Tag Archives: Cristin Barr


Joanne Winter named Executive of the Year

The Arizona Society of Association Executives has conferred the Award of Excellence in Association Management to Joanne Winter, Executive Director of Meeting Professionals International, Arizona Sunbelt Chapter and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, Arizona Chapter.

The Executive of the Year is the highest recognition given by AzSAE to the chief staff executive of an association in Arizona that exemplifies the very best in association management, continually bringing credit to the profession and to the entire association community.

It is an honor and a privilege to work with Joanne Winter,” said AzMPI President Cristin Barr, CMP.  “She is a great asset to our industry and to our chapter.”

“The hospitality industry has been blessed for the last 30 years by Joanne Winter’s knowledge, strength, enthusiasm and most importantly her amazing positive attitude.  It has been a privilege to work with her during my term as President of HSMAI, says Lynn Casebere.  No one is more deserving of Executive of the Year.”

HSMAI - Tourism

Female leaders rise up in Arizona tourism industry

It might surprise people to know that tourism generates more money for Arizona than aerospace, agriculture, microelectronics and mining.

And leading that $20-billion-a-year economic juggernaut are a bunch of women.

Debbie Johnson is president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, Sherry Henry is executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism and Jay Parry is CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. In addition, women lead three of the state most important and influential convention and visitors bureaus — Rachel Sacco in Scottsdale, Heidi Hansen in Flagstaff and Lorraine Pino in Glendale. On top of that, Cristin Barr of the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International; and Lynn Casebere, director of Catering at The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde, is president of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter.

“HSMAI’s leaders have broken though the glass ceiling,” Casebere says. “There are 30 chapters in the Americas Region and 24 of them have female presidents, which is something to be proud of.”

Casebere expects to see even more women take leadership roles in the hospitality industry because female enrollment is increasing in hospitality schools around the country.

“We have a lot of strong female leaders in our state and think the tourism industry falls in line with what else is going on in our state,” Johnson says. “Arizona has some great examples of strong female leaders on both the political and business arenas. I think the tourism industry emulates that.”

But how did it happen? How did women come to dominate what was once a male-dominated industry in Arizona?

“Tourism offers a variety of tremendous opportunities such as flexibility, rapid career growth, continuing education opportunities and community involvement, all of which make this industry attractive for women,” Henry says. “Because of the career range of this industry, there are myriad opportunities for upward mobility. Most of the women in today’s tourism leadership began their careers either at an entry level position or in mid-level management. It was their dedication, passion, collaborative skills and the genuine focus on the customers’ needs, both externally and internally, that brought these women into leadership roles.”

Pino said one thing that has helped women get a leg up in the industry has been education. Seeing the value of tourism as one of the state’s biggest revenue generators, many Arizona colleges now offer degrees in hospitality, opening the door for stronger career opportunities.

“What the tourism industry really offers is transferable skills,” Johnson says. “If you’re willing to work hard, learn all aspects of the industry, you will be able to use those accumulated skills as you work your way up the ladder.”

Despite the differences between the genders, industry leaders says the qualities that make women effective leaders are not unlike the characteristics that make many men effective leaders.

“If you’re passionate about what this industry means to Arizona and want to see it succeed, then you’ll be an effective leader within it,” Henry says. “Women do have the added bonus of being nurturers by nature. Tourism is an industry where we take care of guests, offer industry comforts and provide the ultimate travel experience. It’s very similar to what women already do for families and friends, so this industry seems to be a very natural fit for many women.”

The professional growth opportunities, as well as the flexibility of the industry that contributes to work-life balance, makes this industry a solid career path for women, Henry says. Additionally, there is essentially a place in the hierarchy for every skill set available, which is also very appealing for women.

“The anecdotal stories about someone starting their career as a room attendant and working their way up to general manager are true,” Henry says. “Even my own story begins with me starting out as a carhop and working my way up to becoming the director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. If you have the passion for the industry there are virtually no limitations to what you can achieve.”

As tourism continues to be an economic engine for Arizona, today’s leaders say there will be event more opportunities for women to take on leadership roles in the industry.

“We are fortunate to have dedicated tourism leaders work together to deliver the passionate and caring spirit of the hospitality industry,” Pino says. “The women who have risen to key positions have set the bar and also opened doors for the next generation.”


