Stephanie Pace Brown, associate director, Public Affairs at Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, has been named the new President and CEO of the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association (ACVA) effective Aug. 27. The announcement was made late Tuesday afternoon by John Varghese, chairman, ACVA Board of Governors.
"Stephanie Brown is the right person to assume this senior leadership position within Alexandria's tourism industry. Her extensive experience and proven track record in heritage tourism will serve Alexandria well," Varghese said. "Her expertise in management, marketing, and industry research were a key to our selection. We were very pleased that Stephanie agreed to become a candidate for this position and we are elated that she will now serve as ACVA's CEO."
Prior to joining Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens as Director of Marketing in 2002, Brown was Director of Customer Research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation where she managed a comprehensive marketing research program and co-managed a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign. Her earlier tourism experience included serving as Research Manager for the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism.
"Over 200 people applied for the position from destination marketing organizations of all sizes throughout the country," said Charlotte Hall, vice chair, ACVA Board, who served as Chair of the executive search committee. They worked with the search firm of SearchWide Executive Recruitment Specialists.
"In fact, it was the SearchWide Consultants who encouraged Stephanie to consider applying for the position, while meeting with the ACVA board during the initial exploration phases of the search. Stephanie's knowledge of, and interest in historic preservation, coupled with her understanding of the business side of tourism helped to make her the clear choice," Hall said.
Brown serves on ACVA's Board of Governors and Executive Committee. She has represented ACVA on tourism matters before Alexandria City Council and the Economic Sustainability Work Group. She currently serves on a task force of ACVA's Marketing Fund Committee as well as on the Board of Directors and Research Advisory Committee of the Travel Industry Association of America.
From Director of Marketing at Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Brown was promoted to the newly created position of Associate Director of Public Affairs in 2005, with oversight for advertising, marketing, media relations, special events and group sales. In that capacity she directed the opening of the new $110 million Donald W. Reynolds Brown ACVA Museum and Education Center in 2006 which has resulted in a 59 percent increase in Mount Vernon attendance during its first quarter of operation.
At ACVA Brown will lead a staff of eight travel and tourism professionals with a budget of over $2 million. ACVA is a public-private membership organization whose mission is to generate tourism and convention interest in the City of Alexandria.
"As a member of the local tourism community, I have admired the success of ACVA's first 10 years. As the incoming CEO I will build on that success to increase the economic benefits of tourism to the city. I look forward to this new opportunity," Brown said.