Doug Small ’82 Leads Efforts to ‘Experience Grand Rapids’
For Doug Small, it is about the destination, not the journey.
As president and “Chief Experience Officer” of Experience Grand Rapids, he leads the destination marketing non-profit organization charged with the mission to market Michigan’s second largest city and the surrounding region as a premier convention and visitor destination.
“When I got the opportunity to come here and interview, I saw the city and said, ‘Wow, this is a place I really want to be,’ ” said Small, who received his bachelor’s degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Siena Heights in 1982. “What’s not to love about choosing to live in a city, and whatever that city is, you get to get up every day and represent it? That was exciting to me, and still is.”
After graduating from Siena Heights, Small got his start as a banquet manager at the Sheraton Westgate Hotel in Toledo, Ohio. However, he soon realized destination marketing was his future career path.
“While working in Dayton (Ohio), I got my first real taste of the destination marketing side,” he said. “It got me excited to look at that as a potential career.”