J.C. Poma, 33 | Cover Story | Style Weekly

J.C Poma knows how big a deal sports are around here. Before being promoted to VP of community relations in August, he put his energies into boosting regional sports tourism as Richmond Region Tourism’s director of sports relations.

It was Poma’s hard work that brought the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s preseason national championship to Richmond’s Siegel Center in 2018. He also gets credit for creating the Inaugural RVA Sports Awards, presented to a sold-out crowd at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in early February. Local athletes such as Midlothian mom and runner Keira D’Amato, who recently set the record for fastest marathon by an American woman, were recognized, in her case as the female Athlete of the Year.

“Sports is the biggest driver of events, representing close to 80% of all event business in the Richmond region,” Poma says. “The awards tell the story of our region and the major impact sports have on our community.”

Importantly, Poma’s focus is on making the Richmond region friendly and welcoming to all through inclusive programs such as OutRVA and BLKRVA. His goal is to restore to pre-pandemic levels the four pillars of travel: leisure, business, sporting events and friends and family. Since August 2021, sports and leisure travel have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, a point of pride.

“Business travel is still not back yet, so we’re working to attract businesspeople here, especially during the week,” he explains. But he hopes Richmonders will invite their friends and family here to discover everything the region has to offer.

“That allows us to come together as a community and tell Richmond’s story to visitors,” he says. “Look in every corner of this region and you’ll find there’s something great going on.”

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