LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 25, 2014) – The Commission of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has appointed veteran hospitality industry executive Karen Williams as the head of the city’s tourism agency. She assumes the title of President & CEO after serving as Interim following the departure of Jim Wood in January of this year.
Williams will represent the Louisville Bureau at industry tradeshows and conferences and provide strategic leadership and oversight of the Bureau in all aspects of its fiscal and daily operation.
Williams has worked in the hospitality industry for 32 years beginning as a sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta. After opening 18 hotels worldwide,
Williams returned to Louisville and served 23 years at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, retiring as Executive Vice President in 2012. She has served on boards of Leadership Louisville, Meeting Professionals International, Destination Marketing Association International and APEX
Commissioner with the Convention Industry Council. Williams has also served as chair for Destination & Travel Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to serving the interest of destination marketing professionals and highlighting the impact of travel around the world.
In recognition of the diverse achievements and longevity of her hospitality career, Williams received the Dan Mangeot award in 2012 given to an individual who has greatly contributed to Louisville’s tourism initiatives.
Most recently, Williams has been working with leading hospitality industry clients as a consultant with her destination marketing company Inspired and also serving as Director of Industry Relations for Schneider Publishing, a best-of-class organization among the meetings-industry media. Says Board Chair Michael Howerton, “The hospitality industry is an extremely competitive market for lucrative conventions and meetings business as well as leisure travel. As the Louisville landscape evolves with greater opportunities to incent highly sought-after conventions and tourism, we believe we have found in Karen the right combination of experience, leadership and vision to help our community maximize those opportunities.”