Kathleen Bertrand maintains a dual career as senior vice president of community and governmental affairs for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), and as a jazz vocalist. Most recently, she also serves as executive producer and founder for the BronzeLens Film Festival, created in 2009 to bring attention to Atlanta as a destination for film and film production by people of color. In five short years, BronzeLens Film Festival and its programming have received national attention in publications such as Ebony Magazine, the New York Times, and the LA Times.
A native Atlantan, and a graduate of Spelman College, Bertrand is in her 32nd year of employment with the ACVB, where she has initiated numerous programs that have impacted its members as well as Atlanta’s designation as the top city for African-American tourism. In 1983, Jackson joined the ACVB, first as membership account executive, later as advertising and membership manager, and in 1990 she became vice president of membership and community affairs. Under Kathleen’s leadership, long-standing ACVB member programs such as Bureau Briefings, Convention Connection (now Connect), Customer Service Seminars, Member of the Year Awards, Bureau Buddies, and the For Members Only newsletter were established.
Bertrand led the effort to publish Atlanta’s first visitor guide that targeted African-American history, businesses and attractions. Known as the Atlanta Heritage Guide, the magazine recently reached its 25th edition milestone, the longest continuously published visitors guide for this market segment in the nation. For 10 years, beginning in 1999, she produced the “Diversity in the Hospitality Industry Summit,” a two day gathering featuring some of the brightest minds in the national hospitality industry that focused on strategies and tactics for hospitality businesses to be more diverse in all segments of their operations. The event spawned the “Student Summit,” that gave high school students in hospitality programs in Atlanta Public Schools a one day glimpse of careers in the industry.
In February 2007, Bertrand assumed the title of senior vice president of community and governmental affairs, signifying a growing interest and involvement of ACVB in community and government issues that impact the hospitality industry. Bertrand has been instrumental in the ACVB’s development of its diversity marketing programs. As a thought provoking speaker, she has been called on by both Atlanta based and national organizations to speak on issues of career, family, hospitality, and Atlanta.
Featured in numerous national newspapers, magazines, television and radio, she has been recognized by the Atlanta Daily World as one of its inaugural 2013 Women of Excellence, by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of “Atlanta’s Top Hospitality Industry Leaders”, by the Atlanta Business League as one of “Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence” and by Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine as one of the “Most Influential African-Americans in the Meetings/Tourism Industry.” She is the 2007 recipient of the APEX Award for Distinguished Service by Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine, as well as the 2007 “Mecca Award” presented for her Atlanta community involvement. Most recently, Success Magazine named Bertrand to its 2013 list of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry. Her board affiliations include the Committee for a Better Atlanta, the Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Committee of Atlanta Technical College, the Black Women’s Film Network, The Atlanta Jazz Festival, and AIB Television. In 2007, she founded HIP – Hospitality Industry Professionals – an organization dedicated to growth of diverse leadership within the broad-based hospitality industry through education, professional development, mentoring, and networking. The organization recently established the “Kathleen Bertrand HIP-Atlanta Scholarship”, given annually to a hospitality industry student.
Established in 1913, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, nonprofit organization created to favorably impact the Atlanta economy through conventions and tourism.
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