President & CEO
(585) 394-3915 ext. 356
Valerie was hired as the first director of tourism for Ontario County in 1984. Her previous experience included tour guide responsibilities and public relations manager at Gold Seal Vineyards in Hammondsport. She brings a love of the wine industry and the travel industry to the job. Valerie has an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education from the State University College at Oswego. Valerie also holds the CTP designation from the National Tour Association. She has taught on the adjunct faculty at local colleges and guest lectured at a variety of institutions including New York University. She has served in various leadership capacity and is currently a member of the Governor's Tourism Advisory Council for New York State. She has been president of the New York State Tourism Industry Association, the New York State Travel and Vacation association. On a national level she has served as the founding chair US Travel's destination council and is a past board member of US Travel (the Travel Industry Association of America.) Valerie has authored several articles on travel and tourism issues, and has published the Ontario County Pictorial History Book. She is often a speaker at the national level on strategic planning, destination management, and marketing.
Favorite Activities to do in the Finger Lakes:
My favorite thing to do in your spare time in the Finger Lakes would be to find something that I haven’t done before and then do it! I love experiencing new things or the new nuances of things and soaking it all in.
My favorite spot to stop and think and do nothing would be Butler Beach in Canandaigua. It’s small, you can tuck your toes in the water, watch the wildlife. Another place would be in the seat of a kayak rental from Canandaigua Sailboarding or a boat rental from one of the Marinas. At any rate, it’s somewhere near the water.
Favorite Foods or Snacks-
Give me a charcuterie board, filled with meats and cheese from the Finger Lakes and nuts and mustards and jellies, also from the Finger Lakes. I wouldn’t turn down the paired glass of wine with that either.
Grape Gummy Bears from Arbor Hill! I also LOVE Gifford’s Ice Cream from A’s Sweets and Treats in Cheshire, and the annual grape pie at some point (doesn’t even have to be just the fall).
US Travel – Travel Industry Association of America – Board Member
US Travel – National Council of Destination Organizations – Chair
White House Conference on Travel and Tourism – NY Delegate
Women in Travel and Tourism (WITTI) – Founding Board Member
Travel Marketing Outlook Forum – Committee/Presenter
National Tour Association – Certified Travel Planner
New York State
New York State Tourism Industry Association – Chair
New York State Travel and Vacation Association – Chair
New York State Tourism Promotion Agency Council – Chair
Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council – Chair
Finger Lakes Community College – Hospitality Advisory Board
Adjunct Faculty – R.I.T. Graduate School of Hospitality; FLCC
Rochester Institute of Technology
Masters Degree in Business Administration
State University of New York, College at Oswego
Bachelor’s Degree in English Education