Brad Dean, CEO of the newly established Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization (“Corporación para la Promoción de Puerto Rico como Destino”), today announced the appointments of two key members of the DMO’s leadership team. Leah Chandler, CDME, has been named Chief Marketing Officer, effective mid-May and Alma Pedrosa, CPA, CDME, as Chief Financial Officer, as of July 1. These are the first two leadership positions to be filled since Dean was appointed CEO in March 2018. The new DMO will become the Island’s official off-Island marketing organization effective July 1, 2018.
The private, not-for-profit DMO was created in March 2017 through bi-partisan legislation that provides a $25 million annual investment to manage all global marketing, sales and promotion of Puerto Rico in collaboration with local government and industry partners.
“There is nothing greater than the transformative power of travel and tourism to help Puerto Rico, its residents and businesses continue towards its already promising recovery,” stated Dean. “Leah and Alma will be instrumental in working with the Board of Directors and our stakeholders as we work to collectively ensure the DMO is a transformational structure positively impacting the Island’s economic growth through business and leisure tourism.”
Most recently, Chandler was the Chief Marketing Officer for the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau in Branson, Missouri where she contributed to measurable results through a brand re-positioning and digital media strategy. Among them, the generation of a 79% increase in marketing reach, four years of record tax receipts and visitation, and a 6.3% return on investment increase for the overall marketing program. A 16-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Chandler has 10 years of agency experience representing the Missouri and Indiana state tourism accounts, respectively.
Dean indicated that Chandler is widely respected by her peers throughout the travel and tourism industry and brings outstanding experience and professional record to the Puerto Rico DMO. “Leah is a skilled industry leader and will be instrumental in developing and leading the DMO’s effort to successfully engage with the community at large. Her varied experience within the industry, leading integrated marketing initiatives in the tourism and travel sectors will add a valuable component to all the initiatives the DMO is pursuing to make Puerto Rico a premier destination.”
Chandler expressed her enthusiasm in joining the Puerto Rico DMO. “Puerto Rico is a unique Island, with diverse attributes that make it an outstanding destination. This exceptional opportunity will allow me to use my knowledge and experience to make a transformational impact, promote a world-class destination, and support Puerto Rico’s economic growth.”
Joining the leadership team as Chief Financial Officer, Pedrosa is no stranger to the Island’s travel and tourism industry as she is currently Acting President & CEO and Director of Finance & Administration with Meet Puerto Rico, the private, non-profit organization charged with marketing the Island as a premier meetings and convention destination. In this role, Pedrosa is responsible for the strategic planning and direction of the financial and administrative functions of Meet Puerto Rico. She brings a broad understanding of all aspects of a DMO. She has worked in multinational and local firms such as Ernst & Young, and RSM Associates in auditing and accounting; as well as an independent consultant for a variety of clients, including the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC).
Dean lauded Pedrosa for her critical market knowledge and DMO experience. “Alma has relevant industry experience with a strong combination of knowledge of the local market, handling of destination marketing and managing financial structures. These skills are critical as we embark on our mission to develop a DMO based on transparency and accountability.”
Pedrosa shared, “This new position allows me the opportunity to continue working in an industry that has a positive economic impact on the Island. I’m thrilled to join a group of well-known professionals who share a strong commitment with Puerto Rico and passion for an industry that transforms lives and countries.”