CVB director leaves Natchez Trace group

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city’s chief tourism executive has turned over the reins of the public relations group for the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Linda Johnson, the executive director of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, resigned Wednesday from her role as president of the Natchez Trace Compact, which promotes the “cities behind the trees” on the parkway.
This was Johnson’s second term as president of the group, which she helped found in 1999. Effective today, Connie Taunton, executive director of the Natchez CVB, is the new president.
The resignation comes amid speculation of Johnson’s retirement from her long-held position with the CVB. She is expected to make an announcement about her plans soon.
Along with her role at the CVB, Johnson is president of the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance board and vice chairman of the Tupelo Coliseum Commission.
Johnson said she timed her resignation from the compact to coordinate with the transition to the nonprofit group’s new advertising agency, Tupelo-based Kim Collins Public Relations. She notified the compact’s board of her decision at its meeting last month.
The Natchez Trace Compact was started with five Mississippi cities and has grown to 20 members in three states. The compact also works closely with the National Park Service and the Natchez Trace Parkway.
“It’s truly been a thrill to be with the compact during its infancy and to see where it’s grown to now,” Johnson said. “It’s been an honor to be a part of it.”

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.