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Puerto Vallarta to Host LGBTQ Journalists/Owners at National Equality Media Conference

O&APV proud to bring this conference to the city

the agency real estate

Some of the biggest leaders from the LGBTQ media industry will speak at the 2019 National Equality Media Association (NEMA) conference to be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Oct. 27 to Oct. 30.

Out & About Puerto Vallarta is proud to serve as host of the conference, as more than 25 LGBTQ publishers, owners and journalists converge to enjoy the city.

“We love this city and how LGBTQ friendly it is,” said Jerry Jones, co-owner of O&APV and publisher. “What better way to showcase it than to invite our colleagues from all over the USA to come and see what it has to offer.”

Jones credited the hard work of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, along with Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa and The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta. Other local businesses who have offered assistance include  No Way José! Restaurant and Bar, and The Top Sky Bar at Alamar Resort.

“We’ve been working hard for the past several months on the conference and getting local assistance,” Jones added. “We couldn’t have brought the conference to Puerto Vallarta without this help. We are just beyond excited to be able to show this great city off to our colleagues.”

Headlining the conference will be Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications and a pioneer in LGBTQ communications strategy.

Witeck has spent nearly four decades as a communications strategist dedicated to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities around the world. He is a communications consultant, author, speaker and researcher. His firm – the longest established LGBTQ-owned business enterprise certified by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce – is based in Washington, D.C.

On their 25th anniversary, American Demographics magazine selected Bob Witeck as one of 25 global leaders ‘who have made significant contributions to the worlds of demographics, market research, media and trend spotting’ for his early work on America’s LGBT population. In 2006, he co-authored the first book on LGBT marketing, Business Inside Out. He was the first LGBT consultant retained in 2010 by the U.S. Census to help inspire LGBT participation in that year’s count.

Joining him will be Orlando Reece, CEO of Pride Media, which owns LGBTQ-focused media brands Out, The Advocate, Out Traveler, Plus, Chill and Pride and Matt Skellarud, president of Pink Banana Media, which specializes in LGBTQ online marketing.

“We are so excited to be able to present such a well-rounded panel of speakers and topics,” said D.J. Doran, president of NEMA. “Our membership is looking forward to hearing from these cutting-edge LGBTQ leaders.”

Puerto Vallarta is rich in culture and diversity and has become a popular LGBTQ tourism destination and is also home to NEMA member publication Out & About PV.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa and The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta will serve as host hotels for the conference.  Both hotels have a long history of service with the LGBTQ community, and the Marriott was granted LGBTQ certification by the Jalisco Tourism Secretariat and Talento Consultores in 2017.

Luis Villaseñor, public relations director for the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, said he had worked closely with the NEMA conference committee to try and bring the conference to Puerto Vallarta, believing those who have never been will see how special a place Puerto Vallarta is, and how welcoming it is for the LGBTQ Community.

“The town has established itself as a premier LGBTQ travel destination, and we are proud to showcase that,” he said.

NEMA membership serves the content demands of the LGBTQ markets by delivering relevant, personal, authentic content via traditional print media and integrated digital and social media. NEMA is the access point for opening the door to a $900 billion market. With established presences in highly sought-after media markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and Orlando, NEMA is the tuning fork and connection point to the thriving and lucrative LGBTQ market.

A full list of speakers and their topics is below:

Bob Witeck:  Witeck Communications
Bob Witeck is president of Witeck Communications, Inc., and for nearly four decades a pioneering communications strategist dedicated to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities around the world. He is a communications consultant, author, speaker and researcher. His firm – the longest established LGBTQ-owned business enterprise certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce – is based in Washington, D.C. Bob will talk about the legacy of LGBTQ media, why it matters, why it’s valued and significant, and also on future trends. Where are we going as a community and what role will community media play.

Matt Skellarud:  Pink Banana Media
Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, specializes in LGBTQ online marketing, targeting gays & lesbians via content marketing, social media, programmatic ad banners, mobile smartphone apps and more. He also specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), keyword/search advertising (PPC) and social media analytics. He’s been in the LGBTQ online industry for over 20 years.  Matt will talk about how to survive and thrive in the changing publishing/media landscape.  How to maximize your digital assets and footprint by understanding programmatic and direct digital advertising trends.

