Professional development begins and ends with the employee in mind. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (CVB) embraces this concept by sending employees through training programs such as Southeast …
Professional development begins and ends with the employee in mind. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (CVB) embraces this concept by sending employees through training programs such as Southeast Tourism Society’s (STS) Marketing College – a three-year commitment to earn the Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) certification. The CVB has taken this concept a step further to offer scholarships to local tourism-related business leaders through a nomination and selection process.
“STS Marketing College is the premier program for the tourism industry as there is no other program quite like it in the United States,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of STS. “Our curriculum is practical. After each year, the knowledge students gain can be put to immediate use in their workplaces.”
Two CVB employees – Morgan Barna, advertising manager, and Ally Dorrough, public relations coordinator – earned their TMP certifications in the spring after completing the three-year program as well as two practical application projects in their normal work environment. The newest group of TMPs raised $11,000 to fund 11 scholarships for future STS Marketing College students.
“Morgan and Ally gained invaluable marketing knowledge and professional connections through this program, which has proven to be immersive and impactful, generating improved thought processes for our department,” said Joanie Flynn, vice president of marketing for the CVB. “We now have awarded scholarships to five industry partners, three who will be graduating in the spring of 2018, and two who started the program this year alongside two more of our staff members.”
CVB-sponsored industry partners graduating in 2018 include Jordan Bodenhamer Barnard of Young’s Suncoast, Gabrielle Barnett of LuLu’s and Alexandrea Lute of Sunset Properties. CVB employees Claire Blackwell and Mary Sergeant began the program in 2017 and were joined by sponsored industry partners Cecilia Mace of Original Oyster House and Tara McMeans of Design Print Promote. The scholarship application opens in August 2017 at the CVB’s Marketing Squaretable meeting for additional local tourism-based workers to begin the experience in 2018.
STS Marketing College began in 1992 as a professional development program that, for one week each year, turns the University of North Georgia into its own campus for travel marketing. Marketing College professors are industry-related professionals from across the U.S., noted as experts in their field, who bring a working knowledge of current trends, data and implementation for tourism and travel.