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Industry Briefs

Longtime Industry Executive Sonya Bradley Will Helm Role to Create Opportunities and Lasting Change in the Tourism Industry in the Sacramento Region and Across the Country

Visit Sacramento announced recently that longtime leader and Chief Marketing Officer Sonya Bradley will become Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). This new position was created specifically to address the organization's commitment to taking action and creating change when it comes to DEI within Visit Sacramento, the tourism industry in the Sacramento region and throughout the country. 

Bradley, a 25-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, has most recently overseen marketing at Visit Sacramento for the past 15 years. She helped lead the creation of the position after the killing of George Floyd prompted Bradley and the team at Visit Sacramento to reexamine its own actions around equity and inclusion and look more deeply at the organization's role in the community. And after spending her entire professional career in tourism, Bradley feels a personal call to pave the way for the next generation of tourism workers.

"Tourism has been fulfilling both professionally and personally and I've had tremendous opportunities in this industry," said Bradley. "Yet, I still see a relatively small number of people who look like me in the industry. This is Visit Sacramento's chance to change that. Because this moment in time since last summer is too big to ignore or end up on the back burner because a box has been checked."

Bradley's work will extend to all departments within the organization, with specific examples that include:

Working alongside the Marketing and Sales departments to create campaign content and imagery that is truly reflective of the diverse communities within Sacramento, and seek out meetings and conventions with a majority of diverse attendees

Collaborating with local tourism, hospitality and related businesses to examine their DEI practices and identify areas for growth/make recommendations to diversify their workforce, and expand their reach in the community to enhance the visitor experience 

·      Actively monitoring for opportunities to bring the impact of tourism - hotel and attraction development, hospitality jobs, visitor spending - to neighborhoods, businesses and individuals that/who may not have fully benefited from tourism before

·      Sharing and collaborating on best practices and exploring how tourism organizations can better incorporate DEI into daily operations with peers around the country

"At Visit Sacramento, we often say that tourism isn't about the tourist, it's about making Sacramento a better place for the people who live here," said Visit Sacramento President & CEO Mike Testa. "Tourism employs thousands of people in our city and brings millions of dollars here each year. But if not everyone in Sacramento is represented in what we're doing, then we aren't going far enough. This new position is the next step in making sure that tourism really is a positive force for our entire community."

Bradley has already begun establishing steering committees to inform her work, made up of local leaders and experts who can speak to the challenges and experiences of people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and other historically underrepresented groups in Sacramento. She currently serves as the chair for the CalTravel (California Travel Association) DEI committee established last year.

About Visit Sacramento
Visit Sacramento works to improve the quality of life for locals by driving visitor spending that supports our local business community, creates jobs and makes Sacramento a better place to call home.

As the premier economic development and services organization for the region's convention and tourism industry, Visit Sacramento develops and executes sales, marketing and customer service programs, along with special events, designed to draw overnight visitors to the city and create market prestige. Brands operating under the Visit Sacramento umbrella include America's Farm-to-Fork Capital , the Visit Sacramento Sports Commission , Sacramento365 (a joint partnership with the City of Sacramento's Convention & Cultural Services Department and the Office of Arts & Culture) and Sac Event Crew .

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