Johnny Coladonato

PalmSprings.com Spotlight: An Interview with Johnny Coladonato

Johnny Coladonato is the Partnership Account Manager at the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Johnny, thanks so much for talking with us today! I’m intrigued by your title at the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau–what does it mean to be a Partnership Account Manager? Tell us a little about your work for the CVB. 

Johnny Coladonato: My job is to promote and market the local tourism and hospitality industries, sell Partnership benefits and advertising and, lastly, service and retain the Partnership accounts. The scope of work entails prospecting new businesses in the Greater Palm Springs area along with being in the forefront of the community. Attending events, mixers, ribbon cuttings and other social venues is crucial for maintaining the awareness of the community. As a customer centric agency, the CVB strives to deliver destination information to the consumer, meeting planner, and travel professional.

And you said that your specialty is “building relationships…and the art of making things happen.” That is indeed a fantastic specialty to have! How do you feel you developed this ability and how does it help you in promoting the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau?

Building relationships is the key to all good things. You must first build that rapport before you can ask for anything. With a good attitude and treating people the way YOU want to be treated motto, things will definitely happen. I strive to get to know my clients and to understand their business needs and goals. I love the Greater Palm Springs area, so working for the CVB is truly a blessing. When you enjoy what you do, it just seems so easy.

Where are you from originally? What is it about Palm Springs that led you to make your home and career here?

In 1973, my parents moved us from Butte Montana to the Desert. The small town feel and great weather kept me here. It was a great experience for me; I really enjoyed the diversity and the friendships made. I then went to high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming and, after graduation, spent a month traveling Europe. The experience of traveling is so profound that I vowed to travel as much as I can, wherever I can.  I believe that trip changed my life…and also brought me back to the Desert and Greater Palm Springs. One day a gentleman approached me and said, “You need to sell cars.” I said, “Okay.” The next 10 years were spent at Toyota of the Desert making people feel good about their purchase. You can’t tell me that when you buy a new car you don’t feel good. It was a great feeling to see so many people that happy. The car business did teach me many things and the friendships made along the way are truly priceless.

Working with the Greater Palm Springs CVB, you must have your finger on the pulse of civic events and issues affecting Palm Springs. What upcoming Palm Springs area project or event are you most excited about?

Working for the CVB, we have a pulse on all/most of the events here in the Greater Palm Springs. I am excited to see Palm Canyon so busy. I encourage anyone to take a drive downtown and see all the hustle and bustle….it’s great! Forever Marilyn is such a great addition to the heart of Palm Springs. I really am excited for the future of our community. The revitalization of our destination will take us to the next level….and that is what it is all about.  Even though Palm Springs is the name in our brand, at the CVB we focus on all parts of the Coachella Valley. [The Coachella Valley is comprised of not only Palm Springs, but also Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Coachella and Indio.]

When you’re not promoting Greater Palm Springs to the world, how do you spend your free time? I know you’re a dedicated husband and father, please tell us how your family spends a typical weekend.

I am always promoting our destination….no matter where I am or whom I’m with. My kids are always asking, “Daddy, why do you talk to everybody?” and I tell them because it is the right thing to do and you never know who you are going to meet. Heather and I have been together for sixteen years and she is the love of my life. Having your wife as your best friend is all you can ask for. With her busy schedule as Executive Director for the Desert Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, there is always something going on. Daughter Audrey is a recent grad at Palm Springs High School. She was on the water polo team and swim team, has a B+ average and is one of the lead lifeguards at Knott’s Soak City. We are very proud of her work ethic and respect for others. Our nine-year-old Anthony is an avid soccer player, while Aiden, age six, likes baseball, modeling and acting. I spend at least four days a week at Demuth Park (seasonally). We really enjoy swimming and riding our bikes. Anytime together is a great time. My kids are everything to me.

Please share with us some of your family’s favorite restaurants, retail stores and hot spots to enjoy in Palm Springs.

There are so many great restaurants in Palm Springs. Woody’s Burgers is one of our favorites, the kids love it. Heather and I really enjoy Johannes. You can’t go wrong with any of the Kaiser Restaurants–Eric and Lee do a great job. Escena Grill and Golf Club is fantastic. It is one of the best courses out here and the food is incredible.  When we are downtown, my son Anthony has to visit Crystal Fantasy, he loves Joy’s store. (Funny, Joy was last week’s Spotlight)  Another family favorite is Yogurt On Tap.

It’s a close-knit town indeed! Johnny Coladonato, what is it that you most love about Palm Springs?

Palm Springs has so much to offer. I love to golf, play softball, bike, swim and go hiking. I can do this all year round….that is why I love Pam Springs.

Thank you, Johnny, and thank you for all you do to tireless promote wonderful Greater Palm Springs to the world!

About Kate Buckley

Kate Buckley is a brand strategist, premium domain broker and consultant, interviewer, storyteller, visual artist, and award-winning poet & writer. She’s worked in media and marketing since 1997, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press) and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach). A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her awards include a Gabeheart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. She was most recently shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. A ninth-generation Kentuckian, she’s made her home in Southern California since 1998.

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