The Focus Group in Gulfport has hired Renee Areng, former executive director of Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Her position as vice president of business development began Aug. 1.
Areng’s departure from Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast came after the board voted against renewing her contract.
Before moving to Pass Christian, Areng worked in sales and marketing for Visit Baton Rouge, in convention marketing for the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Bureau, in special projects for Louisiana Department of Employment and Training, and as an assistant to former Louisiana state Rep. Jimmy Hayes.
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Areng’s new job will be pursuing clients in tourism and other business sectors. She will serve as a consultant on The Focus Group’s accounts that include Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hattiesburg Zoo, the new White Pillars restaurant, the Hancock and Ocean Springs chambers of commerce and Gulfport, Pascagoula and Diamondhead.
“The Focus Group has had great success marketing cities and destinations in Mississippi,” said Ceceila Shabazz, creative director. “With the addition of someone like Renee who has tremendous experience, industry knowledge and contacts, we are poised to be able to take our destination marketing talents regionally and nationally.”
Areng is a Certified Destination Marketing Executive. She serves on the board of directors of the Mississippi Tourism Association and Infinity Science Center, and this year she received Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional Forever Young award.