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VCB announces new marketing director, sales intern

By Staff | Apr 11, 2011

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), representing The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in Southwest Florida, welcomed two new members to its staff: Laura Chmielewski, marketing director, and Andrew Pritchett, sales intern.

Chmielewski will coordinate the day-to-day efforts of a multi-million dollar advertising contract, oversee the development of all creative work, and evaluate technology and content of social network websites to devise strategies to further marketing and branding efforts online.

Furthermore, she will review market, competition and consumer trends and recommend publicity plans, ensure all VCB promotional efforts are integrated and strategic and create brand position. Chmielewski brings a wealth of knowledge from her past experience, including a position with a top-tier destination marketing organization (DMO) and her work in film production.

Most recently, Chmielewski served as the deputy director at the Chicago Office of Tourism. The City of Chicago hosts, on average, over 40 million visitors annually and tourism contributes more than $10 billion yearly to the local economy. In this position she oversaw all areas of marketing strategy and tactics including development, creation of promotional programs, team leadership, media planning and events management. She developed programs to promote Chicago as one of the world’s leading leisure travel destinations, and was heavily involved in the creation and management of new marketing tools, such as online interactive media, live events and strategic partnerships.

Before joining the Chicago Office of Tourism, Chmielewski worked in freelance film production where she produced over 300 music videos, CD covers, commercials, in-store point of sale promotions, billboards, national print ads and television guest appearances. Through this position she initiated and managed all aspects of the film production process.

She has additional tourism experience through her time spent working at The Art Institute of Chicago in the Visitor Services department.

Chmielewski is the recipient of the 2009 Illinois Governor’s Award for Best Creative Cooperative Partnership: Explore Chicago Exhibit at O’Hare International Airport and the 2009 Airports Council International-North America Excellence in Marketing and Communications First Place Award.

Chmielewski holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois.

Pritchett will gain experience in convention sales and marketing, convention servicing and event planning. Also, Prichett will gain an understanding of the critical role that the VCB plays in promoting Lee County as a tourism destination. Some of his duties will include acting as a liaison between group planners and member suppliers, assisting with itinerary planning, planning and executing tradeshow events, administration tasks and gaining hands on experience working in a destination marketing organization.

A graduate student at Florida Gulf Coast University, Pritchett is working to complete a master’s degree in business administration. He previously earned an Associate of Arts degree from Edison State College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Gulf Coast University. His experience includes an internship at the State Attorney’s Office, 20th judicial circuit in Fort Myers, where he served as an administration intern in the accounting and felony prosecution offices.

Prichett is an active participant in several volunteer organizations including Susan G. Komen for The Cure and Relay for Life and is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.