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New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
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New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau Convention Sales Managers Awarded with
Prestigious Meeting Professional Certification
Four members of the New Orleans CVB convention sales team recognized by the meetings industry

NEW ORLEANS – April 9, 2009 – The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (New Orleans CVB) is pleased to announce that Raquel (Rocky) P. Dufauchard, Susan Ives and Carl Lauto received a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, while Fay Nedd received a Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP) certification.

Established in 1985, the CMP program recognizes individuals who have achieved the industry’s highest standard of professionalism. According to the Convention Industry Council, through the CMP program, individuals who are employed in meeting management pursue continuing education, increase their industry involvement, and gain industry-wide recognition. The CMP credential increases the proficiency of meeting professionals by stimulating the advancement of the art and science of meeting management; increasing the value of practitioners to their employers; and recognizing and raising industry standards, practices and ethics.

The CGMP certification is recognized by the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), which was founded in 1981. SGMP is a nonprofit professional organization involved in planning government meetings and supplying services to government planners. The group is the only national organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to improving the knowledge and expertise of its individuals through education, training and industry relationships. The CGMP title recognizes meeting professionals who frequently work with groups associated with the federal, state and local governments.

“The New Orleans CVB is proud to employ some of the finest meeting professionals this industry has to offer,” said Nikki Nicholson, Vice President of Convention Sales for the New Orleans CVB. “The hard work and discipline of our staff is further exemplified through the recent certification of these individuals.”

Rocky Dufauchard, senior convention sales manager, joined the New Orleans CVB sales team in September 1999. Prior to joining the New Orleans CVB, she worked for the New Orleans Morial Convention Center for 10 years as an event coordinator, where she later became a sales manager. Dufauchard is a member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners as well as the Religious Conference Managers Association.

As a senior convention sales manager, Susan Ives has been an employee with the New Orleans CVB for the past seven years. Prior to working with the New Orleans CVB, Ives was membership director for the City Club of New Orleans, followed by four years of experience with the Marriott Corporation. She also worked in convention sales with Hilton Hotels Corporation for 11 years.

Carl Lauto, convention sales manager, has worked with the New Orleans CVB for the past six years. Before joining the New Orleans CVB sales team, Lauto was in hotel operations as a food & beverage director, assistant general manager and general manager. He then became an asset manager for a hotel development group, followed by national sales manager with Crowne Plaza Hotels and Westin Hotels.

Fay Nedd, senior convention sales manager, joined the New Orleans CVB sales staff in 2000. Nedd previously worked with the Belize Global Travel Agency as director of group travel. While receiving her degree in the Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Program at the University of New Orleans, she completed an internship with Le Meridien Hotel (now the JW Marriott) as a sales trainee and marketing research analyst. Nedd currently serves as secretary of the Louisiana chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. She is also a member of the Louisiana Society of Association Executives, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International and National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners.

Consistently recognized as one of the top five convention and visitor bureaus in the United States, The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city - including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District - are thriving. In 2007 New Orleans welcomed 7.1 million visitors, nearly double the amount of visitors in 2006. For more information, visit

** Headshots of the Sales Managers are available upon request.