If anyone knows how important it is to start from the bottom and work their way up, it is new Visit Kansas City (Missouri) President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Fulvi, CDME. As a hospitality and tourism veteran of 32 years, Fulvi is heading to Visit KC after 16 years with Visit Pittsburgh, where he most recently served as executive vice president. Long before that, Fulvi began his career in the DMO world as a dishwasher to learn the ins and outs of the industry—and the rest is history in the making. Here, we get to know Fulvi and see what the future holds for Kansas City.
Would you say this is a dream job?
This is something I have been working toward—to move into this leadership role within the Destination Marketing Organization community. Everything up until this point has prepared me for that, including my involvement with Destinations International—I am the new chair of the foundation. I am excited to learn more about what Kansas City has to offer and the package that they have, and see the commitment that the community has toward tourism and meetings and conventions. It was just a good fit.
What would you do to entertain someone in Kansas City?
The city has done a great job at developing downtown, and I mean the entire community: corporate, political, tourism. Everyone has rallied. The Power and Light District is just an awesome area. The arts and culture in Kansas City run very deep. There is a terrific foundation and philanthropic community; they have some wonderful assets regarding the culture and performing arts that a lot of people maybe aren’t quite aware of. The food scene has really taken off. There are five James Beard Award-winning chefs—Of course, the brewery scene is taking off, too. They have a lot going on that I am excited to learn more about and help promote.”
How are you looking to have Visit KC’s digital marketing presence change and adapt to the times to continue to improve?
I need to get in there and learn what they have working right now. Certainly, whatever the assets that they have so far, the team there right now is doing a great job. They partner with MMGY Global, which provides a lot of guidance and assistance and professionalism. Until I get in there, I am not total sure. The tech scene and social media scene changes at lightning speed, so I will make it a point to be on the cutting-edge of technology as it relates to promoting a destination for tourism and hospitality tourism, meetings and conventions.
What advice would you have for others hoping to follow the same path?
You’ve got to understand the different aspects of the DMO world, it is not just one discipline. You have to be proficient in a lot of different areas, whether that is sales, service, marketing, and now, with the changes that we have in technology you have to stay up on current trends. Also, there are a lot of political influences and you have to understand that and be able to navigate through it working closely with your political officials, government leaders and your corporate sector. You really have to understand the big picture and be able to facilitate a lot of collaboration and communication throughout your entire destination.
Did you have any specific mentors throughout your path to success?
I have been pretty lucky to have some terrific bosses throughout my career, not only in the DMO world, but also in my hotel career, and I sought those people out. I was hungry and thirsty enough for the knowledge and learned with every position that I had, including back when I started as a dishwasher. Every opportunity you have in your career is a learning experience. Every step of the way we grow, we learn and we remember. I certainly had a lot of mentors, and one of the things I believe I did well at Visit Pittsburgh was to bring people along and try to advance their careers. As leaders, our job isn’t just to run the operation, our job is to prepare the next generation to run the operation and they need to be ready for that transition.