In Cleveland, we’ve got world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.
Here in Cleveland, we’ve got beef cheek in our pierogi, truffles on our hot dogs and beer in our donuts. Balance.
Whether you’re into the thread count of your linens or just a place to crash for the night, we’ve got a hotel room with your name all over it.
You know those places only the locals know? Let our experts help you find them with free maps, itineraries and insider tips.
History hasn't always been easy on us. But pressure can create diamonds. Come check out our gems.
President & CEO
David Gilbert took over the top spot at Destination Cleveland, the region’s convention and visitors bureau, in 2011. He simultaneously serves as president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, which pursues amateur athletic events.
From April 2015 through December 2016, Gilbert also served as the president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee for the Republican National Convention.
Gilbert earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from The Ohio State University and an M.B.A. from Cleveland State University.
Earlier in his career, Gilbert helped plan and market Cleveland’s lakefront district as executive director of North Coast Harbor, Inc. He also worked as director of corporate development for The Cleveland Play House. During an earlier stint at the visitors bureau, Gilbert developed two new, full-service visitor information centers and a nationally recognized welfare-to-work, hospitality career training program.
Gilbert serves as vice president on the board of the International Children’s Games, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and sits of the boards of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. He was named by Crain’s Cleveland Business as one of Cleveland’s “30 Influencers of the Past 30 Years,” Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and, in 2016, he received the SME Cleveland Business Executive of the Year Award.
When not busy extolling the virtues of Cleveland, Gilbert likes to travel, train for marathons and hang out with his family.
Vice President of Destination Development & Community Affairs
At Destination Cleveland, Hannah Belsito leads the team focused on enhancing the visitor experience and improving the destination through place-making and programming, while also leading the organization's strategic iniatives and community affairs. She joined the team at Destination Cleveland in 2011.
Belsito holds a master's degree in urban planning, design & development from Cleveland State University and a bachelor's degree in communications from John Carroll University.
With nearly 20 years of experience across a variety of sectors, Belsito has worked for the Cleveland Leadership Center, The Cleveland Foundation, Association Estate Realty Corporation, KeyBank, Falls Communication, Clear Channel Communications, Playhouse Square and the Cleveland & Dayton International Air Shows.
Belsito finds value in giving back to the community through civic engagement. She currently serves as vice chair of The Cleveland Restoration Society's Board of Trustees and is part of LakewoodAlive's Design Review Committee.
She lives in Lakewood with her husband and two children.
Senior Vice President of Convention Sales & Services
Michael Burns oversees a sales team charged with bringing meetings and conventions to Cleveland.
Even though he joined Destination Cleveland in March 2012, Burns comes to the organization with four decades of experience in sales and operations leadership.
Burns spent 22 years with Conferon (now Experient), a nationally known meeting planning company, as well as several years as executive vice president with DMI Hotels.
Born in Chicago, Burns moved to the Cleveland area in 1984. He’s an active member of the Professional Convention Management Association.
Leslie Graf, CPA
Vice President of Finance & Administration
Leslie Graf, CPA is responsible for keeping tabs on all financial aspects of the organization. She also oversees Destination Cleveland’s finance, human resources and information technology staff, and oversees the administration of a 30-member board of trustees.
Before joining Destination Cleveland in 2007, Graf worked as an audit manager, specializing in the not-for-profit industry, and as a litigation consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Cohen and Company and Deloitte and Touche.
A lifelong Clevelander, except for a period when she lived in Atlanta and Roanoke, Graf earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Cleveland State University.
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Colette Jones joined Destination Cleveland in 2012 as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications. In this role, she oversees integrated marketing campaigns, advertising, brand strategy, digital marketing, social media, visitor publications, public relations/communications and market research.
She came to Destination Cleveland after working as an independent brand strategy consultant for small, local businesses. In addition to her consulting experience, Jones has 15 years of combined brand management/sales experience working for companies such as KeyBank; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; and the Wm. Wrigley Jr., Co.
Born in Shaker Heights, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in communications education from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and an M.B.A. in marketing from The Ohio State University.
She sits on the LAND Studio Board of Trustees, Karamu House Board of Directors, Expedia Select Media Partner Board and the Campus International Advisory Board.
Vice President of Partnerships
Jennifer Valencic joined Destination Cleveland in 2013 and is currently charged with overseeing a team charged with recruiting partners and spotting synergistic opportunities in the Greater Cleveland community. In 2014, Valencic was selected as one of Destination Marketing Association International's "30 Under 30."
Before joining the organization, she was Program Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland and now volunteers to teach the program annually.
In addition, Valencic spends her time as a mentor through Cleveland State University's program connecting students with career professionals. Since 2013, she's been an active member of "Key to the Cure," an event supporting women's cancer research at the Cleveland Clinic.
Valencic, who earned her B.A. in journalism and communications from Ohio University, lives in Avon with her husband and two daughters.
Daniel Walsh Jr.
Office Managing Partner
Ernst & Young
Kohrman, Jackson and Krantz
Hilton Cleveland Downtown
City of Pepper Pike
President & CEO
President & CEO
CEO & Executive Director
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture
President & CEO
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO Real Estate
Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Global Center for Health Innovation
Cleveland Cavaliers & Quicken Loans Arena
The Adcom Group
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Chief of Government & International Affairs
City of Cleveland
Bernie Moreno Companies
Cleveland Downtown Marriott at Key Center
The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland
University Circle Incorporated
Director and Advisor
Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research
Strategy Design Partners