Though only 31 years old, Nick is a veteran of four full legislative sessions, three special sessions and three election cycles. Recently named political director for R&R’s government affairs department, he’s advocated for a broad spectrum of clients including the Nevada Resort Association, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, General Motors and USAA. He’s developed relationships throughout state government, and he’s sought out by legislative leadership for strategic advice, messaging direction and crisis management. More than a lobbyist, Nick is a strategist, with a heightened understanding of the importance of developing relevant messages that translate to every key audience, from the media, to voters, NGOs, influencers and, of course, elected officials. His passion really emerges when he’s advocating for important societal and community causes. On behalf of the R&R Foundation, and our many pro bono clients, Nick has led legislative efforts that have resulted in Nevada’s first aggressive anti-bullying laws, and increased funding for Meals on Wheels and public education resources.
Nick brings a competitive fire and a need-to-win attitude to every client he represents. As a young football player, he was part of a state high school championship; and as the self-proclaimed skinniest guy in Division 1 football, he won three conference championships as a defensive back for the University of San Diego, playing for Jim Harbaugh. Nick is smart, thoughtful, compassionate and intense, but above all, he wins.
Mike Fullerton is director of public affairs at Brand USA, the nation's public-private partnership dedicated to increasing international visitation to the United States through marketing and promotional efforts. In this role Mike represents Brand USA and keeps key stakeholders and others apprised of the work of Brand USA by responding to requests for information and providing timely updates.
Mike has spent nearly a decade of service in the US federal government at the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Commerce. Additionally Mike has consulted for several companies in the homeland security sector and has worked with InterPortPolice, otherwise known as the International Association of Airport & Seaport Police on policy matters and outreach to key stakeholders. Mike previously served on the National Sheriff's Association Homeland Security and Immigration & Border Security Committees.
Mike graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in history.
Executive Director of Tourism Sales
Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority
(Aka Reno Tahoe)
As Executive Director of Tourism Sales, Art Jimenez is responsible for developing tourism programs to attract visitors to Reno Tahoe from the domestic and international leisure sector. This sector includes OTA, receptive operator and wholesale marketing, travel trade relations, and retail travel agency programming. He has been with the RSCVA since April 2017.
Before joining the RSCVA, Art Jimenez spent 17 ½ years at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as Senior Director of Leisure Sales and at Wet’n Wild Water Parks as vice president of sales and marketing. Additionally, he has served as president and chairman of the board of the Las Vegas Hospitality Association, UNLV’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and Chairman of the US Travel Association’s Travel Experience Network. Art Jimenez also holds a CTA certification.
Jimenez was a 43-year resident of Las Vegas and now resides in Reno and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and a Management Certificate from UNLV.
Leslie McLellan is a partner in Tourism Currents, a digital marketing training company specifically for tourism and hospitality professionals. She has worked for Hilton Hotels, built two destination marketing organizations in California, is currently the marketing director for a resort in Arizona, as well as the marketing consultant for Lake Arrowhead Village, CA. She has been in the travel and tourism industry since 1981 and is still learning every single day.
Kaitlin Godbey is the Social Media and Content Strategist at TravelNevada, where she creatively champions travel opportunities beyond the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip and inspires adventure into the heart of Nevada.
Kaitlin has spoken at international conferences including the European Digital Tourism Think Tank in Brussels, Belgium and the Infopresse Tourism and Culture Conference in Montreal, Quebec. She has judged award shows, won accolades for her professional achievements, and served on several professional organization boards.
Before TravelNevada, Kaitlin served as the new media public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), where she managed local and national social media brand accounts. She created and implemented new media communication plans for BLM Nevada’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and co-wrote the BLM’s National External New Media Strategy, among other projects.
Kaitlin holds an MA in Interactive Journalism and a BA in Public Relations/Advertising, both from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a Brownie Girl Scout Leader, student mentor, and when not behind the desk can be found with her fiancé and three black labs hiking in and around the Truckee Meadows.
Laurence Cohen is the President of Northeast Media, a 28 year old media representation business.
The company's international media experience includes newspapers, magazines, digital, social media, international television and Out of Home.
Cohen has worked with the Essentially America brand of magazines since joining the original UK edition with its third issue in 1994 and has been instrumental in expanding its footprint to include editions in Germany, Mexico and China and its very successful Chinese WeChat platform.
As well, he has helped develop the Essentially America partnership with the Indian and Australian editions of the American Express publications Departures and Centurion.
He has spoken about international marketing at state and regional tourism events as well as at SKAL Club meetings and meetings of the Luxury Marketing Council. One of his first speaking engagements was in Beijing in 1996 during the Third World Advertising Congress held in the Great Hall of the People where he moderated a panel on the topic of Tourism Promotion for Developing Nations.
Cohen is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is a member of the Luxury Marketing Council and SKAL and lives in Weston, CT with his wife Jan.
