Meet Whitney Lee:
Whitney began her career in hospitality in 2011 as an intern at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village in Destin, Florida. She joined a team of two that was tasked with spearheading all marketing and public relations for the hotel, as well as HarborWalk Village, the lifestyle center connected to the property. The team focused on driving foot traffic to the boutiques, restaurants and vendors of the center as well as planning and executing over 50 festivals and concerts a year. Following her internship, she was hired as Events and Marketing Manager.
Whitney found her calling, thanks to the Facebook “Like” page. When she started, the hotel and Village only had an “Add Friend” profile and had reached the maximum of 5,000 friends. Whitney launched the hotel’s “Like” page and within less than two years, had organically grown the new business page to 10,000 followers. She became known in the hotel and in the Village as “The Facebook girl”- answering all social media questions and giving advice for the small businesses in the Village on how to use this new form of communication to bring in clients and customers. Everyone in the office had 20+ years of experience, but this 22-year-old millennial had discovered a way to be an expert and an asset for the team.
At the ripe age of 25, Whitney received an offer to become the Director of Marketing for the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Miramar Beach, Florida. At the time, the hotel was the number one revenue generating franchise of Hilton in the world. She managed a $500k+ budget for all marketing, social media and PR for the hotel as well as their award winning spa, Serenity by the Sea, and the AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood.
Whitney knew the hospitality world was absolutely her strength and passion, but the structure of the corporate world wasn’t. If she could do this for one hotel, why not do it for many more?
She began consulting in 2013 and officially launched Sociallee PR & Digital Media in 2015. Since then, the team and talents have continued to expand within the hospitality realm.
Before her career, Whitney received a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication from Florida State University and her Bachelors in Communication from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and has been a resident of Destin, Florida, since 2008. A former college athlete, Whitney is fiercely competitive and continues to enjoy fitness, as well as cooking, Florida summer boat days and of course, traveling the world.
Involvement and Awards:
CIO Times – Five Most Dynamic Women Leaders, Ruling the Industry 2022 – 2022
State Executive Board – Florida Public Relations Association – 2018 – Present
Communicator of the Year – Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA – 2014 & 2019
Board Member – Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA – 2012 – Present
Board Member – Destin Chamber of Commerce – 2018 – Present
President – Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA – 2015 – 2016
President’s Award – Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA – 2015
Accreditation in Public Relation (APR)
Certified Public Relations Counselor
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
Talk Travel With Whitney:
Favorite US City: Tie – New Orleans and Chicago. Both cities have the most welcoming locals, delicious food, and unique things you can only find there!
Place You Would Like to Travel: Dying to see Greece, Israel, and Egypt. I love historical travel. Going back in time absolutely blows my mind.
Favorite City Abroad: I need to see London again. I was there five days and felt like there was so much more to do! I’m still dreaming about Indian food. I’ve also been to Italy numerous times and every time I go, I remember why I love it so much. The history, the people, the food, the wine!