Specializing in public relations planning, media relations management, special events and crisis communications, Sonnier has most recently served as director of public relations for Peter A. Mayer Advertising and in his new position will focus on the strategic direction and messaging of the New Orleans tourism industry. He will create and oversee the implementation of public relations and communications strategies to brand New Orleans as the nation’s premier business and leisure destination as well as position the NOCVB as one of the top CVBs in the country. He will support the president and CEO as a spokesperson for the tourism industry on all levels, supervise the day-to-day operations and management of the eight-person communications staff and manage activities of outside CVB partners. During the last 16 years at New Orleans-based Peter A. Mayer Advertising, Louisiana’s largest full-service advertising, public relations and marketing agency, Sonnier and his team serviced approximately 20 accounts per month ranging all categories including Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, GE Capital, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana, Hancock/Whitney Bank, The National World War II Museum and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, among others. He has held numerous leadership positions in the city and region, including serving on the Host Committee for Super Bowl XLVII, serving on the city’s team of BP oil spill communications specialists, and working with key city and state officials on Louisiana’s recovery efforts post-Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Sonnier began his career as a public relations manager at the Resort at Squaw Creek in California. “Kristian is one of the most respected public relations professionals in New Orleans. He is a strategic thinker with a proven track record for producing results, a tireless work ethic and a great passion for the city. We are thrilled to have him join our team,” said Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Kristian will be a senior leader in our promotion of New Orleans as a premier destination for meetings, special events, domestic and international visitation, and he will be an integral part of the planning and execution of our award-winning communications and branding programs.” Sonnier replaces Kelly Schulz, who held the position for eight years before joining ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as vice president of communications in April 2014. In the interim, Lauren Cason, director of marketing and communications, and Tara Letort, CMP, director of group public relations, oversaw the strategic planning and day-to-day responsibilities of the department.
Tara Letort joined the New Orleans CVB in 2007 for a new position that helps our convention and meeting customers market New Orleans to their attendees. New Orleans was one of the first CVBs in the country to create a full-time, senior-level position devoted exclusively to customized attendance-building tools. A Mississippi native, Tara's favorite thing about New Orleans is enjoying Mardi Gras with her family. Contact Tara for tips about marketing or promoting New Orleans to convention attendees or securing media coverage of groups in town.
Vicki Bristol joined the CVB team in 2013 as Communications Manager bringing with her public relations experience spanning a variety of industries. She helps journalists tell the stories of New Orleans through press trips, timely news releases, rich content and proactive media outreach. Vicki holds an M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of New Orleans and a B.S. in Mass Communication from Loyola University. Additionally, she is active in several local organizations including the Young Leadership Council (YLC) and Junior League of New Orleans, and serves as a board member for Committee for a Better New Orleans. Vicki was recognized as a “PR Person to Watch” by the national PR News organization and as a YLC “Rising Mark.”
Arrie Kain joined the CVB in the Spring of 2013 for a newly created position as the organization’s first Graphic Designer. As a member of the Communications and PR team, she designs and develops marketing, advertising, communications and advocacy collateral, as well as works with all departments to promote conventions, meetings, tourism and membership. She holds a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and a M.A. in Art History from LSU. A native of New Orleans, she considers promoting her hometown and greatest city in the world a dream job.
Sarah Forman joined the CVB as an intern in 2011 and was hired as the communications coordinator in 2012. Her favorite things to do in New Orleans are trying out new restaurants and attending festivals. Contact Sarah for website additions, industry press releases or to help promote your event locally and internationally.
Erica Taylor joined the CVB in January 2014 as an intern and was hired as a full time coordinator in August. Erica enjoys biking to festivals, shopping for local crafts and discovering hidden treasures around the city. Contact Erica for convention marketing assistance, Company's Coming and convention calendar questions.
Rebecca implements advertising and marketing plans to support the NOCVB’s sales efforts. She handles request for international leisure and group domestic advertising. For all domestic leisure advertising opportunities, please reach out to the NOCVB’s sister organization, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.
Maria White joined the CVB as an intern in 2015 and was hired as a Communications Coordinator in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama. A native New Orleanian, Maria’s favorite part about living in New Orleans is attending JazzFest. Contact Maria for industry press releases and What’s New in New Orleans.