How do you promote an entire city? The Cincinnati Visitors Bureau (CVB) is tasked with doing that difficult job. While there's much to love about the Queen City and championing it can feel second nature at times, there's still a lot that goes into it.
We wanted to get to know Julie Calvert, President/CEO of the CVB, otherwise known as Cincinnati USA, to learn more about who steers the ship of the organization that seeks to promote Cincinnati’s awesomeness, and what's on the horizon for the city as a whole.
HERE AND BACK AGAIN
A Finneytown High School and Miami University grad, she actually left Cincy after college. “I started my career as a journalist in Boston and Cleveland, then came back to Cincinnati," she says. "That taught me how to listen and tell people’s or organization’s stories."
Calvert began her career with the CVB just three months after the April riots and three weeks before 9/11.
“Relying on skills learned from prior jobs and understanding crisis from media work, I was able to help craft a plan and messaging to drive both the region and an industry to stability.” She recalls.
How'd she do that exactly? Calvert credits “careful, thoughtful messaging, partnership development, and follow-through.”
There were challenges, but Calvert sees them as opportunities to competitively position Cincinnati 10 to 20 years from now.
“Our view has to be in the future and everything we do today, every decision we make, has to have our destination of 20 years in the future as the end goal.” She says.
EVERY DAY'S A PEP RALLY
The end goal is definitely on her mind, but what's it like day-to-day? Well, she’s just thrilled to promote Cincy. “What an honor to wake up everyday moving the city you love forward! This isn’t a job–it’s a passion, and when you approach it like that, there is gratification in every aspect of what you’re doing.”
Her passion for promoting the city doesn't go unnoticed, especially when discussing what Cincinnati has accomplished over the last 6 years. The World Choir Games (2012), the MLB All Star Game (2015), and, BLINK Cincinnati (2017) were some of Cincy's biggest and brightest moments. And her enthusiasm doesn't stop at locally hosted international events. She heralds homegrown organizations such as Brandemonium, Film Cincinnati, our major league sports teams, and the many startups that make our city a vibrant, culturally rich city.
Cincy is also a food destination. “Our entire culinary scene is among the best in the nation,” she says. “Every day, another national outlet is singing its praises–from Forbes to the NYT, to Food and Wine to millennial-focused publications, we are the top of every list.”
What’s the next big thing for Cincy? Five things, actually, according to Calvert.
- The newly renovated Cincinnati Museum Center will soon be home to a new special exhibit called GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World as well as the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.
- The Brewing Heritage Trail, which offers multiple ways to experience Cincy’s role in brewing, is under construction and will feature two events in September to celebrate the grand opening of the first trail segment.
- BLINK returns in 2019.
- FC Cincy joins Major League Soccer.
- Hamilton is coming to the Aronoff.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Do you share Calvert’s enthusiasm for Cincinnati? Check out the photo gallery above and consider promoting Cincinnati tourism by joining the CVB’s Cincy USA Tourism Ambassador program.