dmai's annual convention: networking, learning + voluntouring
On July 19-22 I had the privilege of attending the Destination Marketing Association International's (DMAI) Annual Convention in New Orleans. I was joined by TRCVB Chair, Shelly Shlumpf, Chair-Elect, Monique Trudnowski and President + CEO, Tammy Blount for a week of valuable educational sessions, inspiring ideas and strategic networking. 
On the first day of the Convention I participated in a voluntourism activity with the St. Bernard Project to help rebuild the homes and lives of Hurricane Katrina survivors. My fellow volunteers and I assisted with mold remediation and painting in a home that has been inhabitable for more than five years. The experience was both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because I saw first hand the long-term and devastating affects the hurricane had on the families of NOLA. Inspiring because it showed me just how valuable voluntoursim programs can be for convention planners and attendees, which will help in our own program development. 
My attendance at the DMAI Convention was made possible by the organization's new scholarship program focused on young professionals in destination marketing. I was honored to be selected as one of DMAI's ?30 Under 30? program participants, which recognizes emerging leaders in the industry. DMAI covered my registration and overnight accommodations, which allowed me to not only attend, but also to network with my peers, pick up valuable sales and marketing tips and consider the strategic future of the TRCVB and the destination marketing industry in general. I'm excited to implement some new ideas and share my new knowledge with my team and the Pierce County tourism community.