A great state for meetings… naturally.
Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide resources and information for meeting and event planners. Among our more than 130 members, you’ll discover the solutions to every requirement and planning challenge.
Our members represent the very best in amenities, activities and service that Colorado has to offer. Our mission — since Destination Colorado’s creation in 1993 — is to make the site selection and planning experience convenient and straightforward.
By combining our member resources through Destination Colorado, we can efficiently inform and update meeting planners and incentive buyers about one of America’s most beloved and desirable destinations. We accomplish this through our web site, major trade shows, a meeting planners guide, cooperative advertising programs, lead referrals, and strategic partnerships.
You’re invited to capture the “Spirit of Colorado” and visit our beautiful Rocky Mountain state. The fantastic variety and choices offered by Destination Colorado guarantees a fresh experience every time!
Ellen Collins, CMP
2022-2023 Past Board President
Ellen is Associate Director, National Group Sales Team representing Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte resorts in Colorado for Vail Resorts Meetings & Events. She leads her sales team to best serve Colorado-based planners in fulfilling their meeting objectives and aspirational goals. This team will help secure ground transportation needs on Epic Mountain Express, hotel rooms, traditional and outdoor/ on mountain meeting space and dining, golf, skiing, lift tickets and much more. Ellen has been in hotel sales for twenty plus years. Her career started at Swissotel Boston, followed by sales at The Loews Anatole in Dallas, now a Hilton Hotel. In 1995, she moved to be Director of Sales and Marketing for the Loews Denver Hotel. In 2005, Ellen joined Vail Resorts and RockResorts in their Colorado national sales office. She is an active member of MPI, CSAE, PCMA and CWCC (Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce). Ellen is proud to have received the Industry Legacy Award in honor of Sandy Gerety through MPI’s Rocky Mountain Chapter in 2018. Ellen is honored to have been recognized by Colorado Meetings + Events magazine as their Lifetime Achievement recipient for 2020 and is equally honored to have received the 2019 Leadership Award from the Meetings Industry Council. She looks forward to connecting with you and can be reached at email@example.com and 303.881.7167.
2022-2023 Board President
Brady Johnson is the Director of Sales and Marketing, making him responsible for all marketing and advertising efforts at the C Lazy U Ranch along with selling real estate, booking group events, and retreats. On top of these efforts, you can always count on seeing him taking guests on guided mountain bike rides in the summer and skiing in the winter. C Lazy U Ranch is the perfect place for Brady as an avid outdoorsman because he gets to show guests a unique experience from the moment they find us online or through friends, to the day of their departure.
2022-2023 Board Vice President
Meg is the National Sales Manager for The Steamboat Grand. The best part of her job is sharing her love of Steamboat & introducing meeting planners to this amazing destination. Her career started with Marriott International, which led her to working at Marriott Hotels in Denver, Chicago, Dallas & Minneapolis. Being a Colorado native, the mountains were calling her home and The Steamboat Grand was the perfect place to combine her passion for Steamboat and hotel sales. She enjoys tubing the Yampa River in the summer, skis every opportunity she has and loves spending time with her Family and Friends. Meg can be reached at 970-871-5537 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2022 – 2023 Board Treasurer
Thad worked the operations side of hospitality for 4 years as Front Office Manager before moving into sales for the past 12 years and currently is the Senior Director of Sales Manager for Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa. During that time, he worked both sides of a wide variety of events. Thad’s experience has taught him both the planning process, execution of events and team leadership for a luxury mountain resort. Through benchmarking, industry events, and various hospitality associations, he has learned how properties of all different kinds operate. Thad’s passion for his career has created a unique understanding of the hospitality industry. Thad can be reached at 970-726-7011 or at email@example.com.
2022-2023 Board Secretary
Jason is the Associate Vice President, Convention Sales at VISIT DENVER where his primary role is managing the citywide convention sales efforts. He started working for Denver in 2007 as the Washington, DC-based sales director and moved to Colorado in 2011. Prior to joining the Denver team, he worked for a conference center, as a meeting planner, for a DMC, and for Visit Baltimore. Jason is a member of PCMA and ASAE. He also serves on the Destinations International Sales and Marketing Committee and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine. Some of the most cherished aspects of his position are cultivating relationships and sharing the exciting story of Denver and Colorado as a guest speaker at MSU and various industry events. In his down time, you can find Jason singing with the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus or traveling. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and 303-571-9424.
