Convention Center Creates Innovation Team, Names Leadership

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L to R: Tim Tumminello and Kelli Zohar-Davis

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has announced the creation of a new initiative called the Innovation Team. As a division of the People Services Department, the Innovation Team will focus on developing creative approaches to optimize, streamline and transform convention center operations to assist the venue in delivering on its mission to advance innovation in its organization.

The Convention Center also named new leadership positions for the Innovation Team,  promoting Tim Tumminello to senior director of people services and innovation, and Kelli Zohar-Davis to assistant director of talent development and innovation. The Convention Center will also add an innovation manager to the team in the near future.

In July 2021, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center engaged local consulting firm trepwise to enhance and improve its employee culture. Through inclusive employee engagement and collaborative ideation, trepwise led Center employees through a design process to create a culture that rewards creativity, accountability and risk-taking. That work resulted in what the Convention Center called the “Innovation Lab,” an employee-owned project where staff members held town hall meetings and workshops about how to best move their workplace into the future. Convention Center leadership took the feedback from the Innovation Lab and used it to pinpoint the need for the creation of an innovation-focused division within the ranks of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

“Without the valuable insight garnered from the Innovation Lab from our employees, who we consider internal customers in the success of our business, we may have never considered creating a team like this,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center president. “We believe that consistent iteration of innovative concepts will improve customer satisfaction and will support our vision of being a leading-edge organization.”

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