David Scowsill, President/CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
Prior to joining WTTC in November 2010, David Scowsill worked for six years in private equity and venture capital, completing deals in technology and travel sectors. He was CEO of Opodo, a pan-European online travel company from 2002 to 2004, building the business from start up to a €500mn transaction turnover, before it was sold to Amadeus. David joined the board of Hilton International in 1997 as senior VP sales, marketing and IT, leading the brand re-unification program between the two Hilton shareholder companies. His earlier career was with British Airways, with a variety of operational and sales roles in US, Europe, Latin America, Gulf States, Africa, and Asia.
James Costos, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra
James Costos was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra on August 1, 2013, and sworn in on August 22, 2013. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Costos was Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office. In this capacity, he was responsible for leading HBO’s newly created global licensing, retail, and marketing division, which he established to further expand HBO’s domestic and international interests.
Ambassador Costos began his career as a fashion and retail executive in New York City, including as Vice President of Retail Operation for TOD’S and Vice President of Retail Operations for Hermès of Paris. He then took on the role of Head of Promotions and Consumer Products at Revolution Studios, a start-up production company. Before joining HBO, he was President and CEO of the entertainment marketing and licensing agency Eight Cylinders, Inc. Ambassador Costos is a passionate supporter of several cultural and humanitarian organizations, including the Santa Monica Museum of Art and the Human Rights Campaign. Ambassador Costos earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts in 1985. Along with his partner of 14 years, Michael S. Smith, the Ambassador calls Los Angeles his hometown.
Theresa Belpulsi, Vice President of Tourism, Destination DC
Theresa Belpulsi oversees tourism marketing and sales for the domestic and international markets as well as visitor’s services for Destination DC. DDC is the capital city’s primary marketing organization and is responsible for the economic health of a $9 billion hospitality industry employing 260,000 individuals in the region. She is also Vice President of the Board to the Capital Region USA, Inc. (CRUSA). CRUSA is a regional tourism coalition comprised of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Destination DC and the Maryland Office of Tourism Development.
Selisse Berry, Founder/CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Under Selisse’s leadership, Out & Equal has grown significantly with dramatic increases in attendance at the annual Workplace Summit and the expansion of programs and global initiatives. Selisse has spoken across the United States and abroad on workplace equality, including recent presentations in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Hungary, the West Indies, and Mexico. Her most recent awards include the Outstanding Hero Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi; the Parks Award in Rome, Italy; and the Local Heroes Award in San Francisco. Selisse is the editor of Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office, Out & Equal’s new anthology of personal stories of executive trailblazers who have transformed the workplace for LGBT people. She has master’s degrees in education and theology from the University of Texas and San Francisco Theological Seminary respectively. Selisse and her wife, Cynthia Martin, were legally married in California in 2008.
Joaquin Castillo, General Manager of Tourism for the Region of Madrid
Joaquin Castillo graduated in Law and Business Administration in ICADE Madrid, and has been responsible for tourism in the Region of Madrid since March 2012. Prior to joining the Madrid Region, he worked 10 years for the Madrid City Hall as General Manager of Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, one of the best sport facilities in the world. During that period he organized sport events of the highest international caliber, such as several editions of Davis and Fed Cups and world championships of horse riding, hockey, golf, archery and pentathlon. His early career was in Viajes El Corte Inglés as head of travel-related sporting events and Deputy Representative in Madrid of Manufacturers Hanover Trust. Married with two children, Castillo is a keen amateur golf player, and four-time Spanish amateur champion and member of the Spanish golf amateur team in all categories.
Tanya Churchmuch, Assistant Director of International Media/Leisure Markets, Tourisme Montreal
In addition to providing international media and leisure market support, Tanya Churchmuch oversees Tourisme Montreal’s LGBT outreach. She was also the founder of the lesbian travel website www.girlports.com. In 2009 Tanya was elected to the IGLTA Board of Directors and served as Chair from May 2010-May 2013; she currently serves as Past Chair. An expert in lesbian travel, she has spoken on the subject at numerous travel industry conferences around the world and written travel articles for many LGBT publications. Prior to working in the LGBT travel and media world, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor in Montreal, Canada, including nine years at Global Television. She is also a former board member of Reporters Without Borders International, based in Paris, and Past President of Reporters Without Borders Canada.
Bettina Hagen, Founder, AbsolutPublishing
Bettina Hagen is a journalist and PR consultant. In 2009, she founded AbsolutPublishing, an agency for corporate publishing, public relations and content marketing. She is based in Cologne, Germany, and continues to freelance for a various publications, including Queer Travel.
Yolanda Perdomo, Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. Perdomo has experience in both the public and private sectors and is an expert in tourism destination promotion and distribution. She has been Vice-Councilor for Tourism of the Government of the Canary Islands and Managing Director of PROMOTUR, the organization in charge of the promotion of tourism in the Canary Islands. With InnovaTurismo, Perdomo was manager of tourism projects. She has also been Director of the BungalowsClub booking portal, as well as Business Development Manager at Tourism Revolution Ecosystem. Born in the Canary Islands, Perdomo attended the American University of Paris, lived for five years in France, one in the United States, three in Italy and now works in Madrid. She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Vienna Tourist Board and Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Tourism and Management of Skopje, FY Republic of Macedonia.