2023 Board of Directors
Executive Director, TTMA
Natacha Vilson is a seasoned executive with over a decade of experience in both executive event planning and marketing.
Natacha brings a unique blend of corporate expertise and raw, cutting-edge creativity to every project she takes on. Natacha has worked with companies in a diverse range of industries including finance, real estate, technology, hospitality, and more.
Her true passion lies in providing unique and captivating entertainment that enhances the human-to-human experience. Combining analytical marketing skills with her intuitive abilities, Natacha helps companies maintain their originality and individuality while thinking of the bigger picture.
Carlos Montenegro serves as President of TTMA and has served on the Board of Directors for eight years. He is a Project Manager at historic Los Angeles Union Station helping to bring new technologies, experiences and programs to the station.
With over 25 years of travel and tourism industry experience, Carlos brought tourists from around the world to Walt Disney World in Florida and to Beverly Center and Six Flags Magic Mountain in California.
Carlos also volunteers within the L.A. County foster care system through Kidsave, where he mentors and advocates for older children seeking adoption and mentorship. In the past seven years, he and his wife helped six teenagers find permanent, loving homes.
TTMA Vice President
President, LS Consulting
Lauren is founder/president of Lauren Schlau Consulting (LSC). Operating since 1992, LSC is a respected market research consultancy with expertise in economic development, including travel/tourism, retail and cultural arts.
Lauren’s research career began in consumer products, followed by research positions at the San Diego CVB, PKF/CBRE, and other private, not-for profit and public entities.
She is a member of CalTravel (board), TTRA, LATCB, and LA5 Rotary.
Schlau holds a Master of Public Administration (USC), and Bachelor of Science (Northwestern University), with post-grad certificates in Management Development for Entrepreneurs (UCLA Anderson School), and Organizational Development and Leadership (UCLA Extension).
Client Manager, Tourism Economics
Wendy Kheel is acknowledged for expertise in tourism research, data, trends and marketing strategy and for presentations at a wide range of travel industry conferences and seminars.
She has joined Tourism Economics as Client Manager, focusing on Symphony, a customizable market intelligence platform.
Prior to Tourism Economics, she was Vice President of Tourism Insights for the LATCB where she oversaw global research and data analysis.
Prior to LA Tourism, she was Director, Consumer Insights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Director of Market Research at Walt Disney Imagineering, and a Senior Manager at two hospitality-industry consulting firms.
She has a Masters of Hotel Administration from Cornell University, an MBA from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Speech from Northwestern University.
Publisher, California Media Group
Jeff Levy, a veteran with 37 years of publishing experience in the travel, arts, and fashion industries, is currently in his 30th year as publisher at California Media Group.
Jeff is a past president of the Orange County Tourism Council and past executive board member of the California Tourism Industry Association. He also sits on the advisory board for the Master’s Degree in Tourism Management at California State University Northridge and is currently a board member of the Tour and Travel Marketing Association.
Jeff enjoys snow skiing, cycling and collecting Bob’s Big Boy memorabilia. He has been married to his wife AnnDee for 37 years and is the proud father of two grown daughters, Stevie and Rachel.
Regional Director of Sales, Southern California, City Cruises
Amber has been with City Cruises (formerly Hornblower Cruises and Events) for more than 18 years! Amber has had many roles in her career with Hornblower, and currently holds the position of Regional Director of Sales for all City Cruises Southern California ports.
Amber holds her Master’s in Hospitality Management. She previously served on the Board for the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber, and currently serves on the PTA board for her local Elementary school. Amber resides in Long Beach with her wife and 2 kids, and loves traveling with them to promote firsthand the wonderful world of hospitality.
Marketing Manager, The Bloc DTLA
Elizabeth King is Marketing Manager for CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment company, at The Bloc in DTLA. Elizabeth leads the marketing department and is responsible for the strategic marketing initiatives to drive sales and traffic to the center. She manages digital marketing, community partnerships and develops marketing plans with revenue and leasing goals. Prior roles in retail include Director, Global Tourism Marketing for Simon Property Group, West Coast Tourism Marketing Manager for Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets and Southwest Regional Tourism Marketing Manager for Macy’s. Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors for the Travel & Tourism Marketing Association. She graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications Studies and a Leadership Minor.
Director of Sales, The Garland
Manny is the Director of Sales at The Garland, a family-owned boutique style hotel located in North Hollywood, CA. He currently oversees the sales and catering efforts for this 257 guest room property with approximately 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor/outdoor function space.
