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October 1, 2023

Howard Takes Helm of Gilroy Visitor’s Bureau

Former interim head of the Economic Development Corporation
takes job as interim tourism chief
Gilroy – Jane Howard, still fresh from a half-year stint as interim head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will now help buoy the Gilroy Visitor’s Bureau while it searches for a permanent director.

The tourist agency’s board of directors asked Howard in recent weeks to help out as they seek a permanent executive director. Former director Kirstin Carr left the position in October for a job with the San Jose State University Foundation, but the search for a new director has not yet turned up a replacement.

Howard, who is considering a bid for the permanent position, plans to start as interim head Jan. 9. She predicted her experience as the temporary director of the EDC, as well as her years of work with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, will help smooth the transition to the new job.

“I think there will be a lot of overlap,” she said, pointing especially to her involvement in the EDC’s workforce training program. “That was something the EDC was working on and I helped to complete. Not only retail but hospitality was one of the key areas that the Visitor’s Bureau was involved with in that effort. We need to go back and see what work we can do to keep improving restaurant and hotel training.”

The visitor’s bureau board of directors also has asked Howard to assess the agency’s operations in the last five years to help the group craft its future direction.

“We decided we needed someone as an interim person to take care of business,” said board president Majid Bahriny. “We have two or three people we talked to who each came up with the same idea – that Jane Howard is the best person for the position right now.”

He said the board has not worked out a salary. Howard said she plans to work 30 hours a week.

Earlier this year, Howard spent the first half of 2005 as EDC director while that agency searched for a replacement for Bill Lindsteadt, who died after nine years in the position. Howard was among the final round of candidates to permanently fill in as EDC director, but the position ultimately went to Larry Cope, an economic development director who most recently worked in Kansas.

In addition to her EDC experience, Howard has served on the board of directors for the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, on the Santa Clara County civil grand jury and as the president of Leadership Gilroy Foundation. She currently serves as vice president of the Gilroy Rotary Club and trustee for the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Bahriny expected the search for a permanent director to last until mid-April, to allow time for advertising in various trade journals and magazines.

“While we’re going through the process, we will be looking at more applicants,” Bahriny said. “Jane could be a very strong applicant for that position, but we did not want to jump the gun and go too quick.”

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