming and inclusive travel destination in the world.” 

Throughout Prather’s career, he has worked in Florida tourism, currently at Lift Orlando, and formerly at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment as president of SeaWorld Orlando. His board experience includes serving for VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Council of Tourism Leaders, Bethune-Cookman University’s Board of Trustees, and Dr. Phillips Charities. He is Visit Orlando's first Black board chair.  
 
“As board chair, my three key priorities are to support the organization in the execution of our three-year strategic plan, help strengthen the travel and tourism industry and showcase the opportunities this industry provides for people of all backgrounds at every stage in their career,” said Terry Prather, COO at Lift Orlando and Visit Orlando board chair.  

Changes and new elections to the 2023 board include:

New Board Chair to serve through December 31, 2024 

  • Terry Prather, Chief Operating Officer, Lift Orlando  

New Board Directors 

  • Chris Mueller, General Manager, Hilton Orlando 

  • Claudia Menezes, Vice President, GoPegasus 

  • John de Armas, CEO, ProfitLand Partners  

  • Chris Jaskiewicz, President & CEO, ICON Park  

  • Karen Irwin, President & Chief Operating Officer, Universal Orlando Resort 

  • Brad Gilmour, Vice President of Operations, Aquatica & Discovery Cove 

These new leaders join the following Board Directors who are continuing their terms: 

Executive Committee - The following is the slate of Executive committee members to be ratified by the board in early 2023: 

  • Chair-Elect: Barb Bowden, Area Managing Director, Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort 

  • Treasurer/Secretary: Atish Shah, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc.   

  • Past Chair: Brian Comes, Area Vice President, Hyatt Regency Orlando 

  • Elected Director: Charlie Freeman, President of Business Operations, Orlando Magic 

  • At-Large Director: Paul S. Mears III: President & CEO, Hello! Destination Management 

  • Non-voting member: Casandra Matej, President & CEO, Visit Orlando  

Board Members  

  • Robert Agrusa, President/CEO, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association 

  • Robert Bray, General Manager, Orlando World Center Marriott 

  • Evelyn Cardenas, PhD., CAE, PMP, President/CEO, Central Florida Auto Dealers Association Inc. 

  • Designate of The Honorable Jerry L. Demings, Orange County Mayor, Orange County Government — Roseann Harrington, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor 

  • Designate of The Honorable Buddy Dyer, Mayor, City of Orlando — Brooke R. Bonnett, Director of Economic Development 

  • Donna Dyson, Market President & Publisher, Orlando Business Journal 

  • Diana M. Font, President, DMFont Events 

  • Dan Giordano, General Manager, Rosen Shingle Creek 

  • Tim Giuliani, President & CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership 

  • Gerald Hector, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, University of Central Florida 

  • Steven Jamieson, Corporate Director of Operations with Mall at Millenia, The Forbes Company 

  • Bob Miles, President, Bags 

  • Javier Moreno, Senior Vice President, Sales & Services & Events, Disney Destinations 

  • Barbara Poma, Founder, onePULSE Foundation 

  • Fred Sawyers, Managing Director, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek 

  • Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President & General Manager, Four Seasons Resort Orlando 

  • Mark Tester, Executive Director, Orange County Convention Center 

  • Kevin Thibault, CEO, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority 

  • Justin Williams, General Manager, Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando 

  • Evan Wyatt, Senior Vice President, Greater Orlando Market President, Truist 

General Counsel 

  • William T. Dymond, Jr., President & CEO; Managing Partner, Lowndes 

About Visit Orlando    

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States, Theme Park Capital of the World® and No. 1 meeting destination in the country. A not-for-profit trade association that brands, markets and sells the Orlando destination globally, we represent more than 1,500 member companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community. 

Visit Orlando connects consumers and business groups with all facets of Orlando’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, nature and outdoor adventures, vibrant neighborhoods, a dynamic dining scene with Michelin-recognized restaurants, and a robust calendar of entertainment and sports events — Orlando is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community for all travelers. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com, VisitOrlando.org or OrlandoMeeting.com. 

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