Media Contact: 
Caitlyn Blizzard 

VP of Communications, Destinations International Foundation 
202-835-4202 or 


Media Contact: 
Shalisa Roland 

Director of Public Relations, Visit Lake Charles 
337-436-9588 or  


Visit Lake Charles’ Director of Social Media, Kathryn Shea Duncan Named one of 30 Future Leaders of Destination Organization Industry 

Global awardees range from Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States  


LAKE CHARLES, La. (April 5, 2023) – Visit Lake Charles is thrilled to announce that Kathryn Shea Duncan, director of social media, has been named one of Destinations International’s 2023 30 Under 30 recipients.  


Duncan developed an impressive career in the hospitality industry as a tourism professional and community advocate. Crowned the 81st International Rice Festival Queen in 2017, Duncan traveled to over 80 events across the country in support of Crowley, Louisiana, the international rice capital of the world and her hometown. In 2018, she graduated from University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration and is currently enrolled at McNeese State University pursuing a master’s degree in business administration with plans to graduate December 2023. Duncan began her career at the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce, and she later joined Visit Lake Charles in September 2019 as the media and public relations manager.  


Duncan's exceptional contributions to Southwest Louisiana and the tourism industry have earned her numerous awards and accolades. In 2020, she graduated from Louisiana's Travel Association's educational program, and in 2021, Duncan completed the Leadership Southwest Louisiana program. She was honored with Southeast Tourism Society's Rising Star Award and eTourism’s Emerging Tourism Star for her outstanding performance and dedication to the field. 


Duncan is a committed community member and industry leader, serving on several boards and committees, including the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, Downtown Lake Charles Business Association, the eTourism Summit Advisory Board, Louisiana Travel Association, Southeast Tourism Society, and two Destinations International Committees. Her tireless dedication to these organizations has established her as a respected and valuable asset within the tourism industry and her community. 


"I couldn't be prouder of Kathryn Shea for winning this prestigious award,” said Kyle Edmiston, President/CEO at Visit Lake Charles. “Her effort and devotion to promoting Southwest Louisiana have truly made a difference in our tourism industry. This recognition is a testament to Kathryn Shea’s outstanding contributions, and I have no doubt that she will continue to inspire us all with their passion for visual storytelling and travel." 


Destinations International is committed to investing and preparing the leaders of tomorrow and developing future industry leaders that represent a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives. Each year, 30 individuals under the age of 30, are selected to gain valuable industry networking opportunities and increased thought leadership throughout the year. The honorees originate from a variety of destination organizations of all sizes and countries. 


“The 30 Under 30 program remains critical to our organization’s vision and mission,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “These talented individuals represent DI’s global footprint, with representation from Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States. We can’t wait to recognize and celebrate them this summer at our Annual Convention in July.” 


“The Destinations International Foundation believes in building up the leaders of tomorrow,” said Vail Ross, senior VP of sales and marketing at STR and chair of the Destinations International Foundation. “We are proud of our 30 Under 30 Program and are grateful for the foundation investors who make programs like these possible for our industry.” 


"I am thrilled to recognize this year's emerging leaders. Their achievements and contributions to their respective organizations are truly remarkable.", said Mike Gamble, president & CEO of SearchWide Global and Tourism Diversity Matters. "We remain committed to this program and to supporting the growth and development of future leaders who will undoubtedly shape our industry for the better." 


The 2023 30 Under 30 Class Includes: 


  • ·         Joey Bell, public relations and social media manager, Visit Tampa Bay 
  • ·         Elizabeth Boylan, sales manager, New York City Tourism + Conventions 
  • ·         Tom Carton, strategy and operations, Hello Burlington 
  • ·         Demi Cimiaskaite, senior marketing manager, Visit Eau Claire 
  • ·         Tim Crouson, CRM administrator, Destination Ann Arbor 
  • ·         Kathryn Shea Duncan, director of social media, Visit Lake Charles 
  • ·         Karly Dwenger, senior marketing manager, Travel Butler County, Ohio 
  • ·         Molly Evans, senior manager, business events, VisitPITTSBURGH 
  • ·         Ari Hamilton-Gery, corporate communications manager, Visit Baltimore 
  • ·         Joy IM, assistant manager, Goyang Convention & Visitors Bureau 
  • ·         Jerry Joseph, convention services manager, Destination DC  
  • ·         Patti Krausert, director of research and data strategy, Tulsa Regional Tourism 
  • ·         Catherine McCooey, marketing manager, Tourism Burnaby 
  • ·         Katie Rhoads, marketing manager, Visit Loudoun 
  • ·         Enya Rice, assistant marketing manager, VisitScotland 
  • ·         Coralis Rivera, manager, integrated marketing and social media, Brand USA 
  • ·         Yuliana Ruiz Velasquez, meetings industry executive, Greater Medellin Convention and Visitors Bureau 
  • ·         Lauren Saizan, editorial and online content manager, New Orleans & Company 
  • ·         Becca Schmiegel, marketing manager, Visit Indy 
  • ·         Zoey Shircel, associate manager, media relations, Visit Mesa 
  • ·         Megan Temple, senior director of partner and community engagement, Travel Lane County 
  • ·         Julia Thomson, specialist, destination development, Ottawa Tourism 
  • ·         Anjelica Uthe, executive director, Visit Watertown (Watertown, SD CVB) 
  • ·         Mai Der Vang, human resources Specialist, VISIT Milwaukee  
  • ·         Andrew Vela, project specialist, Visit Dallas 
  • ·         Lydia Wilder, director of operations and service, Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau 
  • ·         Austin Wingle, graphic design manager, Visit Tri-Cities 
  • ·         Cody Wiseman, creative marketing manager, Visit Rapid City 
  • ·         Glorianna Yamin, marketing director, Discover Puerto Rico 
  • ·         Madison Yohn, Content Coordinator, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Now in its 13th year, the 30 Under 30 program is supported by founding program partner, SearchWide Global and sponsored by Fired Up! Culture, Northstar Meetings Group and PCMA.  

The Destinations International Foundation is also grateful for the support of USAE for the “Anne Daly Heller USAE 30 Under 30 Scholars Fund.” The fund is intended to provide exceptional continuing educational opportunities for participants of each year’s class of Destination International’s 30 Under 30 honorees. To learn more or donate, please click here. 


For more information on the 30 Under 30 Program and the 2023 30 Under 30 class, please visit For more information about the things to do, eat, see and experience in Southwest Louisiana, go to or follow #LouisianasPlayground on social media. 




About the Destinations International Foundation: 

The Destinations International Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering destination marketers globally by providing education, research, advocacy and leadership development. The Foundation is classified as a charitable organization, under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code and all donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. For more information visit   

About Destinations International: 
Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. Destinations International is about serving destination marketing professionals first and foremost. Together with more than 6,500 members and partners from over 650 destinations in 23 countries, Destinations International represents a powerful forward-thinking, collaborative association that exchanges bold ideas, connects innovative people and elevates tourism to its highest potential. For more information, visit


About Visit Lake Charles: 

Visit Lake Charles is a destination marketing organization committed to promoting Southwest Louisiana as a destination by attracting outside visitation through marketing and sales initiatives, which develops the local community and economy and mutually benefits residents and visitors.