As Mr. Rogers said, “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
This quote (Julie’s favorite) is true of not only the way Julie runs the CVB office, but is evident in everything Julie does in life. Julie’s kind spirit and hard work have been instrumental in positioning Greater St. Cloud as a premier travel and conference location in Minnesota, undoubtedly aided by her passion for the area. As the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 20 years, Julie is an expert in the tourism industry, and a sought-after resource for destination marketing, event planning, and area advocacy.
A Wisconsin native with a graduate degree in Tourism from UW Stout,Julie started out her impressive 30-year hospitality career with time at various properties in Big Sky, Montana, Key West, Florida, and around Minnesota. Twenty one years ago, she started at the St. Cloud CVB in the director of sales position, and after one year became the executive director – aka, our fearless leader.
As the boss-lady in the office, Julie is responsible for creating annual budgets and marketing plans, supporting constituents and working on related political issues, and many other miscellaneous things that pop up in the fun world of tourism. Julie is also intensely involved in the hospitality industry, and has served on a number of state and national committees and boards representing tourism. She is currently a commissioner for the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, a past member of the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council and past president of the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, and Heartland Tourism Association. Julie also served on the board of directors for the University of Minnesota Tourism Center. She currently serves on a number of local boards and committees, including Mississippi River Partners, St. Cloud Downtown Council, and Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. With all of that involvement, though, Julie’s favorite responsibility is guiding her talented team that is passionate about the Greater St. Cloud area and the visitor experience.
When she’s not keeping us in line at the office, she’s a devoted wife and mother to three. Her husband and her children, ages 11, 10 and 6, enjoy being involved in a number of different sports and activities, and traveling around Minnesota and beyond whenever they get the chance. If she could meet anyone, it would be Julia Child, and her husband is also a chef of 35 years, so food is definitely a passion in the Lunning household. She admits that her favorite food is pizza – doesn’t matter what kind, doesn’t matter where from, as long as it’s pizza.
Julie is a rare find in a boss – she is truly a gem. Maybe it stems from her first job at McDonald’s, where she learned the value of hard work and exceptional customer service. Maybe it’s her unfailing commitment to always be kind thanks to Mr. Rogers. Or maybe it’s because Julie is just an incredibly smart, passionate, fun person. We know how great she is, and visitors to Greater St. Cloud should too. Because ultimately, her passion is to impact a visitor’s experience so that they can make memories to last a lifetime. And hopefully have some really great pizza along the way.
Marketing, Large Event Planning, Civic/Political Questions, PR Requests