With almost 20 years of experience working within the hospitality market segment (including stints at Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and others) he is passionate about cultivating relationships across all industries.
Mariella Carmona was born and raised in Mexico City, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from CESSA University and brings over 30 years of experience in the tour and travel, airline, and hospitality industries, being an expert in the Latin Market. She is bi-cultural, bilingual in English, Spanish, with 50% knowledge of Portuguese.
Mariella joined Los Angeles Tourism Convention Board in 2005, was the Regional Director for Mexico/Latin America, and worked closely with the travel, aviation, and media industries, along with government officials both locally, and from Mexico/ Latin America.
In 2020 she founded CONNVOC, a boutique representation firm that aims to be the liaison between clients in the US, Mexico, and Latin America, connecting people across all regions, in diverse industries, and entities, helping them expand their client base. Among her array of many jobs. Currently, Mariella proudly represents Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board and The Empire State Building in New York among other projects in Mexico/Latin America.
Mariella also finds time to be a guest speaker, organize special events, and do media interviews for local and in market Hispanic channels.
Lastly, but not least, she is also embarking on a new journey along with her 25-year-old daughter supporting her career in Mental Health.
VP, West Coast, AKA
Joaquin Esteva is VP, West Coast at AKA, a full-service marketing agency specializing in the live entertainment, arts & culture, and attractions sectors with offices in Los Angeles, New York and the UK. He joined AKA in 2016 as Client Services Director and managed several high profile accounts at the agency, including the Tony Award-winning Best Musical The Band’s Visit, American Son starring Kerry Washington, and the smash-hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
When AKA expanded into the West Coast market, Joaquin relocated from New York to help launch and run the new L.A. office. In his current leadership role, Joaquin oversees the agency’s L.A.-based operations including the management of all West Coast accounts, client relationships, and new business development.
Prior to AKA, Joaquin spent 3 years as the Advertising Manager at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), where he oversaw the media planning and advertising campaigns for the world-renowned performing arts institution. Prior to BAM, he worked a combined 13 years at two other marketing agencies serving the live arts & entertainment industry – Situation Interactive and Serino Coyne – where he supervised numerous accounts including Disney Theatrical Productions, Hairspray, and Wicked. Joaquin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The College of William and Mary. He lives in North Hills with his husband and loves to travel the world.
TTMA Program Chair,
President, Beach Cities Media LLC
Dan Lipton is President of Beach Cities Media LLC and has been publishing TravelHost Beach Cities Magazine for over ten years now.
TravelHost Magazine is a nationally known, in-room hotel publication that connects business and leisure travelers to the best places to dine, shop, play and stay.
His quarterly travel resource guide reaches over 250,000 tourists per month in print and then another 100,000 locals via email.
Dan is active in the community. He’s on the board of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Rotary Club of Long Beach, a member of the Long Beach Convention ; Visitor Bureau, on the board of the Travel & Tourism Marketing Association; he’s President of the Advisory Board for TravelHost Magazine and in late October of 2022, Dan was honored as one of “A Few Good Men”, the largest annual fundraising gala for the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House.
For nearly four years, Dan hosted a weekly radio show on CSULB’s KBeach.org and the KBeach Radio app called “A Taste of the Beach” where he interviewed business leaders in the area of hospitality and tourism.
Prior to TravelHost, Dan’s career included restaurant management, wine consulting and designing group incentive travel programs for Fortune 1000 companies including Taco Bell, Mazda, Hyundai, Yamaha Watercraft and
membership director, TTma
Director of tourism, advocacy & industry relations, gocal (formerly greater ontario cvb)
Lorraine Chapman, Director of Tourism, Advocacy & Industry Relations for GOCAL (formerly Greater Ontario CVB) has over 15 years of experience in the tourism industry with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, and also, more than 20 years in commercial real estate development, marketing & leasing, and commercial insurance.
Lorraine is past-Chair, for the CalTravel Association Ambassador Committee (2020-2023), is on
the Rural Committee for Visit California, Board of Directors for the Downtown Ontario Improvement Association (DOIA), Travelers Aide International of the Inland Empire and
represents GO-GAL at the Ontario International Airport Roundtable.
She has a Bachelor of Science, Administration/Marketing from California State Los Angeles. Lorraine and her husband Michael have been married 23 years, live in Pasadena with Oliver their only “very spoiled dog child”. Lorraine loves to travel and explore local culture, cuisine, arts and unique off the beaten path experiences.