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2015 40 Under 40 Honoree: Laura Whisler

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When Laura Whisler received her Certified Destination Management Executive certification, she was the youngest tourism marketing professional to have achieved the designation.

But she’s accustomed to accelerated schedules: Whisler graduated from college with a bachelor’s in commercial music with an emphasis on vocal performance in three years, a degree that usually takes five years to complete. She also worked.

“As a full-time student, I formed and managed a successful music group that performed throughout the U.S.,” says Whisler, marketing director for the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Upon graduation, I continued managing and performing with the group while maintaining a full-time job at the (CVB). Under my leadership, the group recorded three CDs, a live DVD project and was selected to perform on national television for the INSP network.”

Whisler’s CVB career began in 2002 when she joined as a communications coordinator selling advertising for the organization’s publications and website. She was soon promoted to partner development manager and assumed her current position in 2007.

“I have grown the team from three to nine full-time staff members and am responsible for all aspects of marketing, including collateral production, website, digital, social efforts, public relations, private revenue generation, developing and implementing a $1.5 million advertising campaign and management of two information centers,” Whisler says.

She led the CVB through the process to achieve accreditation and then reaccreditation through the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program offered by Destination Marketing Association International, a professional entity for travel-related organizations.

DMAI also offered the program through which Whisler received her CDME certification in partnership with Purdue University.

“This certification is designed for CEOs or upper-level managers at destination marketing organizations,” Whisler says. “Because of my involvement in this organization and successes in destination marketing, I was asked to write a chapter in a book about destination marketing best practices that is being produced by DMAI.”

She is a board member of the Missouri Travel Council and leads the Springfield Attractions Council. Whisler also belongs to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Hotel Lodging Association, Missouri Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus and Missouri Hotel Lodging Association.

In 2010, Whisler was chosen for DMAI’s inaugural 30 Under 30 class. And last year, she went to New York to accept a Platinum Adrian Award from Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International for CVB’s Sammie Springfield advertising campaign, an effort that received recognition from several other organizations as well.[[In-content Ad]]


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