Warm hospitality is a true treasure of the Emerald Coast.

Your attendees will be swept up in all the Emerald Coast has to offer, and they'll quickly see that our attentive team is an absolute gem. We strive to exceed all expectations by providing a positive, stress-free experience topped with superlative service. We look forward to welcoming you soon.



Sales and Marketing Manager, Tisha Maraj

Tisha Maraj, CMP

Sales and Marketing Manager

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since August 2004



Tisha has been in the hospitality industry since the start of her career. She has traveled the country, working as a sales/marketing professional in many destination markets, including Albuquerque, NM, Virginia Beach, VA, and Atlanta, GA.


The incredible natural beauty of the Emerald Coast won Tisha's heart more than 20 years ago when she made it her home. Her enthusiasm for the Emerald Coast is what drives her to capture new group business so they too can delight in our "paradise."


Tisha Maraj is a member of Toastmasters International, MPI, PCMA, HSMAI, several area chambers of commerce, and serves on the board of musical echoes, which hosts the largest Native American flute and art festival each year. She earned her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation in the spring of 2011.


Business Development Coordinator, Emma Thompson

Emma Owens

Business Development Manager

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since March 2016



Emma develops new business opportunities for the Emerald Coast Convention Center. Her background in resort services, retail management, food and beverage, and sales and marketing guarantees her success in this newly created position. The Emerald Coast has held a special place in her heart since visiting with her parents and grandparents as a little girl.


Emma grew up not far from the Emerald Coast in Thomasville, GA. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Art History at the University of Georgia, she moved to Truckee, CA to work in the sales and reservations department of Northstar California. Emma is excited to have finally made it back to the Emerald Coast and the hospitality industry via Tallahassee, FL.


When she is not working, she loves to sail, kayak, snorkel, and watch the sunset on the Choctawhatchee Bay.


Jemsy Llantin, Sales AssistantJemsy Llantin


Sales Assistant

Jemsy brings over 18 years of customer service, sales, sales support and corporate event planning experience to the Emerald Coast Convention Center. In his previous positions, he has been awarded as a top salesman, the most recent one he was awarded the employee of the year for the Southeast Region at Cox by achieving $1.2 million dollars in sales.


He also has helped produce large corporate events around the country.


He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, is a native of Lajas, Puerto Rico and is fluent in Spanish, his first language.


Events Supervisor, Lindsay Gowing

Lindsay Gowing, CMP

Convention Services Manager

Charter Team Member with the Emerald Coast Convention Center since April 2003



Lindsay began her career with the Emerald Coast Convention Center as an Event Coordinator. In 2009, she was promoted to Events Supervisor. In 2017, she was promoted to Convention Services Manager. To date, she has coordinated more than 1,000 events with the ECCC. 


She graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has been a member of International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) since 2009 and recently graduated from IAVM’s Venue Management School, one of the best professional education programs available for venue managers. She has also been a member of the Event Service Professionals Association since 2013. Lindsay received the distinguished CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation in July 2011. Lindsay was born and raised in Fort Walton Beach, FL, so she has truly grown up in paradise and loves sharing our area.


Events Coordinator Heather Lightsey

Heather N. Lightsey, CMP

Events Supervisor

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since October 2014



Heather first got a taste of the events industry in 2012 as a student at The University of Alabama where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Restaurant and Hospitality Management. While at The University of Alabama, she was an active member of several hospitality organizations and served on various executive boards for two years. In addition, Heather worked as an intern with the City of Tuscaloosa River Market, where she acquired experience with venue management, sales, and marketing. After acquiring her degree, Heather moved to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to further pursue her career along the sugar white sands at the Emerald Coast Convention Center. During her time on the Emerald Coast, Heather has coordinated hundreds of events ranging from high-profile conventions to intimate weddings and has proven to be a valuable member of the ECCC team. Her clients love her attention to detail, her enthusiasm, and her constant desire to excel in everything she does, and are eager to work with her year after year.


