May 29, 2024 | City Winery | 12 Noon


Judging Panel

The following judges select the honorees based on their experience, knowledge and invaluable insight to determine who provided the best leadership, improved visitor experiences, developed innovative programs and more within our industry. The 2024 Women In Tourism Honorees will be celebrated at a luncheon on May 29th, 2024 at City Winery NYC. 



Victoria “Vic” Cairl, Founder, Table 7 Strategy

 Victoria Cairl,

Victoria "Vic" Cairl has worked in the industry for over twenty years and brings her knowledge of advertising, marketing, sales, ticketing, and tourism to the table. She has held positions at Serino Coyne, TMG, Disney Theatrical, The Met Museum, Lincoln Center, and Show-Score. She has successfully run Table 7 independently since 2019.

Kristen Esposito, Global Marketing & Brand Strategy Executive, American Dream

 Kristen Esposito

Kristen Esposito is the Founder of Esposito Global Partners, a consulting firm specializing in brand marketing and strategy for the retail, shopping, and tourism industry. As a global marketer renowned nationally and internationally, Ms. Esposito held senior leadership positions at the world’s largest department store, Macy’s, and the world’s largest shopping mall operator, Simon Property Group, as well as a tourism strategist for Tanger Outlets. Currently, she is leading American Dream’s tourism strategy, promoting their unparalleled 3.2 million square feet of world-class entertainment, retail, and dining. Additionally, in 2021 Ms. Esposito was appointed to the Brand USA Board of Directors by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce as a representative for the retail sector, a position she still holds today.

Mary Farrell, Senior Sales and Marketing Hospitality Leader

Mary Farrell

Mary began her 25-year span in NYC tourism & hospitality at Restaurant Associates, selling group and large-scale events in high profile venues and restaurants. This was followed by 2 years of marketing Broadway shows for Dodger Theatricals. She spent 16 years with Tishman Speyer, where she built the highly successful sales program at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. There, as she helped shape and increase sales within the entire Rock Center portfolio: Rainbow Room, 620 Loft & Garden, The Dining Club at Rockefeller Center, studio & studio gather leasing, Rockefeller Center Tour, the world famous Ice Rink, and Rockefeller Center retail and dining. She continues to work as a consultant in hospitality. Mary proudly sits on the Board of NYC Tourism + Conventions, where she is celebrating her fourth term.


Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad, Founder, Accessible Travel NYC

Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad

Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad (she/her) is the founder of Accessible Travel NYC, a travel guide for people with disabilities. She’s a marketer, educator and consultant with 25 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry and is an influential changemaker with a powerful focus on positive disability representation and disability inclusion. Lakshmee uses her many service roles to help support and uplift the marginalized communities she is proud to be a part of. Her work is anchored in Disability Pride and intentional Disability Joy. She was awarded the prestigious Sapolin Public Accommodations Award from Mayor Adams for her community advocacy and winner of the Advocate of the Year at PCMA’s distinguished Visionary Award.  She is a Board of Director with New York City Tourism + Conventions.  


Cristyne Nicholas, CEO, Nicholas & Lence Communications

Cristyne Nicholas

Cristyne Nicholas, CEO co-founded Nicholas & Lence Communications in 2007. Known for rebuilding NYC’s $27 billion dollar tourism industry following the tragic events of September 11th, she launched the City’s first consumer TV advertising campaign, patriotic tourism initiatives such as Paint the Town Red White & Blue and recruited major events such as The World Economic Forum, The Grammy Awards, RNC 2004, Country Music Awards, and Super Bowl XLVIII. Cristyne was named 40 under 40 by Crain’s New York Business, Top 100 Women by City & State New York, Top 25 People in travel by Travel Magazine and one of 10 most influential people in the travel industry by Meetings and Incentive Magazine. In 2012, she was appointed Chair of the NYS Tourism Advisory Council. Cristyne serves as the Chairman of the Broadway Association and is on the ABNY Steering Committee.

Andrea Roman, Director of Sales, The Fireman Hospitality Group

Andrea Roman

Andrea Roman brings vast experience of creating, selling, marketing and managing all aspects of events and partnerships in the world of restaurants. She started her career 30 years ago working for some of the mavericks in the restaurant world. She began at the once famous Sign of the Dove, then moved onto The Fireman Hospitality Group in 1995. She went on to The Palm Restaurant Group, Planet Hollywood International and returned to The Fireman Hospitality Group in 2012. Her philosophy is a restaurant is not only about the guest experience but also the role and responsibility it has to the community, She is proud and grateful her experiences let her to be a part of the Tourism Community.

Stacey Toussaint, Managing Director, Inside Out Tours and Events

stacey toussaint

Stacey Toussaint, Esq., is the founder and Managing Director of Inside Out Tours, an award-winning receptive tour company, and Teach4freedom, a charity dedicated to enhancing diversity in the tourism sector and elevating the voices of historically underrepresented groups, including BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with special needs. Her profound enthusiasm for history, tourism, and the essence of New York City is enriched by a multifaceted background in the arts, legal sphere, and academia. For over 14 years, Inside Out Tours has specialized in offering distinctive tours and educational programs that focus on lesser-known historical aspects, champion diversity and inclusion, and provide accessible experiences for the special needs community.

Gul Turkmenoglu, Senior Director Operations, Sonesta Hotels International

Gul Turkmenoglu

Gul Turkmenoglu is the Senior Director of Operations -New York, overseeing Sonesta Interna-tional Hotels full-service properties and responsible for strategic direction, growth, leadership, and owners' relations. She started her career with the opening team of Conrad Istanbul Hotel and helped the corporate brand team create brand standards as the company grew from three to fifteen hotels during her time with them. After leading a team of over a thousand people at the Conrad Cairo, Gul transferred to Waldorf Astoria, NY, in 2006. Before joining Sonesta, Gul was the Area General Manager for IHG and GM at the Intercontinental Times Square. Gul also held Regional VP Operations and GM at the Benjamin Hotel with Denihan Group, where she oversaw Luxury and Life Style Hotels.

Haley Ward, Vice President of Sales, Hudson Yards Experience

Haley Ward

Haley Ward serves as Vice President of Sales for Hudson Yards Experiences at Related Companies. Haley joined Related in 2018 and oversees a viable and active sales program for third-parties, strategic partnerships, and business development for the attractions at Hudson Yards including Edge and City Climb. Haley’s brings more than a decade of global sales experience serving cultural institutions including WICKED the Musical on Broadway and The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she headed up international tourism sales and marketing efforts. Hailing from South Dakota, she has made New York her home for the last 13 years when her work isn’t sending her around the world.

Maria Wittorp, Chef Concierge, The Mark Hotel

Maria Wittorp

Maria Wittorp has over 35 years of luxury hospitality experience, having worked in multiple countries around the world. Her journey in New York began in 1991, where she started as a butler at the famed St. Regis Hotel. Knowing her calling was the role of a concierge, she changed department in 1993 and never looked back. Maria worked at The St. Regis until 2021 when she decided to move to the bold and lavish The Mark Hotel. She is very active within Les Clefs d’Or where she has served on the board in different capacities. She is currently serving on the Strategic Partnership committee for Union Internationale des Concierge d’Hotel. Maria was awarded the prestigious Best of Class Big Apple Stars Awards as well as the Silver Plume Chef Concierge of the Year award.


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