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2022 Awards of Distinction: Mary Kay Vrba Spirit Award

Date Published: September 27, 2022

Congratulations to Clifford J. Laube, this year's recipient of the Mary Kay Vrba Spirit Award!

Clifford J Laube Recipient of Mary Kay Vrba Spirit Award

The Mary Kay Vrba Spirit Award honors an individual who embodies the qualities Mary Kay Vrba, past President & CEO of Dutchess Tourism, represents including selflessness, service, inclusiveness and leadership. Join Dutchess Tourism in celebrating all the honorees at the 9th annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at The Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. Read more about the event here.

We chatted with Clifford J. Laube, Public Programs Specialist for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum to learn more about him.


What about your business inspires you?

I'm inspired every day I head to work at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Our mission is to foster research and education on the life and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and their continuing impact on contemporary life, and a big part of my job is to maintain and grow a wide range of opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to the Roosevelts. When I see those personal connections being made I'm inspired all the more by what we do here. 

What are your hopes for the future of travel in Dutchess County?

Dutchess County is the jewel in the crown of the beautiful Hudson Valley. We've long had the historic sites, recreational destinations and cultural resources around us that pique the interest of the visiting public, but it takes work for tourism to flourish. Helping organizations like Dutchess Tourism, Inc. do what they do has been a thrill for me, and I have high hopes for the future of travel to our community because I know the amazing team at Dutchess Tourism will continue to work for those of us who live and work in the County.


What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

Both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were faced with many difficult decisions in their lives and careers, and we can learn a lot from the choices they ultimately made by trying to better understand why they made them. Life isn't easy. And we don't always make the right decisions the first time around. FDR taught us that when something doesn't work we should learn from it, move on and try something new. It's important advice.


What advice would you give to someone entering or interested in the tourism industry?

I wouldn't be where I am today without the mentorship I was fortunate enough to receive throughout my life. Sometimes we seek out mentors. Other times they find their way to you. But you always have to be willing to take advice and allow yourself to learn from others. Good mentors teach you this, especially by example. Mary Kay Vrba -- for whom this award is named -- is one such mentor for me. My advice is simply this: Allow yourself to learn from others. Stubbornness in this industry fails everyone. But mostly oneself.


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