Currently president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee for the Republican National Convention, David Gilbert was named president & CEO of Destination Cleveland, the region’s convention and visitors’ bureau, in 2011, a position he currently holds. He concurrently serves as president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, established to make Greater Cleveland the nation’s foremost destination for amateur sporting events and activities.
At Destination Cleveland, Gilbert oversees a staff of nearly 50 and is responsible for carrying out the organization’s mission to position Cleveland as an exciting, vibrant destination for people who travel here from around the world and for those who live here as well. In 2015, the number of visitors to Cuyahoga County increased to 17.6 million, a nearly 4 percent over the prior year, contributing $8.1 billion to the local economy.
Prior to his current positions, Gilbert served as director of community affairs and special projects for the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland (CVB) where he was responsible for advancing Cleveland’s travel and tourism service standards and related activities. This early work with the Bureau included funding and developing two new full-service visitor information centers and spearheading the funding, creation and operation of the Spirit of Hospitality Career Training Program, a nationally recognized welfare-to-work initiative.
Prior to joining the CVB, Gilbert served as executive director of North Coast Harbor, Inc., a local development corporation responsible for the master plan and marketing of Cleveland’s downtown lakefront development district. Earlier, he served as director of corporate development for The Cleveland Play House, the longest-running professional theater in the United States.
Gilbert serves as vice president on the board of the International Children’s Games, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and sits of the boards of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. He is a member of the 50 Club of Cleveland, a networking organization for Cleveland’s business leadership, and is a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2001. He was named by Crain’s Cleveland Business as one of Cleveland’s “30 influencers of the past 30 years” and one of Cleveland’s “40 under40.” In 2006, he received the Anthem Impact Award, and in 2014, he received the Medical Mutual Pillar Award as the Non-Profit Executive of the Year.
Gilbert has a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Cleveland State University.