Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Hires New Chief Marketing Officer Evans will lead statewide efforts to attract tourism and business
On Tuesday, May 21, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor announced Heather Evans will serve as the new Chief Marketing Officer at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. As Chief Marketing Officer, Evans will lead the coordinated, data-driven statewide efforts to attract tourists and businesses to Rhode Island. Heather's first day is today.
The hire follows an extensive candidate search which generated more than 100 applicants, resulting in more than 25 candidate interviews.
"Tourism is the sixth largest industry in Rhode Island and it supports hundreds of small businesses across the state," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "Attracting tourists and businesses is essential to our mission of strengthening the Ocean State's economy. Heather's impressive expertise in the marketing field — along with her previous experience running a small, independent hotel — will help our state further build our economic momentum."
"There are many reasons that make Rhode Island a great place to visit, live, and do business — from the beauty of Narragansett Bay to the charm of its historic architecture; from the active music and culinary scenes to the vibrant design and entrepreneurial communities," said incoming CMO Heather Evans. "I can't wait to begin working with the team at Commerce, the tourism regions, and the small businesses that make up our tourism industry so that we can continue telling Rhode Island's story."
Evans comes to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation most recently from Providence's Northwestern Mutual, and with past Chief Marketing Officer experience at Investment Technology Group and J.P. Morgan. In these roles, Evans pioneered advanced marketing techniques and strategies, leveraging data and new technologies to capture market share for clients. In addition, Evans founded a small, independent hotel on the island of Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, instilling the perspective of a hospitality business owner.
Evans is a trustee of the Providence Preservation Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society and is in the 2019 cohort of Leadership Rhode Island. She earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, respectively, and has taught at Harvard, New York University, and the Pratt Institute.
Tourism is the sixth largest industry in Rhode Island, sustaining 13% of all jobs in the state. According to a study by Tourism Economics, Rhode Island's total traveler economy reached $6 billion in 2015, generating more than $700 million in local taxes and supporting more than 80,000 jobs. Hotel tax collection for the month of January, the most recent month available, showed a year-over-year increase of 20%.