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Louisville tourism official leaves post

Downtown Louisville is a sight to be seen at dusk.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2012) — Karen Williams, executive vice president of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau announces her retirement from the LCVB this week after 23 years of service in promoting Louisville as a tourism destination.

Williams will remain in the industry as she launches a new company, Inspired, with local colleague Tara Guenther. Inspired will work with local, regional and national clients to assist with their meetings and events.

“I am so proud of what the entire team at the Bureau has accomplished over the year and know that everything they do makes a difference in our community,” Williams said. “I leave knowing firsthand how much Louisville’s entire hospitality industry is respected nationally.”

With over 30 years of sales and marketing experience, Williams led the Convention Development, Bureau Service, Chicago and D.C. satellite offices as well as the LCVB’s Multi-Cultural Division. Additionally, Williams played a key role in assisting the President and CEO in pursing initiatives that affected the long-term success of the industry.

Prior to joining the Bureau in 1989, Williams was Director of Corporate Sales for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Based in the corporate offices in Atlanta, Williams organized the sales and marketing efforts for the hotel company and assisted in opening 18 hotels national and internationally.

Williams has served and on several local and national industry boards including the Kentucky Arts and Craft Foundation, Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville Sports Commission and PGA.  She was an APEX Commissioner with the Convention Industry council, member of Meeting Planners International and the Chair of the Destination Travel Foundation Board. She is a graduate of Leadership Louisville and The Bingham Fellows.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a major talent like Karen. She led our sales effort and played a significant role in building Louisville’s reputation as a top meetings and tourism destination,” said Jim Wood, LCVB President & CEO.

A national search for Williams’ successor is under way, he said.