The National Equality Media Association (NEMA), America’s sole non-profit organization dedicated to serving LGBTQ media, will hold its annual conference in Puerto Vallarta from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30, 2019. It will mark the first time in NEMA’s history that member LGBTQ publishers and owners will convene outside the U.S. to discuss the important issues facing LGBTQ publishing. Puerto Vallarta is rich in culture and diversity and has become a popular LGBTQ tourism destination and is also home to NEMA member publication Out & About PV.

Puerto Vallarta is renowned as the premier LGBT vacation destination in Mexico. The country’s first International Gay Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) member, joining in 2014, the city was also honored as the first in Mexico to be granted Gay Travel Approved status by The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has previously partnered with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), in addition to IGLTA, to promote the destination to the LGBTQ+ market. In 2015, the tourism board became the first destination to sponsor the Human Rights Campaign on a national campaign.

Luis Villaseñor, Public Relations Director for the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, worked closely with the NEMA conference committee to bring the conference to Puerto Vallarta, believing those who have never been to the destination will see how special a place Puerto Vallarta is, and how welcoming it is for the LGBTQ community.

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa and The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta will serve as host hotels for the conference. Both hotels have a long history of service with the LGBTQ community, and the Marriott was granted LGBTQ certification by the Jalisco Tourism Secretariat and Talento Consultores in 2017.

“As part of Marriott International, the world’s favorite travel company and recognized leader in the hotel industry on topics of diversity and inclusion, we are proud to show our support to the LGBTQ community and to host the 2019 NEMA conference, welcoming LGBTQ publishers from all over the United States,” said David Gauna, general manager of Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa and area general manager for Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita and Guadalajara.

“We are very excited to be able to bring publishers and owners together to discuss new and emerging business strategies that will help LGBT publications survive and thrive in an increasingly challenging publishing environment,” said NEMA President D.J. Doran.

Speaking at this year’s conference will be Bob Witeck, from Washington, D.C.-based Witeck Communications, on the importance of legacy and local LGBTQ publications and their impact on the communities which they serve; Matt Skallerud of Pink Banana Media in New York, on how to better engage with readers through digital platforms; and Jerry Cunningham, owner and publisher of OUT FRONT magazine in Denver, on how to develop and grow tertiary revenue streams.

Speakers and Presenters

Bob Witeck is president of Witeck Communications, Inc., and for nearly four decades a pioneering communications strategist dedicated to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities around the world. He is a communications consultant, author, speaker and researcher. His firm – the longest established LGBTQ-owned business enterprise certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce – is based in Washington, D.C.

Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, specializes in LGBTQ online marketing, targeting gays & lesbians via content marketing, social media, programmatic ad banners, mobile smartphone apps and more. He also specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), keyword/search advertising (PPC) and social media analytics. He’s been in the LGBTQ online industry for over 20 years.

Jerry Cunningham is a former NEMA board member and owner and publisher of OutFront Magazine, a mainstay in Colorado’s LGBT community since 1976. Cunningham purchased the publication in 2012. He attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and has a degree in Business Management & Marketing from the University of Regis in Denver. Before taking the helm of Out Front, Jerry was the publicist for the City of Arvada, where he promoted the work and stagecraft produced at the largest multi-disciplinary arts organization in the nation — Arvada Center. Before that, he owned an event production and decor company, producing intimate social gatherings for his clientele, which ranged from Denver’s elite to fortune 500 corporations. He is also an amateur rodeo clown and has been active on the LGBT rodeo circuit for about 30 years. His partner of 20 years, J.C. McDonald, is also a rodeo cowboy.

NEMA membership serves the content demands of the LGBTQ markets by delivering relevant, personal, authentic content via traditional print media as well as in integrated digital and social media. NEMA is the access point for opening the door to a $900 billion market. With established presences in highly sought-after media markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Chicago, New York and Orlando, NEMA is the tuning fork and connection point to the thriving and lucrative LGBTQ market.


About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.