Dear Big Sky Chamber member businesses and fellow community members,
Knowing how quickly news travels in Big Sky, I wanted you to be among the first to learn from me directly that I have taken a new position as President/CEO of the Sedona, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.
My last day with the Big Sky Chamber & Visit Big Sky will be Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Between now and then, it is my hope that we will get the opportunity to connect in-person which we have not been able to do for so long.
Yesterday I submitted the following letter to Board Chairmen Scott Johnson and Tim Drain. I cannot thank them, the boards and you enough for entrusting me to speak on your behalf as the Voice of Big Sky business, one deeply rooted in our visitor economy. I know the last 9 months have been some of the most difficult in modern times for our small business owners which 83% of you are.
Know that TEAM Big Sky has been here to support you. Your survival has been and continues to be our #1 priority and what motivates us to come to work everyday. Just like Santa and his elves off busy working in the North Pole to deliver Christmas, our work many times is done in stealth mode, but done nonetheless until the time when it’s needed most and reveals itself. We pledge to ensure our residents, frontline workers and visitors stay safe, our businesses stay open and our Big Sky community stays strong and all our work supports this. Our resilience will see us emerge stronger from the pandemic. We have proven time and time again, we are after all, better together.
Dear Chairmen Scott Johnson and Tim Drain,
Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am resigning as CEO of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce & Visit Big Sky to take on a new position as President/CEO of the Sedona, AZ Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. My last day will be Wednesday, February 10, 2021.
It has been an honor to serve with so many dedicated professionals and caring human beings. I am grateful for getting the opportunity to work beside committed community leaders every day to support Big Sky in its continued evolution from a destination ski resort to a sustainable, year-round community.
The rise of the Big Sky destination to become the leading bed tax collector in the state from 5th during my four year tenure is what propelled me to simultaneously initiate steps to obtain the Mountain IDEAL certification, a highly prized designation from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council recognizing mountain destinations that practice rigorous destination management and environmental stewardship. The newly formed SNO, Big Sky’s Sustainability Network Organization was one outcome of this effort. In addition, the unprecedented partnership forged with the Big Sky Resort Area District and Big Sky Relief to ensure the survival of Big Sky’s visitor-based economy and its small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are recent accomplishments of which I am very proud.
I am confident that the power of partnership forged through Big Sky Relief which has invested $2 million to-date to support the community, including the recently announced Free COVID-19 Big Sky Community-wide Surveillance Testing Partnership for winter 20/21, will ensure Big Sky’s resiliency. Efforts by the Big Sky Chamber & Visit Big Sky included providing nearly 60 small businesses with $2,500-$5,000 microgrants, making PPE including 250,000 masks available for free, and disseminating public health messaging under the state’s ‘Montana Aware – Safety First. Adventure Second.’ campaign. This illustrates our organizations’ commitment to keep Big Sky’s residents, frontline hospitality workers and visitors safe, our small businesses open and our community strong.
Together, we have positioned Big Sky as the premier place to live, work, play, visit and do business in the state of Montana. A record-breaking summer tourism season, and the sale of more than $1 billion in real estate over the past three months during a global pandemic are a testament to that.
Change is never easy, and the transition will present challenges, however I am committed to ensuring it is as smooth as possible. Our staff is the most talented and dedicated team we have ever assembled, and our Boards represent Big Sky’s finest business leaders, so I have no doubt things are being left in good hands.
I will carry with me fond memories of the special people and place that is Big Sky. The best kept secret of The Last Best place is out, and Big Sky will benefit exponentially. I look forward to watching from afar, and to visiting on occasion to see the progress for myself.