Donna Carpenter, CDMEPresident and CEO
Donna Carpenter joined the Cabarrus County CVB as President and CEO in 2009 bringing more than 14 years of experience in destination management, sales and marketing to the Bureau. Donna most recently served as the director of tourism and partnership development for five-plus years with Visit Charlotte. She was also executive director of the Stanly County Convention & Visitors Bureau, director of sports and public relations for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and was the executive director for the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010, Donna was named one of the area’s Top Women in Business by Business Today. The same year, she became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CMDE) through Destination Marketing Association International and is also certified as a Tourism Marketing Professional through the Southeast Tourism Society. Donna is an active member of Southeast Tourism Society and the National Tourism Association.
Donna currently serves on the boards of 600 Festival, NC Travel and Tourism, Southeastern Tourism Society, NC Travel and Tourism Coalition, UNCC Advisory Board, Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce and Cabarrus Economic Development Council. She is also Chair of the Hickory Ridge High School Tourism Academy Advisory Board and Past President of Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina (DMANC).
In September 2015, Donna received the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Beacon Award, a prestigious honor recognizing an individual who best exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of excellence and who has advanced the tourism industry.
Sophia CostnerExecutive Assistant
Sophia Costner joins the Bureau's team as Executive Assistant with over ten years of experience in administrative roles. Costner began her career at the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau serving as Administrative Assistant for over three years. Most recently, she served as a Student Mentor and Student Government Association Advisor at Stanly Community College. There, she also worked as Executive Assistant to the President and Foundation and in 2012, received an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration.
John MillsExecutive Vice President
John earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance at Louisiana Tech University. He also received a Human Resource Certificate through the Employers Association based in Charlotte, NC. John is an active member with Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and his primary roles at the Bureau include Finance, Human Resources, Research and Operations.
Since joining the Bureau John has been instrumental in assisting the Bureau by creating an independent 501(c)6 organization, relocating the offices and visitor center, and guiding the organization to achieve accreditation through DMAI.
In August 2014, John's contributions to the Bureau were recognized as he received the Charlotte Business Journal's CFO of the Year Award for small – midsized government or nonprofit organization
Michael Bonoffski, TMPSenior Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Michael is a 1996 graduate of Ithaca College where he received his Bachelor of Science in Sports Information & Communications and his Master of Science in Sport Management from West Virginia University in 1997.
In 2012, Michael was recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a member of the inaugural Forty For the Future class honoring travel's leading talent. In 2013, he completed the Southeast Tourism Society's Marketing College program and is certified as a Travel Marketing Professional.
In November of 2013, Michael received a Certificate in Hospitality Marketing from Cornell University.
John PooleSenior Vice President of Sales & Destination Services
Returning to the area after managing an eight-room bed and breakfast and fine dining restaurant in Maine for three years, Poole previously held the position of Director of Sales & Marketing at Great Wolf Lodge Charlotte/Concord. From 2007 to 2009, he held the same position at Great Wolf Resorts’ Grand Mound, WA location. Poole has also held several other positions in sales and marketing across the country and abroad at resorts and hotels in Canada, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Charleston, SC.
A native of Ontario and Vancouver, BC resident, Poole is a graduate of New Brunswick College. He also received an Associates Degree from San Diego Golf Academy and has completed several hospitality programs with Westin Hotels and Resorts and Orient Express Hotels & Resorts.
Poole has had longtime involvement with many hospitality industry associations including Meeting Planners International, Society of Incentive Travel Executives, Professional Conference Management Association and Rotary Club.
Gayle Love Lee, CDMEVice President of Partnership & Visitor Services
Gayle has served on the board of Meeting Professionals International-Carolinas Chapter receiving the Pat on the Back Award during her term. She also served on the board of AENC Charlotte Chapter and chaired the first Customer Service Advisory Committee for the City of Winston-Salem.
Gayle also received her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) certification, through Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) in August of 2016.