Getting to Know Dawn Holden

Learn more about Destinations International's VP of Member Engagement with five short questions!

Join us as we learn more about Dawn Holden, VP of Member Engagement.

What was your first job in Tourism?

I was hired as the second full time hire at the Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau in Mercer County, PA. This organization is now known as Visit Mercer County PA! I was hired in 2001 and started shortly after 9/11. Working at this CVB made me who I am today. The Executive Director, Peggy Mazyck, gave me the liberty to make decisions and test out marketing and sales initiatives with her guidance. It provided me the opportunity to truly learn all aspects of a Convention & Visitors Bureau. Working at a small destination organization where everyone must roll up their sleeves and be prepared to assist with whatever is needed truly allows you to be well-versed in the industry. I also gave a report on my activities to the board members at board meetings, it enabled me to become comfortable interacting with stakeholders early in my career. Peggy continues to serve as a mentor and friend.

Tell us about your CDME Experience. How do you see it shaping you in your role as Vice President of Membership Engagement at Destinations International?

My Certified Destination Management Executive experience has been phenomenal. It provided an opportunity for me to learn from some of the best in the industry on topics that are and will remain relevant in the industry. I learned what to do and what not to do when managing and leading in the CVB space. I also had the opportunity to connect with and establish relationships with individuals all over the world. These individuals have become trusted advisors.

The CDME prepared me for the position by serving as a platform for me to forge relationships with individuals that I now get the pleasure of working with daily in my new role. It also enhanced my ability to communicate with members of destination organizations at all levels as well as have an idea of what is important to our Destinations International members.

What is the single most important ingredient to the success of a new member organization to maximize their benefits?

The most important ingredient to the success of a new member is being active. Begin by immediately connecting with our Membership Engagement team and getting signed up for the “Get the Most out of your Destinations International Membership Webinar.” But don’t stop there ... stay connected and involved. Constantly stay in front of Destinations International as a member. Take advantage of the webinars we provide, sign up for professional development, stay abreast of what is occurring from our advocacy department. Let everyone within your organization know that membership is for them and that there are components of membership that will benefit them. Follow up on where you are in the membership cycle and let us know if you have new team members who need to be introduced to Destinations International.

What are my favorite industry reads/publications?

My Favorite industry reads are Don Welsh’s "Biweekly Update", PCMA’s "News Junkie" and U.S. Travel Association’s "Week in Washington".

What is your favorite destination/vacation to date?

I have several too many to name, I will share a few. I love staycationing in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh. Paris and Banff are stunning! I love spending time in Montreal, it makes me feel as if I went to Europe with less travel time.​

About the Author

Dawn Holden
Vice President of Membership Engagement
Destinations International
Dawn develops and implements the overall strategic direction of the organization’s membership operations including the recruitment and retention of members, member services and engagement. She also works in tandem with the senior executive team to develop planning, logistical, and budgetary strategies to contribute to the overall success of the organization and membership base.