Board Member Since 2020
Dave is the Senior Sales Manager at Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center in Breckenridge. He worked at Beaver Run for several years in all areas of hospitality, eventually landing in sales which, according to him, is the best department! With a solid understanding of both sales and operations, Dave has an understanding of and appreciation for exceptional customer service.
During winter lunch breaks, you can find Dave on the slopes. In the summer, he’ll be on his bike or in his tent. Dave also enjoys giving back to his community; he’s on the Town of Breckenridge Events Committee and the Sustainable Events Task Force, and he volunteers in the community. You can reach Dave at email@example.com.
Board Member Since 2021
John is the current Event Sales and Business Manager for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He started his career over 14 years ago in sports and entertainment production and had the incredible opportunity to work across various sports and levels including: Major League Soccer, NHL, US Soccer, the World Series of Poker, and other large scale sporting events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. He recently left the sports industry to take on a new adventure overseeing business and sales for the Denver Center for Performing Arts Event Services team and the stunning Seawell Ballroom. His favorite part of his day to day job is seeing great and innovative event ideas come to life. As a Colorado native, he is happy to be back home with his partner and new lab-aussie mix, Lily, and is excited about the return of public events in Colorado as we recover from the effects of COVID-19. In his spare time you can find him singing with fellow board member Jason Lusk with the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, traveling, camping, and enjoying events and festivals around the beautiful state of Colorado.
Board Member Since 2021
Sara Mercado-Lawrason is Program and Account Manager for Operation Altitude. She moved from Arkansas to Colorado after college and never looked back. Her background is in hospitality, specifically restaurant and event management. She started with Operation Altitude in 2017 with roles in networking, marketing, sales, program development and management. Event production is her passion, and creating unforgettable experiences is her ultimate goal. Sara’s clients are primarily corporate groups specializing in conferences, retreats and incentive programs. In her free time, Sara enjoys weekend trips to the mountains, dining at all the incredible restaurants around Colorado and cuddling with her cats! Sara can be reached at 720-231-1722/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board Member Since 2021
Leslie leads the Sales and Catering Team at the brand-new Monarch Casino Resort Spa located in Black Hawk, CO featuring 516 rooms, indoor and outdoor event space surrounded by Rocky Mountain views, and a roof top pool and world class spa. Leslie started her career in hospitality over 30 years ago with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in banquets and has since held various roles in Catering, Conference Management, Destination Management, Revenue Management, and Hotel Sales. After arriving in Vail in 2001 from the Detroit area, she knew Colorado would be her new home. She is an active member of RMPCMA and CSAE. A wife and mother and soon to be foster mother, Leslie is also a huge animal lover with 4 dogs and 2 cats. With a passion for Colorado and all of year-round activities it offers, she loves to ski, paddle board, and cycle. Contact Leslie at email@example.com or 720-406-3840.
Board Member Since 2021
Dean is a keynote speaker, manager trainer, facilitator and executive coach. A +25-year veteran of the meetings and events industry,
This is Dean’s second stint as a Destination Colorado board member, having served in 2002-2003. He’s also served as Chair of the Meetings Industry Council (MIC), Chair of the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce, and President of the National Speakers Association, Colorado.
Weekdays you’ll find Dean networking on the golf course or in one of Denver’s coffee shops. Weekends you’ll find him and his family above 6000 feet on a mountain bike, ski or snowshoe trail.
Returning Board Member, 2022
Sharon has over 25 years’ experience in hospitality, starting in the Banquets Department of Copper Mountain. Sharon has been an involved member of our industry having been the President of Rocky Mountain Chapter of MPI, a Board member of CSAE, a founding member of Destination Colorado, and a member of the CTO Board as well as participating in other committees and organizations. She is currently a National Sales Manager for the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon, CO. She and her husband have raised 2 boys in Breckenridge and is an avid lover of all outdoor activities that Colorado offers, winter and summer. A strong belief in the value of “Alone we are strong, but together we are stronger”; being part of the Destination Colorado Board is fulfilling the philosophy she lives by.
