Home > PUM One on One: Melissa T. Wade, Senior Director of Communications at VisitPITTSBURGH

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PUM One on One: Melissa T. Wade, Senior Director of Communications at VisitPITTSBURGH

 

Ms. Wade joined VisitPittsburgh on August 17th and serves as a spokesperson for the organization as well as oversees all communications efforts.

Before joining VisitPITTSBURGH, Ms. Wade was public health information officer for the Allegheny County Health Department. She was responsible for managing the public information office, media relations, crisis communications and community partnerships.  She served as a spokesperson for the Health Department. Ms. Wade also worked from 1999-2015 as creative services producer and event coordinator for CBS/KDKA-TV.

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency for Allegheny County. It is dedicated to generating convention, trade show, sports events and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.

 

PUM: Melissa tell us more about your new position as the Senior Director of Communications at VisitPITTSBURGH:

Melissa: As a division of the Marketing Department, I will oversee the outgoing communications of VisitPITTSBURGH (VP).  There are three of us who will work together to accomplish this, myself along with a Communications Director and Communications Coordinator.  We will collaborate will all of the programs to help them create the most effective communications. That will involve everything from working with senior leadership addressing the media to conducting press tours for out of town journalists to editing publications issued by VP and more.

PUM: Why was this position attractive to you and what are some of your immediate goals?

Melissa: This position was attractive to me because I viewed it as an awesome opportunity to use all that I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained to promote the city that has given me so much. I am born, raised and educated in the area and I’m excited about all of the great things happening here in Pittsburgh. The opportunity to promote those things nationally and internationally.

(Pictured: Melissa with her parents Mr. and Mrs. Wade at Altius on Mt. Washington, click images to enlarge) 

PUM:  VisitPITTSBURGH, is the official tourism promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, with so many big events scheduled in Pittsburgh in the coming years, from your perspective why is this city so attractive?

Melissa: I’ve heard Pittsburgh described as a little big city or big little city and honestly, I believe that is one of the many reasons this city is so attractive. Pittsburgh offers so much from innovation in business to great discoveries in the area of medicine to excellent educational institutions and a vibrant arts community. 

PUM: We also have a number of major corporations thinking about moving to the city, does your organization help in that process?

Melissa: VisitPITTSBURGH is just one of many organizations promoting Pittsburgh, but it sends a strong message to businesses thinking about moving to Pittsburgh, that the entire business community will support that move.  We are always willing to help sell Pittsburgh and all that makes our city a great place to visit and live.  Currently we are working with the Allegheny County Airport Authority and other partners to bring more direct flights to Pittsburgh both domestically and internationally.

 

 

PUM: While the city is continuously being touted as one of the best places to live in the country, what areas is your team working on to truly showcase all aspects of Pittsburgh?

Melissa: Pittsburgh is touted as one of the best cities in the country to live for several years, from VisitPittsburgh's research and data why is that the case?

VisitPITTSBURGH collects visitor-related data, not data that tracks why people move or stay in the region. However, we do know that over the years Pittsburgh has won awards related to affordable housing, good school districts/activities for kids, technology, food etc.

Also, are there specific areas your team is working on to showcase various aspects of the city?

Our goal is to showcase all of the wonderful characteristics of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. For example, just last week VisitPITTSBURGH hosted a culinary press tour. A group of 15 journalists, from all over the world, were here to experience our culinary scene that has simply exploded in the last few years. We’ve also hosted tours focusing topics such as the arts, innovations in business and architecture.  So, the focus will be dictated by the project or audience, whatever is appropriate.

PUM:  Before joining VisitPITTSBURGH, you served as a public health information officer for the Allegheny County Health Department. In that position, you were responsible for managing the public information office, media relations, crisis communications and community partnerships.  You also served as a spokesperson for the Health Department. Additionally, you worked from 1999-2015 as creative services producer and event coordinator for CBS/KDKA-TV. How is all of this experience going to help you in your new role at VisitPITTSBURGH?

Melissa: My previous professional experience has positioned me wonderfully for my work with VisitPITTSBURGH.  When I worked for KDKA-TV, I interacted with the media on a regular basis, giving me keen insight to how it operates. Therefore, when I was approached by the media for interviews or information from the Health Department, I knew how to navigate the response appropriately for all parties involved. Also, coordinating events on behalf of my employer introduced me to many nonprofit and community organizations. Some of which I interacted with again while working with the Health Department. My role with VisitPITTSBURGH is going to allow me to utilize all of my experience, everything from external communication pieces to working with the media to working on events and working with community organizations. It’s a great opportunity for me to use all that I’ve learned and the skills I’ve developed to help bring events and tourism to our great city!

PUM: What do you enjoy most about living in Pittsburgh? Outside of your new gig what sort of activities do you participate in when you are not on the job for VisitPITTSBURGH?    

Melissa: I am enjoying the opportunities that continue to become available due to the growth of the region. This new position with VisitPITTSBURGH is a prime example of that.

When I am not working, I love to run. I’ve run a few whole marathons and several half marathons. There are great neighborhoods and parks to run in the city. I enjoy reading and love to shop!

PUM: How do you help tell the story of Pittsburgh's diverse communities and make the city attractive for all?

Melissa: I believe the story of Pittsburgh’s diverse communities is told in all that it offers. Opportunities in innovative business practices from new emerging companies to those with longstanding operations in the area, its unique arts community for all ages and preferences, to restaurants that are new and hip and those that are traditional and well-known. By showing all that Pittsburgh has to offer, we endeavor to communicate that we are a city that has something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

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