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Convention Sales manager urges faith groups to invite national event

Brenda Dodd sells Spokane as the venue for conferences and conventions. 

As convention sales manager for the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, she hopes to add more local, regional and national religious gatherings to Spokane’s events calendar.

“Local people play a major part in bringing conferences to Spokane,” she said. 

So Brenda is reaching out to find people willing to help plan local arrangements and invite their organizations’ events.

Some events are in a single hotel under one roof with hotels such as the Red Lion Inn at the Park, the Davenport, the Double Tree and Mirabeau Park serving as venues.  Other events house people in the hotels and use the space at the Spokane Convention Center and the Spokane Arena.

“Spokane is a great city for the religious organization market,” Brenda said.  “It’s a safe, friendly, affordable, walkable city.  People don’t need to rent a car, but can be shuttled from the airport downtown.

“Downtown there are cultural events, fine cuisine and a family-oriented park,” she said.  “Plus, there are 260 days of sunshine, contrary to the perception of people in other parts of the country that it rains often.”

Airlines make Spokane accessible for a reasonable cost, she added.

Spokane has hosted and will host such events as Women of Faith, Healing Rooms, Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America National Triennial Convention and the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ.

“Local congregations and nonprofits gain recognition when their regional and national gathering are held here,” said Brenda, who grew up in Carnation, Wash., and worked in the hospitality business in Hawaii and Seattle before moving to Spokane 17 years ago. 

She worked with several local hotels before joining the staff of the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

She loves Spokane and has a passion to share it with others.

“We have what the religious market needs for conferences,” she said.

Brenda plans to meet with some religious leaders to discuss ways to make the community an inviting location for their events.

“Local leaders play a major part in drawing attention to Spokane as a convenient, affordable location,” she said, impressed with the extent to which some local people go to promote Spokane as a venue, such as what happened with the national ice skating championships.

When event planners come to check out Spokane, Brenda coordinates their airfares, hotel rooms and complimentary events to introduce the area’s assets.

If local leaders want to bring an event, she said they can save many phone calls by contacting her.  It’s her role to find the venues to match their needs.

For information, call 624-1341.

Copyright © January 2009 - The Fig Tree