In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

Loren Gold has an entrepreneurial streak that informs pretty much everything he does. He isn’t afraid to step out of the norm in order to create a more perfect future. In fact, he's constantly looking for ways to shape and adjust our industry to better meet the needs of our stakeholders and better serve the interests of our visitors.

He's a collaborator and an architect who really does believe that we are all better off when we are rowing in the same direction and singing from the same song sheet. The work he has done on alignment in Raleigh North Carolina is exceptional. But in true Loren form, he credits everyone who is part of the movement and shines very little light on himself.

In this current crisis he talks about being really encouraged by the collaboration from the owner operator stakeholders on the ground in Raleigh right up to the state level in North Carolina. “I'm proud of the collaborative work between the state of North Carolina, the North Carolina Restaurant Lodging Association, our CVB and the city and county stakeholders,” says Loren.

In my opinion, that seamless and functional collaboration was years in the making and one that had everything to with Loren Gold’s steady hand.

It is not surprising that as a guiding principle Loren credits and subscribes to Maura Gast’s destination management cycle: Places that people want to visit are places that people want to work, and places that people want to work are places the business needs to be, and places that business needs to be are places to people want to visit.

Destination Management Cycle
Maura Gast Executive Director, Irving Texas CVB

Loren’s personal model for sustainable destination development is “about identifying your key stakeholders and getting everybody to the table.” s He adds, “I really try to (teach) our staff that you've got two sets of clients or two sets of stakeholders. You have got your externals which are our visitors, our meeting planners or events right holders, and you've got your internal, our hotels, our facilities, our business leaders.”

In fact, Loren will go so far as to say that collaboration, the number of interests sitting at the table, the horizontal and vertical alignment of the CVB with complimentary and even competing outside interests needs to be a key KPI of modern destination management.

Loren credits the leadership of Denny Edwards, Visit Raleigh’s CEO, for creating an environment for that kind of collaboration to shine, “I believe when you sit back and look beyond what we know is our core of our hotel partners, our facility partners, our attraction partners, (you have to ask) who beyond that group is a part of this engagement. Through Denny’s leadership what we've done over the years is create a very succinct, very transparent and (very) public operating plan. It feeds into a 10-year plan, which is also right out there on our website, and again everybody had a say in it.”

Loren likes to say he is lucky. “We've been very fortunate in Raleigh. I know, in some other cities there's been some bold personalities and, you know, some grinding of the gears if you will, in dealing with stakeholders and certainly folks in the public sector. But we've generally had a city that is interested in growing itself.”

It is typical of Loren in his humility to call it luck, but as the great Canadian writer Stepehn Leacock so eloquently put it at the turn of the last century, “I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” 

And as far I am concerned, Loren and the leadership team at Visit Raleigh, like many great leaders I know, make their own luck!