Caroline Beteta – President and CEO of Visit California, and the State of California’s Director of Tourism – spent Wednesday evening with local students from Bear River and Nevada Union high schools as the final guest speaker in the second season of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s Speaker Series. The series provides students an opportunity to hear about a speaker’s career path, how goals were achieved, insight regarding areas of expertise, and an opportunity for questions.
Beteta shared with students a typical “day in the life” – working with businesses, government, media and consumers – as the CEO of Visit California. She also shared words of advice, including to get involved (volunteer and take advantage of opportunities to gain experience), be persistent (it only takes one yes), never take no for an answer (you can always find another way), be authentic and true to yourself, find your strongest talents by trying a myriad of things, find a mentor, and dream big. She also reminded the students, regardless where they are in their school or career path, to “be the CEO of your own desk every day.”
In her dual capacity as CEO of Visit California and California’s Director of Tourism, Beteta is responsible for implementing Visit California’s $115 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $126 billion travel industry. Caroline has shepherded the growth of Visit California into a global marketing franchise, delivering millions of visitors and billions of dollars of economic growth to the state every year. She has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year, the Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Award in 2013, and the U.S Travel Hall of Leaders Award in 2016.
Caroline holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in Public Administration/Intergovernmental Affairs from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Marketing Management Program.
Beteta and her husband, Art Whitney, are avid supporters of the Nevada County Fairgrounds and have children who were livestock exhibitors. Their generosity to the Nevada County Fairgrounds is evidenced by the naming of the livestock barn – Whitney Pavilion.
The Fairgrounds Foundation’s speaker series, which began in October, featured six speakers. The series, will start up again in October and high school students are invited to attend.