Hildene's Paula Maynard feted by state chamber

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MANCHESTER — Paula Maynard loves Vermont and loves to spread the word about all the Green Mountain State has to offer.

So, when asked to comment on being named the 2019 Vermont Chamber Tourism Partner of the Year, Maynard simply started talking about Vermont.

"I love this state," Maynard said. "It's so easy to sell it because it's the best place on Earth."

Maynard holds three jobs at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home. She is Hildene's press director, group tours director and manages volunteers.

On April 4, Maynard will be honored at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce's 36th Vermont Tourism Summit at the Doubletree by Hilton in Burlington.

"These awards celebrate our hospitality and tourism industry's vast contributions to the economy and acknowledge these award winners as standout achievers within Vermont," said Ronda

Berns, vice president of tourism for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, who will be presenting the awards. "These are the individuals who exemplify the Vermont brand."

The chamber called Maynard "a true ambassador for Vermont," and says her personal touch and warm welcome to all who visit benefit everyone throughout the state.

In addition to her roles at Hildene, Maynard is a member of the Vermont Attractions Association board and serves on the Vermont Travel and Recreation Council.

She played a key role in branding the area as the Shires of Vermont and helping brand The Shires Byway.

But, beyond her achievements, those who know Maynard best are those she works with locally.

"Paula is tenacious. She is an encourager. She is a team player who works to ensure that we all succeed," said Laine Dunham, Hildene's vice president and creative director. "She picks up the pieces, she never says 'no' or 'we can't.' If it is about bringing more people to our corner of the world, she's all over it. She can't help herself she believes so deeply."

Dunham wrote a nominating letter of support to the Vermont Chamber of Commerce in which she calls Maynard "one of the state's greatest cheerleaders."

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"Her uncontained enthusiasm and belief in the specialness of this small state has been boundless," Dunham wrote. "And she has made sure that as many people here and across the country and indeed around the world know that too."

Berta McGinnis, executive director of the Wilson House in East Dorset. called Maynard "tireless, enthusiastic, creative, collaborative, inspiring, totally committed, authentic, passionate and fiercely loyal — all in the name of Vermont tourism."

"Her outreach for the State of Vermont is well known as she interfaces with tour operators from across the U.S in her role as group tour director at Hildene," said McGinnis, previously director of the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce. "Paula is equally at home in the trenches gaining grassroots support for a project as she is at the helm leading the charge of anything that promotes the Vermont brand."

McGinnis said Maynard was instrumental in marketing The Shires of Vermont leading the charge to secure funding and approval for The Shires Byway, a 28-mile stretch of U.S. Route 7 and Vermont Route 7A from the Massachusetts state line through Manchester.

"Paula is one of those people you can always count on the to promote Vermont locally, regionally and nationally and to represent the state with a positive attitude that puts warmth, welcome and authenticity next to our brand," McGinnis said.

Maynard was appointed to serve on several statewide travel organizations under Gov. Howard Dean and has served since.

In these roles she's been able to get to know so many of the players in the state, region and even nationally and she said she thinks the relationships formed are important and happen more in Vermont than anywhere else.

While Maynard is clearly more accustomed to talking about Vermont than herself — she continually guided a phone conversation away from her accomplishments and back to the state of Vermont — she said her 14 years at Hildene, preceded by about 15 years at the West Mountain Inn in Arlington, with a few other things thrown in, has been a great 30 years.

"I've been blessed to work in two of the best places," Maynard said. "I'm very fortunate to have had these two things the past 30 years."Maynard said she was surprised by the honor, having nominated others in the past.

She also said they kept it quiet, even at Hildene after they knew she had been chosen.

"Everybody knew but me," Maynard said. "The press director is supposed to know everything."

And while Maynard isn't planning to slow down anytime soon — she mentioned the only bad part of this job is that some day she'll get old and have to retire — she is taking a moment to reflect on her career so far and take stock of the people she's met and worked with.

"It's pretty cool," Maynard said. "It's just been such a great ride and I've met so many incredible people."

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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