Leadership Award Scoresheet
Tourism Rising Star Award
This award recognizes an individual who has joined Minnesota's tourism industry within the last five years and has exhibited the skills and abilities to excel in the tourism industry; is mindful of their role in making the state a better place to visit; is passionate about promoting travel and tourism in Minnesota.
List of Nominees:
Natalie Conrad-Minneapolis Northwest Tourism
Summary of nomination and significant contributions to the industry: Since 2017, Natalie Conrad, Minneapolis Northwest Tourism's public relations and communications manager, has implemented campaigns to promote the cities of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove. Whether it's creating itineraries for visiting bloggers (and driving them around personally), writing engaging blog and social media posts, acting as a communications liaison with community leaders, appearing on local TV to discuss the area's upcoming events, or being quoted in the Washington Post, Natalie does it all. A Minneapolis Northwest resident herself, Natalie is passionate about promoting the area to locals and visitors alike. Since starting at Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, Natalie has helped garner more than 200 local, regional and national media placements about the area with approximately 372 million impressions. Thanks to her robust social media campaigns, Minneapolis Northwest saw a 77 percent increase in year over year social media traffic to its website in 2018 and an 87 percent increase in 2019. Since 2017, Minneapolis Northwest's Facebook page has gained more than 8,000 followers and nearly 1,000 Instagram followers. She also led the re-vamp of Minneapolis Northwest's Hospitality Rockstar program, which rewards exceptional customer service by staff in the area, a project she is using to pursue her accreditation in public relations. Natalie is active in the travel and tourism community. She is a member of Minnesota PRSA and the PRSA Travel & Tourism Section and has attended the PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference twice (in addition to U.S. Travel Association's ESTO Conference). She also serves on the Maple Grove Magazine Advisory Board. She acts as communications liaison with Minneapolis Northwest's cities, demonstrating the value of Minneapolis Northwest Tourism's work and making meaningful connections to promote the area. The future of Minnesota's tourism industry is bright thanks to talented and passionate folks like Natalie working on behalf of our state.
Supplimental materials: Media & blog highlights pdf Social Media - March Madness pptx Hospitality Rockstar pdf
Winner decided by EMT
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Outstanding Individual in Tourism
Presented to an individual who has actively worked to advance tourism, conducting statewide programs that enhance, underwrite, and promote the tourism industry in Minnesota. This person may be a volunteer or an employee of a tourism-related or other business. Special consideration will be given to level of achievements, time period of involvement, and overall contributions to the State's image and/or tourism industry.
List of Nominees:
Summary of nomination and signification contributions to the industry: It is with exceptional enthusiasm that I nominate Mrs. Jean Bowman for Explore Minnesota's Outstanding Individual in Tourism Award. I have the opportunity to work with Jean in her capacity as the Executive Director of the Fergus Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau frequently. Based on these interactions and observations, I am in a very good position to attest to her level of competence and her impact as a tourism advocate. As her resume reflects, Jean has considerable experience working in the tourism and marketing industries. In her tenure with the Fergus Falls CVB, she has effectively promoted the community of Fergus Falls and demonstrated impressive ingenuity in recruiting and retaining travelers and conferences to the area. I have been most impressed by her ability to utilize behaviorally targeted marketing to attract consumers for events and recreational opportunities. For example, Jean has been instrumental in the development and promotion of the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail and Central Lakes Multi-Purpose Trail. These projects capture Jean's broad continuum of experience – from planning through execution. She has also embraced events, recruiting (among other things) the Wissota 100, countless cycling competitions, Central Minnesota's first ever long-distance skateboarding race, and the Governor's Deer Opener…twice. While Jean has been an impressive advocate for the City of Fergus Falls, equally important are her contributions to Otter Tail County and Central Minnesota. Jean truly believes that "a rising tide lifts all boats." As a result, her history of regional and state collaboration is well documented. For example, she is a valued member of the Otter Tail Lakes Country Association Board of Directors, the MN Heartland Tourism Association Board of Directors, the Governor's Tourism Council and countless other boards. In my observation of Jean, I have been impressed not only with her high level of intelligence and extensive familiarity with industry trends - but also with character. Jean is one of the most disciplined and organized Directors that I have had the pleasure to work with. Her attention to detail is reflected in her meeting attendance, work product, and professional relationships. Basically, if you want a job done well, give it to her. Jean is both calculated and meticulous. Equally important, however, is her personal warmth, kindness, and passion. Interpersonally, she is delightful. Friendly and honest, she is respected by her peers and industry colleagues. She is always available, asks informed questions, and is very open and responsive to feedback. Finally, Jean is passionate about promoting tourism in the State of Minnesota. This is evident in her work, volunteerism, through her interaction with colleagues and businesses, and her work on behalf of Explore Minnesota Tourism. I believe you can see that I think very highly of Mrs. Bowman. I would encourage you to strongly consider her as Explore Minnesota's Outstanding Individual in Tourism. Should you have any questions, please contact me.
Winner decided by EMT
Summary of nomination and signification contributions to the industry: Danielle brings over 6 years' experience promoting Minnesota's tourism industry as the marketing manager for: The National Eagle Center (Wabasha), the Water Park of America & Radisson Hotel Mall of America (Bloomington), and Minnesota Grown (current role, statewide). Key accomplishments at Minnesota Grown include: increasing newsletter contacts by 23% in first 2 years, launching a new grant-funded multi-year marketing campaign promoting early season apple varieties garnering over 135 million impressions the first year, and launching the new Minnesota Grown website which reaches over 350,000 unique users annually. Danielle enjoys collaborations and has done great work growing our relationships with partners like the U of M, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the Minnesota Zoo. Other career highlights include serving as a speaker at the 2016 EMT Conference and as chair for the Wabasha-Kellogg CVB Marketing Committee. As Marketing and External Relations Coordinator for Minnesota Grown, Danielle co-manages a program that serves over 1,300 member Minnesota farm businesses who sell direct-to-customer. The majority of these members are agritourism destinations like farm wineries, apple orchards, and Christmas tree farms. One of Danielle's roles is to provide marketing resources and statewide advertising on behalf of members. Danielle's talent for showcasing Minnesota's tourism destinations and developing new partnerships shines in her work. We have been fortunate to have Danielle serve as a marketing expert and teacher for our members as a speaker at annual industry conferences held by organizations such as the Minnesota Apple Growers and the Minnesota Fruit & Vegetable Growers. Attached is my full letter of support. Sincerely, Paul Hugunin AMDD Director
Supplimental materials: Danielle nomination pdf Minneaota Grown png Minnesota Grown mp4
Winner decided by EMT
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