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State tourism chief Keller to take over Committee of 100

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NEWARK – Delaware State Tourism Director Elizabeth Keller has been selected to succeed Jennifer Kmiec as executive director of the Committee of 100, a non-partisan, nonprofit association of Delaware business leaders that works to promote responsible economic development and address issues that affect the state’s economic health.

Elizabeth Keller | PHOTO COURTESY OF COMMITTEE OF 100

Keller will assume her new position on July 11, taking over for Kmiec who is retiring after more than six years at the organization, including more than three years as its leader.

“After an extensive search to identify the next leader, the Board of Directors is thrilled to have found an executive director with Elizabeth’s leadership skills, creativity, and extensive relationships throughout the state,” said J. Gregory Ellis, president of The Committee of 100’s board. “With Elizabeth’s guidance, our next chapter will build on our strength as an effective advocate for Delaware’s economy.”

Keller has served as the chief tourism official for the state of Delaware since 2017, and worked at the office since 2010. Among other achievements, she helped marshal the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, building a marketing campaign around short-distance travel and staycations, especially at Delaware’s beaches.

Earlier in her career, Keller served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in workforce development at the Delaware Economic Development Office and she is currently a 2022 Leadership Delaware fellow. Over her career, she’s held roles in marketing, public relations, and digital media.

“It has been my greatest honor to serve the Delaware Tourism Office team and industry since 2010,” Keller told Delaware Business Times. “I am eager to begin the new role with The Committee of 100 to work with the board of directors, members and business community on issues regarding responsible economic development in the state. One of the first goals will be a listening tour with the members to discuss current and future opportunities. This organization is well known for creating a positive impact in Delaware and I look forward to working alongside the dedicated board and members of the organization to move the state forward.”

Jennifer Kmiec, the Committee of 100 Executive Director, speaks about a $300,000 fund to help restaurants winterize outdoor dining. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

She will fill the shoes of Kmiec, who came to the Committee of 100 in 2016 and took over the top role two years later from Paul Morrill. Prior to that, she was a founding director of the Delaware BioScience Association and the first executive director of the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA). During her tenure, she worked on land use issues, representing business interests in the 2022 New Castle County Comprehensive Development Plan process, and helped respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee of 100 partnered with New Castle County to run a $300,000 grant fund focused on getting restaurants and bars through the impending winter season, a traditionally weak sales period.

“I have been privileged to work with the members of The Committee of 100 on land use, transportation and related issues to positively impact Delaware’s economic climate. I’m looking forward to working with Elizabeth to ensure a smooth transition before I retire,” Kmiec told DBT.

Meanwhile, the state tourism office has not named a successor for Keller yet, according to an office spokesman.

“Elizabeth’s leadership at the Delaware Tourism Office has helped put Delaware on the national stage as a top-ranked destination,” Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, who oversees the state tourism office, said in a statement announcing her departure. “Her work has contributed to Delaware’s economic success in the tourism industry. She will be sorely missed at the Department of State, and I wish her all the best of luck in this new endeavor.”

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