Fresh into her role as CEO of Destination Cambridge, Michelle ‘Miff’ Macdiarmid believes the time is right to lay a strong foundation for the town’s current and future growth.
News of Miff’s appointment was released last month. She steps into the organisation’s base at Cambridge i-SITE and into the shoes of Roger Gordon, who announced his plans to step down in mid-2017.
Her first ‘handover’ week saw Miff putting faces to names and getting a handle on exactly what is needed to take the town forward. She’s now on a fortnight’s leave – booked long ago – and will be back in action on July 23.
Talking to Cambridge News on her fifth day in office, she said: “Roger has done a fantastic job in setting up a good, viable business. My mission is to make Cambridge even more visible, and part of that is to enhance marketing in the digital and social media space.
“We have a fantastic resource here, both for locals and visitors. One aspect of my role will be to make what is on offer here more visible to both, as well as continue to promote other elements we have in Cambridge – accommodation, events, restaurants and so on.”
Miff’s brand and e-commerce skill-set incorporates management, strategic planning, and marketing. This role will allow her to follow another passion – tourism.
Born in the deep south, she worked a few student jobs in the tourism sector before graduating from Otago University with a degree in physical education, and from Auckland with a post-graduate diploma in business. It was a combination that set her up for a move into the management and marketing side of R&R Sports. The next few years saw Miff and her husband Alastair fit in an OE, move around New Zealand, and buy into the company before R&R Sports rebranded and became the bricks and mortar outlets for the online sports store, Torpedo 7. When the Warehouse Group purchased both companies in 2013, the Macdiarmids were part of the package and remained in situ for a couple more years.
On leaving, Miff took on a marketing and digital projects role with Good George Brewery but was scanning the horizon for something else when she spotted the advertised position with Destination Cambridge. The family – Alastair and their two children Molly and James – had settled here four years earlier. Miff describes the job as a “perfect fit”, while her predecessor Roger Gordon predicts an “exciting new era” ahead for Cambridge.
“Aside from my passion for tourism, I’m keen to boost local engagement through i-SITE. I had no idea this was such a fantastic resource for locals as well as visitors. I want to bump up local knowledge about what is on offer here, as well as promote the town to outside visitors. There are endless possibilities” she said.
“This is our opportunity to put in place the foundation for the growth that Cambridge is currently experiencing, and that we welcome. I am ecstatic to be a part of it – and it’s only 10 minutes from home!”