Molly Rawn elected president of regional tourism board

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 450 views 

The Northwest Arkansas Tourism Association (NATA) has elected a new president through its annual selection of officers. Molly Rawn, who serves on the NATA board in her capacity as executive director of Experience Fayetteville, will replace two-year NATA president J.R. Shaw, executive director of Visit Rogers.

“The future of tourism in Northwest Arkansas has never been brighter,” Rawn said. “I’m excited about what our region can continue to accomplish through us working together.”

Rawn is the executive director of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission (A&P), overseeing tourism efforts for the city of Fayetteville (Experience Fayetteville), Fayetteville Town Center, Clinton House Museum and the historic Walker-Stone House. Prior to her work with the Fayetteville A&P, she served as director of development and communications for the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville. She also sits on the board of the Northwest Arkansas Film Commission, Arkansas Hospitality Association’s Travel Council, Arkansas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, and was a member of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class of 2015.

The board is set to launch its 2018-2019 term on Tuesday (May 1). Other officer selections at the April 19 meeting were as follows:

Kalene Griffith, who has served on the NATA board for many years through her capacity as president/CEO of Visit Bentonville, was re-elected to the position of NATA vice president. Griffith has held the Visit Bentonville position since 2005. During her tenure, she has organized efforts such as the redevelopment of the tourism bureau, creation of the Bentonville Ice Rink/Splash Park, implementation of the Arkansas Sports partnership, City Wayfinding program, Storytelling with Cycling, and culinary and arts programs. Griffith was recently appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas State Parks and Tourism Commission. She is a board member of the Arkansas Hospitality Association’s Travel Council, Arkansas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Bentonville Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Bentonville Inc., Bentonville Public Arts Advisory Board, Bentonville History Museum, and the Scott Family Amazeum. She has been awarded the Forty Under 40 recognition by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, and more recently the Business Journal’s C-Suite Award.


Sandy Martin of Eureka Springs, who has represented Carroll County on the NATA board for the past five years, was re-elected to the position of NATA treasurer. Martin is the president/CEO of ProComm Communications, a company she founded in 1996. She previously was senior vice president at Bernstein Rein Advertising in Kansas City and served as part of the management team for Scripps-Howard Broadcasting. She has worked in tourism, marketing, film, and communications for 32 years. Martin also is the current president of the Northwest Arkansas Film and Entertainment Commission, chair of the Eureka Springs Arts Council, chair of the Eureka Springs Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development, and vice president of the Carroll County Airport Commission.

Cassi Lapp, board member and communications manager for the city of Bella Vista and Discover Bella Vista, was re-elected to the position of NATA secretary. Lapp has represented Bella Vista for NATA since 2015 and has served on the board since 2017. She also sits on the board of the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

NATA is the official nonprofit organization established for the purpose of stimulating leisure tourism travel and vacation business to and within the Northwest Arkansas region. It is one of 12 regional associations in the state created by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and includes Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison counties.

NATA also represents, promotes, and markets the four-county area’s attractions, destinations, and tourism entities. Member cities include Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Siloam Springs, Eureka Springs, Holiday Island, and Huntsville. NATA is guided by a board of directors made up of leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry.