2021 Connect Association 15 Over 50: Dion James-Zanfordino, CASE

Dion James-Zanfordino, 53, is the Senior Regional Sales Executive for Visit Lauderdale. She's based in Brandywine, Md.

Dion James-Zanfordino 15 over 50

Dion James-Zanfordino, CASE, 53
Senior Regional Sales Executive,
Visit Lauderdale , Brandywine, Md.

What I do: 
I manage all the sales for the mid-Atlantic region. I am the liaison between the meeting planner/travel buyer and our hotel partners in Fort Lauderdale. 

How I got here:   
After leaving retail, I worked in a building with the Great Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. I was enamored with how much they traveled, and jokingly told the VP, “If you ever have an opening, I’d love to work with you.” Six months later, their coordinator moved and I interviewed. That was 25 years ago.   

Impressive stats:   
I have been successful in booking an average of 100-plus meetings annually.

What I am excited to be working on right now:
Our convention center expansion project. The expanded center and attached hotel are opening the door for me to work with clients that had outgrown our destination in the past.  

What I do outside of work: 
I am an advocate for children with disabilities. I marched on Congress to help get the ABLE Act passed. I participate with many organizations that bring awareness and resources to families and others on the possibilities that exist for these children. I am the immediate Past President, Board of Governors for St. Paul’s Christian Children’s Center. In the industry, I stay involved with all local organizations and volunteer often on several committees. Currently I’m on the Association of Meeting Professions—AMPs Membership Engagement Committee.

Favorite vacation destination:   
I love to travel, and you will often find me on an island when it is time for vacation.   However, my favorite island is Antigua, as I was born there. When there you will find me at the Verandah Resort & Spa.

Your favorite inspirational quote: 
“Every disappointment is a future blessing.” —Hilarine Scotland

Public figure I admire most:   
Deceased is Steve Biko. Living is Malala Yousafzai. I believe in activism and am inspired by people willing to give it all up for what is right.

Instagram: @zanfordinodian