Executive Director, TEA
Gene is Executive Director of the Themed Entertainment Association, the worldwide nonprofit trade alliance representing the creators of compelling places and experiences. He has 40 years experience building connections and relations, communications and analysis at local, national and international levels.
Gene accepted his position with TEA in 2001 and since then has focused on improving member business development and marketing benefits, and building connections with clients and owners. Past positions include Executive Director of the Inland Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross; Executive Director of the Western Insurance Information Service; VP of Public Affairs and Communications of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB); Head of Media Relations for the American National Red Cross; and freelance photojournalist covering national business, Capitol Hill and the White House. Gene has a BA in Psychology, an MA in Journalism, and an MBA in Management.
TEA past president Peter Chernack says, "Gene became Executive Director in late 2001, during a tumultuous time for the Country and the Association. I had the opportunity to be part of the group involved with the candidate interviews and it was clear then that Gene’s experience with non-profit organizations, his management skills and calm demeanor would be a good match for the TEA."
Gene has worked directly with the majority of TEA Presidents, including: Keith James (’01-‘02), George Wiktor (’03), Pat Gallegos (04-’05), Craig Hanna (06-’07), Nick Farmer (’08), Steve Thorburn (’09-’10), and currently Rick Rothschild (’11-’12). Working with TEA leadership and countless volunteers, he instituted two premier industry conferences: the TEA Summit, held just prior to the Thea Awards and SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience), both of which have continued to grow year by year.
Chernack says, "He worked diligently and pragmatically to stablize the Association's financial position while simultaneously adding valuable member benefits - including weekly email newsletters, printed publications such as the TEA Directory and Thea Awards Program, the TEA/AECOM Theme Index, and regular RFP/tender opportunities. Moreover, he has worked with hundreds of volunteers to help maintain a culture and environment conducive to networking and collaboration, both cornerstones of the TEA. This includes re-establishing positive relationships with major owner-developers, many of whom are now TEA members."
During Gene's tenure, the Association membership has increased from 325 to over 700. Today the TEA enjoys a productive and mutually supportive working relationship with IAAPA as well as continuing dialogue with other trade groups and guilds.
Gene Jeffers will be attending SATE 2012 and is devoting his usual energy and resources to its effective organization and promotion along with his other duties. He has announced he will retire from TEA in about 12 months, and TEA president-elect Christine Kerr will oversee an executive search for his replacement.