2021 Connect Association 15 Over 50: Deborah Cohen, CMP

Deborah Cohen, 53, is the Director of Meeting and Convention Marketing for Discover Puerto Rico. She's based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Deborah Cohen 15 over 50 Connect

Deborah Cohen, CMP, 53
Director of Meeting and Convention Marketing, Discover Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico

What I do: 
My team and I create the bridge between the sales and marketing teams. We share the amazing story of Puerto Rico with meeting and event planners through strategic partnerships, advertising, events and communications.  

How I got here: 
I’ve held positions in tourism, sales and marketing for more than 25 years. In my last position as a director of sales, I found myself gravitating toward marketing due to the changing sourcing habits I was witnessing with my customers. 

Greatest career accomplishment:
One campaign I helped create went viral and accomplished several goals we had related to changing a tough perception. 

What I am excited to be working on right now:
Like all sales and marketing professionals right now, I am excited to do my part to bring live meetings back. While we know hybrid and virtual meetings are here for a while, we all want to get back to safely meeting in person soon. We are working on several concepts and inspirational messaging that will motivate planners to bring live meetings back safely and hopefully put our destination on their consideration list!

Impressive stats: 
From 2010-2017, my team and I increased leads and room nights for our destination by 5-10% each year. 

A specific improvement I’ve made: 
I have been thrilled to have the opportunity to build a marketing team focused on the group segment that also functions as an arm of the sales team. It seems that departments like this are still rare in the DMO world. We have developed strategies and processes that support our team’s sales efforts with lead generation, advertising, brand consistency, sales tools, event management, sponsorship activations and many other marketing and partnership initiatives. I believe it is a model many DMOs could find advantageous, if they don’t currently have in place.  

What I do outside of work: 
I will serve on the IAEE Industry Partners Committee in 2021. My son and I used the time during the pandemic to get outdoors more and learn some new sports like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Favorite vacation destination:
Puerto Rico, of course! 

Your favorite inspirational quote: 
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” —C.S. Lewis  

Public figure I admire most:
There are so many, but I really love the work of Dr. Jane Goodall. 

Instagram: @debgideoncohen