The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB named a new chief marketing officer at a press conference today.
Chamber President and CEO Ross Summers said the new marketing executive, starting May 20, will be Leah Chandler.
“Leah has got extensive background in tourism marketing,” Summers said. “She’s got exactly the resume that we need because those skills and experiences she’s had with Hoffman/Lewis (Advertising) translate very nicely to Branson.”
Chandler is a Indiana State University graduate who began her career at Montgomery, Zuckerman, Davis Advertising out of Indianapolis, Ind., according to a chamber press release.
Chandler later moved Hirons & Company Communication where she managed the Indiana tourism account for five years. She also served as the account director for the Missouri Division of Tourism for Hoffman/Lewis starting in 2008. In her director position, she managed a $10 million advertising and marketing strategy budget, the press release states.
Summers said the hiring process began with 200 inquires for the position through the search firm Searchwide, out of Stillwater, Minn. Summers said five final candidates were chosen from 70 interviews conducted by Searchwide President Mike Gamble.
“We’re very glad we found someone of Leah’s caliber and experience,” Summers said.
The most recent of Chandler’s accomplishments was the Missouri tourism rebranding campaign that launched Monday, “Missouri — Enjoy the Show,” which Summers said coincidentally fits well in Branson.
“I’m super, super honored to take on this role,” Chandler said. “It’s perfect timing in my life. I’ve spent 12 or 13 years on the agency side and it’s been a great run, but getting on the destination side and working for a (destination management organization) on a level nationally, that Branson is, is huge for me.”
Chandler said she has had the opportunity to visit Branson as a visitor and marketer over the past five years and said, “Branson is a shining jewel in Missouri tourism’s crown of destination,” going on to say how easy it is to promote such a place.
Chandler said she is open to the challenges and opportunity to take a deeper dive into each of the tourism assets in Branson.
As for specific ventures in Branson tourism, Chandler said she would have to look deeper into the research before citing anything, noting her heavy reliance on research to make critical decisions. Although, she did mention opportunity for growth in the family fun market, shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Summers said Chandler has been working closely with Dan Lennon, the former vice president of marketing whom left the chamber to join the Missouri Division of Tourism in February.
Lynn Berry, director of public relations for the chamber, said there are no new developments in the search for a replacement for Bethany Thomas who served as the chamber senior vice president before she left in early April.
Chandler will begin at the chamber on May 20 after leaving her current position at Hoffman/Lewis, according to the chamber press release.