A 39-year travel and convention industry veteran, Greg Ortale assumed the helm of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau in December 2007. He returned to Houston after a 20 year absence, during which he served as president and chief executive officer of Meet Minneapolis, Official Convention + Visitors Association™ (1987 to 2007). During his first tenure in Houston Ortale served as executive vice president and general manager of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Council. (1979 to 1987).
Mr. Ortale is committed to ensuring that GHCVB delivers a quality experience to all Houston visitors—convention delegates, tourists and business travelers. He is also passionate about introducing younger generations to the hospitality industry. He helped found the Minneapolis Academy of Tour and Travel, a magnet high school that has led numerous students into the hospitality profession. He believes that the travel industry is an industry of opportunity where experience can still produce advancement.
Over his career, Mr Ortale has served on numerous industry and community committees and boards. He is a member of IAEE, ASAE, MPI PCMA, TTIA, TACVB and National Coalition of Black Meeting planners, who awarded him the organizations Corporate Award in 1997. He is also a life member of the NAACP.
Information coming soon.
Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, is the Executive Director of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). In her role at CEIR, Breden manages the day-to-day activities and business operations of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, including working with the Research Committee to identify topics for study that validate the exhibition industry as a marketing medium.
She began her association management career in 1984 and has served as a member of several boards of directors, as key staff contact, chief staff executive, volunteer leader, and consultant. Breden earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 1990, and earned the coveted “Certified Association Executive” (CAE) designation in 1995.
Breden attributes her success in the association management industry to being customer-centric. She adapted what Howard Schults of Starbucks has said to this: “We are not in the exhibition business; we are in the people business serving exhibitions.” Breden also serves as chief operating officer of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. Breden is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and the Society for Human Resource Management. She serves on the Convention Industry Council’s (CIC) Certified Meeting Professional as vice chair. Breden was recognized by DFWAE in 2005 with their Excellence Award. She wrote the Marketing, Promotion, Publicity Chapter of The Convention Industry Council Manual, 7th Edition, A Working Guide for Effective Meetings & Conventions. She and her husband, Lou, reside in Dallas and have two children, Andy and Nick.
Ms. Drapeau began her market research career in 1991, registering more than 20 years experience, with 12 years specifically in the trade media sector. She has a passion for delivering custom, primary market research services that uncover key market insights that drive profitable business decisions.
Prior to joining CEIR, she ran a full-time market research practice for two years where she serviced the needs of a range of trade event organizers, from leading, international event organizations to smaller, start-up firms. For 10 years, she managed the market research function at Diversified Business Communications where she executed more than 100 standard visitor/exhibitor research studies, numerous strategic research initiatives, and dozens of multilingual studies for product groups and senior management. She has managed market research studies for the company’s U.S.-based, Argentine-based and UK-based events and publications.
She holds Professional Research Certification (PRC) with the national Marketing Research Association in quantitative research and is a Nielsen/Burke Institute-trained focus group moderator. She holds a Masters from l’Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales in International Studies from Nice, France and a B.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University.