Elaine McLaughlin currently serves as part-time executive director for the Friends of Florida State Parks and as the sole employee for the organization. Having served two terms as President and one as Past-President, McLaughlin brings understanding the challenges and opportunities facing the statewide Friends and the Florida state park system.
McLaughlin also continues to be affiliated with the University of Florida department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management and continues to assist cities and counties with tourism strategic development.
She gained experience as a tourism leader for the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Visitor & Convention Bureau. She held this position for over 12 years. Twice named as one of the leading women in tourism by Travel Agent Magazine, McLaughlin led the Bureau in innovative programs that integrated city, county and state parks in the development of nature preserves and recreational areas. By focusing on nature-based tourism, the Bureau was able to grow the economy of the county.
In 1995, McLaughlin represented Florida at the White House Conference on Tourism and for over 6 years served on the Florida Commission n Tourism and the board of Visit Florida Inc, The first person in Florida to achieve the prestigious Certified Destination Management Executive, she also served as President of the Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.