Nanci Liles Announces Retirement from Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau
Last Friday, your Chamber announced that after 36 years, Nanci Liles is stepping down as the Executive Director of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), a division of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, effective Dec. 31, 2021.
It has been a distinct pleasure to work alongside Nanci and her team at the ACVB during my nearly six years as CEO of the Abilene Chamber. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to work with and learn from Nanci and her team as we prepare for a seamless transition of her leadership. I look forward to working together to continue to serve our city and those who benefit from tourism activity here at home.
The Chamber will work closely with the ACVB board to ensure a search is conducted that provides the highest level of leadership and experience as we position Abilene for continued opportunities. Nanci’s tenure with the Chamber will leave an indelible impression on tourism statewide, but most certainly here in our great city. Read below to learn more about Nanci’s outstanding career with the ACVB.
-Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce
ABOUT NANCI’S CAREER:
Nanci began her destination marketing career in 1982 at the Midland Chamber of Commerce. She has passionately served the ACVB as director since 1985. Throughout her 40-year career, Nanci has been actively involved in the Texas tourism industry. She served on the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association’s Legal Defense Committee, as director and Chair of the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (TACVB) and as Chair of the Texas Travel Alliance (TTA).
Nanci’s term as TTA Chair, an association near and dear to her, began Sept. 11, 2001. From that day forward, members of the TTA community became more resilient, more unified, and (under her leadership and many like her) the travel industry not only survived but thrived. Her work TTA also opened many doors for the Abilene community through Nanci’s service alongside senior leadership of Texas businesses including Landry’s, American Airlines, the Dallas Cowboys, SeaWorld, Six Flags Over Texas, and more.
In 2008, Nanci received the TTA’s prestigious “Tall in Texas” and in 2016, she was presented with the alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Texas Department of Transportation Tourism Division bestowed the Gene Phillips Hospitality Award to Nanci in 2017.
Nanci was one of the first tourism professionals to be certified as a Texas Destination Marketer through the TACVB. She was named as one of the Top 20 over 50 in Abilene (first edition – 2011) and was honored an Outstanding Woman by AAUW.
Nanci moved to Abilene in 1985 with the thought that the move would simply be a steppingstone in her career, however, it turned out to be so much more. She found herself fully engaged and in love with the Abilene community.
Throughout her career, Nanci served on various local boards and committees including the United Way project committee, Abilene Regional Airport, Meals on Wheels, Expo Center, Convention Center, Junior League of Abilene, the Texas Forts Trail and Frontier Texas!
“I have had the pleasure to work with so many wonderful board members over the years,” said Nanci. “The leadership, talent and engagement make the ACVB board the best in the world. For 36 years and counting, the ACVB has always had a quorum—this is a testament to their commitment to the travel and tourism industry in Abilene.”
The ACVB is very successful in promoting the city for groups, conventions, sports and leisure. as can be seen through the economic impact travel has on Abilene’s economy annually.
“It takes a village,” said Nanci. “Our success goes to the associates (my work family) and their commitment to our mission; having tourism assets; and leadership. I am so very thankful for the opportunity the Abilene Chamber gave me over 36 years ago.”
As Nanci begins her next chapter, she looks forward to spending more time with her new granddaughter, Magdalina Chere, traveling, advocating to end Alzheimer’s, staying involved with the TTA, and being Abilene’s number one advocate.
QUOTES FROM STAKEHOLDERS, PARTNERS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS:
“Nanci Liles has served as a champion for our city for just about as long as anyone can remember, serving the Abilene Chamber of Commerce and our Convention and Visitors Bureau with distinction the entire time. Nanci’s tremendous experience, her widely-recognized leadership across the state of Texas and her work to bring the impact of tourism to our community combine to create a notable legacy as she retires after 35 years of dedicated service. I would ask the Abilene community and those who’ve interacted with Nanci Liles over her decades of service to join the Chamber’s Board and me in celebrating a legacy of leadership and success. We wish Nanci well in her well-earned retirement.” | Marshall Morris, Chairman of the Board of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce
“I have known Nanci Liles for over 30 years and during this time and she has proven to be one of the most gracious individuals I know. She is a mentor, a confidant, and a leader both with the ACVB and the Texas tourism industry. She’s not a leader because of her title or her overwhelming accolades and awards, she’s a leader because over the past 36+ years she has chosen to be a teacher of what she knows and one who has taught countless future and current leaders about the Texas tourism industry including myself. There has never been a time in my career that I have not been able to reach out to Nanci for help and guidance both with my job or my personal life. I know I speak for a lot of our industry partners, Nanci is the true definition of Texas Hospitality and her retirement will leave a big hole in the canvas that makes up our industry. She is the true queen of Texas Hospitality. | Mark W. Thompson, Chair of the Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau’s and Executive Director for Visit Plano
“Nanci is the ultimate professional. Her entire tenure, she represented her town and the industry with the highest level of professionalism and class. She did the same as Chair of Texas Travel Industry Association. She set the bar for what it means to market your municipality. They don’t come better than Nanci Liles.” | Paul Serff, President Emeritus, TTIA
“Nanci Liles has been a major contributor in making Abilene the vibrant city it has become, thanks to her tireless energy and innate ability to attract visitors to explore our plentiful activities. Through the good times of municipal growth, expansion of Dyess, and the revitalization of downtown, to the hard times of the oil bust, changing demographics and a pandemic, Nanci has been a steadfast leader for her staff members, non-profit boards, and the community. An enormous force in the state’s tourism industry, she is respected and revered far beyond our city limits. Through her networking endeavors, she has helped increase Abilene’s status among other Texas cities. For decades, her leadership in the ACVB has significantly impacted Abilene’s economy through engaging effective tourism efforts and bringing outside money into our collective coffers. Nanci Liles is the epitome of hospitality and West Texas warmth, representing all of us with her dignified grace and beautiful smile. Her retirement is unimaginable but extremely well deserved!” | Betty Hukill, Former ACVB Board Chair
“I have talked to leaders across the great state of Texas and when I they find out I am a past chair of the ACVB they all say the same thing: how extraordinarily lucky Abilene is to have Nanci Liles. Nanci is the lighthouse that has drawn thousands to our shores. Nanci is constantly looking at new ways to promote Abilene: every faucet she turns over and looks at from every angle to find the best way to tell Abilene’s stories. She truly bleeds Abilene. She is dedicated to her core. And will remain such.” | Councilwoman Donna Albus, Former ACVB Board Chair
“I can’t tell you how long I have known and worked with Nanci Liles, decades for sure, but I do know this: there is no one in the travel profession in Texas who has done more for our state’s tourism or who is more respected than Nanci Liles. She is a giant in the Texas Tourism business and is known and loved by just about everyone in the industry.” | Bob Phillips, Texas Country Reporter