Cedar Falls and the area have experienced “a nice streak of growth,” Manning said, that has resulted in numerous state awards, including Iowa Community Tourism of the Year, Iowa Attraction of the Year for Cedar Valley Trails, Tourism Community of the Year and Iowa’s Best Trail Town.
“We wrapped our arms around the trails and nurtured that growth. Our downtown is a wonderful attraction and the University of Northern Iowa has great facilities and events. Other communities are envious at how engaged UNI is in the community. The Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center has brought so much to the area, too. There are always so many activities and events in the area that there’s always something to do.”
Upcoming projects include riverfront improvements and a white water course.
Manning has served as president for both Eastern Iowa Tourism Association and Travel Federation of Iowa, and is among those working to develop a new statewide organization, Iowa Travel Industry Partners. In addition, she has received the Iowa Tourism Leadership award.
“The job has changed a lot over the years. It’s become less about the hands-on marketing and promotion of the community and more about managing staff. I try to focus more on leadership and less on management. I’ve had a number of great mentors to observe and help me in this regard, including the Global Leadership Summit offered at my church,” she explained.