Maura Gast

Executive Director

Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau

Maura Gast

A 21-year veteran of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau, Maura Gast was named its executive director in October 2003. A leading destination for business travel, Irving welcomes 2.6 million visitors annually, who in turn invest $1.24 billion in this town of 210,000, which is also home to the world headquarters of ExxonMobil, Zale Jewelers, Flowserve and Fluor, and serves as a major national or regional headquarters for Research in Motion (the parent company of Blackberry), Kimberly Clark, Michaels, NEC, Nokia, and many other prominent corporate brands. She recently opened the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, and was directly responsible for the on-time-and-under-budget oversight for the project’s design, construction, management, sales and marketing.

A frequent keynoter on prioritizing tourism as a vital component of a community’s economic development strategy, Gast recently completed her term as the chair of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the third female chair in the organization’s history. She chaired DMAI’s Futures Study, and served on the inaugural Destination Marketing Accreditation Program board. She has developed curriculum for the association’s Program in Destination Management and leads several courses at its conferences and other industry forums. She has earned the industry’s highest educational certification, Fellow Certified Destination Management Executive (FCDME). She was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Texas Society of Association Executives, and to the Ethics Committee for the American Society of Association Executives. In her spare time in Irving, she serves on the Boards of Directors for the Irving Salvation Army, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and the La Cima Club Board of Governors. She has been a member of the Press Club of Dallas since 1986, and recently completed a term on its Board of Directors. She is also the former Chair of the American Advertising Federation – Dallas Chapter, formerly the Dallas Ad League. Before joining the hospitality industry, Gast spent time in the retail and newspaper worlds, in a variety of sales, marketing and event management roles. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and spent most of her childhood years in San Angelo, Texas. An Air Force “brat,” Maura’s family spent its primary tours of duty in the Philippines and Taiwan.