A Huntley businesswoman is taking the helm of the McHenry County Convention & Visitors Bureau (MCCVB) and working on expanding membership while continuing to drive tourism to McHenry County.
Executive Director Jaki Berggren and group sales manager, Laura Witlox are the new professional team working at MCCVB. The office will continue the relationship they already have with the media relations firm, Webster's Unabridged, of Galena, Ill.
"Cort Carlson, our former executive director, did a wonderful job over the past six years. He truly set MCCVB up for success. Within the first 30 days, this team has already increased state funding by nearly $40,000, embraced our membership and started a new reporting system with the County Board. We look forward to a banner year for tourism in McHenry County," said Richard Kuranda, MCCVB Board of Directors president.
Berggren has been with MCCVB for three years as group sales manager. Prior to that, Berggren worked for the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau as meeting sales manager for two years. Before moving into the CVB arena, she worked as a sales manager at Chicago area hotels such as Embassy Suites O'Hare and Indian Lakes Resort. She also handled group sales at Chicago's ESPN Zone. She has a bachelor of science degree in hospitality and tourism management and a bachelor of science in business management from Virginia Tech.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to serve as executive director for MCCVB. Having been involved as group sales manager, under the direction of Cort Carlson, for the last three years, I look forward to utilizing the strong foundation that he built and my experience in the Illinois CVB arena to launch us forward,” Berggren said.
“McHenry County is a beautiful part of Illinois with many attractions, events, hotels and B&Bs for visitors to enjoy,” she said. “I believe it is the spirit of the people who call McHenry County "home" and their interactions with visitors that truly round out the visitor experience.”
Witlox, of Woodstock, gained a wealth of management and client service experience through 12 years in the retail fashion industry. Her passion for volunteerism and community involvement led to a position as communications coordinator with the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce for two years.
Making the decision to join MCCVB appealed to Witlox, because it will allow her to use her past experience and talents to increase tourism to McHenry County.
"It's an honor to represent the 30-plus communities that McHenry County encompasses, and showcase their beauty, events and attractions. I look forward to working with Jaki Berggren, in continuing to put McHenry County on the map," Witlox said.