Returning Board Member, 2022
Lindsey was born and raised in the Tourism hub of Estes Park, Colorado. Her grandparents and parents built, owned, and operated multiple lodging properties in Estes Park the past 50 years. As a part of the past three properties in her adolescence, her foundation was built on hard work ethic, customer service and a passion centered around Colorado Tourism. Lindsey represents Visit Boulder, CO bringing over 12 years of experience in Destination Marketing. As a utility player she has had the opportunity to represent multiple destinations in Colorado bringing added value in strategic partnerships, conference services, group sales, and destination development. Destination Colorado shares her passion for exceptional hospitality, collaboration, community involvement and her love for the Colorado Mountains! In her free time, she enjoys jet setting to visit new landscapes, taking in live music, or sharing a glass of whiskey with old and new friends alike.
Brian Douglas Stanwood
Board Member Since 2022
Hailing from Vermont originally, Brian Douglas Stanwood (BDS) has a long history of community and service including Kiwanis, Up with People and his hometown Chamber of Commerce. He began his hospitality journey in Colorado in 1999 including positions with Holiday Inn downtown, Renaissance Denver Stapleton, Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco and Cheyenne Mountain Resort. In December 2017 he joined Visit Aurora where community involvement meets customer service. Being a part of an amazing destination that is changing and offering so much is his passion. He also serves on the board of MPI’s Rocky Mountain Chapter. Equally important is his personal life including time with John Craig, his spouse of 19 years, also in the Hospitality Industry with Visit Denver, and their 8 year old daughter.
Board Member Since 2022
Lisa is the Marketing & Communications Director for YMCA of the Rockies, with locations in Estes Park and Granby. Her passion for Colorado bleeds through her work to bring as many individuals and groups as possible to the state to experience its beauty and inspiration.
Board Member Since 2022
Dina Worthen is a Senior Sales Manager for Visit Colorado Springs, and has been with the organization since 2017. Her markets include Corporate and Association by territory, Government, Education, and is the sole contact for Maritz, HPN Global, American Express Meetings & Events, and various other third parties. She is a member of PCMA, MPI, CMCA, SGMP, and is the current Board President of HSMAI Southern Colorado. Dina was raised in Southwest Florida, graduated from the University of Central Florida, and spent a few years in Raleigh, NC before moving to Colorado Springs. Dina enjoys cooking, traveling, live music, cheering for the Chicago Bears, and getting outdoors with her husband Danny and their dog Adeline.
Board Member Since 2022
Tracy Blair has served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel since 2014. Her leadership and passion for expanding new ideas and implementing innovation helps drive the vision, progress and bottom line of the hotel through continuous excellence with every meeting and event, all while elevating the hotel brand. In her role, Blair develops and executes the sales and marketing strategy for the property, while also managing the marketing and communications for the hotel. Feeling a personal responsibility for every member of her staff, she mentors, coaches and manages directors, associate directors and hourly associates, in addition to acting as the liaison between the General Manager, Revenue Manager, Sales, Reservations and Events teams, and her outside marketing agencies. Blair has been recognized with numerous awards over her career including “Team of the Year” awards in 2015 and 2016 from Starwood Hotels & Resorts and 2017’s Top Influential Women: Top Innovator by Smart Meetings, 2019 Leader of the Third Quarter from Marriott International.
Board Member since 2022
Stacy Daeffler serves as the Associate Director of Sales at The Charter at Beaver Creek in the heart of Colorado’s Vail Valley. She previously served as the Manager of Destination Colorado Meetings, a statewide association that provides group travel services throughout the Centennial state. Daeffler had many different responsibilities at the non-profit organization over the past 10 years – including membership, events, sales & marketing and facilitating connections between Colorado-based suppliers and meeting & event planners nationwide. You can find Stacy riding her horse in the summer and her snowboard in the Winter.
Kelly is a Colorado native and has been in the hospitality industry for nearly 20 years including Director of Marketing for the Vail Chamber and Tourism Bureau (now VVP) and Marketing Manager with the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail. Before joining Destination Colorado in 2021 as the Executive Director, she delivered exceptional group incentive experiences throughout the state and promoting Colorado as a group destination for meetings and events in her role with Operation Altitude, a Colorado destination management company. Outside of work, she enjoys finding new ways to embarrass her teenagers, hiking with friends, developing her photography skills and riding her horse. She can be reached at 970-390-8334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marie, our newest member of the team, is no stranger to Destination Colorado. Having participated as a member in numerous Destination Colorado events, she is now excited to work with our board in reaching our membership goals while maintaining a focus on planner & member engagement, quality programming, and breakout marketing. She & her husband owned and operated Carlos & Maria’s (aka Chuck & Marie’s) Mexican Restaurant in Winter Park prior to her joining the YMCA of the Rockies as Senior Group Sales Manager. She has been a member of the Winter Park Fraser Valley Marketing Council and served on the Grand County Tourism Board. After almost 40 years in the mountains of the Fraser Valley, she has recently moved to sunny Grand Junction. Her Colorado lifestyle includes rafting (favorite river Yampa) mountain biking, (favorite trail Mary’s Loop) cross country skiing (favorite trail Blue Ridge) golf (favorite course Pole Creek) and downhill skiing (favorite run Trestle). She can be reached at email@example.com
Destination Colorado has established strategic relationships with leading meeting publications, professional organizations, and sponsors to help us advance our mission to make your planning experience easier. Please visit their web sites for more information.
