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February 28, 2014

Meet Hawaii Selects New Lead for Business Ambassadors Elele Program

Meet Hawaii, a collaboration of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and Hawaii Convention Center to promote the Hawaiian Islands as a destination for meetings, conventions, and incentive programs, has selected Debbie Zimmerman, president of New Millennium Meetings, Inc., to lead its Hawaii Business Ambassadors Elele Program. She will be responsible for the management, operation, and marketing of the program.

The Elele Program enlists the support of community leaders, known as ambassadors, who have ties to professional organizations with national and international meetings. These volunteers often have insight and personal relationships which help the Meet Hawaii team come up with more thoughtful bids and reach key decision makers. Moreover, a large percentage of national and international conventions require an invitation from a Hawaii contingent to consider the islands as a destination.

“The Elele Program is a critical component to our overall Meet Hawaii strategy allowing us to gain insight into the accounts we are soliciting, as well as access to influencers who impact meetings decisions made on the highest levels,” said Brian Lynx, vice president of meetings, conventions and incentives for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“The meetings, conventions, and incentives market is highly competitive and personal and professional relationships are often key factors in venue selection,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman brings more than 17 years of convention sales and meeting planning experience to the position, having previously worked with the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, HVCB, and Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Most notably, Zimmerman directed the Elele Program at HVCB from 1998 to 2002 when it was previously known as the Kuhina Program. During her four-year tenure leading the program, Zimmerman worked with the ambassadors to secure more than $690 million in convention business in Hawaii.

(Pictured: Debbie Zimmerman. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority)

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