October 2019

Smarter, Wiser, and better Connected

What a fantastic annual meeting with an amazing host!  Nort Johnson and his team at the Faribault Chamber of Commerce and Tourism really rolled out the red carpet to plan a great couple of days in Faribault!  If you were not able to make it, you really missed out.  However…lucky for you, I’ll provide a little overview.

We started on Tuesday hearing from our colleagues about Community Stakeholders.  Every community identifies and works with their stakeholders a little differently.  A couple great take a ways; Joe Henry from Lake of the Woods Tourism talked about the importance of building that two-way relationship with your stakeholders and sharing of communication.  Bill Deef with Meet Minneapolis touched on identifying a rally group, a group of stakeholders or supporters that you can call on when you need outside support or assistance.  Anna Thill with Visit Mankato shared the importance of being an advocate for yourself and your organization and having strong communication with your stakeholders.  Lastly, Nort Johnson with Faribault Chamber and Tourism brought home a great formula, start with trust, add in transparency and your end result is a strong relationship.

After a great evening of networking and taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Faribault we were ready to get back at it the next morning.  We started out with an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with our colleagues during the roundtable discussions.  After that, we had the pleasure of hearing from John Lambeth, President and CEO of Civitas.  Mr. Lambeth took a deeper dive into Tourism Districts and what other communities and states throughout the country are doing to successfully implement these districts and what that means for their DMO’s.  Our annual meeting keynote was provided by John Edman, Director of Explore Minnesota.  John shared with us what Explore Minnesota is doing to Grow Tourism in Minnesota.  From there we held elections, and I’m happy to announce we have two new Directors joining the board.  James Feist with Explore Alexandria and Tim Zunker with Visit Shakopee.  Congratulations to both of them we are excited to welcome them onto the board.  We also elected our 2020 officers which consists of Chair, Nort Johnson from Faribault Chamber and Tourism, Vice Chair, Becky Bakken from Discover St. Louis Park, and Secretary/Treasurer, Bill Deef from Meet Minneapolis.

Next on the agenda, we heard from Todd Hill our lobbyist regarding some loose ends from the 2019 session and an outlook on the 2020 session.  Todd provided us with a good reminder of the importance to stay apprise to what is happening on the legislative front and the implications a single bill or piece of legislation can have on our entire industry.  We wrapped up hearing from Cynthia Messer, Director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center about their pilot webinar course, “Growing Tourism Leadership” in partnership with MACVB.   This six-month program will feature monthly interactive one-hour sessions for the early and mid-career DMO professional.  The first session is November 14th, so if you have interest, make sure to get registered.

With that, we all headed our own direction, a little smarter, a little wiser and a little better connected to colleagues and our industry. 

-Stephanie Busiahn, 2019 Board Chair

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