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Alexandra Chamberlain

Born and raised in Jasper, Indiana, Alexandra realized a love for all things arts-related at an early age and vowed to make that passion a career. She earned her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from DePauw University in 2013, her M.A. in Arts Administration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015, and a certificate in Museum Studies from the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University in 2019.

Currently, Alexandra is the Director of Operations for the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries. In this role, Alexandra manages all day to day operations for AAMG, whether financial, programming, or membership related.

For the last several years, Alexandra has been a part of a small volunteer working group: the Putnam County Mural Project. This group has been responsible for creating and producing Putnam County murals, including the largest in the state of Indiana back in 2019. In 2022, the team created the county’s first ever mural festival producing 5 new murals throughout the county and included a matching grant funding campaign to raise over $100,000-check out more details here! Their most recent project was in collaboration with the City of Greencastle to produce a mural in celebration of the city’s bicentennial in September 2023.

Additionally, this team partnered with the Indiana Arts Commission in fall of 2023 to produce the state of Indiana’s first ever public arts toolkit. You can access this toolkit here. It has been an honor to be a part of this project and we can’t wait to see more public art throughout the state of Indiana with the help of this document.

Sessions: Session I - First & Main: The Intersection of Public Art, Tourism and Economic Development
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Andrea Ratcliff

Andrea Ratcliff is the editor-in-chief of Indianapolis Monthly, where she oversees editorial content and processes for the print magazine and its online entities. A graduate of Indiana University, Ratcliff studied journalism with a concentration on graphic design. In her early career, she edited and designed publications for trade associations before joining the IM staff as an art director in 2006. Ratcliff took on a dual role as editor and art director for special advertising sections and ancillary publications in 2018, and she was appointed to the editor-in-chief position in March 2023.


Sessions: Session II - Publication Panel
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Biz Bishop

After graduating from Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Graphic Design, Biz is in her second year of Content Management for Visit Wabash County.  With more than 7 years of design and marketing experience, Biz has found herself back home in Wabash, IN. She is a foodie and plant enthusiast who also enjoys exploring the world around her. With that, she has been to 5 different countries and 34 states. A perfect day for Biz would be spent at an art museum, or zoo, with her camera and an iced matcha latte. In her free time, you can find her hiking, baking, or playing board games with her friends.

Sessions: Session I - Marketing Panel of Our People
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Blake Shockley

Blake is an Evansville native, that worked at the Zoo from 2015-2019 in Guest Services before heading off to college. Blake graduated in 2021 from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where he majored in Marketing. Currently, Blake is the Marketing Director at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. In this role, he manages all social media platforms, on-site signage, public relations, community engagement, oversees all zoo events, our membership program, and event fundraising with the help of an Events Coordinator and Membership Coordinator. Blake is passionate about photography, interior design, and event planning. In February of 2022, he was hired as the Events Coordinator before being promoted to Marketing Director in July 2022. 

During his time as the Events Coordinator, he faced the challenge of rebuilding and hosting events at the Zoo after a pandemic. Blake also curated the first ever sensory events at the Zoo (Sensory Spooktacular and Sensory Santa) to provide an inclusive space for families and children with PTSD, Autism, and Sensory processing disorders. Blake has helped plan many fundraising events at the Zoo, like our annual Vintage Vines gala, Zoo Brew, Orchid Escape, and long-time running events like Boo at the Zoo. 

The Zoo connects people to the natural world through education and encourages action for our planet. Blake said it feels amazing to know we are inspiring people today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

Sessions: Session II - The Ins and Outs of Festival and Event Planning
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Brandon McClish

Brandon McClish is the Executive Director of the Evansville Regional Sports Commission.  Brandon has been General Manager for Learfield Sports at the University of Evansville and Director of Operations and Sales for the Evansville Otters.  Brandon is a board member with the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival in Evansville. 

Sessions: Session II - The Ins and Outs of Festival and Event Planning
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Brenda Myers

Brenda Myers is President/CEO of Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., where she oversees the county’s tourism economic development.

Myers and her team of talented professionals have created a nationally accredited, fully integrated marketing and product development program that focuses on business intelligence, community, and destination management, as well as innovative and sophisticated promotions strategy.

Hamilton County now has the third largest tourism industry in the state of Indiana, driven by corporate, sports groups and leisure.

Myers has more than 30 years of experience in tourism development, working in cultural attractions management as well as in tourism development for the state of Indiana.

Sessions: INnovators- Indiana's Impactful Individuals
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Carrie Lambert

Carrie Lambert is the Executive Director of the Indiana Tourism Association. 

Sessions: Session I - History of Tourism
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Douglas Weisheit

Douglas Weisheit     

Since 1995, except for 2 years, Doug has held the position of Marketing Chair for the Parke County Convention & Visitors Commission.  The Parke County CVC, founded in 1995, is the financial promotional partner of Indiana’s largest festival, the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival.  The Parke County Covered Bridge Festival was established in 1957.  Since 1995, every major ad campaign of the Parke County CVC has contained the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival’s dates and name.  The Parke County Covered Bridge Festival and Parke County Maple Fair are also 2 of the 8 Indiana State Festivals Association’s 1972 founding members.

Doug started his involvement in tourism in November 1983 at Holiday World Theme Park where he was Director of Operations and soon was the co-chair for the Festival of Lights first Christmas Celebration in Christmas Lake Village.  In 1989 Doug served as General Manager of Billie Creek Village where he grew their annual Civil War Days into a national Civil War Re-enactment.  In 2001 Doug went to work as a Loan Officer and is now the Vice President of Business Development for The Fountain Trust Company a family-owned community bank in western Indiana. Also is 2001, Doug joined the Newport Lions Club which produces the annual Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb where he serves on the organizational and cash control committees.

