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Gambel’s LeBouef Competes To Become Cancun’s Next CEO



Cancun.com, a new website and joint venture between U.S. and Mexican travel technology agencies TravelPass Group and BestDay Travel Group, is looking for a CEO, or Cancun Experience Officer.

The lucky applicant will live at luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya region and create content, including videos, images and social media posts, for Cancun.com as a brand ambassador for $10,000 a month.

It’s a tough job but Reneé LeBouef, a communications strategist with Gambel Communications in New Orleans, said she’s ready to dive right in.

“This opportunity really feels like one of those moments where all the stars align and the timing couldn’t be better,” said LeBouef. “I am at a juncture in my career where my skill set covers all the bases necessary to be a one-woman show in showcasing Cancun’s appeal to the world. I can write, edit, produce, strategize, speak eloquently and track the success of it all. I’ve been lucky enough to work within so many diverse industries, particularly hospitality, food and nonprofit… and every single client and project I’ve touched over the past five years brings a lesson that will undoubtedly come into play in this role.”

The 29-year-old self-proclaimed “loud-mouthed Cajun from Larose, Louisiana” checked into the Cancun.com CEO Search Campaign and is actively competing for the six-month contract on the merits of her application and self-produced one-minute video demonstrating why she’s the ideal candidate to build excitement, trust and recognition around both the destination of Cancun and the Cancun.com brand.

Anyone can help rate the talent pool by voting for their preferred applicant’s video, and while the vote tally doesn’t determine the ultimate winner, the judges hope it will show how adept the applicant is at getting the digital world to click daily on their social media occupancy and take notice.

Within the next month the more than 5,500 who have applied will be judged and narrowed down to a group of 100. After another round of video submissions, the finalists will be narrowed down again to 50 followed by one more online voting opportunity. Cancun.com will review the applications and select the top five who will attend a live on-site, week-long interview event in Cancun. The CEO will be chosen and announced on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

LeBouef first discovered Cancun and ancient Mayan port city Tulum when she and a friend both escaped to the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula after bad boyfriend break-ups. LeBouef said the combination of “interacting with locals who do not use smart phones, nor place value on most material things; creating daily brain agendas that solely read, ‘buy coconuts, lie on beach;’ and being covered in Mayan Clay by talented masseuses who understood how to heal the detriments of stress and anxiety” sealed the deal.

“I fell in love with each and every human I encountered that week,” said LeBouef. “To me, this is what it means to love a place.”

And that’s what Cancun.com wants its CEO to do – fall in love with the region’s accommodations, activities, beaches, food, kitesurfing, ancient Mayan ruins, museums, music and more, and promote the people and culture of the premier southeastern Mexican vacation destination.

“The ideal applicant will have a unique eye for capturing stories, a warmth in interacting with others, a self-motivated work ethic and a dedication to producing high-quality work,” the Cancun.com CEO Search Campaign proclaims. “Our goal is to make Cancun.com the number one destination site in the world for Cancun discovery, planning and travel booking. To make that happen, we need authentic content that we can share on our site and social media platforms. We decided that the best way to do this would be to hire a special ‘Experience Officer’ to live in Cancun and help us create content over a six-month period.”

“That time in Cancun and Tulum was the push off the cliff, literally,” said LeBouef. “I needed to realize it was time to take my talents and passion for storytelling on the road or sea or air. I have spent the last few years growing both a strong career base as well as my confidence in it, and the moment I stepped foot onto Cancun, I realized what I was capable of. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. This is the most mutually beneficial career move I could imagine; Cancun will reap the benefits of my content marketing expertise, and the city will give me the means to continue connecting, authentically, with other cultures. Our world could use a little more tolerance and compassion right now. This job would allow me to contribute to that movement.”

LeBouef said her work at Gambel Communications is “heavily responsible” for her Cancun CEO qualifications. “I came to the agency with decent digital marketing experience, and was able to marry that with a new media relations and nonprofit/community partnership expertise, while also expanding our social media and digital offerings to meet client needs and diversify our portfolio,” she said. “I often tell my Gambel Girls I had no idea how much I still had to learn when I landed on this team. Here at Gambel, we oversee accounts from start to finish; meaning we lead new business development, develop proposals, conceptualize long-lead strategies and tactically execute every aspect of those campaigns, including the evaluation period. We get to think high level and bleed creativity, but are also ‘in the weeds’ and scraping and bootstrapping for our clients, especially for the nonprofits, every single day. If I have to drop a marketing plan to draft an estimate for balloons, I’m on it. This means each of us communication strategists really can ‘do it all,’ carving out humility and a forward-focused attitude I admittedly didn’t possess previously. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to join a team focused on my professional development; as such, I’ve become a sought after speaker for various community groups on a variety of marketing functions, regularly appear on news stations as a thought leader and now lead the digital side of our ‘product line.’ None of this would have been possible without a leadership team dedicated to fostering my inherent skill sets and growing them to the level they are at today.”

Cancun.com said its CEO should bring a passion for travel and sense of adventure for island leisure living, and at the conclusion of the program the online company will evaluate the CEO’s performance for the potential to remain as an employee of Cancun.com in some capacity.

LeBouef said if chosen as Cancun.com’s CEO she would shine the spotlight on sharp, concise and to-the-point storytelling to illuminate the beauty of the boutique tropical market. “It’s exactly what I’ll do for the city of Cancun,” she said, “showcase the stories of its people, their traditions, loves, losses, challenges, hopes and passions for the place they call home. Together, these pieces will prove its worth as a destination for all. I believe anyone can find an ideal getaway in Cancun. It’s prime for romantic vacations, quiet weekend escapes, remote work retreats for professionals of all ages, family reunions; there are so many cities and areas nearby with their own distinct personalities, just like New Orleans. Much like the goals of our Tricentennial campaign for the city, I plan to break the ‘partying’ stigma often associated with Cancun through the eyes of its people and my knack for piecing their experiences together.”

New Orleans and Cancun are similar, said LeBouef, in that both cities welcome all visitors with bright eyes, full hearts and strong coffee. “It is difficult to consider a new encounter a ‘stranger,’” said LeBouef, “and the sense of acceptance and belonging I feel in both places is unmatched. As I mention at the end of my one-minute Cancun.com CEO Search Campaign application video, we celebrate life regularly here; there is no need to wait for an occasion.”

If LeBouef is selected as CEO and gets to live in hotel suites, feast at five-star restaurants, tour the tantalizing territory and work on perfecting her perma-tan in Cancun, she said there will still be some things she would miss back home. “Fried oyster po’boys and frozen Irish coffee,” she said, “plus Saturday morning Humble bagels enjoyed in my sunroom, though I’m sure sunrise ocean views of the Caribbean Sea will ease the blow.”

 

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Big Easy Biz by Leslie T. Snadowsky

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Leslie T. Snadowsky contributes to Biz New Orleans as a video blogcaster and Biz liaison for WWL/WUPL-TV. She’s contributed to Bloomberg NewsReutersThe Times-PicayuneThe New York Post and The Dallas Morning News, and appeared on CNN’s “Nancy Grace,” and “Jane Velez Mitchell,” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” She earned her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an exhibited and published rock photographer, Leslie enjoys live music and the eclectic culture of New Orleans. 

You can reach Leslie T. Snadowsky directly at Leslie@BizNewOrleans.com.

 

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