Destination Colorado, a non-profit statewide resource for meeting and event planners, celebrates 25 years in 2018. In honor of this silver occasion, a video was put together by some of the key players in the organization including Janie McCullough, Executive Director of Destination Colorado, Stacy Daeffler, Manager of Destination Colorado, several current and past Board Members and Board Presidents.
Jim Steinbach: Here we are. Starting in the very, very early 90s, really in corporation and in 1993.
Pat Lee: We had gone to a trade show called Affordable Meaning. And some of us that were industry. And when we were there, we were placed in different booths throughout the entire show. We were in Louisiana. And another booth would be in New Orleans. Another one would be in Virginia. Another one in Florida. I came back with this Kathy calendar from Colorado Springs and I said, why don’t we try to do something where we’re all together?
Pam Sherfesee: From the very beginning, we soon realized that we needed to work together.
Bruce Horii: The goal of bringing Colorado together.
Jim Steinbach: How do we get together and really form a unique bond to be able to attract business into the mountains?
Pat Lee: We decided to have a meeting called Destination Colorado.
Jim Steinbach: And we never thought, I think at the time that we were doing what would eventually become a major component for the state of Colorado.
Ellen Collins: Some of the memories I can think of were in the early days, were the Front Reins Trade Show. Back then they were always at the Cherry Creek shopping center.
Jim Steinbach: When you think of those early days of meeting at different hotel properties, or go into a small little restaurant and getting together and having the five, six, growing to 10 people.
Pat Lee: The first thing that we all decided is we needed to do a trade show with meeting planners.
Janie M: So we used to go to trade shows and have a nice presence, but nothing unique and out of the ordinary. Now we go to Imex America in Las Vegas and our pavilion has been recognized as one of the best and most unique pavilions on the show floor. And this is an international show with pavilions from all over the world.
Jim Steinbach: We were on top of the Hancock building, or downtown Chicago, and just having an incredible experience there. Then we started expanding to the international market. The steps that we’re taken as far as having no funding, to sitting in front of, literally Congress, and asking for funding. But then things started to happen all of a sudden, from a technological standpoint. I mean really at the forefront we hadn’t developed what is more common place now, a website for Destination Colorado. I mean, what was that all about in those days?
Bruce Horii: Back in the early days, I didn’t even really know what a website was. And again, it was this collaborative spirit that got us started in the digital space, and we just kept moving forward. And again, it was an opportunity to take some of the best ideas and best practices and keep moving them forward, and we would share that with our membership as well.
Brady Johnson: Marketing these days is constantly changing. Destination Colorado has a great board. A board that supports our changing environment.
Janie M: They’re always on top of all of the current trends and what we need to be doing this as an association to keep up with those trends.
Donna Horii: One thing I’ve always found pretty special with Destination Colorado, again, there’s a lot of competition among the members, but there are some very, very strong friendships as well. It’s really amazing to work with a lot of different people, bringing some of the same clients together, but showing off your destination, as well as being proud of other destinations in the state. And being able to share the experiences they are. Something I’ve always said Destination Colorado represents is, coopitition, where we really do work very strongly together.
Janie M: It’s a great group of people all work collectively to promote Colorado, first and foremost. And then step in with their own individual venues and services. And it’s a group of people that really loves each other and loves working with each other, and it shows. I mean, it’s always been an active, cooperative association. And it’s because of its people.
Andrew Heidt: One of the things that I’ve found to be most valuable, not only the networking with peers and sharing, sales and marketing ideas, and sharing RFPs from time to time with different communities. But also being able to go to major industry trade shows at a fraction of the cost that we, for example, Imex, wouldn’t be able to attend without being a partner of a Destination Colorado. I want to say it’s close to a third of the cost that it would be for us to go alone.
Stacy Daeffler: Janie McCullough is the brains behind Destination Colorado. It wouldn’t be where it is today without her. She’s done so much behind the scenes work, and front of the line work. She’s developed relationships with the CTO to obtain funding for destination Colorado, which is critical for us. Because without it we wouldn’t be able to do shows like Imex.
Donna Horii: Again, the talent, and the experience, and the expertise of the membership and the board especially. You’ve got the best in the industry. So some of the events they pull off are better than you can go and do anywhere else.
Bruce Horii: I almost remember some of those times.
Kathy Reak: We have a group of really hard working, dedicated, high energy, creative people who come up with events that are not only out of the box, but very unique for our planners.
Meg Palumbo: My biggest surprise as the newest board member of Destination Colorado is how much it has helped me expand my network and community within the Colorado meeting in events industry. Also has helped me fall even more in love with Colorado. Its beautiful destinations and the people who represent them.
Kathy Reak: I am so proud to be part of this organization, and to see how much it has evolved over the years.
Pat Lee: It’s the only convention organization there is right now.
Jim Steinbach: The bottom line, Destination Colorado, you should be very, very happy. Very pleased with what you’ve been able to accomplish.
Brady Johnson: So this is Brady Johnson from C Lazy U Ranch wishing you a happy 25th anniversary.
Janie M: Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Meg Palumbo: Happy Anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Ellen Collins: Happy anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Kathy Reak: Happy Anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Pam Sherfesee: Happy anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Jim Steinbach: Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Pat Lee: Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Bruce Horii: Happy birthday, Destination Colorado.
Donna Horii: Happy Birthday, Destination Colorado.
Stacy Daeffler: Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado.
Happy 25th anniversary, Destination Colorado. Woo, all right.