ATIA’s President & CEO Sarah Leonard Moves On From ATIA

January 17, 2023
ATIA has announced that our President and CEO Sarah Leonard has resigned after 10 years with the organization. Sarah will continue in her role until mid-February, before beginning a new position as Executive Director of Visit Longmont in Colorado. She leaves a well-experienced team of professionals at ATIA who will manage the transition until a replacement is selected.

A letter from Sarah Leonard:

It has been such an honor to lead the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) team for the past decade. After twenty plus years as part of Alaska’s tourism, conservation, and natural resource communities, my family and I are ready to take on our next adventure. We will be moving to Colorado where I will remain in the travel and tourism world as the Executive Director of Visit Longmont.

As I reflect on my tenure with ATIA, I am proud of what we have achieved together as a tourism community. We took on hard discussions and raised our voices as an important economic sector, we reimagined the way we do business, and we became stronger and more resilient. Together we:

  • Advocated for an industry-led marketing program, which ATIA now efficiently and effectively manages in partnership with the State.
  • Advanced and grew Adventure Green Alaska, promoting Alaska’s only ecotourism certification program, achieving recognition through the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
  • Represented Alaska tourism in policy discussions ranging from National Park Service funding to Arctic economic development to health and safety guidelines.
  • Strengthened relationships with Alaska Indigenous and cultural tourism partners.
  • Advocated for critical economic relief for tourism and hospitality businesses impacted by the pandemic, and secured diverse funding to support the association throughout the last three years.

Together, we met the challenges of the pandemic head-on, and I believe this experience made me a stronger leader, ATIA a better association, and our community a solid and more connected industry. So many of you have touched my professional life through your stories and the experiences you have shared, as we all have navigated the recent trials of COVID19 and other difficult tasks throughout these past ten years. Thank you for the support, the lessons learned and for your mentorship along the way.

I know the next generation at ATIA will continue to inspire me with your passion for Alaska travel and how quality visitor experiences can change people’s lives. I hope you will always consider me part of Alaska’s tourism family. Thank you!

 - Sarah Leonard
   President & CEO

Sarah Leonard photo