Expert expects mega events to boost meetings industry

When Cristin Barr, CMP, went to college, she was more interested in investor relations than guest relations. “At The University of Texas I studied Investor Relations, which took me to New York City for my first professional job,” said the current president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI).

AzMPI President: Cristin Barr

AzMPI President: Cristin Barr

“For the past 10 years, though, I’ve been traveling the world and enjoying the hospitality industry.” Now director of national accounts at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Barr is working with the No. 1 hotel in Arizona, according to Travel + Leisure.

“I work with meeting planners to secure guest rooms and meeting space at the hotel for programs, including incentive trips, client events, annual meetings and board retreats,” Barr said.
Az Business caught up with Barr to talk about how the next year is shaping up to be a big one for the state’s tourism brand.

The sales role in hospitality is a great mix of creative and analytical. On any given day, we have unique challenges that can be best solved with a combination of critical thinking and service-based creativity.

MPI membership and CMP (certified meeting planner) certification give me a sense of personal achievement as well as recognition in the industry. The increased credibility among customers and prospects is invaluable.

Tourists bring almost $20 billion to Arizona each year, which can be seen in employment and tax base coming from lodging, food service, transport and recreation — just to name a few. But the benefits reach far beyond the hotels and golf courses. The economic impact is evident in important public services as well as in the businesses that open or relocate to our area.

The economic impact of hosting a Super Bowl makes Arizona itself the clear big winner. A mega event places a spotlight much wider than just expenditures during the week of the game. There is no doubt that the M&E industry will benefit from incredible media exposure, generating future event bookings.

We are lucky to have a very strong network of CVBs, offices of tourism and advocates that work year round to attract and assure successful meetings, conventions and events are held in Arizona. The Super Bowl will be a unique and exciting tool for continued messaging that Arizona is a premiere destination.

Social media is interesting in that the content is often driven by stakeholders rather than by the planners or the educators. Social media can help attendees engage before and after a meeting and provides opportunity to connect with a very broad audience or a narrow specific slice of the demographic. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it will continue to change the face of the industry.

2013-2014 was a hugely successful year for AzMPI in terms of promoting excellence in the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business alliances. For the 2014-2015 year, we will focus on our key metrics with an emphasis on member satisfaction and financial management. We will also organize six monthly educational programs, the holiday party, awards gala, as well as a golf tournament that we do in conjunction with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

AzMPI Announces 2013-14 Board

The Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (AzMPI) recently installed their 2013-2014 slate of Officers for the chapter.

Officers include incoming President Jill Longfellow,  Enterprise Holdings Inc.; President-Elect Cristin Barr, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain; Vice President of Finance Penny Allphin, Hassayampa Inn Prescott; Vice President of Communications Chip Headman, Williams & Associates; Vice President of Membership Julia-Isabel Davenport, Maximize Your Publicity; Vice President of Education Susie Molinich, American Express Meeting & Events, and Immediate Past President Donna Masiulewicz, Timeline Meetings & Events.  The Chapter Directors are: Director of Leadership Development Lynne Wellish, Triage Meetings & Events; Director of Fundraising & Special Events Tiffany Higgins, The Tiffany Event; Director of Strategic Alliances Dave Rosenbaum, Carefree Resort & Conference Center; Director of Monthly Programs Lee Smith, Hotel Valley Ho; Director of Recruitment Dave Borsheim, Hotel Palomar Phoenix; Director of Retention Jacqi Marth, Destination and Details; Director of Information Technology Danielle Adams, KCA; and Director of Public Relations and Marketing James Eggimann, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

“We strive to promote excellence within the meeting industry through education, certification, advocacy and business-to-business networking opportunities for our members,” said incoming 2013-2014 AZMPI President Jill Longfellow.  “Anyone who plans or supports meetings in any capacity, whether an administrative assistant or a caterer, can benefit from what AZMPI offers.”

The 375-member Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International was established in 1979.  Meeting Professionals International is the meeting and event industry’s largest association for the $102.3 billion meetings and events industry.  AZMPI offers monthly events providing education, and networking opportunities.  MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 80 chapters and clubs worldwide.  To learn more about AzMPI visit www.AzMPI.org or call 602-277-1494.