gmhTODAY Summer 2022 | Page 50

Quiet Giants :

Jane Howard - A Champion for Gilroy

By Kim Ewertz Photos by Mike Sanchez , Visit Gilroy
" I believe we have a purpose until we take our last breath , and I want to validate that ." - Jane Howard

A lthough she hails from Indiana , Jane Howard , executive director of Visit Gilroy and the California Welcome Center , considers herself Gilroy ’ s cheerleader . “ It ’ s a natural passion of mine , I ’ m just so proud to be a Gilroyian ,” Jane said .

Her belief in Gilroy has never wavered and is evident in the immeasurable success she ’ s had in marketing the garlic capital as a vacation destination .
“ She has been the driver , the visionary , the person to make it all happen ,” President and CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce , Mark Turner , said . “ She has made Gilroy what it is today as far as a tourism destination , she has done it .”
Jane ’ s collaboration with Turner began nine years ago when he stepped into his current role . “ She was very helpful to me when I first started here ,” Turner said . “ It really takes partnerships to get things done , and she was an immediate partner , from the start , first day in .”
Late last year , after dedicating 17 years to her current role , Jane notified the board of directors of her plans to retire at the end of June . “ I wanted to make sure that this organization and the Welcome Center are doing fine ,” she explained . “ I did not want to leave until I saw some light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic … because I really believe in what we ’ re doing here .”
She will be missed , but the contributions she ’ s made throughout her career will not only serve as her legacy , but they have , “ elevated the city , and the area , to be recognized across the world ,” according to Krista Rupp , executive director of Visit Morgan Hill .
“ Jane ’ s contributions demonstrate taking tourism from an opportunity to a realization , benefitting the many businesses that make up our local tourism economy ,” Rupp said . “ When I worked in international sales for Monterey Bay Aquarium , I was amazed at how many people I came across that knew about the outlets , the California Welcome Center , and the Garlic Capital . This kind of reference point is invaluable and helps shine a light on our incredible assets in South County .”
PGA General Director of Gilroy and Gavilan College Golf courses , Don De Lorenzo , has known Jane since 2013 , and has nicknamed her , “ the energizer bunny .”
“ She ’ s just a busy lady that gets stuff done , and Gilroy has reaped the benefits of her expertise in the tourism world ,” De Lorenzo said . “ The time and effort she ’ s put into making
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