Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, has announced that Kristian Sonnier, a twenty-year public relations and communications veteran, will become the vice president of communications and public relations of the NOCVB, effective February 23, 2015.
Specializing in public relations planning, media relations management, special events, and crisis communications, Sonnier most recently served as director of public relations for Peter A. Mayer Advertising. In his new position he will focus on the strategic direction and messaging of the New Orleans tourism industry, branding New Orleans as the nation's premier business and leisure destination.
During the past sixteen 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 twenty 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.
Sonnier 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 Hurricane Rita. Sonnier began his career as a public relations manager at the Resort at Squaw Creek in California.
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.