Katherine O'Donnell headshot
Katherine O'Donnell, CDME
Executive Vice President
Richmond Region Tourism

Katherine O’Donnell serves as Executive Vice President of Richmond Region Tourism. She was named to the role in 2018 after 16 years of Marketing and Community Relations leadership for the organization. As Executive Vice President, Katherine is responsible for enhancing the internal and organizational processes of Richmond Region Tourism by providing strategic leadership and oversight of business development and relevancy.

Katherine’s primary responsibilities include organizational strategy, advocacy, local media relations, business development and revenue generation. She oversees Sports Tourism Development, Meetings and Convention Sales, Visitor Experience, partnerships, events and training, as well as the organization’s diversity and inclusion strategies and educational Foundation.  Under her leadership, Richmond Region Tourism has consistently communicated the value and economic impact of tourism to the Richmond Region. She launched the wildly successful I Am Tourism community engagement program. She also pioneered OutRVA, the organization’s LGBTQ community-driven tourism effort more than 10 years ago and in 2019, she launched BLK RVA, a campaign to drive visitor spending to Black-owned businesses.  

Following the completion of a 10 year Tourism Master Plan in 2019, Katherine led a staff recalibration and organization realignment to position human and fiscal resources to carry out the plan. Currently, she leads the plan rollout and implementation in close communication with the organization’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  As a result of the plan, Katherine also expanded the mission of the Richmond Region Tourism Foundation to include diversity and inclusion and sports tourism in addition to education.

Katherine is a Certified Destination Management Executive and serves on the Destinations International Advocacy Committee.  In 2018, she chaired the Advocacy Subcommittee to create a standardized presentation template for DMOs to use to demonstrate relevancy in their communities. Katherine was named a Richmond History Maker in 2020 for her work on BLK RVA. She is a member of Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2016. And in 2015, she was named one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 for her work on OutRVA.

Katherine holds a B.A. in English and Journalism from the University of Richmond.  She lives near the University with her husband, Darby, and children Norah and Henry. A North Carolina native, she says “y’all” regularly and spends her free time traveling and running.