Former Marianas Visitors Authority board member Vicky Benavente will be wearing two hats at the Governor’s Office as she will still be involved in the tourism industry being the chairperson of the Marianas Tourism Educational Council.
Benavente announced her resignation as a member of the MVA board during the group’s meeting last Aug. 19 at the MVA office conference room in San Jose.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres recently appointed Benavente as special assistant on project development. She resigned as a board member of the CNMI’s tourism arm effective last Aug. 22.
Benavente said that time management would be the key with her new job under the Torres administration and at the same time be involved in her passion and first love, which is the CNMI’s hospitality and tourism industry.
“I’m officially resigned on the MVA board effective Aug. 22 when I started working at the Governor’s Office. We are not allowed by law to be a government employee if you are a member of the MVA board,” Benavente told Saipan Tribune in an interview last week.
“Although my term as a board member was short, tourism is my passion. It has always been my passion, tourism and hospitality,” added the former MVA managing director who got the most number of votes when the tourism group held its election for new board members last June.
Benavente said that she would be more useful as a tourism “lobbyist.” “Actually, not really a lobbyist,” she added with a laugh.
“At least in this capacity, I hope to be more helpful since I now have the opportunity to give more assistance, not just with the MVA, but also in the hospitality and tourism industry in general,” said Benavente.
“I will continue to also act in capacity as MTEC chair since the governor has given me the privilege to continue holding my post. And I’m excited about it,” she added.
Her primary role as special assistant on project development, when asked by the Saipan Tribune, is to advise Torres on which government project needs more attention.
“It will be more on giving advise on the direction of the governor as to which projects that I would focus on. Because I will be working on streamlining some government processes that is what I’m focused right now,” added Benavente.
Benavente returned to the MVA after serving as its managing director more than 10 years ago. She was also the executive administrative assistant to Pacific Islands Club Saipan general manager Hiro Sugie.
The three remaining MVA board directors, who got elected, have yet to name her replacement. Jerry Tan, who was reelected, along with Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands president Gloria Cavanagh and Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa, are the other board members.
According to the MVA bylaws, the three remaining board directors who were elected will decide who will replace a fellow director that resigned. They will then get in touch with the person and ask if he or she wants the post.