Heather is an active member of Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) and the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) where she currently serves on the University Committee. She recently completed IAVM’s Venue Management School and received her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification in 2017.

Rachel Borgie

Events Coordinator

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since June 2017



Rachel is a Virginia native who moved to the Emerald Coast with her husband in September of 2016. She has been in the events industry since 2012 and has worked for many industries including local government, hotels, and associations. Rachel was most recently employed as a meeting planner and is excited to use this expertise in venue management by joining the team at the Emerald Coast Convention Center. Rachel graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Minor in Business Administration and Childhood Studies. After graduation, Rachel went on to further pursue classes in Wedding Planning, obtaining her Certificate of Wedding Planning from Northern Virginia Community College. She is currently working toward completing her CMP certification.


In her spare time, Rachel loves to bake, throw a good dinner party, and spend time with her cats.



Danielle Saucier

Events Coordinator

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since July 2017



Danielle graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2012 with a Sports Management degree where she discovered her love for game day operations and coordinating events. She studied facility management, marketing, and event management, and received many skills that she has been able to take along with her through the years. In 2013, Danielle was presented with an amazing opportunity to act as Volunteer Coordinator for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation during Super Bowl XLVII, Final Four and the New Orleans Bowl. After successfully completing her term with the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, she assisted her local Mayor in kick-starting a new program aimed at creating educational opportunities for at-risk youth. Danielle then decided to try a different avenue from sports by taking a position at a wedding venue in Louisiana, and fell in love with coordinating weddings and large parties.


Since childhood, Danielle’s family vacations were spent in Destin. She knew she would one day end up along the Emerald Coast, and is excited to join the Emerald Coast Convention Center team.





Jennifer Brost

Event Services Specialist

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since June 2016



Jennifer’s role at the ECCC is to assist the events team with coordination of all our events. Her attention to detail enhances the events team. Jennifer’s brings 20 years of customer service to our team along with 10 years of finance and project coordination. She is currently attending Northwest Florida State College working toward her Associates Degree in Office Administration.Originally from Michigan, Jennifer moved between Florida and North Carolina as military spouse.


She chose to settle here with her family after falling in love with the Emerald Coast over the years. On her time off, Jennifer can be found boating, camping and always enjoying our beautiful beaches. She is also an accomplished painter and enjoys crafts of all kinds.



Chef Lara Robidoux

Chef Lara Robidoux

Executive Chef

With ARAMARK at the Emerald Coast Convention Center since July 2007



The Emerald Coast Convention Center is pleased to showcase the culinary skills of Executive Chef Lara Robidoux. Chef Lara is an honors graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C. She hails from Grand Rapids, Mich., but has spent most of her adult life moving around the United States as a military spouse.


Chef Lara has honed her skills working for several fine dining establishments and catering companies. The variety of distinctive areas where she has lived influences her work and serves as a culinary inspiration. From Hawaii and St. Louis to Arizona and the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida, she enjoys mixing flavors from different cultures to bring to the table an inspired dining experience.


Chef Lara began her tenure with the Emerald Coast Convention Center in 2007 and has enjoyed over eight years here as our Sous Chef. During her time at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, Chef Lara has planned and executed many weddings, corporate events, and major events as the All Sports Banquet, the Emerald Coast Regional Seder Dinner, the grand opening of our own Bayview Plaza, EOD Memorial Ball, and AFSOC Order of the Sword.


Rory J. Boothby

Rory J. Boothby

General Manager

With ARAMARK at the Emerald Coast Convention Center since September 2015



Rory joined the Emerald Coast Convention Center team from the post of manager of the EMC Club, Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Prior to that position he was manager of the Legends Club, TD Garden, Boston, and manager of the Lexus Home Plate Club, Petco Park, San Diego. His career in fine dining and restaurant management since 2006 has included working at management level in high class restaurants in the exclusive summer resort areas of the Hamptons, Long Island, New York and San Diego.


