These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Kunisky was recently hired as vice president of operations for the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau.
1. What are you most looking forward to in your new role as vice president of operations for the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau?
I have been looking forward to working with the talented team at HHRVB so I can tell the region’s story to the world. We are so fortunate to represent a travel destination with great and unique characters framed by beautiful landscapes, a rich history and diverse cultures. Throughout my life I’ve always been drawn to the creative process. As only the second person in the VP position since it was created in 2014, I jumped at the rare opportunity to join an established team of professionals in a role I can make my own—it’s all very exciting.
2. How do you think your past industry experience has prepared you for this role?
I spent the past 28 years working for a destination resort company that prides itself on delivering a world-class experience for their guests and clientele. During my career at the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, I was exposed to the inner depths of this business from sales to destination marketing and event production. I know I will be drawing from all of those experiences as I work with the bureau’s sales and marketing teams on our quest to lead economic growth for the region through destination marketing and tourism development.
3. What goals do you have in mind for HHRVB for this year and farther down the line?
I first must commend the bureau president Mary Smith on her ability to assemble this team of talented individuals with such a deep and diverse background in their individual disciplines. Since she resurrected the organization from obscurity just nine years ago, the bureau has grown to include a full complement of sales, marketing and communications professionals. With that said, I am initially looking forward to nurturing an environment that promotes open dialogue and supports the free flow of ideas among these talented folks. The ideal culture to me is one that promotes creative problem solving, rewards good ideas and hard work, and empowers everyone on the team to own a piece of our bureau’s successes, and failures for that matter. In the long-term I want our messaging to reach farther and to have a greater impact than ever before. Increased funding for our efforts and the continued support from our business partners and local leadership will be instrumental in us realizing those goals.
4. How did you get into the hospitality industry?
After college, I landed in the Hershey area and got a job as a reservations agent at The Hotel Hershey. After a short time in that role, I started in the sales, marketing and events division of Herhseypark. I quickly realized that tourism was my perfect fit. Within the tourism industry, I am constantly challenged but am always rewarded with great opportunities.
5. What do you enjoy most about the Hershey Harrisburg Region?
The Hershey Harrisburg Region has been my home for more than 30 years, and I have experienced first-hand its many offerings while raising an active family. I love our family-friendly festivals and our world-class amusement park. This region refuses to be stale or stagnate. It’s constantly evolving whether it’s the recent explosion of family-owned wineries and craft breweries in the past two years or the ever-changing variety of unique dining. I’m proud of this place I call home, and I love that my job is showing and telling the world why.