Jim Bertolini is an historian who has been with the Nevada SHPO for just over three years, running the National Register of Historic Places, the Nevada State Register of Historic Places, and the Certified Local Government program. He has an MA in History from Colorado State University, emphasizing historic preservation. Prior to moving to Nevada, Jim worked in various history and historic preservation positions with the National Park Service, and served as the Historic Preservation Specialist for the City of Aurora, Colorado.
Neil Lockhart is a professional photographer based in Reno, Nevada. While he shoots for a wide variety of clients in many different genres, his true passion is for landscape photography.
Living in Reno affords him the beauty of the Sierras and Lake Tahoe to the West, and the vast wide open spaces of the Nevada desert to the East, a truly limitless palette of brilliant and natural splendor.
His work has been published in Nevada Magazine, Desert Magazine and other local publications and visitor guides.
Neil's goal is to impart a sense of being there, to preserve the light and mood of the scene through photography and to share that experience with his audience.
Currently the Art Director for Nevada Magazine, Kippy and her husband are FAA Part 107 certified drone pilots who understand that with something new and exciting like flying drones, safety must always come first and “getting the shot,” second.
Kippy has been an artist her entire life, working in publishing since 1995. Adding “photographer” to her list of jack-of-all-trades-isms in 2001, her images have been featured on book and magazine covers, within several publications in print and online, and as National Geographics’ photos of the day. A Mavic Pro drone has been the latest tool added to her arsenal of photo and video equipment, and samples of her work can be found at vimeo.com/geminai and on Instagram at geminai_drone.
Bodine Balasco has established himself as one of America’s most innovative and knowledgeable business speakers, known for his interactive style, uplifting energy, humorous storytelling, and valuable content.
His Fortune 500 clients include: AT&T, 3M, ACE Hardware, Coca-cola and FedEx; as well as El Torito Restaurants and Outdoor Retailer Magazine.
Bodine is academically trained in public speaking & human behavior, with degrees from UCLA in Speech Communications & Social Psychology. While attending UCLA as a scholarship track athlete training for the Olympic Games, he also earned honors as team captain and stadium record-holder.
After graduating, Bodine became fascinated with the art of sleight-of-hand magic. He immediately immersed himself in his newfound passion. Six months later he was making his entire living as a professional, sleight-of-hand magician. And he quickly became one of the premiere sleight-of-hand entertainers in America. He’s been nominated by his peers, at the world famous Academy of Magical Arts, as “Best Sleight-of-hand Magician of the Year.”
But it wasn't until he was invited to create and deliver his first keynote speech, eighteen years ago, that Bodine found his true calling in life. He received a standing ovation after that first speech, and he's been at it ever since -- studying, writing, researching and creating tailored presentations for his client groups, nationwide.
His training, background and years of research have given him an extraordinary knowledge of human behavior and human achievement. His clients all agree, he possesses an insightful understanding of the principles for business success in the changing business environment.
He’s been named as one of the “Top 21 Speakers for the 21st Century.” And members of the Institute of Management Consultants were so impressed with Bodine’s valuable content and entertaining style they gave him a 10+ rating on their 5-point scale.
Dr. Gene Brothers
Dr. Gene Brothers
Dr. Gene Brothers, is a professor of equitable and sustainable tourism at North Carolina State University and Co-Founder of People-First Tourism, Inc. Gene has been with the University for the past 27 years. During his tenure, he has had extensive experience in international tourism research and planning which has included an administrative sabbatical position at The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands (1999), a teaching sabbatical at CERAM Business School, Sophia-Antipolis, France, and University of Innsbruck, Austria (2008), as well as research project work in Fiji, Mexico, Belize, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Gene’s current research work is focused on monitoring and analytics with People-First Tourism, Inc. and utilizing a permasystems tourism development approach.
Gene’s degrees are from Michigan State, Texas Tech, and Colorado State Universities. Student success is Gene’s passion along with traveling with his wife. Gene is a member of Travel and Tourism Research Association and has served on the regional chapter board for 8 years.
Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce is a native Nevadan, whose family settled in Boulder City in 1947. Her ties to the community are strong and her love of the City encourage her daily to serve it well. Having started her first business at sixteen, she has had an affinity for the business world as an entrepreneur.
After attending Brigham Young University and University of Nevada Las Vegas, court stenography became her trade along with two businesses she ran for a few years. She soon found herself in Downtown Las Vegas working in Pretrial at the Clark County Detention Center and then on to the District Attorney's office as a locate specialist and process server.
The opportunity to go into business with her family, drove her into the management world of marine operations on Lake Mead and a coffee roasting plant. Around that same time, a wedding and special event planning business fell into her lap and she had the opportunity to enjoy it for nearly seven years. Selling of the family business and also her wedding business allowed her to accept the position of CEO at the BC Chamber, where she has gratefully served for over eight years. She has a wonderfully supportive husband that is an officer for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and two beautiful daughters. Her oldest is currently training at the Olympic Training Center as reigning National Champion Shooter. Their family is planning on attending the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Jill looks to continue her commitment to the community she loves and is excited about her future endeavors with business promotion and tourism in Boulder City.
