Lisa Meadows of Bristol, Tenn., is taking over leadership of the Rock Hill/ York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Meadows was selected by the bureau’s Board of Commissioners from a field of 40 applicants to replace Bennish Brown, who left in May to become president and CEO for the Tacoma, Wash., Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She starts as bureau president on Oct. 15.
Meadows’ experience and her reputation for building collaborative relationships were factors in her hiring, said Gene Roper and Jason LaBarge, the chairman and vice chairman of the bureau’s board.
Meadows worked for Bristol Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau for 18 years, the last 11 years as its chief executive officer. The chamber and visitors bureau serves a community that straddles the Virginia-Tennessee line. Before that she worked in the banking field for 20 years.
She left the Bristol bureau in April to care for her daughter, Lacey, during a difficult pregnancy. Meadows now has a 4-month-old granddaughter, Laken.
LaBarge said the 53-year-old Meadows stood out because of her ability to build “strong relationships with local county and state governments,” her grant-writing experience and her quest to seek more education with each promotion. “It shows she wouldn’t stand pat with what she was doing, that she drives for success,” he said.
Building relationships was one of the key search criteria, LaBarge said. Before leaving for Tacoma, Brown advised the board to focus on all the municipalities in York County, getting them more involved in tourism efforts.
LaBarge served on the search committee and is the area vice president for HP-Hotels which operates the Rock Hill’s Hilton Garden Inn.
After the birth of her granddaughter Meadows said she set out to find “what the second life will be for me.”
She said she looked for jobs in places “that had a hometown feel,” but were close to larger metro areas. She said she was also interested in working in a “progressive community.”
Meadows said visits to Rock Hill confirmed that she had found what she was wanted. The variety of amenities showed her that leaders not only had a strategic plan, but were implementing it. “That sold me on the idea” of working here, she said.
The signs directing people to various attractions also impressed her.
“It showed me this community is proud of what it’s got and it wants people to find it,” she said.
Meadows assembled a 2-inch thick binder of facts and figures about York County to prepare for her interview.
After the interview, Meadows said she and her husband, Rick, dined at a Lake Wylie restaurant and drove around the area.
“It just felt like home.”