Visit Loudoun’s President and CEO Beth Erickson was one of only 40 graduates nationwide to be presented with the Certified Destination Management Executive designation by the Destination Marketing Association this year.
The award was presented at the association’s 2016 Convention in Minneapolis, MN.
The integrated executive program is designed to better prepare senior tourism executives for change and competition and to help them become more effective leaders.
Erickson has been at the helm of Visit Loudoun for three years.
She said the program gave her the opportunity to strengthen her skills and gain understanding of issues that might affect Visit Loudoun and the community it serves, as well as becoming a more effective leader and contributor to the tourism industry.
“The key part of the program, and why it’s so important, is that it allows us to learn from others their best practices, whether they’re large jurisdictions like New York or Los Angeles, or smaller areas,” she said. “It lets us look at the challenges and opportunities that are always of value in professional development.”
A resident of Waterford for 30 years, Erickson worked for the nonprofit Journey Through Hallowed Ground for 10 years before taking over at Visit Loudoun after serving on its board of directors for many years, including as its chairwoman.
It was during that decade-long stint that Erickson said she learned the power of collaboration.
“I learned that visitors don’t recognize county boundaries. They look for unique and memorable experiences that come as a result of collaboration and partnerships in promoting a destination,” she said.
Partnerships with other organizations and Visit Loudoun partners are a key part of its success in promoting Loudoun County as a destination to larger audiences, she said.
With the certification, Erickson joined the ranks of more than 400 professionals who have participated in the program over the past 22 years.