Ellie Westman Chin, President & CEO of Visit Franklin, has been named the ‘Women in Tourism & Hospitality Leader of the Year’ by the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association (GNHA).
The annual award from the GNHA is presented to a hospitality professional who serves as a leader and role model within the industry.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by peers within the hospitality industry,” Westman Chin said. “I care deeply about the work that we do for Williamson County and am passionate about encouraging other women within the industry to meet their full potential. We have a tremendous team at Visit Franklin, and while I was the one being recognized, all that has been accomplished in recent years wouldn’t have been possible without our incredible team.”
Since joining Visit Franklin in 2014, Westman Chin has led the charge to create programs and partnerships that have grown tourism in the county by 19.5 percent and increased the number of visitors by 36 percent in just four years. In that same time, the annual economic impact on Williamson County from tourism has grown from $382 million in 2013 to over $427.25 million annually in 2016.
A passionate advocate for tourism and the economic impact of the industry on communities across the United States, Westman Chin recently spearheaded an effort to bring together suburban Convention & Visitors Bureaus from across the U.S. to share ideas and best practices. Ten CVBs from across the country joined together to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities presented by proximity to a larger city. Westman Chin is also an active participant in supporting other smaller CVBs through Visit Franklin’s work with the Natchez Trace Compact and Americana Music Triangle.
Westman Chin has always had a particular interest in mentoring women in the hospitality industry. Before joining Visit Franklin, in her time working with the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, she served as a founding member of Georgia Women in Lodging, a program created to mentor and guide young women in the lodging industry. Westman Chin regularly engages with participants of the Youth Leadership Franklin program, a leadership program that connects high school juniors and seniors with community leaders.
Westman Chin currently serves on the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, Nashville Predators Foundation, Greater Nashville Hospitality Association, and the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce as well as on the Nashville International Airport Air Service Coalition, Destinations International’s Global Leadership Committee, and the newly created Franklin Public Arts Commission.