Story by Jefferson City Magazine Staff | Feb 24, 2016

Executive Director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

PYSK_DianeGillespieDO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME? My nickname is Thompson after my maiden name.

YOUR CURRENT JOB TITLE AND NUMBER OF YEARS/MONTHS IN THAT POSITION: I’ve been executive director at the Jefferson City CVB for three years.

PLEASE LIST YOUR FORMER JOBS AND NUMBER OF YEARS/MONTHS IN THOSE POSITIONS: Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau for 18 years. University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield, Missouri, for 12 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING FOR THE CONVENTION AND VISITOR’S BUREAU? Knowing the work that the CVB staff does has a direct economic impact on our community and state.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY: I have been married to my husband, Kelly, for 23 years. He is president and CEO of Missouri Biotechnology Association. Our daughter, Sarah, is 21 and a junior at the University of Missouri with dual degrees in political science and a Master of Science degree in accountancy. Our son, Murphy, is a 9-yearold Yorkie/Maltese. He’s a buddy to all of us.

PLEASE LIST YOUR EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and management from Missouri State University.

FAVORITE CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION AND WHY: The American Heart Association because we have several family members affected by this disease.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR IMMEDIATE AND LONG-TERM GOALS FOR THE CVB? Immediate goal: The CVB is moving offices to the Marmaduke House at 700 E. Capitol this spring/summer. This previous warden’s home will offer visitors an exclusive glimpse into a notable piece of Jefferson City’s past and will also house the Missouri State Penitentiary Museum, which will enhance its appeal and add value to the Missouri State Penitentiary tours. Long-term goal: To continue to work with city leadership toward future growth for our town.

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO IMPACT THE COMMUNITY IN YOUR ROLE WITH CVB? I hope to bring more visitors to our city and be a part of our city’s growth for the future.

WHY YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR POSITION? My career has always been in the hospitality/tourism industry, and I witness the economic impact it has on our community and our state. When talking with a visitor or potential clients at trade shows, we get to promote and sell Jefferson City, the place we call home. It’s a great feeling to know that we are representing our beautiful community.

GREATEST PERSONAL CHALLENGE THAT ALLOWED YOU TO EXPERIENCE SUCCESS: Juggling being a wife, mother and having a full-time career, which I believe I have been successful. I have bad days just like everyone else, but my husband and daughter pick up my slack. We support each other.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? Relationship building has always been important to me and to my career. Bringing people together for partnerships and keeping a positive attitude during challenging times is something I strive to do in every aspect of life.

ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD: I have seen a lot of great accomplishments in the three years I have been at the CVB. We have a great team and work environment that allows us to be successful in our mission.

LAST BOOK READ: “Younger Next Year for Women” to go with this year’s goal of taking better care of myself.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Fixer Upper” – love that show. I need a road trip to Waco, Texas!

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Homemade potato soup. If I am not feeling well or there is the slightest chill in the air, it’s very comforting.

FAVORITE APP: Viber…I used the app to talk with my daughter during her study aboard trip to Italy last summer.

IDEAL VACATION: I love the beach and the mountains, especially when traveling with my husband and daughter.

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: I always want to be a good role model for my daughter.

FAVORITE HOBBIES: Evening walks around my neighborhood and lately, home improvement projects.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW? I began my career in the tourism industry as a cave guide at Fantastic Caverns while attending college. It’s really where I found my passion to be in such a fun industry.