Governor’s conference 2021: That’s My M-O

Hi there. Some of you know me as Mo, your guide to all things Missouri. If tourism is your M-O, get ready for one of Missouri’s finest conferences. During this three-day event, you’ll meet other travel enthusiasts, connect with industry leaders and share ideas to continue making Missouri a great travel destination. Topics will include agritourism, marketing the unknown, tourism recovery and inspiration for what’s to come. I hope to see you there. — Mo

When: October 13–15, 2021

Where: Chateau on the Lake in Branson

What to Wear:
Welcome Reception — casual attire
Programming — business casual attire
Awards Banquet — semiformal attire

Face coverings are strongly encouraged, especially in situations where physical distance cannot be maintained.

Questions? Please contact


Signing up for this conference is a cinch for one or for the whole group. Click below to reserve your spot today.


Wednesday, October 13
10:00 am to 5:00 pm Registration Location: Preconvene Area

Sponsored by Madden Media
10:00 am to 5:00 pm Exhibit Set Up Location: Versailles
10:30 am to 12:30 pm MACVB Board Meeting (invitation only) Location: Milan/Venice
1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Meet Branson Sponsored by the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get your *Branson Passport for a self-guided tour at one, two or all three of these attractions:

WonderWorks - Have an upside-down adventure in a science-focused, indoor amusement park for the mind.

Beyond the Lens - Explore pop culture with interactive games, amazing photo ops and intriguing exhibits.

Titanic Museum Attraction - Open the door to the past in a one-of-a-kind way. "Passengers" experience walking the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase of the Titanic while surrounded by more than 400 artifacts.

*Pre-register for the Meet Branson event and pick up your Branson Passport lanyard at the registration table.
6:00 pm to 7:45 pm Welcome Reception Sponsored by the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Party at the o-FISH-al reception at the Aquarium at the Boardwalk. Motorcoach transportation available from Chateau on the Lake to the Aquarium at the Boardwalk every 20-25 minutes, from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm.
Thursday, October 14
7:30 am to 5:00 pm Exhibitor Trade Show Location: Versailles

Visit with business professionals and service providers who help support the tourism industry.
8:00 am to 6:00 pm Registration Location: Preconvene Area

Sponsored by Madden Media
8:00 am to 9:00 am Breakfast Location: Versailles

Sponsored by the Missouri Film Office and Missouri Motion Media Association
9:00 am to 10:30 am Keynote: The Next Great Chapter Location: Windsor

Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Travel Association

Following a decade of unprecedented growth and prosperity, 2020 was the year the travel industry as we knew it ceased to exist. Roger Dow will discuss the state of the travel industry today and the advocacy priorities the U.S. Travel Association is advancing to accelerate a full industry recovery as well as longer-term priorities focused on future growth.
10:30 am to 11:00 am Break and Exhibitor Trade Show Location: Versailles

Visit with business professionals and service providers who help support the tourism industry.

Sponsored by Rural Missouri
11:00 am to 11:45 am The Art and Science of Storytelling Location: Windsor

Andy Likes, Senior Vice President, Lambert & Co.

Telling a great story can be a difference maker. Stories move people, especially stories in the media and on social media. What is your story and how do you tell it? Why do you tell it? Andy Likes will explore how to reimagine and tell your stories to a variety of audiences while being succinct and best of all, memorable.
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Luncheon Location: Versailles

The Honorable Michael L. Parson*, Governor of Missouri, introduced by Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe
1:15 pm to 2:00 pm Missouri Pop Culture Tourism Trivia Location: Versailles

Join the Missouri Division of Tourism's two Andreas for a session full of fun and education.
2:00 pm to 2:45 pm It's All About Collaboration in Marketing Your Destination Location: Windsor

Gayla Roten, State Director, and Ben White, Program Outreach Specialist, Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc.

Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. collaborates with local convention and visitors bureaus and chambers of commerce to create a marketing powerhouse for your community. Join Gayla Roten and Ben White for a case study in how to promote your community by working together.
2:45 pm to 3:15 pm Break and Exhibitor Trade Show Location: Versailles

Visit with business professionals and service providers who help support the tourism industry.

Sponsored by Meredith Travel Marketing/Midwest Living
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm Missouri Tourism Commission Meeting Location: Milan/Venice/Florence (Seating is limited)
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm Awards Reception Location: Preconvene Area

Wine compliments of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Awards Banquet Location: Versailles

Wine compliments of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board
Friday, October 15
8:00 am to 11:00 am Registration Location: Preconvene Area

Sponsored by Madden Media
8:00 am to 9:00 am Breakfast & General Session Location: Versailles

Missouri Agritourism — How Can You Connect?

