WTA Appoints Board Members to Represent Industry Sectors of Lodging, Attractions, Education and Beer, Wine and Spirits

June 24, 2021

Dave Blandford

The State of Washington – The Washington Tourism Alliance announced the appointment of four tourism industry professionals to its Board of Directors, each serving three-year terms to begin July 1, 2021.

     Heather Bradshaw, Communications Director at Washington State Wine will serve as the Beer, Wine and Spirits Representative on the WTA Board of Directors. In her current capacity, Bradshaw manages industry communications and media relations for the state’s wine industry. Bradshaw has been in the wine industry for 10 years, with previous experience at the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and Jackson Family Wines. She began her career as a journalist, working at TV stations in Yakima and Seattle.

     Megan Ching, General Manager for the Seattle Center Monorail, is appointed to serve on the WTA Board as its Attractions Sector Representative. Ching served seven years as President of the Puget Sound Attractions Council (PSAC) Board of Directors and more than a decade on the organization’s Executive Committee. The nonprofit cooperative marketing organization is comprised of premier attractions across the Puget Sound region. During Ching’s tenure at PSAC she inaugurated participation in travel trade initiatives to attract and increase visitation to Washington through participation in sales missions as well as tradeshows including U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow (IPW) and Icelandair’s Mid-Atlantic.

     Dipra Jha, Associate Professor in the Carson College of Business and Assistant Director of the School of Hospitality Business Management at Washington State University (WSU), is appointed to serve as the Education Sector Representative on the WTA Board. Professor Jha is recognized as an expert in luxury hospitality and tourism strategy and is a recipient of the prestigious John Wiley & Sons Innovation in Teaching Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), among other honors. In addition to his WSU duties, Professor Jha collaborates with communities, government entities and private sector organizations in the United States and overseas on training, research, and outreach projects. His collaborations include Nebraska Tourism Commission, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce, Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, and the bespoke luxury brand Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. In 2019, he was conferred a rare and distinguished Doctor Honoris Causa by the Kyiv Cooperative Institute of Business and Law in Ukraine for his outstanding contributions to international education through virtual exchange.

          Ryan Malane, Vice President of Marketing and Co-Owner of Black Ball Ferry Line, will serve as the WTA’s Peninsulas Regional Representative. Malane has spent the past 20 years in senior marketing roles with some of the Pacific Northwest’s leading companies in the maritime, tourism, and advertising sectors. He currently serves on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee for Clallam County and is a board member of Attractions Victoria as well as several other community organizations.

     Leslie Womack, Director of Sales at the historic Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle, will serve as the Lodging Sector Representative on the WTA Board of Directors. Womack has more than 30 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, including in the group sales program at Experience Music Project (now MoPop) in Seattle and as Regional Director with Aramark Park & Resorts where she lead the sales efforts for Lake Quinault and Kalaloch Lodges and lodges in Denali National Park in Alaska.  Womack has a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Fisk University and a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her Certified Tour Professional (CTP) designation from the National Tour Association.  

About the Washington Tourism Alliance

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com