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Emerald's Design Group Appoints Brand Leaders

The Emerald promotions elevate Keisha Byrd and Rachel Long to these new positions.

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HD Expo and BDNY logos
Rachel Long will be the Brand Leader for HD Expo and BDNY tradeshows.

Emerald, the parent company of Hospitality Design (HD) and Boutique Design (BD), has announced the promotion of Keisha Byrd to Brand Leader of BDNY and BD’s portfolio of non-tradeshow events, including the BD Forum series, BD Match, and Gold Key Awards, and Rachel Long to Brand Leader of HD Expo + Conference and HD’s networking and awards events, including HD Summit, HD NextGen Forum, HD Awards, HD Platinum Circle. The brands will collaborate to produce Hospitality Group CitySCENE franchise events.

For the past nine years, Byrd has led BD-branded conferences and events as part of BDNY’s inaugural team. Her leadership as BD’s Conference and Events Manager, and most recently, as Director of Strategic Events for HD and BD, gives her a unique perspective on both brands. She has played an essential role in overseeing and planning the Hospitality Design and Boutique Design portfolios of media and networking events, connecting the hospitality industry through shared experiences.  

Long has been an integral part of HD’s history, spending 25 years with the brand as an editor and on the HD Expo + Conference launch team before joining Interior Design and Material Bank in VP Experience roles for a decade. She rejoined Emerald as VP Content of the Design Group in 2019 and has been the driving force behind the content of HD Expo + Conference and the brand’s think tank-focused events, sourcing speakers and key attendees.

In their new roles, Byrd and Long will oversee the day-to-day operations for their respective brands, reporting to Kevin Gaffney, who is promoted to Group Vice President, Design Group, Emerald. Continuing in executive roles, Stacy Shoemaker Rauen leads content as Senior Vice President, Design Group, Emerald and Editor in Chief, Hospitality Design; Jennifer Yarber helms marketing as Senior Marketing Director, Design Group, Emerald; Keeli Schmidt leads sales as Director of Sales across the Hospitality Group; and Paul Bienkowski continues as Publisher, spanning Hospitality Group media and events.

“Keisha and Rachel have been vital in the evolution of the BD and HD brands,” said Gaffney. “These new roles will allow us to continue to produce exceptional events, elevate the HD and BD brands, and bring the hospitality design community together under the Hospitality Group umbrella.”

“With their incredible knowledge of the industry, having Keisha and Rachel as the stewards of BD and HD, respectively, will help us grow and evolve both brands while maintaining their unique experiences and offerings,” said Gannon Brousseau, Executive Vice President, Design Group, Emerald.
“The trade fairs and strategic events are where the people from the pages of our digital and print publications come to network and expand their careers and knowledge. Working together, Keisha and Rachel will ensure both brands continue to be the number one connector for the hospitality design industry,” added Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, Editor in Chief of Hospitality Design, and Senior Vice President, Design Group, Emerald.

“I’m honored to step into this role to help usher Boutique Design into the next chapter,” said Byrd. “These events are invaluable to the industry, and I am committed to producing engaging, relevant events and content that benefit all of our partners.”

“Given the phenomenal global rise of hospitality and the experience economy, I am excited for the opportunity to serve the owners, brands, manufacturers, and creative teams who make great hospitality design the norm, rather than the exception,” said Long. “It is a privilege to help evolve a legacy brand and share state-of-the-art design innovation across the industry.” 

Registration is now open for HD Expo + Conference, which takes place May 2-4, 2023, at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas. BDNY will take place November 12-13, 2023, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, and registration for this event will open in June. 

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