Coffee with...Ellen Burnett and Linda Simon, DMCP

Singer joins college-counseling association
Ann E. Singer, CMP, CAE, has become the new director of meetings at the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association for College Admission Counseling. Before this, Singer was director of educational services at the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, also based in Alexandria.

Wesalainen now with Ireland Presentations
Denise Wesalainen has joined Ireland Presentations Inc., a San Francisco-based meetings and events company, as project director. Previously, Wesalainen served as manager of corporate events for Chicago-based Elevon Inc., an online business consultancy.

Dawn Bevier-Giorgio, CMP,
has been appointed the new senior account executive, union and government markets, for the 1,298-room Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. Also new to the property’s staff are Kathy Marie DeCiantis, senior sales manager, national association sales (all regions except for Washington, D.C.), and Brian Walker, CMP, sales manager, religious, fraternal and social markets.
Robert Chlebda has been named associate, national association sales at the Newport Beach (Calif.) Conference & Visitors Bureau.
Debi DeBenedetto, CHA, has joined the Greater Naples Marco Island Everglades (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau as tourism industry sales and marketing manager.
Jim Finch has been appointed facilities manager for both the Hampton Roads (Va.) Convention Center, due to open in January 2005, and the Hampton Coliseum.
Barbara Piagari has joined the 210-room Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, Calif., as its new director of sales and marketing. Also joining the staff are national sales managers Shelly Seaton and Christopher Suarez.
Tom Waite has been hired as director of sales and marketing at the 176-room Millennium Resort Scottsdale McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"For a French group, we re-created a Washington, D.C., event held 42 years ago."

Ellen Burnett (left), a board member of the Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Linda Simon, a Destination Management Certified Professional, jointly run The Best of Boston (, a destination management firm celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

How did the two of you meet? In college, but after graduation we moved in different directions. Then, 10 years later, sitting around the kitchen table, we started talking about careers that would also be fun at a time when women were beginning to be entrepreneurial.

What’s one particularly memorable event of yours? For a French group, we re-created a Washington, D.C., event held 42 years ago in honor of the novelist André Malraux, who was then the French minister of cultural affairs. President John F. Kennedy had been in attendance. The re-created event was held at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. The library was built in 1993, but everything life-size cutouts of JFK, Jacqueline Kennedy and Malraux, the music, the linens referred to 1962.

How is the pending July arrival of the Democratic National Convention affecting Boston? Things have not reached hyper stage yet. But that will change soon; plus the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center opens just before.

What is your single favorite piece of advice? When planning, always keep in mind the company’s goals. Do not think of it just as a party, especially when companies increasingly are interested in returns on investment.