Arlette Ledbetter has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for over 20 years. She has been employed with the Town of Pahrump for the past 12 years, where she is Tourism Director. Her responsibilities include developing and marketing programs to promote the Pahrump area as a tourism destination. She initiates new accounts and lead development. She coordinates advertising, promotional and publicity activities relating to leisure and group travel.
Prior to joining Town of Pahrump Arlette spent 10 years in the hospitality industry working for Orfila Sales Company, Colony’s Sheffield Inn and Sunworld Airlines. Arlette has served on various boards and committees and is currently serving as a member on the Nevada Silver Trails board.
VP of Operations, Tonopah Hospitality Services – North Tonopah Development
With more than two decades of resort management experience, Jabbour has developed a proactive and intuitive understanding of operations and guest’s needs.
Bruce began his hospitality career in Boston, Massachusetts, subsequently owning and managing a resort property in Rochester, New Hampshire, and serving as general manager of a full service, hotel convention center in Ligonier Pennsylvania. In 1988, Bruce moved his career to Las Vegas and in a very short time period, he became a master of ergonomics, with the ability to design and arrange objects and space to maximize use and interactivity. His talents and skills in designing effective and profitable hotel assets were recognized industry-wide through his involvement in Las Vegas’ premier grand openings, including Red Rock Resort, Thehotel@Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Resort, Luxor, and Excalibur. Bruce as the general manager oversaw the successful renovation and reopening of the Historic Mizpah Hotel Casino in Tonopah, Nevada, after 12 years of being closed to a successful venture. The grand opening was honored with Governor Brian Sandoval and Former Senator/Governor R. Bryan. Within a year of opening, awards such as, Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence, AAA Ratings, Travelocity, and Nevada Magazine Nevada’s Best Rural Hotel were achieved for two consecutive years. Jabbour was also named as general manager of 777Gaming’s Carson Station Hotel & Casino in Carson City, Nevada, transitioning the property from a Best Western to a Wyndham Garden. Bruce was selected to serve as a committee member of the Nevada Silver Trails territorial organization and also serves as a member on the Esmeralda County Economic Development Committee.
Bruce Jabbour has an extensive understanding of hotel gaming dynamics, crisis management, regulatory compliance, human resources and staff support. He specializes in the training, teaching, and coaching of guest service skills, ensuring remarkable experiences for guests and employees alike.
Penel has a 50 year background in non-profit arts and culture organizations’ management. A Board Source certified non-profit board development consultant:
1994 Founder of Julia Morgan Conservancy to save North Star House in Grass Valley along with other important Julia Morgan designed buildings. (Julia Morgan designed Hearst Castle). 2010 Coordinated the California Preservation Foundation’s annual statewide conference in Nevada County. Designed several GeoTracks for conference attendees.
2006-2008 Coordinator of California Cultural Heritage Tourism Council for California Tourism Commission - designed and implemented statewide regional workshops focusing on geotourism assets mapping & design of GeoTracks.
2008-2009 Worked with Sierra Business Council & Sierra Nevada Conservancy to develop a Sierra Nevada National Heritage area which led to developing a National Geographic Sierra Nevada Geotourism Map.
2009 - With Jacquie Chandler won an El Dorado County RFP to identify geotourism assets in the region. Under the formation of an LLC called GeoSierra, the team provided public outreach, workshops and video mapping that help to identify and support a geotourism visitor guide in El Dorado County.
2009 - current Volunteer guide with the Donner Party Hike fundraiser for the Donner Summit Historical Society. Ongoing guide for private California Heritage Treks.
2015 - Graduate California Naturalist program.
A Fashion Designer and Corporate Story Coach, Jacquie Chandler may seem like an odd choice to be appointed the 'Geotourism Liaison for Lake Tahoe' in 2007 by National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations. The ability to manifest from imagination and understand the formulas and power of Story, has actually served her mission well.
2009 Jacquie and Penelope Curtis won an El Dorado County RFP to identify geotourism assets in the region. Under the formation of an LLC they called GeoSierra, their public outreach, workshops and video mapping launched the first El Dorado County geotourism visitor guide.
2010 Jacquie hosted a community meeting focused on producing Tahoe's first ever Green Boat Expo. Stewardship enthusiasm from the meeting launched the emergence of Sustainable Tahoe.
2011-2016 Sustainable T, an all volunteer 501c3, hosted and produced: first Stewardship Congress, Green Networking, and four Geotourism Expos (150-mile demonstration from South Lake to Pyramid Lake), brought geotourism projects and classes to CA and NV colleges and designed the first 'learn-by-doing' interactive geotourism course.
2016 Jacquie was the 2016 key-note Speaker at NV Naturalist Conference and has taught Earthgym and primal Design at Sierra Nevada College in incline. Currently Sustainable Tahoe is supporting a Washoe Showcase around the Lake, Wildlife Awareness program and other ways to make preservation fun and profitable.