Dorsey Selected as VisitHattiesburg’s New Executive Director

After an executive search process with nationally recognized firm Searchwide, the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission has selected Marlo Dorsey as its new executive director effective October 1.


This past June, long-time executive director Rick Taylor stepped aside from the tourism commission to focus his efforts on building and enhancing more facilities with the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. Since that announcement, Hattiesburg’s Tourism Commission has taken steps to begin its next chapter of tourism development and visitor growth, and selecting a new executive director was a top priority.

Dorsey was chosen from a group of finalists, following multiple phases of the candidate vetting process. The Hattiesburg Tourism Commission, led by Chairman Frank James, is optimistic and energized about solidifying new leadership for VisitHattiesburg.


“We have spent a great deal of time reviewing the qualifications and talents of numerous executive candidates, and we are thrilled about hiring Marlo as our new executive director,” Tourism Chairman Frank James III said. “As a tourism destination, Hattiesburg offers excellent accommodations, visitor attractions and entertainment venues. As we look to our future, we will be diligent about strongly positioning Hattiesburg as a great place for business and leisure travelers.”


Hattiesburg is the third most visited city in Mississippi with more than 1.8 million visitors in 2016, whose combined local spending was more than $274 million. 


Newly elected Mayor Toby Barker has quickly made collaboration, positive first impressions and community growth priorities in his administration for the City of Hattiesburg. 


“We’re excited to work with Marlo as she leads our community’s tourism efforts,” said Barker. “We want Hattiesburg to become a premier destination in the Gulf South, and her skillset will work toward that end.”


Following a year as director of marketing and communications for both the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission and Hattiesburg Convention Commission, Dorsey is eager to begin in this new leadership role. 


“I am thankful for the confidence and trust the commission has placed in me to lead Hattiesburg’s tourism efforts, and I will be diligent and strategic in marketing Hattiesburg as a tourism destination,” Dorsey said.


“Visitors bring more revenue to our local hotels and attractions, and they bring more shoppers and diners to our retail outlets and restaurants. By collaborating with our partners and showcasing Hattiesburg to key visitor markets, we have tremendous opportunities in this next chapter of development. I am truly excited about the future,” Dorsey said. 

With more than 20 years of marketing and development experience, Dorsey previously held the director of marketing and communications position for both VisitHattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.  In September 2017, VisitHattiesburg received the “Tourism Promotion of the Year” from the ­­­Mississippi Tourism Association’s for its newly unveiled website at and its accompanying HBURG video.  In 2017, the Mississippi Business Journal also selected Dorsey as one of Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women. 


Prior to her stint in Hattiesburg, Dorsey led the state’s global marketing efforts in economic development and tourism at the Mississippi Development Authority as Chief Marketing Officer.  Dorsey also served as Vice-President of Marketing at Jones County Junior College, and she is the former CEO of Cybergate Internet Services. 


Dorsey holds an MBA in executive management and a Bachelor’s degree in mass communications.  She is married to Christopher Dorsey, and the couple has two children, Peyton and Carson.