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VIProfile: Sherry Murphy

Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Story by Angela Reeves

Bowling Green gained a huge asset close to six months ago with the hiring of new Executive Director, Sherry Murphy, at the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her predecessor, Vicky Fitch, had big shoes to fill, but it was a role Sherry had her eyes on for a while, wanting to move back closer to home and take on the challenges of a larger market.

Sherry came to the BGACVB with 18 years of experience as the Executive Director of the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau. She is originally from Logan County and a graduate from Western Kentucky University’s Hospitality Management program. When she first attended WKU she wasn’t sure what life had in store as a career path, but she began serving at Libby’s Steakhouse on the weekends, and later a second serving job at Lone Star Steakhouse. “I just loved meeting new people and serving came natural to me,” said Sherry. “I began gravitating towards like-minded people on campus and found the restaurant/hotel/tourism management program. It was a natural fit.” After college she obtained a job in Logan County, with the Russellville Main Street Program - a downtown revitalization project through the Heritage Council at the state level. “It was a really good transitional job to have as I was leaving college trying to get into the work force and make a name for myself,” said Sherry. “It taught me a lot about nonprofit work, boards, the importance of community involvement and exposed me to a lot of things I had not been exposed to before.”

After Sherry had been in Russellville for three years she saw the position for Executive Director at the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau. Through her classes she knew she had always been more draw to the tourism side of things so she decided to go for it. Even though she was only three years out of college, circumstances worked out and they took a chance on her. “I’ll never forget board chairman, Danny Percell, saying to me many years later that hiring me was the greatest accomplishment of his career. It brought tears to my eyes then and still does to this day,” said Sherry. She loved her time in Elizabethtown, “growing up” there in her professional career. She learned the ins and outs of Kentucky tourism while holding leadership positions in both the Kentucky Travel Industry Association and the Kentucky Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Some of her accomplishments in Elizabethtown included creating the sports park as a major tourist destination through a public-private partnership and successfully participating in a campaign to gain tax dollars from alcohol sales by a vote which turned the area “wet”. “We spent a lot of time developing attractions for visitors in Elizabethtown but Bowling Green already has so many, with a very strong foundation. The citizens here understand the importance of welcoming visitors to the area and the positive economic impact it has on us all,”  said Murphy. “It’s interesting to me how much this city has grown in the last 20 years and I’m excited to be a part of continued growth. We want the BGACVB to be the source of everything happening in the area on our website and social media.”

Sherry will be participating in Leadership Bowling Green’s 2019 class and spending time this year getting to know the individuals in the area who host events, create events, and get others to visit the community. Her few weeks she spent with Vicky before her departure were an exciting whirlwind but now the dust is settling and she is excited to learn about Bowling Green herself and everything it and the surrounding communities have to offer. Sherry recently purchased a home in Alvaton and is looking forward to spring and summer weather to enjoy the outdoors and her favorite past time of tennis, while visiting all the places Bowling Green has to offer. Sherry says, “There’s no better marketing than word of mouth and I need to be able to tell a story of my own. We have so much to offer and I’m proud to work with a great team to get to promote it!”

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