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The North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau held their Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, November 2 at the Beauport Hotel, 47 Commercial St. in Gloucester. North of Boston CVB leadership presented the 2016 Essex County Tourism Awards, recognized 2016 Tourism Mini-Grant Recipients, inducted new Board members and thanked outgoing Board members for their service.


2016-2017 Board of Directors

Executive Board

Kate Fox, Chair – Destination Salem

Jennifer Close, Vice Chair – Peabody Essex Museum

Patrick Cornelissen, Immediate Past Chair – Hawthorne Hotel

Tammy Harrington, Treasurer – Salem Trolley

Bethany Groff Dorau, Secretary – Historic New England

Pilar Garro, At Large – The Trustees of Reservations, Castle Hill at The Crane Estate

Tami O’Brien, At Large – Encompass Premiums & Apparel


Board of Directors

Julie Arrison-Bishop – House of the Seven Gables

Michael Bevilacqua – Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce

George Carey – FINZ Seafood & Grill and Sea Level Oyster Bar

Tobin Dominick- Cape Ann’s Marina Resort

Karen Nascembeni – North Shore Music Theatre

James O’Brien- Topsfield Fair

Rinus Oosthoek -Salem Chamber of Commerce

John Orlando – The Harborview Inn

Linn Parisi -Over the Bridge Tours

Eva Valentine – Aegis Financial Strategies, Inc.

Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP – Wolfe Adventures and Tours, LLC

Rhonda Woodman – Woodman’s of Essex

Ann Marie Casey, North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau – Ex Officio


New Directors

Krista Marchand – DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore

Drew Russo – Lynn Museum/LynnArts

Merry Ward- Salem Witch Museum


Departing Directors

Tina Jordan – Salem Witch Museum

Scott Marshall – Seacoast Events


2016 Award Winners


The 2016 Anne Turcotte Leadership Award was presented to Donna Abdulla. Donna and her family own and operate Joe’s Playland in Salisbury. This leadership award was renamed in 2012 in honor of CVB colleague and friend Anne Turcotte. The award is given to an individual or organization whose innovation, expertise and energy serves as an inspiration for others in the tourism industry.


The 2016 Geoff Woodman Hospitality Award was presented to Robert Simonelli. Robert is a partner and general manager at the Landing Restaurant in Marblehead. The Geoff Woodman Hospitality Award is given to an individual who has contributed significantly to the tourism industry of the North of Boston region and honors the NBCVB member who best exemplifies the region’s hospitality.

The 2016 Story Teller Award was presented to Ryan Conary. Ryan is the Marketing & Reservations Coordinator at The House of the Seven Gables in Salem. The Story Teller Award honors the region’s best storytellers-the individuals, who share not only their company’s story, but all the rich history and culture of the region in everything they do in celebration of the North of Boston’s regional theme: “A Story in Every Mile”.

The 2016 Small Business Award was presented to Dan Clapp. Dan is the owner of 1634 Meadery in Ipswich. The Small Business Award is given to a small business owner who recognizes the importance of the tourism industry and is committed to servicing the visitors of Essex County.

The 2016 Frontline Hospitality Award was presented to Carol Earle. Carol is a long-time front desk employee at the Emerson Inn in Rockport. The Frontline Hospitality Award, given for the first time in 2012, has been designed to honor a member of the region’s frontline service ambassadors. The friendliness, knowledge and customer service of these individuals set the tone for a visitors’ stay within the region. This individual regularly goes beyond to provide excellent customer service and encourage guests to explore the region while visiting.

The 2016 New Member Award was presented to Carla Villa. Carla is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Ipswich Ale Brewery in Ipswich. The New Member Award is given to a new member of the North of Boston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau that recognizes the importance of tourism within the region and has made great strides within their first year of membership to support tourism.

The 2016 Award of Appreciation was presented to the National Park Service. 2016 marks a century of stewardship of America’s national parks and engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs. Essex County is fortunate to be the home to both the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. The Award of Appreciation is given out to those individuals who have gone above and beyond to promote tourism in Essex County.

The 2016 Special Recognition Award was presented to the Ellis Family. The Ellis Family owns and operates the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon in Gloucester. The Ellis Family and the entire tourism community lost a great person and leader when Kay Ellis passed away this earlier this year.

For many years, the North of Boston CVB has implemented a Tourism Mini-Grant program as part of our core programming. Over the last 5 years, the CVB has awarded more than $200,000 in matching grants to chambers, destination marketing organizations and non-profit organizations throughout Essex County to assist with tourism promotion projects that include print, website development, blogging, digital, tv, YouTube, audio messaging, radio, social media projects, language translations and signage for tourism-related businesses.  In 2016, the CVB awarded 11 Tourism Mini-Grants, totaling $45,000. Congratulations to our 2016 Tourism Mini-Grant Recipients.


Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce

Discover Gloucester

Essex Merchants Group

Essex National Heritage Commission

Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce

Marblehead Museum

Rockport Division, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce

Salem Office of Tourism & Cultural Affairs: Destination Salem

Salisbury Chamber of Commerce

The House of the Seven Gables