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Five Minutes With … Lynn Whitehead

Five Minutes With … Lynn Whitehead

Five minutes with Lynn Whitehead, Vice President Global MCI Sales & Marketing, Meet Hawai'i.

As Vice President Global MCI Sales & Marketing of Meet Hawai'i, Lynn Whitehead oversees and directs Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau's (HVCB) global sales and marketing efforts for both citywide and single-property meeting, conventions and incentives (MCI) business. With over 30 years of meetings and conventions experience, the majority of Whitehead's career has been spent with DMOs; previously with San Diego Tourism Authority (National Sales Director, Eastern Region) and the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (Director of National Accounts).

Groups Today caught up with Whitehead to learn the latest.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) and Hawaiʻi Tourism United States have partnered with a statewide alliance of private industry partners to launch the Mālama Hawai'i program. Mālama means "to care for"—our people, place and ourselves. This is a CSR program that encourages mindful and regenerative tourism by offering an opportunity to engage in authentic cultural experiences that create opportunities to connect with the community and culture in profound, meaningful ways.

Many of the Mālama Hawai'i activities encourage visitors to take part in volunteer opportunities that directly impact the environment. The goal for this program is to create a deeper understanding of the importance of the land to our culture and provide a way to preserve both in the future. Examples include sunrise beach clean-ups, restoring a traditional native Hawaiian fishpond, and learning about food sovereignty on a sustainable farm, among others.

The August 2023 wildfires resulted in the devastating loss of loved ones, homes, cultural and historical sites and businesses in Lahaina, located in West Maui. We are grateful for the outpouring of support for Maui from around the world, from sharing memories and offering their assistance, to asking questions about travel to Maui and the rest of the state.

Lahaina will remain fully closed to the public until further notice out of respect to the town's residents. County, state and federal emergency responders continue with efforts to conduct clean-up efforts of debris and hazardous materials resulting from the wildfires. Please do not stop on the bypass or streets to take pictures or to get a closer view.

Respectful travel to any of the Hawaiian Islands, including Maui, is welcomed and encouraged, now more than ever. With the exception of Lahaina—Maui is open and there is plenty to see and experience. However, we urge visitors to be especially respectful and mindful in the following ways:

  • Visit with aloha, compassion and empathy.
  • Support local businesses. Visit for suggestions.
  • Mālama (care for) Maui and give back by signing up for an enriching volunteer experience.
  • Learn about the historical and cultural significance of Lahaina but stay away from the area as a means of respect for the people and places that have been lost. Please don't take photos of the area, even from afar.

HVCB will be launching an updated Meeting Planner Guide with enhanced digital-planning resources such as maps, directories and FAQs, as well as information on facilities, accommodations, dining, team-building opportunities, voluntourism experiences and pre- and post-conference touring activities from swimming with sea turtles and manta rays to exploring an active volcano or hiking through lush rainforest.

Help Maui communities and families recover through contributions to the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation's Maui Strong Fund:

Edited by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr '24 issue of Groups Today.

Photo Courtesy of Hawai'i Tourism Authority. 


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