Taylor Tuttle, Manager, Missouri Grown

Join Taylor Tuttle for a conversation with local agritourism partners to discuss how to connect with agritourism providers and what destinations can do to help.
9:00 am to 9:45 am Research Today — What Is Working? Location: Windsor

Denise Miller, Executive Vice President, Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARInsights)

Learn about new research available to destination marketing organizations and how that research is changing due to technology. Denise Miller will discuss how and when to use new options as well as the strengths and weaknesses of those options.
9:45 am to 10:15 am Break and Exhibitor Trade Show Location: Versailles

Visit with business professionals and service providers who help support the tourism industry.
10:15 am to 11:00 am Missouri Division of Tourism Update Location: Windsor

Stephen Foutes, Director, Missouri Division of Tourism

Learn about the Missouri Division of Tourism's plans for fall, the spring 2022 phase of the “That's My M-O” campaign and the FY2023 Cooperative Marketing Program.
11 am to Noon Keynote: Living Your Best Life Location: Windsor

Wesley Hamilton

Prepare to be taken on a journey filled with peace, happiness and the motivation to rise above challenges. Wesley Hamilton shares his personal story about how he went from hopeless and depressed to a life full of purpose, understanding, joy and forgiveness.
12:00 pm Conference Concludes
*Scheduled appearance subject to change



Roger Dow is the president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association. Through research and advocacy, Dow and his team work to increase travel to and within the United States. The association sponsors several annual events, including IPW, the leading international inbound travel trade show, and ESTO, a knowledge-sharing forum for destination marketing professionals. Dow’s legislative victories include securing pandemic-related relief for the travel industry and establishing and renewing Brand USA. Dow has received multiple honors and awards for his work. He also has held seats on several boards, including Tourism Diversity Matters, The Travel Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.


After surviving multiple gunshots to his abdomen, Wesley Hamilton embarked on an inspirational journey that he shared on season four of Netflix’s hit show, “Queer Eye.” His stories focus on courage, strength and perseverance and the power of positivity, self-awareness, empowerment, resilience and acceptance in the face of any challenge. Hamilton believes “the highest human act is to inspire” — and that is his purpose in life, affecting the hearts of people of all ages, races, lifestyles and backgrounds. In addition to Netflix, he has been featured on CNN, ABC, BBC, CTV and TMZ.

FEATURED SPEAKER Michael L. Parson, 57th Governor of Missouri

Michael L. Parson is Missouri’s 57th governor. Prior to becoming governor, he served as lieutenant governor from 2017-2018. He was a state senator from 2011-2017 and a state representative from 2005-2011. Parson served six years in the U.S. Army and was sheriff of Polk County from 1993-2005. Raised on a farm in Hickory County, Parson is a small-business owner and a third-generation farmer who currently owns and operates a cow and calf operation near Bolivar.

Stephen Foutes

Stephen Foutes is the director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. A lifelong Missourian, he worked in the newspaper industry for more than 10 years before joining the Division of Tourism, where he has held several positions since 2009.

Andy Likes

Andy Likes is senior vice president at Lambert & Co., a St. Louis-based strategic communications and market research firm. An Emmy-winning TV producer, he has 25 years of experience in broadcast journalism, strategic communications and public relations. He leads Lambert’s media and crisis communications practice group, which covers public relations, media relations, storytelling, social media, community engagement and crisis communications.

Denise Miller

As the executive vice president of Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARInsights), Denise Miller serves as the lead for tourism projects for destinations across the country. Working with state and local organizations that promote tourism development, she focuses on target marketing, advertising effectiveness and economic impact.

Gayla Roten

Gayla Roten has been the state director for Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. since 2007. With more than 20 years of experience in downtown revitalization, she is one of seven founding board members of the statewide economic development program. She served as the local program director in Branson for 12 years.

Taylor Tuttle

Taylor Tuttle is the manager of Missouri Grown, a program of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The program connects producers to consumers and consumers to agriculture. Tuttle is a fourth-generation farmer, raising cattle and children with her husband on their farm in mid-Missouri.

Ben White

Ben White has served as a program outreach specialist at Missouri Main Street Connection since 2019. He previously served as the director of Main Street Chillicothe.


There are multiple opportunities to make your mark this year. Click below for sponsorship details. Current Sponsors


Wrap a child in warmth this winter with a donation to our 2021 Governor’s Conference giving back project.

Click here for more information.


This Governor’s Conference will follow all recommended city of Branson and Chateau on the Lake guidelines and protocols regarding safety for participants, vendors and staff. We’ll keep you updated if there are any significant changes.

Explore Branson - Current Safety Measures
Chateau on the Lake - Advisory

Current COVID safety measures at Chateau on the Lake include:

  • EPA-approved disinfectant in public areas and guest rooms
  • Guest rooms cleaned, disinfected and inspected prior to each stay
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Sneeze guards over buffets
  • Optional face masks and recommended social distancing in all areas