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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Beach Hires First Culturaltourism Director For New Department

Miami Beach Hires First Culturaltourism Director For New Department

Written by on January 23, 2003

By Frank Norton
Miami Beach this week hired the first director for its new Department of Tourism and Cultural Development, created to nurture the city’s related economies.

Donna Shaw, most recently vice president with Custom Marketing Group in Chicago, will begin sketching out a strategic development plan that links Miami Beach with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Performing Arts Center in Miami, now under construction. She is to start in early February.

City Manager Jorge M. Gonzales hired her based on 25 years of experience in tourism and cultural arts, most notably as director of tourism and film for the Illinois Department of Community Affairs from 1991 to 1999.

In that role she managed the largest tourism budget in the nation, according to her resume, and increased the economic impact of that industry by 50%.

As director of Tourism and Cultural Development she will report to Assistant City Manager Christina Cuervo on matters such as film, art in public places, the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Jackie Gleason Theater of Performing Arts, Mr. Gonzales said in a letter to the city commission.

He added: The goal of the new post is to further develop tourist and culture-driven businesses and create a long-range strategic plan for continual development in those industries.

"After meeting with Donna and speaking to several people that she has worked for and with, I knew that she was the best and most qualified candidate for this important position," he wrote.

Ms. Shaw, who will earn $110,000 in her new job, has also worked in advertising, sales and marketing divisions with big-name firms in Chicago, including Bozell Advertising Worldwide and NBC radio affiliate WMAQ.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Northwestern University and describes herself as "high-energy, dynamic and visionary."

"We were looking for a savvy specialist that can deal with hoteliers, the visitors’ bureau and multiple layers of government," Mr. Gonzales said. "Donna has been doing all of it."