Committed to the development and maintenance of high standards, Rory attaches great importance to personal relations and team-building with the objective of providing top-class service to customers and clients. Rory’s motto: ‘Excellence – from soup to nuts’.


Catering Sales Coordinator, Jennifer Minto

Jennifer Minto

Catering Sales Coordinator

With ARAMARK at the Emerald Coast Convention Center since October 2014



Jennifer has lived on the Emerald Coast for over 20 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Merchandising from Florida State University. She started her career in catering in Destin, FL, in 2010. Her degree and work experience in retail and hospitality have helped her develop exceptional sales, management and customer service skills.


Jennifer works hand in hand with each client to maintain excellent communication in every aspect of the sales process, from the first phone call to the close of each event.


Jennifer is excited to bring new business to the ECCC and help establish ARAMARK’s presence in the local community.



Office Manager, Jamie Hutchins

Jamie Hutchins

Office Manager

With ARAMARK at the Emerald Coast Convention Center since October 2009



Jamie has over 15 years of professional experience in sales, accounts payable/receivable, customer service and management in hospitality and sports & entertainment.

Jamie has developed an amazing front of the house staff with ARAMARK in sharing her passion in event planning and execution. Her attention to detail and tireless commitment to excellence paves the way for each successful event planned at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

Jamie was born and raised in Ft. Walton Beach and truly loves living on the Emerald Coast. She and her family enjoy the uniqueness that makes this area so special.




Operations Manager, Allen Lassiter

Allen Lassiter

Operations Manager

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since June 2016



Allen is a lifelong resident of Fort Walton Beach FL. He worked for the City of Fort Walton Beach for over 33 years as the Services/Operations Manager started as an electrician, worked his way up to superintendent spending most of his years at the head of the department. He directed construction and improvement projects for the city of Fort Walton Beach greatly improving the quality of life for city residents. He brings abundant experience to the Emerald Coast Convention Center. Allen has been happily married for 28 years to Christine and they have one son. He loves to play golf and is a true nature lover. With Allen’s experience and skills his goal is to upgrade and update the Emerald Coast Convention Center bringing innovation and new development.



RC Chaney

RC Chancy

Systems Application Administrator & Support Specialist

With the Emerald Coast Convention Center since December 2014



RC Chancy is the Emerald Coast Convention Center’s first Systems Applications Administrator & Support Specialist. RC will be the on-site point of contact for IT issues and the software administrator. RC comes to the ECCC with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security from ITT Technical Institute, Denver, CO.


RC has worked as a help desk specialist at L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman and IBM. Before she went into the IT field, she had a long career as an administrative assistant, working in a wide variety of industries including aerospace, oil & gas and marine construction.


RC’s family lived in Ft. Walton Beach for a short time when she was a little girl. Her family then moved to north Alabama, where she grew up, although she always held Ft. Walton Beach in her heart. RC has lived in New Orleans and Denver. She moved back to Ft. Walton Beach five years ago. It took her a long time to get back here, and now you couldn’t blast her out with dynamite.


RC is eager to bring her expertise in IT to the ECCC. She has three cats and is a member of the local Animal Protection League and participates in their trap/neuter/release program.





Security Coordinator, Wes Fields

Wes Fields

Security Coordinator

Charter Team Member with the Emerald Coast Convention Center since April 2003



Wes transitioned from 24 years in the U.S. Air Force to join the Emerald Coast Convention Center team when it opened in April 2003. He has 17 years of experience as a law enforcement auxiliary officer with the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Florida Highway Patrol. Wes is certified in the American Heart Association's Basic Life Support for Automated External Defibrillators, and he has completed the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and 17 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Management Institute (EMI) courses.


Wes implemented "Code Adam," a missing child safety program for lost and possibly abducted children, and has assisted a number of other facilities and business with this endeavor. He is a former American Red Cross First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) instructor, Florosa Volunteer Fire Department firefighter, and a U.S. Air Force disaster preparation representative. Wes spends his off-duty time escorting World War II veterans to their reunions and events and is the official Doolittle Raider's security director.