Irvine, CA - Wendy Haase, Director of Tourism Marketing, Destination Irvine, was one of 28 industry professionals to earn the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation, the only integrated executive program specifically designed for the Destination Marketing industry.

"It is an honor to be recognized with the highest educational achievement for destination management professionals," said Haase. "By earning this designation, I join an elite group of professionals who also seek to elevate the industry and its standards."

The CDME program is designed to better prepare senior destination marketing organization (DMO) executives and managers for increasing change and competition and to become more effective organizational and community leaders. To date, nearly 275 destination marketing professionals have achieved the CDME designation.

Haase joined Destination Irvine, a division of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, in July 2010. Prior to, she represented a luxury resort in Los Angeles County, Visit Huntington Beach and the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau. Before moving to California in 2006, Haase began her career in the travel and tourism industry at Visit Milwaukee in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

The following individuals were recognized for their CDME certification during the Destination Marketing Association International's (DMAI) 2014 Annual Convention in Las Vegas on July 23:

• Timothy Bush, CDME, Marketing Manager, Macon-Bibb County CVB
• Leah Chandler, CDME, Chief Marketing Officer, Branson/Lakes Area CVB
• Cody Chomiak, CDME, Director of Marketing, Tourism Winnipeg
• Matthew Clement, CDME, Marketing Manager, Fort Worth CVB
• Alicia Erickson, CDME, Marketing & Communications Manager, Springfield CVB
• Kimberly Faulk, CDME, Vice President, Marketing Solutions & Sales, VISIT FLORIDA
• Karen Fisher, CDME, Chief Financial Officer, VisitPITTSBURGH
• Melody Foote, CDME, Director of Communications, Fayetteville Area CVB
• Jonathan Freeze, CDME, Director of Marketing, Greater Raleigh CVB
• Mary German, CDME, Vice President of Services & Programs, Arlington CVB
• Leslie Graf, CDME, Vice President of Finance & Administration, Positively Cleveland
• Mary Grasha Houpt, CDME, Vice President of Human Resources, VisitPITTSBURGH
• Sheri Grossman, CDME, Chief Operating Officer, Bismarck/Mandan CVB
• Wendy Haase, CDME, Director of Tourism Marketing, Destination Irvine
• Jeff Hewitt, CDME, Vice President of Business Development, Visit Savannah
• Brian Hickey, CDME, Director of Sports, Visit Tallahassee
• David Holder, CDME, President, Syracuse CVB
• Katherine Kertzman, CDME Executive Director, Seattle Southside
• Arlette Ledbetter, CDME, Tourism Director, Nye County Visit Pahrump
• Angie Manning, CDME, Communications Director, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB
• Melody Nester, CDME, Director of Membership, Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
• Kelli Norman, CDME, Director of Tourism Marketing and Sales, Virginia Beach CVB
• Karl Pietrzak, CDME, Vice President of Convention Sales, VisitPITTSBURGH
• Lynne Popash, CDME, Vice President of Partnership Development, VisitPITTSBURGH
• John Rolfe, CDME, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Greater Houston CVB
• Phillip Smith, CDME, President & CEO, Warren County CVB
• Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, CDME, Senior Vice President, Tourism Winnipeg
• Lesley Swain, CDME, Chief Financial Officer, Newport Beach & Company


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About Destination Irvine
Under the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit 501(c)6, Destination Irvine, funded by a self-imposed assessment tax through a Hotel Improvement District (H.I.D.), positions Irvine as a destination for visitors, meetings and groups. Destination Irvine through direct sales efforts including database marketing, lead generation, trade show participation, and familiarization tours, sells the destination. In addition, Destination Irvine promotes Irvine through marketing, advertising and public relations efforts.

About Destination Association Marketing International (DMAI)
Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) protects and advances the success of destination marketing worldwide. DMAI's influential membership includes nearly 600 destination marketing organizations (DMOs), from 16 countries, which command US $2.5+ billion in annual budgets. As the world's largest and most reliable resource for DMOs, DMAI provides nearly 4,000 individual members - professionals, industry partners, educators and students - the most innovative and relevant educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing intelligence worldwide. Learn more at

Photo attached: Graduates are standing alphabetical right to left. Haase is center right.