FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mary Beth Romig
New Orleans CVB Hires Seasoned Public Relations Professionals and
New Orleans Natives to Lead the Bureau’s International Communications and
Public Relations Initiatives
CVB also announces the return of bureau veteran Nikki Nicholson to Vice President for Convention Sales, as Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe resigns to become President
of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission
NEW ORLEANS – April 10, 2006 The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc. (NOMCVB) today announced the hiring of two public relations professionals, bolstering their Communications and Public Relations team. Effective April 10, 2006, Kelly Schulz has assumed the position of Vice President for Communications and Public Relations. Mary Beth Romig will serve as the Director of Communications and Public Relations.
As well, Nikki Nicholson has resumed her role as Vice President for Convention Sales, having served the CVB for 23 years before a brief retirement. Nicholson steps in to the position following the resignation of Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, who was with the NOMCVB for eighteen months. Ratcliffe has accepted the position of President of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.
“With these professionals in place, the CVB now has the what I believe is the deepest, most talented public relations and communications team in New Orleans,” said Stephen Perry, NOMCVB President and CEO. “Kelly’s knowledge of the convention and leisure travelers market, and her years of experience in public relations and meeting planning, coupled with Mary Beth’s media and public relations capabilities, writing skills and knowledge of New Orleans make for a dynamic team. Having these executives join the CVB bolsters our strategies in messaging to the nation and the world that the New Orleans is not only back but on the road to being better than ever.”
As NOMCVB’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Schulz will lead the bureau’s communications efforts on the city’s rebirth. She was most recently director of communications for Meeting Professionals International (Dallas, Texas), the leading global association defining and shaping the meetings and events profession. Prior to that, she served as an account supervisor for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, the largest independent public relations firm in the world. Born in New Orleans, Schulz attended Louisiana State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, specializing in public relations, and a Bachelors of Science in Psychology.
”I am honored to have the opportunity to return to my hometown in this capacity, and to be a part of the city’s rebirth and restoration,” says Schulz. “Tourism is such a vital aspect of the New Orleans economy, and as the bureau plays such an integral role in that industry, it is more crucial now than ever that we dedicate our efforts to promoting the city to the nation and the world.”
Romig was most recently the Public Relations Officer for The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans, a national museum and an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution celebrating the visual art, history and culture of the American South. She has served in that role for ten months prior to its Grand Opening in August 2003, and most recently co-authored and spearheaded the production of the museum’s publication Missing New Orleans, released in November 2005. Previous professional experiences have included serving as managing editor of New Orleans Magazine, Louisiana Life magazine, and Our Kids, where she was also a contributing writer.
“It is both an honor and an exciting challenge to join the CVB team,” says Romig. “I am looking forward to telling the story that New Orleans, a city which I have such great passion.”
Nicholson returns to the role of Vice President for Convention Sales, following a brief retirement from the bureau after 23 years of service. In leading the convention sales effort, Nicholson will direct a staff of more than 30 convention sales executives and staff and will utilize her history with the bureau, her extensive customer network and high industry profile to drive convention sales bookings to New Orleans.
”With Kitty’s departure, we considered conducting a national search to fill that position, but realized that we had the best right here in Nikki,” said Perry. “No one in the bureau’s history has had more of an impact on its growth, or has booked more room nights or Center business and with Nikki stepping into this position we will not miss a beat. With these three new additions to the CVB staff, our number one priority will continue to be in working toward the restoration of the city as a top destination as fast as possible.”
Upon Ratcliffe’s departure, Perry acknowledged her professionalism and commitment to New Orleans and the important contributions she made to the CVB in her tenure, stating, “We are indeed deeply thankful for her service to the bureau, particularly through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and are proud of her as she becomes president of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. She is one of the most professional people I have ever met and gave it her all under difficult circumstances. This is a great opportunity for her, and we wish her well in her new endeavors.”
About New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB)
Since 1960, the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.neworleanscvb.com) has been the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, attracting $4.5 billion to the region annually. Nationally recognized for superior customer service, it represents over 1,200 members and provides convention services and visitor information for business travelers and vacationers. In 2004, the NOMCVB welcomed a record-breaking 8.5 million visitors to one of America's favorite destinations and was named the Most Media-Friendly CVB by the North American Travel Journalists Association.