Lisa Anders is executive director of Explore Gwinnett, the County”s official tourism organization (formerly known as the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau). Marketing the area as a destination for conventions, sporting events, meetings and leisure travel, Explore Gwinnett also houses the Gwinnett Sports Commission and oversees management and marketing of Gwinnett Center. Gwinnett Magazine recently asked Anders about leadership, fostering collaboration and what brings visitors to Gwinnett.
GM: Has the Explore Gwinnett re-branding launch gone smoothly?
LA: “We unveiled Explore Gwinnett last year and most people have had positive things to say. Our new tagline, Atlanta”s Playground, is a product of surveys and focus groups. What appeals to people visiting Gwinnett are our outdoor and recreational assets. This [tagline] also allows us to tie in Atlanta. When people from out of town are planning trips, it helps bring them here.”
GM: Why is collaboration key among hospitality venues?
LA: “Everyone is starting to realize that you can get so much more when you work with someone – and you can get the same – if not better – benefits. We have to have collaboration to keep events in Gwinnett. We”ve started to see competitors getting together, to share space, for instance. That”s kind of unheard of, but people are really thinking differently these days. I think that”s becoming more and more important.”
GM:# What is your leadership style?
LA: “It”s evolving every day. I came up through the ranks of the GCVB. I”ve worked every position in this office, so I understand what people are going through at each phase. My general philosophy is to hire really good people and let them do their jobs. I do not believe in micromanaging. I also make sure I”m delegating the right work to the right people.”
GM: What are some Explore Gwinnett facts that might surprise folks?
SC: “Tourism is a big industry in Gwinnett. We had our 101st hotel in the county open in September. Last year, we had almost 3.5 million visitors. The Convention Center and Arena had almost one million people in attendance last year.”