Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Sustainability. Engagement. 

One of these things is not like the others.

EDI and sustainability. Both of these were on the radar of most destination organizations seven years ago. But to be clear, in 2017, EDI was focused on displaying diversity in marketing material. As for sustainability, it was strictly concerned for the most part with environmental sustainability.

Fast forward to today and you’ll see EDI firmly entrenched as a key objective and guiding principle at most DMOs and sustainability has taken on a mantle that essentially includes social economic and environmental sustainability.

However, when it comes to EDI, sustainability, and engagement … indeed, one of these things is not like the other.

I'll put it this way: you can have EDI, you can have sustainability of all sorts, even a living wage or affordable housing in any destination … but you can't do any of that without engagement.

The first annual PACE Forum in February 2024 was a huge step forward for the industry. It was a big moment in the evolution of community and stakeholder engagement in destination management; a bedrock piece for advancing partnership and community alignment that has finally come into its own as an annual meeting of the minds and sharing of intelligence.

More than a decade of perseverance, vision, and dedicated work by many across the industry made this event possible. Two of those people instrumental in PACE's evolution are Polly Flachman and Judy Reese.

Polly Flachman is the Vice President of Community Engagement at Visit Phoenix. She is an innovator, broad thinker, and strong advocate for the move to engagement-based destination management.

Judy Cullen recently retired as Vice President of Community and Partner Development at Visit Salt Lake, but couldn’t say no to keeping a hand in the PACE movement to help see it across the finish line. 

Tune in as Judy and Polly join me to talk about the future of engagement.

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