The Sampson County Convention and Visitors Bureau has a new leader.
Sheila Graves Barefoot has been named the SCCVB’s new tourism director, an announcement made this week by Ray Jordan, chairman of the SCCVB’s Board of Directors.
As director of the local organization, Barefoot’s primary responsibilities will be to promote and market Sampson County to the traveling public and work to establish Sampson as a destination for meetings, events, group tours, day-trips and conventions. Jordan expressed confidence in the new hire, who brings to her new position loads of experience.
“Mrs. Barefoot brings to this position more than 30 years of administrative and marketing experience,” stated Jordan.
Most recently, Barefoot served as event manager for Worldwide Distribution based in Chesterfield, Mo., where she managed trade shows at the local and national level and served as a key account sales representative. Additionally, Barefoot has held positions with the U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers, Inc. as customer relations & sales support/event manager and was employed over 19 years as manager of Consumer Marketing Operations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina based in Durham.
Barefoot, originally from Roxboro in Person County, is a graduate of Person Senior High School. She attended Piedmont Community College with studies in Business Administration. Barefoot recently relocated and now resides in Newton Grove with her husband, Jimmy Barefoot. They have five children.
“I look forward to starting my new role as tourism director,” Barefoot stated, “and the opportunity to promote and market Sampson County to visitors and assisting in the development of the travel industry within Sampson County.”
In her Sampson position, Barefoot will handle media inquiries about area attractions, SCCVB news, as well as festivals and events. Her responsibilities will also include responding to visitor inquiries and distribution of materials to North Carolina Welcome Centers. In addition, Barefoot will work with local businesses to develop programs that will support their businesses in a manner that will expand and grow the travel industry within Sampson.
She is taking the reins from Vickie Crane, who for the past five years has been at the heart of many of Clinton and Sampson County’s hallmark events, working to market and promote the county, its assets and industry partners to attract business and leisure travelers.
Julie Stadig, owner of The Ashford Inn located in Clinton and current SCCVB board member was happy to welcome the new director.
“The SCCVB Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Mrs. Barefoot to our team,” she said. “We expect her vast experience and background in many business areas will help take the bureau’s tourism development and marketing efforts in new and exciting directions.”
Barefoot will join the SCCVB this Monday, Jan. 4, and will be formally introduced at the Sampson County Board of Commissioners meeting that night.
She can be reached starting Monday by contacting the Sampson County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 910-592-2557 or via email at [email protected]
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.