Rhanee Palma Takes Over as Chief Sales Officer at FACE2FACE Meetings & Incentives
The first time Jordan Clark approached Rhanee Palma about working for him, Palma lost a friendship with a fellow applicant over a job opportunity at Caesars Entertainment that she ended up bypassing. Palma didn’t hold a grudge and Clark was undeterred. Years later, the 30-year industry veteran and founder/CEO of FACE2FACE Meetings & Incentives finally got his woman.
Palma, arguably the face of Visit Oakland for nearly five years, most recently as chief sales officer, is now running the sales department for the Las Vegas-based meetings and events company. A veteran of Marriott International, where she spent eight years prior to joining the DMO world, Palma is tasked with growing both FACE2FACE’s client base and its staff.
“No pressure,” Palma joked.
If anyone is up to the task, it’s Palma. A popular figure within the events industry, she’s received multiple industry awards as she rose to become the first Filipina-American to hold a C-suite position at Visit Oakland and in the DMO/CVB space.
Ready for a new challenge, Palma looks to parlay her knowledge and contacts gained on the supplier side of events and use them across the table as a planner looking to cut client’s costs and add memorable experiences. “I have this unique edge because I know what hotels and cities are looking for and how you can make a bigger economic impact,” she explained.
As its name suggests, FACE2FACE is not going to prioritize virtual events, but Palma anticipates adopting hybrid models. Clients include corporate groups, incentive programs and associations. Palma is getting a quick introduction into the range of events, holding in her first full week on the job two large and two small meetings.
Clark, perhaps best known for his nearly 14 years at Caesars, where he was most recently vice president of sales, also has experience as director of sales at Four Seasons Hotels and The Venetian, and was also an MPI board member.
It’s easy to see why Clark was eager to hire Palma, who shares experience in hotels and has served on committees at Destinations International. Adrienne Belleza, chief meetings operations officer, rounds out Face2Face’s leadership structure. Most members of the team have decades’ worth of industry experience, which the company uses to cut costs and reduce risks.
“Rhanee’s endless energy and positive attitude match our team perfectly,” Clark said. “We have been growing rapidly and we are so glad to have her join us to assist us during this exciting time. Operating effective and safe meetings is more important than ever, and FACE2FACE delivers.”
While the news of Palma’s career change drew surprise within the industry, she was ready to move on. This summer, she and her husband quietly moved north to Sacramento, where is working out of her home office.
She walks into a company that has laid the foundation for success over its first 3.5 years. “When I saw our database, I absolutely cried,” Palma said. “I have never been onboarded and have such meticulous data, and I am a stickler for that. I felt like I was coming home.”
In reality, though, she is going to be on the road sending events to destinations who were previously her competitors (albeit friendly) when she’s not following her son’s esports career. Now all those contacts she built at industry events and through DI are potential partners.
“I’m excited to bring business to my friends at Indianapolis, Orlando, Kissimmee, Dallas and more,” she said. “I think we’re really going to disrupt the industry with what we do.”