Experience Kissimmee Highlights Tourism’s Leading Women
Kissimmee, Fla. (March 5, 2019) – To celebrate International Women’s Day, Experience Kissimmee takes a closer look at the women who are making an impact in Central Florida’s tourism industry.
“Tourism is the largest industry in Osceola County and provides 45,000 jobs to our community. Women in our industry are setting the bar high and ensuring that Kissimmee remains a top vacation destination,” said Misty Johantgen, Chief Operating Officer at Experience Kissimmee. “From small business owners to fearless animal caretakers, we celebrate women in the tourism industry and their achievements.”
Maribeth N. Bisienere, Senior Vice President – Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Animal Programs & Security
Maribeth Bisienere is the senior vice president overseeing operations at all four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Osceola County. Maribeth already had a reputation as an extraordinary hotelier in Colorado and New England when she joined Disney in 1995 as general manager of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This position led to leadership roles at other Walt Disney World Resort hotels, including the iconic Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In her current role, she oversees all operations and business functions at the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, as well as animal and environmentality programs and security,
“Disney has long been a champion of empowering women,” said Bisienere. “Not only are women in leadership throughout the company, but through efforts such as the ‘Dream Big, Princess’ campaign, we inspire girls from around the world. Plus, in our screen presence, our current roster of strong, smart, and resourceful women ranges from Anna and Elsa to many others. I, for one, am very pleased to be included in this company!”
Commissioner Peggy Choudhry – Osceola County Commissioner District 1
Community service has always been a passion for Peggy Choudhry. At the age of 13, she became the youngest founder of a nonprofit organization focused on providing assistance to keep children off the streets. After several years of service with federal law enforcement, Peggy decided to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a business owner. Choudhry successfully owned and managed a small hotel on U.S. 192 in District 1 for over nine years before becoming County Commissioner. Currently, she is the President of Hospitality Sidekicks, a consulting firm that helps small hotels find success.
Margaret Bryan, President - Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures opened 25 years ago with one six-passenger airboat. For the first two years of the business, Margaret Bryan worked tirelessly seven days a week, 16 hours a day – including holidays. It took years of hard work and marketing efforts to raise awareness that the headwaters of the Everglades are located in Kissimmee – and those efforts proved successful. In 2016, Bryan expanded the business and changed the name to Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Today, Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures has become a must-see attraction in Central Florida.
Danielle Lucas, Animal Care Director - Gatorland
Danielle Lucas has worked at Gatorland for the past eight years. Lucas started out in the animal industry 16 years ago volunteering at local wildlife rehabilitation centers in Florida. After volunteering at rehab centers throughout the state, she began her first professional experience with big cats and other exotic wildlife, which led to her caretaking of the Florida panthers and other cats at Gatorland. Lucas’ compassion for animals at Gatorland certainly shows, and in 2018 she was promoted to Director of Animal Care. Currently, she oversees the care and wellbeing of all the animals at Gatorland, including veterinary care and day to day enrichment.
Victoria Jaramillo, Senior Director Air Service Development & Marketing, Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Victoria Jaramillo is one of the leading airport marketing officials in the U.S., with 27 years of aviation marketing experience in Orlando and Miami, as well as 13 years of tourism and economic development experience throughout the state of Florida. Jaramillo has successfully worked to bring dozens of new nonstop routes to MCO, including Frankfurt, São Paulo, Amsterdam, and many others. Additionally, Jaramillo currently serves as Board Secretary of Experience Kissimmee and will serve as Chairman of the Board in 2021.
Angela West, Director of Operations – Stallion 51
Angela West was a teenager when she took her first flight and has turned her passion into a career. West joined Stallion 51 Flight Operations in 1998 after serving as the founding Corporate Events Manager at Fantasy of Flight in Disney Springs. Her experience designing and directing special events helped her produce The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends event held at Stallion 51’s base of operation at the Kissimmee Airport in 1999. West has expanded her role from events management to director of all Stallion 51 operations. Since 2012, West has overseen Stallion 51’s new division, UAT – Unusual Attitude Training – a multi-day program designed to train corporate and business pilots how to handle unusual attitudes through upset prevention and recovery training.
The Experience Kissimmee Vacation Story:
Almost 50 years of vacation-making experience. More than 8,000,000 overnight visitors. And closer than a wave-of-a-wand away from world-famous theme parks and attractions, the headwaters of the Everglades, extraordinary natural wonders, and plates for every palate. We’re Experience Kissimmee, the official tourism authority for Osceola County, Florida. (That means we oversee sales and marketing for the destination.) We’re also the Vacation Home Capital of the World®, with more than 45,000 accommodation options, including luxury resorts, family-friendly hotels, and over 22,000 vacation homes.
Tap into the magic. Get inspired at EXPERIENCEKISSIMMEE.COM.
Experience Kissimmee Communications Department