Orlando Reece:  CEO Pride Media
Orlando Reece is the CEO of Pride Media, and an experienced senior executive known for transforming and disrupting business models with a proven history of success in revenue generation; sales management; linear, digital, print and cross media marketing; product integration; app development. Dynamic, engaging, collaborative communicator who can drive strategic initiatives through to completion. Orlando will be speaking about the recent acquisition of Community Marketing Insights and why NEMA members should participate in the annual marketing survey.

Jerry Cunningham:  OUTFRONT (Q MEDIA)
Jerry Cunningham, a native to the great state of Colorado and is Owner and Publisher of OUT FRONT, one of the longest running LGBTQ media companies in the nation – 43 years and counting. He also has served as the President of the National Equality Media Association — the industry only trade organization advocating for and connecting all independent LGBTQ media across the nation.  Jerry will discuss how he has managed to grow the once languishing newsprint publication into a full-service media company, exceeding sales revenues year after year.  How does he do it?  During his talk, Jerry will walk you step by step through the evolution of OUT FRONT, share the formulas for success that have proven to be profitable for his organization — all with the commitment that you each of the attendees leave with a “toolbox” of things you can implement in your own market.

DJ Doran:  CEO KWIR Media
DJ is the CEO of KWIR Media and an experienced publisher with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. DJ has served as the president of NEMA since 2018. He is skilled in advertising, event management, editing, media relations, and journalism.  DJ will be talking about the development of the KWIR MEDIA NETWORK (Free content sharing platform for members).


Jerry Jones: Publisher/Owner, Out & About Nashville, Inc. and Out & About Puerto Vallarta, S. DE R.L DE C.V.
Jerry is NEMA secretary and serves on its Board of Directors. He started Out & About Nashville, Inc. more than 17 years ago, and has grown it into a successfully glossy monthly magazine in Nashville, Tennessee. He started Out & About PV in 2017 to serve the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with an upscale quarterly glossy LGBTQ magazine. Jerry works full time with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee as the public affairs manager for Vanderbilt LifeFlight, where he oversees marketing, public relations, and communications for one of the nation’s premier flight programs. Jerry has a background in working in complex organizational environments. Progressive growth and experience with integrated marketing efforts, including branding, digital operations, websites, social media, email, advertising, videos, reputation management, community relations, and public relations. Jerry holds a B.A. degree in communications/journalism and a master’s in public administration.  Jerry will talk about the challenges of reaching the LGBTQ Latino market.

Jack Tesorero: President and Publisher, ION Magazine
Jack has grown ION Magazine into one of Arizona’s larger LGBT magazines, and has owned the publication since it began in 2001. He is an experienced marketing director and advertising manager, as well as an experienced art director.  Jack will talk about APP development and showcase a new app that his publication has recently launched.

Bill Gemmill: Associate Publisher, Echo Magazine
Bill is NEMA treasure and serves on its Board of Directors. He has been with ECHO Magazine (Arizona) since 2014, where his focus includes daily operations of the media company. He was the former Chairman of the Greater Phoenix GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and was on the Phoenix Pride Board or the Pride Operations Manager for ten years. He is a licensed Realtor and had a previous career in airline management. Bill has a B.S. degree in Transportation. He will be facilitating a group discussion on “What are you doing? and What are your Challenges?”

Michael Aaron: Owner, Q Media Group; Publisher/Editor, QSaltLake
Michael is the vice president of NEMA and serves on its Board of Directors. Since 2004 he has been the publisher and editor of QSaltLake, Utah’s biweekly gay and lesbian news and entertainment magazine. Salt Lick Publishing, LLC also publishes QPages, an LGBT phone directory serving the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, event programs, playbills, and other advertising tabloids. Michael has a B.A. degree in graphic design. Michael will talk about ways to increase your website ranking and attract more traffic.

Howard Barbanel:  Design 2 Pro
Howard is the vice president/director of marketing at Design2Pro, and a seasoned media executive with experience in all aspects of editorial, business and marketing. Design2Pro is a design and pre-press page production company for newspapers, magazines and other periodicals.  Howard will be speaking via video conference about the benefits and cost efficiencies of outsourcing your publication design team.


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