Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Names New President and CEO
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau recently announced that Michelle Conway, who has served as Interim President and CEO since March, has been named its new President and CEO, effective immediately. The announcement was made by Board of Directors Chairman Al Comello.
"Michelle has convincingly demonstrated the leadership this critical position requires," Comello said. "The Board believes her executive skills, the respect she has earned in the community and her understanding of the needs of our members eminently qualify her to lead in the years ahead."
"Michelle has a keen eye for reinforcing Sedona as a sustainable destination and communicating our priorities to visitors," said Jennifer Perry, Vice Chair and incoming Board Chair. "She has outlined clear goals for the coming year that address the current needs of our community and tourism industry."
Conway thanked the Board for their confidence and the organization's staff for their dedication and professionalism during challenging times.
"I also want to acknowledge our 725 plus partners for their critical role in our economic health," Conway said. "Supporting their stability and growth is a top priority."
Since being appointed Interim President/CEO, Conway has overseen the expansion of the Sedona Trail Keepers program, which donated $102,000 for area trail maintenance and preservation in March. She has also directed implementation of the Chamber's partnership with Leave No Trace, the leading national organization educating consumers on responsible outdoor recreation. In addition, she led the Chamber's partnership with the city to brand, launch and promote the Sedona Shuttle Trailhead service, easing traffic congestion at popular hiking spots and communicating alternative trails to help disperse visitors.
Conway and her team have developed strategy suggestions and a draft Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Destination Management Plan and budget to present to the Sedona City Council in June, which includes a fresh look at the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) in partnership with City of Sedona staff and the City Council. The STP, originally adopted in 2019, Will be reassessed with today's priorities in mind.
Conway's vision is one of balance, including leveraging Sedona's tourism industry to help tackle community concerns.
"Our visitor management programs, funded through bed tax dollars paid by visitors, help reduce congestion on streets and trails, disperse visitation, encourage responsible recreation and more," she said.
"It's also crucial that visitors are informed about who we are—a beautiful city with intelligent residents who are committed to sustainability and whose expectations of visitors is one of respect. If we don't communicate our expectations to visitors, we leave it up to others—like those on Instagram—to define us, which is a dangerous proposition. We must be present and part of the conversations to properly advance Sedona's long-term wellness."
Conway says their success depends on unity.
"Our residents, City Council, the Chamber as a certified Destination Management Organization, our public land agencies, nonprofits and our business community have a voice in managing our tourism-based economy sustainably," she said. "I look forward to positive change as we move forward."
Prior to being appointed Interim President/CEO, Conway served as the SCC&TB Director of Marketing since 2009. She has a background in marketing, branding, advertising and public relations, in addition to having played a critical role in the Chamber's COVID-19 response and visitor education, including the "Safe, Clean Ready" COVID business program and the "Sedona Care Pledge" for travelers visiting Sedona.
Courtesy of Groups Today.
Photo courtesy of Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau