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SheShreds Q&A - Sara Tolliver from Visit Ogden

by Bold Apps on December 30, 2017

Visit Ogden is an organization that has been supportive of our mission from day one, and we're thrilled to have them on board again to sponsor our new event series, the SheShreds Jamboree, which will take place Saturday February 3 and March 3 at Powder Mountain.  We took a minute to talk to the President of Visit Ogden, Sara Tolliver about what they're all about!

Visit Ogden is the convention and tourism bureau for Ogden City, Utah and Weber County at large. That might be greek to some folks. What do you all do? What is the mission?

Part of the confusion comes from the plethora of different vernacular used to describe what we do. In the past, our type of organization was commonly referred to as a Convention & Visitor Bureau or a Tourism Bureau. The more commonly accepted industry terminology is now a Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). This is due to the changing landscape of the industry and the expanding roles DMOs are playing in their community.
The mission of Visit Ogden is to facilitate economic growth by packaging and promoting the Ogden / Weber County area as the preferred convention and visitor destination. In other words, we are responsible for all tourism-related sales and marketing for the county. We brand ourselves as Visit Ogden since Ogden is the place you “can find on a map.” Counties are not widely recognized across the US. We have a sales team that works to secure meetings and conventions group business into our hotels and conference and event facilities. We have a marketing team that does their best to make sure the world knows what an amazing destination we are to visit. We also work to influence and encourage destination development efforts within the county and legislation that affects the tourism industry.
Your staff is nearly all female (besides Shane), a girl gang if you will. Does that impact how you all do business? Do you ever experience any disadvantages/advantages being a female driven organization?
I’m guessing Shane may answer this question differently than I will! We have a small team of 7, 6 of which are female. I think any time you are part of an organization with such a small staff, you become a lot like a family. It’s all-hands-on-deck most of the time around the office, so everyone chips in to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the project or task at hand. Is that a female trait? Maybe! But in reality, I don’t believe that the team is any different being mostly female. We try to find harmony (balance is a misleading term!) between work, family, community and adventure. While there may be more expectations for women, I think this is something both men and women should be working to achieve. We encourage each other and push each other to excel, while helping out in any way we can.
The tourism industry is a pretty diverse mix of gender and ethnicity. Here in our community, I would say that most organizations that we work with are more male-dominated.  I believe that by being educated, always prepared and passionate about our roles as community ambassadors that we have earned a “seat at the table” and that we are viewed as one of the best destination expert teams out there, regardless of our gender.
If a young women were interested in pursuing a career in the tourism/recreation industries here in Utah what sage wisdom might you impart to them? Any great resources or reads that would be a must?
There are so many paths into the tourism world, which is why it’s so great! If you add in the recreation industry, the options just multiply! In the DMO world, the positions and roles and responsibilities vary greatly depending upon the size of the destination, whether it’s primarily leisure or group based travel, etc. Hotel and hospitality service backgrounds are great, but so are marketing, sales, and project management backgrounds. Personally, I think a love and passion for your destination is vitally important.  My best advice would be to get involved! Meet as many people as you can, volunteer at events, share your passions for your community with others.
We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we have received from Visit Ogden since we launched the brand and mission. What is your take on it? What value do you think brings to the region?
As a DMO, we market and sell a product for which we have no control over the price, quantity, or quality. We have to rely on products and services are available in the destination and then package and promote them in a way that encourages visitors to come experience them.

Having organizations like makes our job so much easier! We are fortunate to have equally passionate people creating incredible experiences for locals and visitors alike. When we work with organizations like, these experiences are just an extension of our brand promise and help tremendously in telling our story to the world. Your story of moving from a major metropolitan area to your favorite vacation getaway is exactly the type of experience and story we are working to share. Add to that your mission of celebrating and helping everyday girls doing extraordinary things, and this office of females is on board! We feel like that’s what we do every day.


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