From the Top | Cody Gray

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President & CEO, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism

Tell me about your work: 

What is the best part of your job?   

I am so fortunate to be able to share our authentic Cajun culture, food, outdoors and destination with the world while working with our local tourism partners in Lafourche parish and in the great state of Louisiana. It is rewarding to see the substantial impact our tourism organization makes in our communities and the difference it makes in the quality of life for residents and visitors.

What is the hardest? 

It can be challenging at times with a small team to juggle the many projects, tasks and goals that our organizations works to achieve. Prioritization, planning and delegation are key in helping balance our team’s load while achieving the goals we work toward.

Is there anything new on the horizon?  

We are continuing to see positive signs of the return to travel and are excited to welcome back visitors to the bayou. We are continually working with Lafourche Parish attractions, events, restaurants and hotels to develop new campaigns, initiatives and products to showcase our unapologetically Cajun destination to the world to attract visitation year-round. 

What’s one leadership skill you feel everyone must learn? 

Good communication is a core leadership skill. Communication is essential to all areas of business, from client relationships to branding and team-building to productivity and efficiency. In order to build together and work together you must continually develop and hone your communication skills.

Tell me about yourself:

As a child, what did you see yourself doing as a career? 

In my early childhood I dreamed of being a veterinarian. Later in my teens I wanted to go into the music industry as a performing pianist, composer or conductor. However, when I learned about the travel and tourism industry, I knew it was a calling I had to answer.

What was your very first job? 

Before I was of legal age to work, I worked at an equestrian farm. It taught me the meaning of hard work and some valuable life lessons. When I was able to legally work, I landed a job in graphic design and large format printing at a printing company.

What time do you wake up and how do you start your day?

I like to start my mornings around 6:00-6:30 am. First thing is pressing the “on button” on my coffee maker. I am not a breakfast person, so I go right into getting dressed and ready for work. Followed up by checking my calendar, reading the latest headlines, glancing at my inbox and of course browsing my social media feeds. Then it’s out the door to conquer the day ahead.

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without? 

That’s an easy one. Coffee!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my spare time I enjoy traveling (I do work in the travel industry after all), anything outdoors, reading a good book, gardening and spending time with friends and loved ones.

Favorites/This or That:

Favorite food: 

Any kind of seafood.

Favorite vacation spot: 

Charleston, South Carolina

How do you like your coffee? 

Sugar and cream

Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? 

Vanilla with a chocolate drizzle.

Pen or pencil? 

Pen, preferably a medium or fine point.

Early bird or night owl? 

Definitely a night owl. But, during the week I try to find a balance so that I am able to get a good night’s sleep. Although, it can be challenging to shut my mind down for the day.