Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs

Melissa Cherry

Miles Partnership , a leading tourism marketing consultancy, recently announced that Melissa Cherry will join the company as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Senior Vice President. Her first official day will be August 23, 2021. She will report to David Burgess, President & CEO.

In this new executive role at Miles, Cherry will lead the development of the organization's diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consulting practice to serve current and potential clients, in addition to guiding the company's internal DEI processes and best practices. Cherry will drive thought leadership to advance the evolution of inclusive marketing strategies across the destination marketing industry.

"As a long-time supporter of Destinations International, we have seen firsthand the impact Melissa creates for destination marketing organizations and their leadership teams," said Burgess. "We are excited that she has chosen Miles Partnership as her next platform from which to execute a shared vision of expanding diversity, equity and inclusion within the travel and tourism industry. We look forward to Melissa bringing her passion and leadership to Miles. Melissa's addition is a critical step in our ongoing commitment to integrating DEI practices across the company to create systemic change within Miles Partnership and to evolving those same practices that we use to better advise our clients, their communities and the visitors they serve."

"I have had the privilege of working with Melissa for nearly 10 years, five at Choose Chicago and five at Destinations International," said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. "She is incredibly dedicated to our industry and its mission and we are beyond grateful for her many contributions to Destinations International and our industry. It goes without saying, we hate to lose Melissa from our team, but she will be working with an incredible partner of Destinations International - David Burgess of Miles Partnership. We are thrilled that Melissa will continue to lead our efforts in the critically important area of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) through the end of the year. We have great momentum under Melissa's leadership and our EDI committee, and we don't want to lose it!"

"I am extremely excited to join the team at Miles Partnership and the opportunity to lead and implement on their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Taking from what we have collectively learned over the last year, this work is necessary to further advance and drive innovation across the travel and tourism industry," said Cherry. "I look forward to being part of this change at Miles and being able to help evolve equitable and inclusive marketing practices that are essential to tourism promotion and ultimately reflect the diverse communities we truly are."

A seasoned tourism executive with 25 years of experience in the industry, Cherry was the Chief Operating Officer at Destinations International, the global trade association for official destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus. She was responsible for the development and execution of the overall marketing and communications, information technology, meetings and education strategies to promote and elevate the association's mission and brand. In this role, Cherry led the rebranding of DMAI to Destinations International in 2017, and mostly recently led the development and launch of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic roadmap on behalf of the association.

Prior to joining Destinations International, Cherry was Senior Vice President for Marketing & Cultural Tourism at Choose Chicago, the official destination organization for Chicago. During her four-year tenure, she led Choose Chicago's domestic and international marketing strategies, and launched the first-ever Cultural Tourism Strategy to increase visitation to and awareness of Chicago's cultural entities, events and neighborhoods.

From 2002 to 2012, Cherry was Vice President of External Affairs for the Chicago History Museum and was responsible for implementing marketing and communications strategies. While there she developed and launched the rebranding of the Chicago Historical Society to the Chicago History Museum in 2005 for the fall 2006 grand- reopening and 150th anniversary events. From 1996 to 2002, Cherry was the Director of Cultural Tourism with the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she was responsible for promoting the cultural destinations of Los Angeles.

Cherry received her M.A. in Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a B.A. in Art History from Howard University.