GRAVENHURST — Janet O’Connell has a big job ahead of her.

The Muskoka Tourism Marketing Agency’s new executive director will have to navigate rough waters as businesses struggle with the pandemic’s second wave.

“My fellow board members and I have great confidence that Janet is the right person to lead Muskoka Tourism during our recovery and into the future, says board chair Leah Leslie.

“Notably, her ability to build consensus and innovative approach to finding solutions will be key for our tourism operators across the district.”

O’Connell has more than 30 years’ experience within the tourism and not-for-profit sectors having recently led the careers in tourism project for the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, says a release Wednesday, Sept. 16.

It says early on in her career she found success in advertising sales and event production excelling to achieve the role of vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

Later she led the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada where she advocated for safer cycling.

The MTMA says her ability to unite members around the imperative to create a public policy and infrastructure role for the Ontario government was instrumental in progress that has been made to date in creating a bicycle friendly Ontario.

Locally, O’Connell brought her consensus-building know-how to her role as CEO of Boating Ontario Association where she actively advocated to government at all levels for support of our marine industry and created marketing content focused on attracting consumers to recreational boating.

“As an avid outdoor enthusiast 365 days a year I am passionate about the District of Muskoka and the opportunities we can share with travelers, once the time is right,” she says.

“Ensuring we deliver messaging that we are prepared to safely welcome back travelers as we move into the fall of 2020 is a priority for me.

“I’m looking forward to building on the legacy of work done by the MTMA over the years and to lead Muskoka Tourism in its mission to create marketing excitement that inspires visitors to choose Muskoka first and often. It has long been a personal goal of mine to move permanently to the area and I couldn’t be happier to be making Muskoka my home.”

The local tourism agency says it will continue to focus on creative and innovative marketing that builds toward making Muskoka the “must-experience” destination in Ontario.

“It is our role to tell the story of Muskoka, to celebrate its history and to help define and protect its future. We will lead collaboration with tourism marketing organizations at all levels to maximize the effectiveness and reach of our marketing initiatives.”

Janet O’Connell has experience in tourism and boating management.