New CEO plus Door County’s Biggest Fan Highlight Destination Door County’s 96th Annual Meeting
Destination Door County (DDC), the county’s destination marketing and management organization, celebrated a year like no other during their 96th annual meeting on Tuesday night at Fernwood Gardens Ballroom at Mr. G’s near Jacksonport.
Around 130 business leaders and community members gathered for the first time in over 2 years to meet DDC’s new President and CEO, Julie Gilbert. Gilbert was named the organization’s new leader last month, and officially began her duties on November 15. Gilbert has more than 30 years of experience in the destination marketing industry and was most recently the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Destination Niagara USA in Niagara Falls, New York.
The evening began with a social hour, which included a photo booth opportunity for attendees. The evening’s program included remarks from DDC Board Chairman Todd Trimberger, new President/CEO Gilbert, and the official business of the evening took place when new and existing DDC board members were voted in by those members present. Carol Ash (Kick Ash Products), Jennifer Gentry (One Barrel Brewing) and Bryan Nelson (Blacksmith Inn on The Shore) were all voted in for their first 3-year term on the DDC board and Meredith Coulson-Kanter (White Gull Inn), Hoyt Purinton (Washington Island Ferry) and Vicki Wilson (Door County Coffee and Tea) were all approved for their second 3-year term. The new terms all begin in January 2022.
The evening’s big surprise came when DDC presented special guest AJ Dillon with a key to Door County. Dillon, a running back for the Green Bay Packers, has been a self-appointed cheerleader for all things Door County since the summer of 2021. Through his social media channels and during interviews and media appearances, he’s regularly shared his enthusiasm and love for the destination, publicly stating his desire to someday have the key to Door County. DDC’s Gilbert happily surprised Dillon by presenting him with a special key during the event after a short highlight video shared a few examples of AJ talking up Door County.
“I love everything about Door County,” said AJ Dillon after being presented the key from DDC President & CEO Julie Gilbert. “Thank you guys very much, super honored, and a little taken a back right now, thank you so much," Dillon concluded.
View a video of the presentation to AJ Dillon and his reaction to getting the key to Door County on DDC's YouTube channel.
The evening wrapped up with more socializing, additional photo booth fun with special guest AJ Dillon, and a positive outlook on the upcoming winter season and continued success in 2022.
Destination Door County is the official tourism marketing and management organization for Door County whose mission is to inspire travel that drives community enhancement while working to ensure all travelers feel welcome, preserving the county’s way of life and protecting the region’s natural resources.
Photo below: AJ Dillon's reaction to Destination Door County President/CEO Julie Gilbert telling him he was getting the key to Door County on November 16, 2021. (Destination Door County photo)
Photo below: Destination Door County President/CEO Julie Gilbert presents the key to Door County to AJ Dillon on November 16, 2021. (Destination Door County photo)
Photo below: AJ Dillon talks to the crowd after receiving the key to Door County on November 16, 2021 at Destination Door County's 96th annual meeting. (Destination Door County photo)