Today is Winning With Women Wednesday and this week we had the pleasure of interviewing a local mover and shaker here in Ocean County, Dana Lancellotti. Dana is a Director for the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism located in Toms River, NJ.
Name: Dana Lancellotti
Education: Monmouth University
Company/Organization: Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism
Time with Organization: 1 1/2 years ( since December 2013 )
Company Headquarters: Administrative Building, Hooper Avenue, Toms River
Total number of members/employees: 2000
Dana, how did you become involved with the Ocean County Department of Business Development & Tourism?
I have had the pleasure of working within the tourism and hospitality industry for many years in the Jersey Shore Region. As a member of the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council since 2009 and as a Regional Director of Sales for Hotels Unlimited from 2008 – 2013 I have partnered with our premier tourism attractions and business organizations to market Ocean County as a dynamic and enjoyable travel destination. The opportunity to fill my current position as Director of Business Development and Tourism for Ocean County was a very exciting and yet comfortable transition. My day-to-day focus and mission is really an expansion of what I was doing in the past. I draw upon my past career experiences, including media advertising sales early in my career, along with the long-standing relationships with local business leaders, to pursue my department’s goals.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I have had the great honor of working directly with the military for years, since about half of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is located in Ocean County and serves as a huge economic engine for our region. Interacting with, and building relationships with, the Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Marines as well as the Reserves and Guard I encounter tremendous examples of leadership, honor, integrity and strength of character. There are several members of this Joint Base Community and Commanders who have spent time here and then moved on to other assignments who inspire me and influence my perception of successful and effective leadership with their day-to-day performance as they lead and motivate those around them. Those who have reached the highest levels of leadership in their service are incredibly disciplined, focussed and driven to accomplish the missions at hand. They lead by example and with respect, and they motivate through teamwork and encouragement. They are the greatest role models I have known in my life. My experiences with members of the military have had a profound effect on me personally and professionally and I am grateful every day to have the privilege of knowing them.
What is one of the most important decisions you make as the Director for the Ocean County Department of Business Development & Tourism?
Decisions that drive positive visibility to Ocean County as a travel and business destination and convey quality of life here in our area.
Where do you believe great ideas come from within your organization?
I always believe that collaboration and creativity are the keys to success.
How do you and other leaders in organization communicate the “core values/mission of the organization” to the general public?
We have several marketing tools in place, including our website, social media outreach, our beautiful, full-color, glossy tourism magazine, weekly distribution of our digital events calendar and face-to-face engagement with prospective tourists at trade shows and festivals outside of our area. We also have advertising / marketing campaigns that run outside of Ocean County and out-of-state through print, internet and radio.
What are three characteristics you believe every leader should possess?
Respect for their “team”, professional conduct, and the courage to take smart risks.
What is one mistake you see female leaders make more frequently than others?
Maybe women tend to analyze things too closely sometimes. I think women second-guess themselves more than men and that may stand in the way of some critical, time-sensitive and bold decision-making.
Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and social media has made on the organization or you personally?
Social media and networking is a huge advantage in our mission to elevate awareness, establish image and tell the ‘story’ of Ocean County. We are able to promote through consistent messages, images and articles about life in this region and we can provide up to the minute information on activities and destinations. It is amazing how powerful and how much of a necessity the instant access to information has become. Both travelers and area residents love to be constantly in the know about what to do, see and experience in Ocean County.
What are a few resources you would recommend in Ocean County and/or New Jersey for someone who is looking to gain a competitive edge as a business owner or gain insight into becoming a better leader?
I say it over and over but I truly feel that the best resource is always to join our local business organizations, Chambers, Charities, etc to become part of a team and embrace the value of partnerships.
What advice would you give someone going into a Management/Leadership position for the first time?
I would recommend that they listen to their staff, lead by example and never make the mistake of thinking that they know it all. Even the highest positions are on a journey to learn, grown and become better than they were yesterday. Otherwise, it’s just a paycheck.
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