Elliott L. Ferguson II
President and CEO, Destination DC
Based in: Washington, D.C.
Additional roles: Board chair, Tourism Diversity Matters; former national chair, U.S. Travel Association; member, Department of Commerce’s U.S. Travel and Tourism advisory board
How I got here: Ferguson began his career with Destination DC in December 2001 as the vice president of convention sales, became senior vice president of convention sales and services in 2005, and has been president and CEO since 2009. Prior to Destination DC, he worked at the Atlanta CVB and the Savannah CVB.
Greatest career accomplishment: “Leading Destination DC through several events and crises in D.C. I joined the organization right after 9/11. There was a period of three weeks in 2002 when snipers were creating fear throughout the region. There have been anthrax threats and multiple government shutdowns. More recently, there have been the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection; senseless murders that have led to calls for racial justice; and the pandemic. I also served as national chair of the U.S. Travel Association from February 2019 to February 2021, during one of the most difficult periods in the tourism and hospitality industry.”
A specific improvement I’ve made: “Increasing Destination DC’s budget by more than 80% since I’ve been president and CEO, which is important because as an economic development organization, we need more funds for marketing and sales so that we can, in turn, attract more visitors who spend money in D.C., support local jobs and create tax revenue for the District. The second improvement is making the health and welfare of our organization (and the tourism industry) a priority as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
What I do outside of work: “I spend time with my loving family, including my wife, Telesa, and our new puppy, Tye, who never wants to stop playing. I also love outdoor activities and exercising.”
What I'd tell my younger self: “Take more risks and responsibility for my own goals. Don’t allow others to define my direction, who I am, and what I can or cannot do.”