NEW YORK — Development Counsellors International (DCI) has named two new presidents to guide the 58-year-strong economic development and tourism marketing agency.
Karyl Leigh Barnes, who joined in 1998, is President, Tourism. Julie Curtin, who joined DCI in 1994, is now President, Economic Development. Both are partners and previously were Executive Vice Presidents.
Andy Levine, who had been President, remains a partner and continues to be involved in daily operations as Chairman. Rounding out executive leadership is Carrie Nepo, Chief Financial Officer and partner, who started with DCI in 2003.
“For nearly 60 years, DCI has worked with more than 450 places all over the world, designing campaigns to attract investment, travelers and talent to their destinations,” said Levine. “Julie and Karyl Leigh have been growing our agency and our relationships for a long time now — since before Y2K, social media, digital marketing or reality TV. DCI is better and stronger for their expertise and leadership. I’m eager to see what the next few decades bring to our agency.”
DCI was founded in 1960 by Ted Levine, Andy Levine’s late father. Since joining DCI, Barnes and Curtin have helped drive the firm’s expansion and success. DCI is now an agency of more than 60 individuals, the largest assembly of place marketing professionals in the world.
In her 20 years at DCI Barnes has advanced the agency’s tourism expertise, transforming a team of three publicists into a Tourism Practice with four additional divisions – tourism research, digital marketing, travel trade marketing, and meetings and incentive sales. She has created communications campaigns for destinations on every continent except Antarctica, in partnership with organizations such as Tourism Australia, Japan National Tourism Organization and Visit Scotland.
Barnes restructured DCI’s California office, with staff in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and established the agency’s presence in Canada, commencing work in Toronto in 2009 and expanding into Montreal in 2017.
She has actively served on boards and committees for Destinations International, Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and Sustainable Travel International, and speaks frequently about both leisure travel and business events trends at conferences.
In 1998 Curtin opened an office in Denver to support the agency’s growing business in the western U.S. Now with 16 team members, ‘DCI West’ has designed marketing strategies, digital campaigns and websites for economic development organizations, such as the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Houston Partnership, the San Diego Regional EDC, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Wyoming Business Council, to name just a few.
In 2013 Curtin founded and launched the DCI Marketing Summit, the only peer-led annual gathering of senior level economic development marketing minds in the country. Curtin is a frequent speaker for cities, regions, states and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). She serves on the Executive Committee for Counselors Academy, a special section of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).