WATERLOO, Ont. — Michele Saran has been named the new CEO of Explore Waterloo Region. Saran is replacing Minto Schneider, who is retiring from the organization after nine years in the role.

Previously, Saran served as the CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia, where she established relationships with industry stakeholders, made research-based decisions and leveraged local, regional and national partnership opportunities. Under Saran’s leadership, the organization won national awards for both product development and media-relations programming. She also served seven years as the executive director of Business Events Canada (BEC), a specialized unit of Destination Canada, and 11 years as director of Incentive Sales Development for Destination Canada in Chicago.

“This has been a time of unprecedented challenge in the tourism industry and I am looking forward to returning to Ontario and working with operators in Waterloo Region as we push toward recovery,” says Saran. “I’m excited by the region’s brand that celebrates the past and embraces the future. We will continue to leverage that brand as we work to grow leisure travel as well as meetings and sport-tourism business.” 

“It has been an honour to work with the many great tourism operators and attractions across Waterloo Region,” says Schneider. “It has been challenging and exciting work. We have come a long way in promoting what Waterloo Region is, and what there is to do here. I am confident Michele will continue the great work we have started. She brings a wealth of experience that will significantly benefit Waterloo Region.”

“Michele brings nearly three decades of tourism industry experience to Waterloo Region,” says Tracy Van Kalsbeek, Chair of the Board of Directors at Explore Waterloo Region. “We are excited to have her at the helm to help guide tourism in the region out of what has been its most difficult two years ever.”


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