Speaker Biographies

William Bakker

William BakkerChief Strategist & Partner
Destination Think!

William has been a key member of the global tourism field for more than 12 years and is considered a leader in the world of digital destination marketing. He has an enormous depth of experience in leading his team to deliver world-class destination marketing strategies. His projects involve a range of internal and external stakeholders, such as tourism operators, politicians and the community at large. He is known to take different perspectives into account and build consensus with all stakeholders.

William was formerly the director of e-marketing at Destination British Columbia. As part of this role, William was responsible for creating the content strategy, including producing content for all digital channels in 10 languages and putting systems in place for content gathering, storing and distribution. It was the first DMO to create a blog and invented the concept of a field reporter. William created the digital strategy for Destination British Columbia for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and managed a budget ranging between $5 and $7 million.

William’s subject-matter expertise includes strategy development for all DMO departments; strategic consulting for DMO leadership and marketing teams; workshops and education programs for state, regional and city DMOs; deep knowledge on the North American travel market and promoting the brands domestically and internationally; as well as Place DNA and branding.

Charlene Chan

Charlene ChanDirector of Communications
Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority

Charlene Chan oversees the development and implementation of communication strategies to media, industry stakeholders and the general public for the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, the agency responsible for the State of Hawaiʻi’s management of tourism, the state’s largest industry.

Since emerging from the Great Recession, Hawaiʻi has realized six consecutive years (2012–2017) of record-setting totals for visitor expenditures, state tax revenue generated by tourism, and visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands.

Charlene’s responsibilities for HTA include the directing media relations, crisis communications, government affairs and community interaction.

Charlene brings 30 years of international marketing and communications experience to her role for HTA, which she assumed in January 2016. Her professional experience includes serving as a director for Gap International and product manager for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco, and as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Bright Light Marketing in Honolulu.

Candy Chang

Candy ChangWorld-renowned artist and urban designer

Candy engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die “one of the most creative community projects ever.” In her captivating and intimate talks, she demystifies the creative process, inspires personal reflection and provokes new ideas for community and well-being.

Through the activation of public spaces around the world, Candy provokes both playful and profound visions for how we can connect, reflect and nurture the health of our communities. She is best known for the Before I Die project, which began when she stenciled the words “Before I die I want to _______” on a chalkboard wall on an abandoned house in New Orleans after losing someone she loved. The participatory project has since grown into a global phenomenon and today there are more than 2,000 Before I Die walls in more than 70 countries, including Iraq, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Her most recent project includes the participatory public installation A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.

A TED Senior Fellow, Urban Innovation Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Candy has also created installations for people to share their hopes for vacant storefronts, a confessional sanctuary in a Las Vegas casino, designated sites for crying in Hong Kong and a civic tool called Neighborland.com for people to collaborate on the future of their communities. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale, New Museum and Tate Modern. She was also named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub and a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine. Learn more: www.candychang.com

Cathy Tull

Cathy TullChief Marketing Officer
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

In her role, Cathy oversees all of the LVCVA’s marketing, advertising and sales efforts. She joined the LVCVA in 2005 as the vice president of strategic, planning where her responsibilities included providing strategic direction regarding issues facing the destination, including air and ground transportation, fuel infrastructure and government affairs. She was promoted to senior vice president of marketing in 2009 and into her current position in 2017.

As a 22-year resident of Las Vegas, Cathy previously worked as vice president of administration for MedicWest Ambulance. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, she worked as a news reporter and in public relations.

She was recently named as one of the Skift 50, Top 50 Travel Marketers and led Las Vegas to being named Brand Steward: Top Eight Cult Brands in North America. In 2017, Ms. Tull was recognized as an Outstanding Woman in Travel Industry Leadership in the first-ever Women in Travel and Tourism International Awards and Executive of the Year at the 21st Silver State Awards’ “Women Awards.” She is active in many industry organizations, serving as a member of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and a staff liaison for the U.S. Travel Association and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mob Museum.