In 1990 Doug was elected to the Indiana State Festivals Association Board of Directors and in March 2010 became their Coordinator.  The Indiana State Festivals Association produced the Indiana Festival Guide from 1972-1987 and then again in 2010 continuing to do so still today.  ISFA membership has more than doubled since 2010 and the Indiana Festival Guide is now distributed in all of Indiana’s 92 counties and at over 1,200 locations.

Doug graduated in 1979 from Purdue University with Distinction and is a 2007 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. 

Doug is married to Mary Helen and they have 2 grown children.

Sessions: Session II - The Ins and Outs of Festival and Event Planning
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Elaine E. Bedel

Elaine E. Bedel

Secretary & Chief Executive Officer

Indiana Destination Development Corporation 

Elaine Bedel was appointed by Governor Holcomb in 2019 to serve as the first Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC), a quasi-government agency focused on making Indiana a great place to live and visit and to learn and earn.

Prior to her recent appointment, Bedel served as President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the state’s lead economic development agency from 2017-2019. Under Bedel’s leadership, the state had consecutive record-breaking years for new job commitments.

Prior to serving the state, Bedel served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., a role held since she founded the company in 1989.

Bedel, who resides in Indianapolis, is an author of a personal finance book and has spoken nationally and internationally sharing her interpersonal and financial expertise and experience. Bedel earned a bachelor’s degree from Hanover College and an MBA from Butler University.

Throughout her career, Bedel has been recognized for dedication to her profession and her community. She was inducted into the Indiana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and was recognized as the 2015 Women Business Owner of the year by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Bedel was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and received the Financial Planning Association’s “Heart of Financial Planning” Award in 2013.

Sessions: Lunch - Sponsored by IN Indiana
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Eric Freeman

Since 2016, Eric has served as executive director of the Putnam County Visitors Center, responsible for encouraging visitation and strategic development of businesses, organizations, collaborations, programs/events, and venues that increase quality of life, the visitor experience and economic development. Since 2021, the Visitors Center staffs and provides a headquarters for four organizations collaboratively implementing the county’s five-year outdoor recreation master plan. One organization, Putnam Parks & Pathways, operates via six committees, one focused solely on public art.

Prior to his work in Putnam County, Eric took Indiana Artisan from an idea of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman’s to the statewide arts-as-economic-development organization it is today, supporting more than 200 visual and food artisans in 53 counties in the promotion, development and expansion of their businesses. He has served numerous organizations in strategic marketing, public relations and communications roles, including Duke Realty, Purdue University and Hanover College, Conner Prairie, and Culver Academies.

Eric holds a bachelor's degree from DePauw University and a masters in non-profit administration from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife, Beth, a kindergarten teacher, reside in Noblesville and have three grown children, the youngest currently a junior at DePauw.

Sessions: Session I - First & Main: The Intersection of Public Art, Tourism and Economic Development
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Fred McCool

When you think Creative, you think McCool! Fred has been in the marketing and advertising world for ‘a couple decades’ and plays an integral role in the development of strategic and creative campaigns for Oswald Marketing's clients. As a writer, producer, and director, his portfolio includes commercials for national clients such as 1-800PetMeds, Eye-Mart, and Tropicana, as well international tourism centric creative campaigns both close and far with places like New Harmony, IN, Spencer County, IN, and Harlaxton, England with University of Evansville.

Sessions: ITA Workshop I - Branding and Marketing
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Grace Caswell

Grace Caswell, executive director of the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau,  

Sessions: Session II - The Ins and Outs of Festival and Event Planning
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Grant Carpenter

Grant Carpenter, CAE, is an experienced association professional who has spent the most of his professional career in association management. Grant currently works as at Raybourn Group International (RGI), an association management company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Grant joined the RGI team in 2022 and serves as Executive Director for the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE) and Director of Membership and Grassroots Advocacy for the Indiana Amusement and Music Operators Association (IAMOA).

Sessions: Session II - Q&A with Small Meeting Planners
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Gretchen Ross

Gretchen Ross: Gretchen is an Emmy nominated and award winning journalist who works as the Daybreak and Noon anchor and feature reporter for Eyewitness News ABC25/CW7 in Henderson. She loves waking up the Tri-State every morning. Gretchen helped launch the Remarkable Women campaign for Nexstar Media Group at stations across the country. When she's not working, Gretchen is an avid volunteer in the community serving on the boards of STAGEtwo Productions, Ohio Valley Art League, Warrick Parks Foundation and Habitat for Humanity of Evansville Young Professionals. She also serves in leadership roles for the Junior League of Evansville, Evansville Rotary at Night, Rotary District 6580 and Evansville Shakespeare Players which she co-founded. She has been named as one of West Virginia's Wonder Women and named to Top 20 Under 40 Lists in Indiana, West Virginia, and Virginia. Gretchen was awarded the 2022 Communications Achievement Award by Crescent City Toastmasters. She was also named as a Top 20 Under 40 in 2023 by News 4U magazine.

Sessions: Dinner and Indiana Tourism Association Awards Ceremony
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Jaime Bohler Smith

Jaime Bohler Smith is the Executive Director of Visit Hendricks County and the Past President of the Indiana Tourism Association. 

Sessions: Session I - History of Tourism
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