“How I Got My Start” is a regular segment in which we cull a couple of selections from our interviews with international operators, domestic operators, receptive operators, destinations, hotels and attractions to explore the path that led one to a career in the travel trade industry. One thing we have learned: the road to where they are is almost never the same. In this issue, we feature Brian Said, executive director of tourism, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Meg Winchester, director, Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Brian Said: “At age 15 I decided that the tourism industry was for me. After a 5 year Bachelors in hospitality and various training placements in luxury resorts around Europe and the US, I worked my way up the ranks. An opportunity to move back to Southern California opened doors to work as Tourism Sales Manager in luxury resorts from 2001 to 2006. In 2007 I took the plunge into the DMO world and never looked back.”
Meg Winchester: “I was fortunate to live in Japan in my teens and was offered a job after college at the New Otani Hotel in Downtown LA. I was a catering assistant and from there became a catering manager in various venues. After 12 years in catering I was offered a position at the San Diego Convention Center as a citywide sales manager. After 7 years at the center I was offered a position with the Houston CVB/George R Brown Convention Center as a national sales manager. During that tenure the Galveston Island CVB recruited me as director of sales and then made me the CVB Director in 2009. I have been truly blessed with this industry and love it every day!”