Colorado Meetings & Events magazine is a quarterly publication reaching meeting planners as well as all levels of professionals who plan meetings and events, from an administrative executive planning a board retreat to the vice president of marketing organizing a client golf outing. The magazine is specifically written and circulated within the state and throughout the surrounding region to expose readers to cultural events, service providers, venues and industry resources available in each market to assist in planning a meeting or creating the next extraordinary event. The magazine is available in print and digital and online at Visit www.meetingmags.com
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) was created by the Colorado legislature to promote Colorado as a tourism and travel destination. The CTO oversees the Colorado Welcome Centers, advertising and public relations, promotional materials and customer response services including 1-800-COLORADO and www.Colorado.com. The Colorado Tourism Office is a Founding Partner of the Care for Colorado Coalition of which Destination Colorado is a proud partner. Learn more at https://www.colorado.com/CareForColorado.
Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the meeting and event industry’s largest and most vibrant global community, helps members thrive by providing human connections to knowledge and ideas, relationships and marketplaces. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide. For additional information Visit www.mpiweb.org
Northstar Meetings Group/Successful Meetings – Northstar Meetings Group is the premier online platform for business and sports event organizers, planners and incentive program professionals across all all sectors – corporate, association, third-party organizations/agencies, SMERF (social, military, education, religious and fraternal meetings) — providing critical news analysis and research, practical strategies, creative solutions and sourcing services. Wwith a monthly circulation over 70,000, Successful Meetings is written for meeting planners across all industries. Successful Meetings educates and provides resources for all levels of corporate, association and independent meeting managers and buyers about how to create and execute all types of meetings.
RightNow, Inc has been providing search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) services to the Destination Colorado website since 2004. Our specialty is creating a presence on the search engines so that people who are looking for what you offer can find you easily and readily when they search. Over 60% of our clients are part of the hospitality industry and many are located in Colorado specifically. As a member of Destination Colorado, you are invited to request a proposal from us to provide these same types of services for your organization. Visit www.rightnowinc.com
Board Past President
Kathy has over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry. Her background includes a wide range of duties in the industry, including Director of Catering and Sales Manager at the hotel level and most recently, Senior Director of Convention Sales at the Visit Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau where she has been for over 19 years. She has been a member of MPI for over 21 years and served as the VP of Finance for two years on the Rocky Mountain Chapter board. She also currently serves as the past president for the Southern Colorado HSMAI chapter. She was named into Colorado Meetings + Events’ Hall of Fame in 2009 as Supplier of the Year and received the Industry Legacy Award in honor of Sandy Gerety through the MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter in 2016. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719.685.7632.
Tim Litherland, CMP
Past President (2013-2014)
Tim serves as the Director of Sports and Specialty Markets for VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. Tim has been a member of the VISIT DENVER sales department since March 1995. He was previously employed at the Warwick Hotel Denver, where he spent eight years in their sales and marketing department. Tim has been active in many organizations, including board and committee positions with Denver Sports, Meeting Professionals International Rocky Mountain Chapter, Society of Government Meeting Professionals Rocky Mountain Chapter, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Mile High Chapter (and International Board of Directors for HSMAI), Colorado Society of Association Executives, Meetings Industry Council of Colorado, Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado State Travel Council, and the Kiwanis Club of Denver. Tim is a native of Colorado and lives in Lakewood with his wife, Cece, and has three children, and a grandson and granddaughter. Tim can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-571-9429.
