Five candidates of diverse backgrounds out of a record number of 13 were elected to represent the allied membership on the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) board of directors for the 2018-2020 term. The elections were held on October 5 during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), held in the Bahamas.
The five representatives elected to CTO’s board of directors for the two-year term are Barbara Magro of Questex Travel Group, Barry Brown of AFAR Media, Jule Guaglardi of Zelman Style, Jacqueline Johnson of Global Bridal Group and John Lawrence Spears of The Concept Farm.
This marked the first time the CTO had more than eight people interested in the positions. “This reflects an overwhelming interest in the industry and contributing to the development of our region,” said Sylma Brown, director of CTO USA, in a written release. Brown will work with the five new members to determine how they will utilize their skillsets.
Barbara Magro has worked in advertising sales for premier food and travel magazines in the United States and Australia and is currently the Florida & Caribbean director of business development with Questex Media Group for Luxury Travel Advisor, Travel Agent print and digital products, Travel Agent University e-learning and loyalty platform along with Travel Industry Exchange and Ultra Summit leisure events. During the last two years on the CTO board of directors, she has given a generous amount of money to promote CTO’s travel agent trade shows, worked with Tourism Cares and ran free banners ads on how to donate to hurricane relief funds during the hurricanes of 2017 along with other forward-thinking actions.
Barry Brown, an allied member for 17 years, is an advertising and publishing professional who has been connected to the region for over 25 years. He also served and continues to serve on the board of the CTO Foundation and was on the Audrey Palmer Hawks Scholarship Foundation Board for many years. Brown has prioritized the education of the next generation of tourism leaders and worked with the CTO to develop the Caribbean Youth Congress.
Jule Guaglardi spent much of the past 25 years writing and photographing features for different publications to showcase the Caribbean. Currently, she operates a high-end design firm in Florida that employs a Caribbean design team, which makes up more than 50 percent of the staff. Guaglardi started to expand her work into the Caribbean by redesigning prestigious buildings, as well as helping to facilitate Florida building codes in the Caribbean to hurricane standards in an effort to help ensure a more economically stable and sustainable tourism product across the region. Guaglardi plans to open a Caribbean office in order to work alongside local contractors and new rising Caribbean design students.
Jacqueline Johnson, an expatriate, believes she owes it to the region to put her extensive networking resources to work to improve the quality of life for people in the Caribbean through tourism. During her more than 20 years as an allied member, Johnson served on the CTO board and on the executive committee and has been chairman of the CTO Foundation, which provides scholarships to Caribbean students, and donates a substantial amount of her time to Caribbean Week and other CTO events. For her contributions and involvement in the Caribbean, CTO awarded Johnson the Outstanding Service Award.
With 17 years of tourism experience, John Lawrence Speers has developed strategic marketing plans, communication strategies and digital innovations across many creative platforms for tourism boards in the Caribbean and other destinations. Having an interest in sustainable tourism, Speers recently worked in the hinterlands of Guyana with the indigenous people, creating deeper connections to ensure local cultural traditions prevail and flourish.