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LRCVB Picks Gina Gemberling as Next CEO

2 min read

Gina Gemberling has been named president & CEO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau after holding the role on an interim basis for nearly a month.

The Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission announced the decision after an executive session called during the group’s monthly meeting Wednesday. Gemberling’s official appointment is contingent upon commission approval of contractual terms, which will be finalized at the next meeting.

Gemberling was picked to succeed Gretchen Hall, who is leaving in March after more than 20 years with LRCVB. Hall is joining Destinations International as its chief operating officer.

Gemberling joined LRCVB in 2018 as vice president of sales and services, and she was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing in 2020. She previously spent 24 years working for the Springfield (Illinois) Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she held roles in sales, service and marketing before becoming executive director.

Jim Keet, chairman of the Advertising & Promotion Commission, said Gemberling’s decades of experience will help LRCVB navigate a “complex and rapidly evolving” industry.  

“She is not only respected by her peers, commissioners, and the staff, but she has done an excellent job in her senior leadership role at LRCVB for the past four years,” Keet said, “and I am a firm believer in hiring from within the organization when an existing employee is ready to fill a vacancy. By making this decision we are able to capitalize on her experience and organizational knowledge as well as create a smooth transition in leadership and maximize the time before Gretchen’s departure.”

Gemberling is helping lead a tourism master plan and organizational strategic plan initiative, LRCVB said in a news release. The initiative will identify competitive positioning, tourism infrastructure needs, and programmatic gaps that will guide long-term planning and development for both Little Rock and the LRCVB.

She has previously led LRCVB’s sales and marketing teams through a merger and reorganization, and has implemented marketing efforts aimed at niche markets, such as cycling and Black consumers. 

Gemberling was named CEO as the state emerges from a winter wave of omicron cases that disrupted, but didn’t stop, the event industry’s long recovery from COVID-19. She credited Hall with building a durable organization that withstood the pandemic is positioned to emerge stronger than before.  

“I am fortunate to represent a destination that is ideal for both convention and leisure travelers and work alongside a team of dedicated industry sales, marketing and service professionals that will continue to help guide Little Rock’s destination marketing organization and facilities,” she said. 

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