Episode 207:

With transformation and culture change in her DNA, Judy McKinney-Cherry is a seasoned leader and successful entrepreneur recognized for her expertise in economic and community development. She is sought after and known for her ability to balance a strategic focus with boots on the ground pragmatism that she leverages to help emerging businesses forge growth trajectories and create sustainable and successful futures. Ms. Cherry is currently the Executive Director for SCOPED, the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, and the CEO/CFO for the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency.

Ms. McKinney Cherrys diverse background includes over 25 years of executive experience across the private sector, public sector, and university settings including appointments by the Governors of New York and Delaware. Her service on numerous local, regional, and national Boards includes Corning Community College Regional Board of Trustees, CCS Workforce Investment & Opportunity Board, the Southern Tier Central Planning Council, Locate Finger Lakes!, Erie Canal Heritage Fund, Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Regional Energy and Economic Development Corporation, to name a few.

As a certified economic developer with fellow member status, she also serves on the International Economic Development Council Accreditation Committee. When she manages to pull herself away from doing the work she loves and for which she has an unwavering commitment, you can find her riding her BMW motorcycle, beekeeping, working with raptors, and spending time on the golf course. She currently resides in Watkins Glen with her husband, Phil, her corgi, Winston, and their chickens, Emily, Lucy, and Ethyl.

Destination on the Left is joined by Judy McKinney Cherry, a seasoned economic and community development professional with a wealth of experience in the travel and tourism sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, as well as the CEO, CFO of the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency. Judy has a deep understanding of the role travel and tourism plays as an economic driver in destinations across the country. On our podcast, she joins us to share her story, highlighting the importance of housing in economic performance, and mapping out her collaborative framework as it relates to our 3C’s.

What You Will Learn:

  • Travel and tourism’s role as an economic driver in communities across the country
  • Why housing is critical to the performance of any economy
  • Judy’s experience with collaboration, and how it ties into our 3C’s framework
  • How Judy’s public/private sector perspectives and experience with data influence her decisions
  • Why we need to approach tourism as so much more than promoting/marketing a destination
  • What Judy has done to help her organization stand out from the pack
  • How Judy’s team has used creativity and collaboration to navigate crises
  • How the pandemic has leveled the playing field in travel and tourism

Tourism is Part of the Economic Fabric

Judy McKinney Cherry is a seasoned economic and community development professional with a wealth of experience in the travel and tourism sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, as well as the CEO, CFO of the Schuyler County Industrial Development Agency. Judy has a deep understanding of the role travel and tourism plays as an economic driver in destinations across the country. On our podcast, Judy joins us to share her story, highlighting the importance of housing in economic performance, and mapping out her collaborative framework as it relates to our 3C’s.

More Than Marketing

Judy is extremely data-driven in her approach to strategy, and she views tourism as an economic driver. It is part of the economic fabric of every community, which is why tourism boards and organizations are so much more than marketers alone. If you look at tourism as an entire industry instead of a means of promoting your destination, then you will be able to thrive collectively. Tourism is not a subsect of economic development, it is part of it. And it is a way for communities to engage travelers in ongoing relationships that lead to potential opportunities for growth.

Planning for What-If Scenarios

In travel and tourism, Judy is always planning for the what-if scenarios. COVID is a good example because the entire industry transformed overnight. When destination marketers are only focused on promoting a destination, there is virtually nothing for them to do in a situation like this. But when they operate as an integral part of a destination’s economic development, they can help fill in the gaps wherever it is necessary. The essence of creativity is problem-solving. When you combine that with collaboration and a willing network of organizations that have a location’s best interest in mind, disaster scenarios are easier to manage.

Episode Transcript

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