PEOPLE update September 8, 2020

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, recently announced the appointment of Marsha Walden as president and chief executive officer of Destination Canada effective August 24, 2020. This appointment was made following an open, transparent and merit-based selection process. Before accepting this appointment, Walden had been president and CEO of Destination British Columbia since 2013. Throughout her career, she occupied several executive positions, notably with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and BBDO Canada. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Program: Leading Change and Organizational Renewal, and she holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia.

Leading hotel ownership, management and development firm, Hotel Equities (HE), has announced the promotion of Bryan DeCort to the position of chief operating officer. In his role, DeCort will be responsible for enterprise-wide performance, profitability and corporate strategy for the firm’s portfolio of 160-plus hotels and resorts throughout the United States and Canada. DeCort joined the firm in 2017 as senior vice-president of operations and most recently served in the role of executive vice-president. He was the architect for a comprehensive internal re-organization while the firm simultaneously added over 50 hotels, 1700 associates and opened 3 regional office locations. Under his guidance and leadership, HE’s operational platform has consistently achieved award-winning, best-in-class performance results.  With over 30 years of diverse hospitality experience, he has held progressive executive leadership positions with Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton & Omni Hotels. DeCort holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida where he concentrated in Hospitality Management and Marketing. 

Nova Scotia’s Fox Harb’r Resort is pleased to extend the warmest of East Coast welcomes to Pearleen Mofford as their new director of sales. Mofford assumes leadership of the landmark oceanside retreat’s meeting, incentive and corporate event business, alongside travel trade engagement, focused beyond Atlantic Canada. A long-time champion of the travel industry across Atlantic Canada, Mofford has collaborated with Fox Harb’r Resort in her prior role, as managing director of the region’s leading destination management company. Mofford is also the president-elect of SITE Canada, the national chapter of the global authority on incentive travel business experiences, and the network of travel and event professionals who deliver them. Between 2010 and 2014, she pioneered the MPI award-winning Right Some Good, North America’s original pop-up food festival. Mofford’s success in business development is further underpinned by two decades at the helm of an integrated communications agency, providing strategic support to clients across the Atlantic region’s telecommunications, oil and gas, aerospace, insurance, and education industries.

True Key Hotels & Resorts (True Key) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Johnson as the new general manager for Nootka Marine Adventures in Nootka Sound, B.C., effective August 24th, 2020. As a hospitality industry veteran with over 23 years of experience, Johnson has shown he is a multifaceted leader focused on driving sustainable financial growth. Johnson most recently served as the director of food and beverage for Ocean Wise Conservation Association. Headquartered at the Vancouver Aquarium, he was responsible for all aspects of leadership for the food and beverage division that consisted of catering and events sales, banquet operations, and outlet operations, serving up to 6,500 guests a day and catering over 200 events a year. Prior to Ocean Wise, Johnson was the Regional Manager – B.C. South at Northland Properties Corporation, the force behind brands such as Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Chop Steakhouse & Bar, Denny’s Restaurants, the Dallas Stars, and Northland Asset Management Company. He was responsible for the overall operations and financial performance of five hotel properties consisting of multiple restaurants, lounges, room service and banquet operations.

JLL has announced that Kevin Davis has been named a senior managing director of its Americas Hotels & Hospitality Group.  Based in New York, he will head the debt capital markets efforts, and the collaboration between our America’s Hotels & Hospitality business with JLL’s Capital Markets loan sales and financing teams. Davis has been JLL’s leading expert in hotel financings for many years, coordinating more than $20 billion in financings since 2013.  He will continue working closely with the lending community, including banks, life insurance companies, debt funds, mezzanine providers and CMBS lenders, as well as institutional owners of commercial real estate within the hotels and hospitality business. He also remains closely partnered with the investment sales teams across the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, to ensure the greatest level of connectivity between buyers, sellers and capital funds. 

TORLYS, a global flooring company specializing in beautiful, responsible flooring solutions, has welcomed Pat Laurie to the TORLYS sales team in the role of business development manager – west. Backed with 13 years of experience in the building products industry in both business development and sales management roles, Laurie will be focusing on the western regional marketplace and supporting the territory managers to grow the builder, developer and property management channels of the business. “We look forward to Pat adding a fresh perspective to the team by offering his vast experience and extensive flooring knowledge that will contribute to TORLYS continued success,” said George Smith, Regional Sales Director for BC & Alberta. “We are committed to investing in the right people, which supports our goal of delivering the best innovation and service to our partners in all channels of this exciting industry.”