2015 & 2016 Board President
Lisa has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. A Colorado native, Lisa began her hotel career in the Phoenix/Scottsdale market. After five years in the heat and desert, she relocated to northern California. Then back to Denver, then to Minneapolis and then back to Denver again where she plans stay, at least for a while. Lisa has worked at the property level and in regional capacities for hotel management companies with portfolios including various brands offering full-service, select service and extended stay hotels while overseeing top line revenues for up to 45 hotels at one time.
2011 & 2012 Board President
Cindy joined Destination Colorado in 1995 and represented 3 properties through her membership until 2014 when she transitioned from Sales into Operations in the Winter Park Resort Lodging division. Cindy served on the board from 2003 through 2013 in various seats, and still works for Winter Park in Homeowner Services and Acquisitions.
2009 & 2010 Board President
At the time Mike was president, the world seemed to be falling apart! Times where tough, no one had any budget to work with and Destination Colorado was just trying to hold everything together. “What amazed me most about this organization was the way we all stuck together, believing in our mission statement and that Colorado was the best place in the world” And still…
2007 & 2008 Board President
Bruce is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Beaver Run Resort and has a very long history in the tourism industry in Colorado. Prior to Beaver Run, Bruce worked with the Sheraton at Steamboat. He has served on Destination Colorado’s Board of Directors for ten years and has played a large role in the development and promotion of the web site and our Destination Colorado Road Shows. He also serves as our liaison with the Colorado Tourism Office’s Promotions Committee and serves as an advocate for the promotion of meetings through the CTO. Bruce has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Society of Association Executives. He is also very active in the Breckenridge community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Breckenridge Resort Chamber’s Central Reservations. Bruce has previously served as President of Destination Colorado and will remain an active board member.
– Present. She lives and breathes Vail!
2003 & 2004 Board President
Rob serves as the regional vice president of sales & marketingfor 3 full-service resorts with $100 million in total annual revenues: Vail Cascade Resort, Vail, CO; Resort at Squaw Creek, Squaw Creek, CA; and, Town & Country Resort, San Diego, CA. Additionally, provide regional sales and marketing support for the Destination Rental Management portfolio of vacation condos, homes and villas located in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, Park City and Hawaii, generating $85 million in total annual revenue.
Past Board President
Jim’s dedication to his career in the hospitality industry led him and his family to the mountains of Colorado, where he enjoyed skiing Vail and Beaver Creek.
Past Board President, 1997-1998
Jim Steinbach has more than 35 years of resort and hotel sales and marketing experience.
Now the Owner of Questions to Answers; prior to that, Jim was the Vice President of Conference Sales at Vail Valley Tourism and Convention Bureau.
From 1988 to 2006, Jim Steinbach was the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. Under his direction, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek was awarded Hyatt Resort Marketing Team of the Year.
Jim began his Hyatt career at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada, shortly after his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
He resides in Edwards with his wife, Janette Henry.
1995 & 1996 Board President
Scott currently serves as the Director of Marketing at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Oahu – Ko Olina, Hawaii.
1993 & 1994 Board President
For 41 years, since 1972, Pat Lee has been heavily involved in Colorado tourism. She was VP of Marketing for Aspen Airways/United Express, a regional air carrier in the West and then became Director of Destination Marketing for Continental Airlines. Pat was instrumental in the development of the American Rockies program, developing tourism to Colorado from Japan, Taiwan and Korea, raised funds to send the National Repretory Orchestra to Korea to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, and coordinated the opening of DIA for Continental Airlines, raising funds for the demised tourism industry plus the fundraiser for the International Pow Wow tradeshow held in Denver for the first time in 1991. Pat Lee was one of the key players in develoing Destination Colorado and it’s Front Range Tradeshow and she was the first President of Destination Colorado.
In 1997 she started her own business, Pat Lee & Associates which is contracted to do the tourism marketing or special events for Cherry Creek Shopping Center, the premier tourism attraction in Denver, Denver Theater & Arenas representing 9 theaters and Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the National Western Stock Show. She is also a Senior Tourism Consultant for the Shop America Alliance which represents 200 US shopping centers in international markets.
For 19 years, Pat has been on the Board of Visit Denver and currently serves on the International and Tourism Promotion Committee for the Colorado Tourism Board, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, National Western Stock Show and the Telluride Tourism Board.
Pat is the only recipient to have received the ‘Outstanding Tourism Individual of the Year” twice in the State of Colorado, once under Governor Romer in 1987 and then Governor Ritter in 2002. She was inducted into Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame in 2007.