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2023 BizBash 15 Over 50: Devin Lewis

Devin Lewis, 56, is the vice president of sales and business development for the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

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Photo: Courtesy of Devin Lewis

Devin Lewis, 56, is the vice president of sales and business development for the Bermuda Tourism Authority. She's also heavily involved in industry organizations like the CMP Governance Commission, MPI's Chapter and Membership Advisory Council, and MPI Potomac's Leadership Committee & Mentor Program. She's also a past president of the MPI Potomac Chapter.

A quote from her nomination: "As a 26-year veteran of the hospitality industry that she truly loves so much, she considers herself a master connector who enjoys meeting new people every day."

How I got here: "Meeting people and networking has been my passion since day one. I started my sales career working for Planet Hollywood, GameWorks, Warner Bros., and the West Hollywood CVB. Each job helped me to learn more about this industry that means so much to me. My time working for three Hilton hotels helped me to hone my skills and build a vast network of clients and customers—many who have become lifelong friends. I had a strong desire to excel and climb the leadership ranks, and the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority gave me the opportunity to manage a high-performing team and learn the skills needed to become an effective leader.

After 10 years there, I decided it was time to do something different and was blessed to have been able to work with ACJ Meetings & Events, a diverse event planning company run by one of my clients-turned-lifelong friends. All that I have learned and experienced led me to my current role at the Bermuda Tourism Authority as vice president of sales and business development, where I lead a team of 10 and develop strategies to increase awareness and ensure my destination stays top of mind with customers."

Greatest career accomplishment: "When I think of my greatest career accomplishment, I think about my entire team being furloughed at the start of the pandemic—and while thankful I still had a job, I quickly realized the task set before me. I had no time to mourn the loss of my colleagues and clients whose jobs were eliminated, and I knew I had to work as hard as I could to maintain a sales presence for my organization.

It was hard, lonely, frustrating, and filled with doubt. All I knew was I needed to continue to do what I could to ensure my customers got what they needed, and my team had a place to come back to when things eased up. There were many times I honestly didn’t think I would make it, but by the grace of God, I made it through. The customers appreciated my efforts, and my team came back ready to roll up their sleeves and jump right in. My mission was accomplished, and it showed me that I could do something that was really hard and make it through relevantly unscathed."

A specific improvement I’ve made: "During my tenure as president of MPI’s largest chapter (Potomac) at the height of the pandemic, I helped to develop and launch a mentorship program that pairs newer members in the hospitality industry with seasoned veterans who can act as a coach/mentor/advisor and help guide the younger generation of professionals. It is important that we never forget those impactful lessons we learned along the way that have shaped us into who we are today. If we make it a goal to share our knowledge and expertise, however and wherever we can, then our future will continue to be bright, and our industry will not only survive, but it will also thrive and excel to greater heights.

In regard to my teams, as a part of my onboarding process, I like to hear what each person’s end goal is and help work to ensure they have a clearly defined path so they are able to get to where they ultimately want to be. Sometimes it’s a quick fix, but most times, it will take a while for all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. During these times, patience must be exerted, and one must keep their eye on the prize. I always want to be of service to anyone seeking career advice, and be a sounding board and collaborator in any brain-sparking session."

The biggest change I've observed in the industry: "I believe the pandemic had a profound effect on the hospitality industry. We were pushed to the brink of nonexistence, and many people lost their jobs and had to quickly pivot to secure employment in other industries. Sadly, a lot of those individuals will never return, and those that are left often find themselves wearing lots of hats and performing multiple job functions. When we were not able to meet in person, video calls became the solution for meetings.

We are hospitality, and it was a struggle to not be able to be together outside of our homes. I am so grateful that we have been able to turn the corner and get back to what we love most—and that is face-to-face meetings and networking opportunities."

What I do outside of work: "I am an avid traveler who loves to see the world through her camera lens. 'Have suitcase, will travel' is a lifelong mantra that I live by."

The career advice I'd give my younger self: "Make sure to confidently step into every moment as if you were meant to be there. Always present your best self. Always treat people the way you wish to be treated."

Connect with Lewis on LinkedIn

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