Donna Carpenter, CDME
President and CEO
Donna Carpenter joined the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau as President and CEO in 2009 bringing more than 14 years of experience in destination management, sales and marketing to the Bureau.
Prior to joining the Cabarrus County CVB, Donna served as the director of tourism and partnership development for five-plus years with Visit Charlotte. She was also executive director of the Stanly County Convention & Visitors Bureau, director of sports and public relations for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and was the executive director for the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010, Donna was named one of the area’s Top Women in Business by Business Today. The same year, she became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CMDE) through Destinations International (formerly Destination Marketing Association International). She is also certified as a Tourism Marketing Professional through the Southeast Tourism Society (STS).
Donna currently serves on the following boards:
- 600 Festival
- Cabarrus Economic Development Council
- Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Destinations International Foundation
- NC Travel and Tourism
- NC Travel and Tourism Coalition
- Southeast Tourism Society Executive Board
- UNCC Advisory Board
Donna is Past President of Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina (DMANC) and Past Chair of the Hickory Ridge High School Tourism Academy Advisory Board.
In September 2015, Donna received the Southeast Tourism Society Beacon Award, a prestigious honor recognizing an individual who best exemplifies outstanding leadership in the pursuit of excellence and who has advanced the tourism industry.
Sophia Costner joins the Bureau’s team as Executive Assistant with over ten years of experience in administrative roles. Costner began her career at the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau serving as Administrative Assistant for over three years. Most recently, she served as a Student Mentor and Student Government Association Advisor at Stanly Community College.
There, she also worked as Executive Assistant to the President and Foundation and in 2012, received an Associate of Science degree in Business Administration.
John Mills, CDME
Executive Vice President
Prior to becoming the Executive Vice President of the Cabarrus County CVB, John Mills served on the organization’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008. Before joining the Bureau full time in 2008, Mills spent 15 years in retail in Louisiana, Texas and North Carolina. Most recently, he was the General Manager for Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills. His primary roles at the Bureau include Finance, Human Resources, Research and Operations.
John earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance at Louisiana Tech University. He also received a Human Resource Certificate through the Employers Association based in Charlotte, NC. John serves on the Hickory Ridge High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board. He is also an active member with Destinations International (DI), and became a Certified Destination Management Executive (CMDE) through DI in 2018.
John has been instrumental in establishing the Bureau as an independent 501(c)6 organization, relocating the offices and visitor center in 2011, guiding the organization to achieve accreditation through DI, and playing a large role in the development and implementation of the county’s wayfinding system.
In August 2014, John’s contributions to the Bureau were recognized as he received the Charlotte Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award for small – mid-sized government or nonprofit organization.
Michael Bonoffski, TMP
Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Michael Bonoffski joined the Cabarrus County CVB in 2009 after starting his motorsports career with “The King,” Richard Petty at Petty Enterprises (now Richard Petty Motorsports) where he worked in marketing and licensing. He then joined Mattel Toy Company-Hot Wheels Racing where over the course of 6 years, held various management positions.
Michael is a 1996 graduate of Ithaca College where he received his Bachelor of Science in Sports Information & Communications and his Master of Science in Sport Management from West Virginia University in 1997.
In 2012, Michael was recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a member of the inaugural Forty For the Future class honoring travel’s leading talent. In 2013, he completed the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College program and is certified as a Travel Marketing Professional.
In November of 2013, Michael received a Certificate in Hospitality Marketing from Cornell University.
Senior Vice President of Sales & Destination Services
John Poole joined the Cabarrus County CVB team in January 2016 with extensive education and over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry including sales, management, marketing and operations.
Returning to the area after managing an eight-room bed and breakfast and fine dining restaurant in Maine for three years, John previously held the position of Director of Sales & Marketing at Great Wolf Lodge Charlotte/Concord. From 2007 to 2009, he held the same position at Great Wolf Resorts’ Grand Mound, WA location. John has also held several other positions in sales and marketing across the country and abroad at resorts and hotels in Canada, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Charleston, SC.
A native of Ontario and Vancouver, BC resident, John is a graduate of New Brunswick College. He also received an Associates Degree from San Diego Golf Academy and has completed several hospitality programs with Westin Hotels and Resorts and Orient Express Hotels & Resorts.
John has had longtime involvement with many hospitality industry associations including Meeting Planners International, Society of Incentive Travel Executives, Professional Conference Management Association and Rotary Club. He currently serves on the board of Association Executives of North Carolina.
Gayle Love Lee, CDME
Vice President of Partnership & Visitor Services
Before being named Vice President of Partnership & Visitor Services at the Cabarrus County CVB, Gayle Love Lee served as Executive Director at the Carolinas Roofing Association for three years. She brings over 25 years of sales and marketing experience in the hospitality industry ranging from representing large brand hotels and boutique conference centers to convention centers and special event planning.
Gayle has served on the board of Meeting Professionals International-Carolinas Chapter receiving the Pat on the Back Award during her term. She also served on the board of Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC) Charlotte Chapter and chaired the first Customer Service Advisory Committee for the City of Winston-Salem.
Gayle also received her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) certification, through Destinations International (DI) in August of 2016.