• Meet Dennis Galloway, a Washingtonian in Washington

    FROM THE Spring 2017 ISSUE

Dennis Galloway is from what he calls “the first Washington,” aka Washington, D.C. But after 9/11, he decided to change coasts. “You can’t live on red alert,” Galloway says. “Life’s too short.”

So he packed up and moved to Seattle, trying on many hospitality hats once he arrived, before landing at the Washington State Convention Center as its sales manager in 2012.

“I went from meeting management to an event manager to catering sales and ended up at the convention center,” he says. 

And now he’s on the move again. In March, Galloway accepted a position as director of private events at the Columbia Tower Club

“I will miss the strong work relationships at the convention center, as we really meshed. A productive team environment is very important to me. I am comfortable working in both a group and solo setting. Sometimes it is nice to share ideas and solutions, especially when trying to puzzle meetings and events into the building,” says Galloway. “However, I look forward to the same experience of contributing to the team at Columbia Tower Club and continuing their great track record.”

He says he has found that the key to success in this industry is, “Believing in your product and being behind it 100 percent.”

Galloway also serves on the board of Convention Sales Professionals International. “It’s been a great opportunity to network with fellow sales people in my position.” 

A former psychology and biology major, Galloway never predicted he’d wind up in a hospitality career. But he loves it and encourages others who are drawn to the field.

“If it’s something you have an interest in and you want to do, follow your passion,” he says. “There are so many different aspects in this industry that there’s a good niche in there for everyone.” 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.


Danielle Boyles’ first job in hospitality was at the front desk of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. “I lived and worked in Asia for four years and learned to speak Japanese while I was there. The Royal York hired me on the spot to work at the front desk and with the Japanese tour groups. I never looked back,” she says.


Shelly Tolo’s clients are a loyal bunch, with good reason.