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Karen Totaro, CVE

Karen Totaro, CVE

Chief Operating Officer

Karen Totaro is the Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. She oversees the operations of the facility and all customer-facing experiences within the facility, including Engineering, Event Services, Security/Guest Services, Human Resources and Facility Services.  She also serves as the liaison and contract manager for Centerplate, ON Site, and Smart City. 

Prior to heading west, Karen served as the General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center for Spectra. Karen relocated from Cincinnati where she held the position of Assistant General Manager at the Duke Energy Convention Center, which was also managed by Spectra. Prior to Cincinnati, Karen served as the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for nine years and the Associate Director at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio for five years. Karen started in the business at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana as the Marketing Manager for the Assembly Hall Arena.

During her career Karen has had an active role in the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) by serving in several capacities which have included her recent role as Chairman of the Board as well as  1st and 2nd Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and now Past Chair which equates to four  years on the Executive Committee, District IV Regional Director, a seat on the Board of Governors, Chair of the Transition Committee, Chair of the Education Council, Chair of the Board Development Committee, a member of the Allied Task Force and two years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Karen has also served as Chair of the Governance Committee and three years on the Leadership/Nominating Committee which she now chairs. The roles noted included three terms on the IAVM Board of Directors. Karen was instrumental in the planning of the IAVM Region IV Conference in Portland and assisted with the Conference planning in Vancouver, Spokane and Seattle as well as the International Convention Center Conference in Portland in 2010. Karen was asked to Chair the VenueConnect Planning Committee for 2014 in Portland.

In the summer of 2015 Karen was named a "Woman of Influence" by Venues Today Magazine and was the cover story of FM (Facility Manager) Magazine with an article on "Leadership." In 2016 Karen was awarded the "Elite Award" from Facilities and Destination Magazine for making a difference in the meetings industry. Most recently Karen was highlighted in Facilities & Destination Magazine on the "F &D A-List of Top 12 Women Convention Center Executives."

She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the IAVM Venue Management School. She completed the three-year Senior Executive Symposium in 2007 and received her Certified Facilities Executive distinction in 2009.

Official Corporate Partners of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation: