San Diego Convention Center Opens Its Doors to Future Latina Leaders

Hospitality and tourism thrives here in San Diego as one of the region’s leading industries. With a projected regional economic impact of over a billion dollars this year, the San Diego Convention Center is a large part of that success.

Recently, we had the opportunity to open our doors to a group of female Latina students, through MANA de San Diego’s Hermanitas program. Hermanitas is one of MANA de San Diego's many programs that help Latinas in the San Diego community thrive. This program pairs middle and high school students with local Latinas who guide their "Hermanitas" through school and further.

Over 100 local students and mentors came to see what it takes to host conventions and why our hospitality and tourism industry is so important to our region. This was the first time that the hospitality and tourism industry was highlighted as part of the Hermanitas mentorship program.

"Our Hermanitas and mentors alike were very excited to visit the San Diego Convention Center since for many of them, despite being local, it was their first time there," said Melanie Mijares, who helps coordinate the Hermanitas program for MANA de San Diego. "Hearing the inspiring stories from female leaders in hospitality and touring the space was a great glimpse into a new potential career for our Hermanitas."

The girls were in for a rare treat, as Kathleen Snorewicz, CMP, stopped in to share some career advice. Snorewicz is a Senior Meetings Manager at Progress In Planning. In her role, she helps lead the team that plans and manages an event called "cabi Scoop." Cabi is a direct-sales women’s fashion retailer. The Scoop is an annual event that showcases cabi’s latest clothing line, as well as inspires stylists with presentations, trainings sessions and personalized career coaching. Snorewicz imparted the importance of doing what you love to the group. It was a natural match for the Hermanitas to hear from her since both organizations elevate women.

San Diego Convention Center’s Senior Event Manager Lydia Ochoa also offered some insight and inspiration. She spoke to the group and emphasized the importance of a college education as well as strong relationships. Ochoa has been at the San Diego Convention Center since 1990. She has been working together with Snorewicz on cabi Scoop since the event first came to San Diego in 2012.

Members of our team who also addressed the group were Executive Communications Director Barbara Moreno and Director of Event Services DeeAnne Snyder. They offered advice and shared their personal experiences.

Following the presentations, Snyder led the group on a tour of the facility, including the kitchen and exhibit halls. "It was an honor to introduce the young women of Hermanitas to the wide array of diversity in our industry by showcasing what makes The San Diego Convention Center such an outstanding gathering place," said Snyder. "The leadership opportunities in San Diego in the Hospitality and Tourism industry is only limited by their imagination and creativity – I met many future leaders!"

Along with cabi Scoop, the girls were able to peek in on the Southern California Elite Gymnastics Academy’s Men’s & Women’s Invitational. It was a unique glimpse of two diverse types of events simultaneously taking place in the building, a specialty of the San Diego Convention Center.

"We love what we do here at the San Diego Convention Center, and we are eager to share the magic that happens behind the scenes," said Public Affairs Manager Rita de la Fuente. If your community group is interested in a tour, please contact her at

Rita de la Fuente's picture
Posted by Rita de la Fuente, on January 29, 2018
Between Meetings

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