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University of Minnesota Extension

Growing tourism leadership online course

“In your early years, you are measured primarily for your individual contributions. Thus, it is difficult for emerging leaders to recognize that leadership is not about them and their ability to attract followers but is about serving others to bring out the best in them.”

- Bill George, Harvard Business School professor and former CEO of Medtronic 

This six-part webinar series from University of Minnesota Tourism Center features one-hour, interactive sessions to strengthen the knowledge and leadership skills of early and mid-career tourism professionals. Whether you're a part of a CVB, chamber of commerce, business council, or Main Street organization, this course is for you.

The course is designed to help you build connections with industry peers. You’ll be part of a cohort that combines live webinars and peer discussions with opportunities to extend your learning through videos, articles and interactive resources. Throughout the series, you’ll engage with peers, learn from professionals and receive extensive resources to deepen your knowledge. Sessions will help you build the skills and confidence to lead tourism efforts in your community.

Course series webinars

Session 1: Community tourism: Context, funding, and trends

Tourism organizations operate within the complex context of a community or a region, and they work with many stakeholders. This webinar explores the community context and types of destination organizations and funding structures (e.g., CVB, chamber of commerce, business council, or Main Street organization) that set the stage for staff leadership roles.


Session 2: Leading from every role

When it comes to making a difference, leadership matters — whether you’re in a position of leadership or not. Leading means influencing or guiding direction, action, or opinion, and it can happen in any role. During this webinar, we’ll discuss how leadership appears within the tourism context, the difference between leading and managing, and how to grow your leadership.


Session 3: Leading with focus

With all the busyness in today’s world and workplaces, how do you decide where to pay attention? During this webinar, you’ll learn about a tool that will help you determine where to focus your attention so you can best leverage your leadership and how to manage all the details of a job.


Session 4: Using data

Data drives a destination organization’s marketing, management and communications strategies. This webinar will help you understand what different types of data tell you, research you can do yourself, when it’s best to seek expertise, and how to use data to tell your story. You’ll also gain resources for finding useful secondary data, assessing big data and asking critical questions.


Session 5: Leading an effective team, committee or board

During this webinar, you’ll learn about the key functions of a productive team, how to effectively recruit volunteers and board members, how to keep groups on track, and how to make group decisions that stick. You’ll also receive a participant workbook with helpful tools and information on each concept.


Session 6: Effective communication

Communication is the core of a destination organization's mission. With many community stakeholders — local businesses, government, and residents — it’s important to understand what each one needs or wants. During this webinar, you’ll learn how to engage stakeholders and successfully identify their needs. As a leader in your community, effective communication with stakeholders is key to strengthening your destination marketing efforts.




The course includes:

  • Six webinars, plus extensive resources valued at more than $99
  • A cohort series — single webinars are not available
  • A certificate of completion after successfully completing the series


We are planning to offer a course in 2023. Please check back or join our email list for notifications about future webinars.


Contact DeeDee LeMier if you have questions.


This webinar series was created in collaboration with Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (MACVB). Funded in part with a grant from Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation.

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