Santa Monica Travel & Tourism Welcomes New Board Members and Executive Committee

Posted November 3, 2020

SANTA MONICA, Calif. [November 3, 2020] – Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) recently announced the appointment of its newest Board of Director member along with the installment of its 2020/2021 executive committee. Mark Averett, General Manager of The Georgian Hotel has been appointed to SMTT’s 20/21 Board of Directors. The new Board of Directors executive committee is comprised of: Chairman Damien Hirsch, General Manager, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot, Vice Chair Albin Gielicz, Santa Monica resident; Treasurer Neil Carrey, Santa Monica resident and Secretary Jan Williamson, Executive Director of 18th Street Arts Center.

Mark Averett has been the General Manager of The Georgian Hotel for over four years and has a true passion for the hospitality industry. From his first day on the job, Mark reached out to Santa Monica Travel & Tourism to express his interest in participating in the community. Serving as a member of the TMD Committee for 2 years he was named Secretary/Treasurer this year. Recently completed guest room renovations and the ocean view Veranda Restaurant offering our city’s only hotel high tea are a key-factors in his success and leadership. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, an MBA in Business Management and a Certification for Hotel Industry Analytics from the America Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

“Mark brings a level of education and experience that’s unsurpassed, his eagerness and care for his team, guests, his peers and this community is a welcome addition to our Board of Directors,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of SMTT.

Newly elected Chairman of the Board, Damien Hirsch previously served the executive committee as Vice Chairman, a local resident and the General Manager of JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot, Hirsch has a proven track record and passion for Santa Monica, tourism and guest services. His success has come through hiring, training and retaining uniquely diversified teams, while motivating and mentoring all toward success. In 2018, the hotel under Damien’s leadership was awarded “The 2nd Most Improved JW Marriott in the World”. Damien is currently the Vice Chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of the L.A. County COVID-19 Economic Resiliency Task Force.

Santa Monica local resident Albin Gielicz will serve as Vice Chairman, serving as a member of the board of directors for the past 6 years, previously in the role of Treasurer. As the International Channel Director for Revitalash Cosmetics, Gielicz is a marketing/business development generalist and sustainability advocate with substantial international experience in the U.S. and in emerging markets. Albin is a working member of the Montana Ave. merchants association and is volunteering with the City of Santa Monica’s Community Working Group (CWG) whose charge is to perform a comprehensive review and to make suggestions and recommendations on the future of the City’s boards, commissions and task forces.

Neil Carrey, a Santa Monica resident and attorney with Baker & Hostetler, LLP, will serve as Treasurer. Carrey brings nearly 50 years of experience as a tax, business and exempt organization attorney, representing clients across industries including nonprofits. Carrey’s experience also includes serving the Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and Police Activities League (PAL). Carrey helped establish the Chris Carrey PAL Education Fund, which provides scholarships for post-high school education expenses to PAL members. To date, over $200,000 in scholarships have been provided to PAL youth.

Jan Williamson, a member of the community since 1995, will serve as board Secretary. Under her leadership as Executive Director of the 18th Street Arts Center, the organization has evolved from a small, alternative artist-run space to Southern California’s largest artist residency center. 18th Street Arts Center provides a platform for diverse local and international artists who provoke public dialogue through their art making. During her tenure, the organization purchased 18SAC’s 1.25-acre property and Williamson has been leading the planning and fundraising efforts for the renovation and redevelopment of the site. Williamson holds a certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“I’m so proud to welcome the leadership capability of our 2020/2021 incoming Executive Committee and new board member Mark Averett, their guidance and empathy for this community is needed now more than ever as we focus on the economic recovery of Santa Monica’s vital hospitality industry to support our community needs in the future,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of SMTT. “Our Members of the Board of Directors are Santa Monica employers committed to the success of our city and residents who contribute to everything we do from an important local’s perspective.”


About Santa Monica Travel & Tourism
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), formerly Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 2427 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call (310) 319-6263; visit, email, or follow SMTT on Instagram (@SeeSantaMonica), Twitter (@GoSantaMonica) or Facebook (@VisitSantaMonica).



Discover Santa Monica

Explore itineraries, local tips, hot spots and curated adventures to make sure you get the most out of your Santa Monica experience.

View more Blogs