Twenty-three Destination Marketing Professionals Receive Certified Destination Management Executive Designations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Twenty-three industry professionals have earned the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation, the only integrated executive program specifically designed for the destination marketing industry.

“The CDME program is recognized as the highest educational achievement for destination management professionals.  By earning this designation, these graduates join an elite group of professionals who seek to elevate the industry and its standards,” said Kristin McGrath, CDME, Chair of DMAI's Education Committee.   

The CDME program is designed to better prepare senior DMO executives and managers for increasing change and competition and to become more effective organizational and community leaders.  The program focuses on vision, leadership, productivity and strengthening business acumen. 

Over 200 destination marketing professionals have achieved the CDME designation to-date. More destination marketing organization CEOs (nearly 20 percent) report earning their CDME than those who have earned Master’s degrees. The following individuals were recognized for their CDME certification during the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) 99th Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida on July 17, 2013:

  1. Keith Backsen, Vice President, Spokane Regional CVB
  2. Kim Baker, Director of Marketing, Santa Monica CVB
  3. Karyl Leigh Barnes, Senior Vice President/Partner, Development Counsellors International    
  4. Vicki Higgins, Executive Marketing Officer & EVP, Newport Beach and Company
  5. Misty Johantgen, Senior Vice President, Partner Relations & Development, Visit Orlando
  6. Linda John, Executive Director, Visit Eau Claire
  7. Jennifer Johnson, Director of Finance, Monterey County CVB     
  8. Nancy Justman, Executive Director, Visit Brookfield
  9. Stephen Koranda, Executive Director, Norman CVB
  10. Kathy McKillip, Director, Nebraska Tourism Commission             
  11. Diane Morgenthaler, Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Planning, Greater Madison CVB
  12. Todd O'Leary, Vice President of Partnership, San Francisco Travel Association
  13. Wes Rhea, CEO, Stockton CVB   
  14. Marla Roe, Executive Director, Frisco CVB
  15. Lauren Rogers, Director, Sales and Services, Santa Monica CVB
  16. Shannon Rose, Director of Business Services, Calhoun County CVB
  17. Kathy Silverthorn, Executive Director, Red Wing CVB
  18. Tico Soto, Sales Director, Lakes Charles/SW Louisiana                  
  19. Eric Summe, President & CEO, Northern Kentucky CVB
  20. Jay Tusa, Director of Communications and Research, Louisiana Office of Tourism
  21. Patrick Tuttle, Director, Joplin CVB         
  22. Ellie Westman Chin, Vice President, Business Development & Corporate Events, Atlanta CVB  
  23. Beth Wiles, Executive Director, Pulaski County CVB


Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) protects and advances the success of destination marketing worldwide. DMAI's influential membership includes nearly 600 official destination marketing organizations (DMOs), also known as tourism boards or Convention and Visitor Bureaus, from nearly 20 countries that command $2.1 billion in annual budgets. As the world's largest and most reliable resource for DMOs, it provides more than 3,700 individual members - professionals, industry partners, educators and students - the most innovative and relevant educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing intelligence worldwide. 

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