A Destination Marketing Leader in DEI, with Santiago C. Corrada

Episode 339

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Santiago C. Corrada is an accomplished, recognized leader with over twenty-five years of public service experience, with proven success in effectively and efficiently transforming the professional culture of many diverse institutions. His outstanding relationship-building skills result in the resolution of highly complex issues through consensus. Corrada has the demonstrated ability to soundly and fiscally manage a convention center resulting in record surplus revenues. He has consistently elevated organizations to higher levels of productivity by empowering team members and stakeholders. Corrada is an intelligent, articulate, dedicated, loyal individual driven to serve and deliver the highest quality services.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Santiago Corrada about his leadership philosophy which includes fostering relationships, building a great team, and being a role model. We also discuss the importance of welcoming diverse audiences, and Santiago shares in detail how Visit Tampa Bay welcomes people of all abilities.


What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Santiago’s atypical journey from high school principal to destination marketer
  • Why Santiago firmly believes that leadership is something that should benefit a team rather than stifle them
  • Why they decided to create a Tampa-based cookbook and how it supported an underappreciated sector of their community
  • Santiago’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and how they support individuals with impediments to travel at Visit Tampa Bay
  • What they’re doing to tell their story in a thoughtful, deliberate way and how they’re ensuring that the local community members are great hosts to visitors
  • What Santiago is looking for when he’s building his destination development plan and some of the important factors he likes to incorporate

Leadership at Visit Tampa

Santiago Corrada discusses leadership philosophy and why he enjoys being a mentor and leading by example at Visit Tampa Bay. He shares how his unusual journey into destination marketing has helped him understand the importance of engaging his own team and the wider community in their visitor attraction initiatives.

Santiago also shines a little light on the need for effective marketing and leadership in making a location stand out. Focusing on what they’re doing at Visit Tampa Bay, he mentions how his team’s efforts led to recognition from Time Magazine, money.com, and Forbes and how they helped put Tampa on the map as one of the best places in Florida to live and visit. Santiago believes that Visit Tampa Bay’s unique branding and collaborative approach differentiates their destination from other typical Florida destinations.

Shaping Your Own Narrative

In our talk on all things creativity and leadership in destination marketing, Santiago expanded on his viewpoint, explaining that the goal isn’t just about making Tampa or Tampa Bay stand out amongst competitors; it’s all about shaping the narrative your own way. He also gives a few examples of some of the innovative and creative approaches in marketing and sharing the uniqueness of their location with the world.

Committed to DEI

Santiago’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is a cornerstone of his leadership strategy. As one of the few Latino leaders of a DMO in the country, he has always prioritized diversifying his team, board of directors, and the portrayal of diverse, multicultural groups in their marketing imagery. It was, therefore, important to Santiago and his team to include imagery in their campaigns representing individuals with travel impediments.

Visit Tampa incorporated ambassadors and influencers who have travel impediments into their video creation and campaigns. This inclusive initiative has added another layer to their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, enriching their marketing strategy and further differentiating their destination.


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