Tourism Walla Walla chief steps down

Michelle Liberty resigned after just seven months as executive director.

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WALLA WALLA — Tourism Walla Walla Executive Director Michelle Liberty has stepped down from her post at the tourism promotion agency just seven months after being named to the organization’s top administrative position, officials announced.

Liberty reportedly resigned her position effective Tuesday, according to the announcement. Her offer of more notice was declined by the agency, which said her attention to detail has left the organization in an “excellent position.”

Liberty, a marketing professional, said she will devote more time to her consulting business, Attitude Marketing.

“It has been a privilege and a whole lot of fun promoting tourism in Walla Walla over the last several months, but an opportunity has presented itself to Attitude Marketing that will demand a lot of my time,” she said in a prepared statement.

Liberty was selected from a pool of about 60 applicants across the country to succeed Michael Davidson.

She started the job March 5, making the “upper end” of the advertised annual salary range of $60,000-$80,000.

When she began, Tourism Walla Walla had two major projects in the works. One was a regional signage initiative designed to better guide visitors through the community with more cohesive signs. Under Liberty, that project had made it through the design phase. She had been in the process of procuring funding for the signs.

The other major project was a remodel of Tourism Walla Walla’s website, www.wallawalla.org. In a mass email Tuesday to Tourism Walla Walla followers, Liberty announced the site had been launched and provided a link to it as well.

Prior to joining the agency, Liberty had spent three years operating her marketing consulting firm. She worked nine months as director of retail and consumer marketing for Seattle-based Precept Wine Brands before that. Between 1998 and 2009 she was marketing director for Wildhorse Resort & Casino.

In its announcement this afternoon, Tourism Walla Walla’s executive committee said a nationwide search for Liberty’s successor will begin immediately. Executive committee members will meet next week to chart a plan on keeping tourism projects moving forward while the search takes place.

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