Tourism VernonTOTA Annual General Meeting & Tourism Summit
November 23-24, 2016 — Predator Ridge, Vernon

Marsha Walden, CEO, Raising Our Game

Marsha Walden
President & CEO
Destination British Columbia

Marsha Walden is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Destination British Columbia. A life-long British Columbian, Marsha’s career spans corporate leadership roles in marketing, strategy, transformation, operations, communications and social responsibility. Marsha holds a Bachelor of Commerce from UBC and loves to travel in our extraordinary province.

BC’s tourism industry is on the cusp of enormous opportunity. As such, and under Marsha’s leadership, the team at Destination BC has set its sights on three important goals to ensure success:

  • to make British Columbia the most highly recommended destination in North America by our visitors;
  • to achieve the highest growth in overnight travel expenditures among all Canadian provinces; and,
  • to build an exceptional team of collaborative, insight-driven, and results-focused people.

Keynote speaker Mike Tyler

Mike Tyler
War Room Inc

Mike Tyler has had to attend meetings for his addiction to hokey pokey and has turned himself around.

His passion and mission is partnering with fired up companies like Adidas, NBA Store and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, who know where they’re going next but need help to define their digital strategy to identify actionable insights that differentiate their unique brand.

Like you, Mike has seen the words “digital marketing” defined numerous ways and understands how difficult it can be to navigate through the noise and make meaningful connections with your customers.

With real-life, in-the-trenches marketing and technology experience, his view is radically different. Mike has recognized that to be successful as a travel industry business you need to service your customers in their mobile moments or watch while someone else does.

Outside of his love affair with digital marketing, Mike serves on the board of a local nonprofit organization, speaks at universities to MBA students and volunteers with Junior Achievement. In his spare time (ha ha) Mike is an avid outdoorsman, paragliding pilot and enjoys writing and playing music.

Gary Stephen Ross - Destination BC

Gary Stephen Ross
Director, Global Content
Destination British Columbia

Over more than 35 years, Gary Stephen Ross has earned a reputation as one of the most admired writers and editors in Canada. He began contributing to Toronto Life while studying English at the University of Toronto, and was soon freelancing for Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, and Saturday Night, as well as editing books by such legendary mentors as CBC host Peter Gzowski and Saturday Night editor Robert Fulford.

His own journalism has been honoured with half a dozen National Magazine Awards, and he has edited literally hundreds of award-winning articles by other writers. He’s been an editor at Toronto Life and Financial Times, and was editor-in-chief of Saturday Night magazine from 2004 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 he was editorial director of Transcontinental Media West and editor-in-chief of Vancouver magazine. He also helped conceive and launch Modern Farmer magazine. More recently he was an editor-at-large for The Walrus magazine.

As a founding partner of the book publisher Macfarlane Walter & Ross, he shaped numerous distinguished titles, including the No. 1 bestseller Boom Bust & Echo (by David Foot & Daniel Stoffman). His own books include the No. 1 nonfiction bestseller Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony (which became the feature film Owning Mahowny, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman). He has also worked as a screenwriter, an advertising copywriter, a ghostwriter, a teacher, and a writing coach.

As a communications and content-marketing consultant, Gary has helped such clients as Magna International, Fairchild Media, Vancouver Economic Development Council, Edible Canada, Southam Inc., Troubadour Foundation, Distinguished Restaurants of North America, The Canada Council, Edelman Public Relations, Toptable Group, Aquilini Investment Group, and the Radcliffe Foundation. His presentation, The Ross Rules: 10 Ways to Communicate More Effectively, has been applauded by academic, nonprofit, and business audiences.

Most recently (as Director, Global Content) he has been helping Destination BC develop and implement a new content-marketing strategy, using journalistic techniques to enhance brand engagement and deepen corporate messaging.

Glenn Mandziuk

Glenn Mandziuk
President & CEO
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Glenn Mandziuk is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region which represents over 3,800 industry stakeholders and 90 communities and hamlets; and undertakes destination development, consumer marketing, travel trade, media relations, research, industry and community services.

Glenn has over 20 years’ experience in tourism marketing and community development, and has successfully administered and/or coordinated several community and product development projects, business retention programs, local, regional, and provincial partnership development, and marketing initiatives and assisted in attracting over $220 million in investment to the South Okanagan region.

Jason Dunkel, Environics Analytics

Jason Dunkel
Sales Consultant
Environics Analytics

Jason Dunkel is a Sales Consultant in the finance, insurance, travel and telecommunications practice, with a focus in the travel and tourism industry. In his current role, he informs clients on the best ways to use EA’s products and services to increase their customer base. In addition, he helps EA expand its own client base by promoting company offerings at industry trade shows and integrating its data with social media and web analytics sites. Since joining the company in 2008, he has been named Employee of the Year as a product manager for ENVISION and finished first in the Alteryx Grand Prix, an annual competition to solve business challenges, involving the best Alteryx programmers in the world. Jason is a board member of the Canadian Travel and Tourism Research Association.

Brenda Baptiste - closing speaker

Brenda Baptiste
Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia

As a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Brenda Baptiste graduated as a Registered Nurse specializing in Aboriginal health with a focus on community development, and worked with the Osoyoos Indian Band in the area of community health.

Later, she was the responsible for the development of the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, including managing Phase 1 of this operation, and playing a key role in the planning and development of the second and final phase of this centre. Her primary responsibilities for this project included project planning, product development, program development, marketing, fundraising and management of a $12 million dollar capital project. Brenda continues to support the Osoyoos Indian Band in the marketing and development of the Nk’mip Desert Cultural Centre.

As a consultant, Brenda worked with Tourism British Columbia to support the development of Aboriginal communities that are involved in tourism. As a champion for Aboriginal Tourism, her focus was to build capacity and opportunity with the belief that Aboriginal tourism balances socio-economic development with heritage preservation and promotion.

During the 2010 Olympic Games, Brenda completed the role of Director – Aboriginal Business Showcase for the Four Host Nations; as part of the programming for the 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion which hosted over 500 Aboriginal businesses and artisans.

In 2010, Brenda took on the role of Chief Administration Officer for the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, a challenging role that includes working with the leadership, staff and community in the area of economic development, social and community development, administration and governance.  Supporting business, social and cultural development is one of her roles within the nation.

Ms. Baptiste has served as the Chair of Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia since 2000, and her focus is to actively promote tourism as a foundation for socio-economic development for Aboriginal communities. She has committed her energy to the development and promotion of the Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy, an innovative and leading edge initiative to develop the Aboriginal tourism industry in BC.

Currently, Brenda is the BRIDGES program Project Manager for the Okanagan Nation Alliance, which is a research based project that is working to improve employment and educational opportunities for Aboriginal youth that are facing multi-barriers.


  • Director, Aboriginal Business Showcase, Four Host Nations developed and implemented successful showcase of over 500 Aboriginal businesses and artisans during the 2010 Olympics
  • Chair, Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia directed community and governmental relations for successful stakeholder based provincial tourism organization.
  • Chief Administrative Officer, Tsleil-Waututh Nation successfully managed all administrative programs, including economic development and treaty/lands.
  • Health Director, Osoyoos Indian Band developed First Nations community health program assessment, development and implementation.
  • Aboriginal Health Patient Navigator Lead, Interior Health managed and executed the Aboriginal Patient Navigator program throughout the Interior Health region.
  • Manager, Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre team lead for the development and construction of a $12 million Okanagan cultural heritage centre.