Happy September!

Here we are six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. As the seasons continue to change, so have we to meet the challenges of this new era.Our members have shown resilience during this time even with the economic and health challenges. We are all learning to live a new ”normal.” NATJA will continue to monitor the tourism industry and provide you with updates.

Kathryn Farrington, Vice President, Marketing, Discover Newport, RI
Kathryn Farrington

Our Advisory Board Chair, Kathryn Farrington, has stepped down from her position. Please join me in thanking Kathryn for her leadership, thoughtfulness, and humor during the last nine years. Kathryn has agreed to remain on the Advisory Board.

As we move forward, we thought it best to have two Co-Chairs, one media and one DMO. Please join me in welcoming Tim Lefel and Francesca Donlan as our new NATJA Advisory Board Co-Chairs! 

Advisory Board Member & Co-Chair Francesca Donlan

Francesca Donlan, APR, serves as the communications director for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau in Fort Myers, Fla. Prior to her position in public relations, she spent 20 years as a journalist working at newspapers throughout the country. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University and a master’s degree for journalism from the University of Missouri.

Advisory Board Member & Co-Chair Tim Leffel

Tim Leffel is a veteran travel writer, editor, blogger, and author. He is founder of the award-winning Perceptive Travel online magazine and blog, the Cheapest Destinations Blog, Hotel Scoop, and others. He is the author of multiple books that have appeared in multiple editions including Travel Writing 2.0, The World’s Cheapest Destinations, and A Better Life for Half the Price. His work has appeared in more than 50 publications and he is frequently invited to speak at industry conferences and events. See more at www.TimLeffel.com.

Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) working committee continues to meet and was instrumental in the survey you received to help us identify issues and questions and form a profile of our membership. Thank you to all who responded and who have offered to be part of this important committee. We will announce new additions soon.

In addition to me and Yanira Leon on our staff, the following Advisory Board members make up our DEIA working committee:

Lastly, get ready for our annual NATJA Awards Competition which will officially open October 1st. Stay tuned for more information.

For those in the U.S., have a happy, safe, and socially distanced Labor Day! 

Warm regards,

Helen Hernandez
Chief Executive Officer

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