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Leanna Belew, who has worked at the Knoxville Convention Center and Visit Knoxville, is the executive director of UT Conferences and Non-Credit Programs. She started work on May 28.

Leanna Belew
Leanna Belew

“Knoxville is home,” Belew said. “I’ve worked in and around this industry for so long, when I heard this position was available I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

Belew moved to Maryville when she was in middle school and graduated from Heritage High School in Blount County. She has a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman University.

Belew has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including extensive experience with Hyatt Hotels. In 2013, after working for about three years at the Knoxville Convention Center and about a year at Visit Knoxville, Belew moved to South Bend, Indiana, to be general manager of the Century Center convention center. She supervised teams that ran all facets of the operation—sales, events, and building operations, which included overseeing $10 million of facility improvements over six years. During her tenure, the convention center helped increase hotel room stays in the area by 150 percent over five years and increased event revenue by 26 percent.

UT Conferences and Non-Credit Programs, with 22 employees, offers courses and programs include professional and personal development programs, the Smoky Mountain Field School, and KidsU.


Amy Blakely (885-974-5034,