CONCORD, N.C. (September 9, 2022)— The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) recently awarded Kathryn Shea Duncan, director of social media for Visit Lake Charles, with the Rising Star Award during the Shining Example Awards Program held in Concord, N.C. The program highlights exemplary work being done in the travel and tourism industry throughout the Southeast with 11 award categories.
"When moving to Lake Charles three years ago, I could never have imagined what our community would endure in such a short time. In my role, I have been uniquely positioned to champion and broadcast the progress, developments, and existing small businesses that make up the visitor economy of Southwest Louisiana," said Duncan. “Through tireless efforts in both public relations and social media, our community’s voice is heard across the world. I consider myself lucky to have this particularly important job and to be a resident of Lake Charles.”
“Kathryn Shea is truly deserving of this year’s rising star award. Since coming into the tourism industry three years ago, she’s brought so much value to the Visit Lake Charles team first through working on the PR side sharing our destination’s stories with regional and national journalists and now leading our social media efforts. She has truly proven herself to be an impactful leader who adds depth and innovation to her work daily in showcasing to the world all that Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana has to offer,” said Timothy Bush, Chief Marketing Officer.
After traveling to over 80 events across the country as the 81st International Rice Festival Queen, Duncan became fascinated with the tourism industry and community development. A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing, she launched her career at the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce before taking on the role as the media/public relations manager at Visit Lake Charles in September of 2019.
After Hurricane Laura in August of 2020, Duncan started connecting with travel journalists and news organizations to provide current images and information on volunteer and financial needs for the Lake Area. Her efforts resulted in a large amount of media coverage for Southwest Louisiana, and eventually, a story in the New York Times, as a personal account of the hurricanes impacting her life as a young professional in Southwest Louisiana.
As the director of social media, Duncan uses her background as a commercial photographer to showcase unique qualities of the destination. She is currently enrolled at McNeese State University as a candidate to receive a Master's in Business Administration. Earlier this year, she was named as one of the 9 winners of the 2022 eTourism Summit Emerging Tourism Star in partnership with MMGY Global. Additionally, she is a graduate of the 2020 Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy and 2021 Leadership Southwest Louisiana program.
Duncan serves on several boards including Visit No Man’s Land, Imperial Calcasieu Museum, Downtown Lake Charles Business Association, eTourism Summit Advisory Board, Chuck Fest Foundation, and This is Home Fest. She is a Project Implementer for Just Imagine SWLA's Catalytic Project 7, and a member of Fusion 5 Young Professionals and Southwest Louisiana Public Relations Officers.
For more information on the Southeast Tourism Society, visit www.southeasttourism.org.
Founded in 1983, Southeast Tourism Society promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. Membership includes state travel offices, convention and visitors bureaus, lodging properties, attractions, travel media and other travel-related organizations.