R.I. Commerce’s Kimble-Huntley’s career is full of entertainment

STATE ATTRACTION: Since becoming R.I. Commerce Corp.’s chief marketing officer, Anika Kimble-Huntley has increased the number of email addresses in VisitRhodeIsland.com’s database by 400%, through in-person  and online promotions. PBN PHOTO/ELIZABETH GRAHAM
STATE ATTRACTION: Since becoming R.I. Commerce Corp.’s chief marketing officer, Anika Kimble-Huntley has increased the number of email addresses in VisitRhodeIsland.com’s database by 400%, through in-person and online promotions. PBN PHOTO/ELIZABETH GRAHAM

2023 C-Suite Awards
Government Agency: Anika Kimble-Huntley | R.I. Commerce Corp. chief marketing officer


A MARKETER WHOSE TRANSCONTINENTAL CAREER began with toy maker Hasbro Inc., jumped west to casino gaming and landed back in Rhode Island is hitting the jackpot with the state.

Since Anika Kimble-Huntley became R.I. Commerce Corp.’s latest chief marketing officer in September 2021, Rhode Island’s quasi-public tourism and economic-development arm has increased the number of email addresses in VisitRhodeIsland.com’s database by 400%, through in-person and online promotions.

R.I. Commerce, with Kimble-Huntley’s marketing savvy, almost doubled national media impressions, from 3.2 billion in 2021 to 6.2 billion last year, for tourism and business attraction to the Ocean State. Plus, R.I. Commerce partnered with the R.I. Airport Corp. to market Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport’s flight service in key demographic areas, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago, while promoting drive vacations to the Ocean State in Virginia and West Virginia.

- Advertisement -

With plans to lure the top 1% of the world’s wealthy to the state through luxury travel, Kimble-Huntley is only just getting started.

“She has a perspective of consumer mar-keting that none of [her predecessors] have brought to the table,” R.I. Commerce Director of International Tourism and Group Sales Mark Brodeur said. “The fact that she also is African American means she has a much better understanding of that demographic and making sure our marketing is seeking to integrate all ethnic groups.”

Kimble-Huntley began her career at Hasbro in 1997 as a temporary employee, filling in during a co-worker’s maternity leave. Having graduated from Simmons University’s intensive 11-month MBA program, Kimble-Huntley made her mark. In February 1998, Hasbro hired the Las Vegas native permanently to help the company strengthen its position in overseas markets.

“If you can imagine, we were hedging the U.S. dollar against the European currencies,” she said. “Our role was to make sure we were, basically, taking advantage of any foreign exchange gains while we could.”

That was before the euro. Back then, there were almost as many different currencies as countries in Europe. “Excel,” to most people, was nothing more than a Webster’s dictionary entry, between “exceedingly” and “excellence,” not the end-all, be-all numbers-crunching spreadsheet software.

“People say, ‘You did what?’ ” Kimble-Huntley said. “What used to take me a week to verify manually and create a hedge position, now just takes the press of a button. … It gave me the confidence to do anything anyone threw at me.”

Over the next four years, Kimble-Huntley climbed the international company’s ladder before springboarding into the casino-gaming industry’s marketing realm in her hometown. In Las Vegas, she quickly rose from marketing associate to manager to director before earning an executive office position as marketing vice president for a Windsor, Ontario-based venue in Canada, across the Detroit River from downtown Detroit.

It was the first of four separate marketing vice president positions that she held with casino-gaming venues in West Virginia, Ohio and Nevada before launching her company, Marketing Mix One LLC, in June 2016 in Las Vegas. By December 2017, she was back in the executive suite as a national marketing vice president. She helped launch Massachusetts’ first resort casino in metro Springfield – MGM Grand Springfield.

Her last stop before coming home to her husband’s native Rhode Island was Sacramento, Calif., where Kimble-Huntley served as marketing vice president for Hard Rock International Inc.’s properties.

“I’ve moved and been in different positions a lot,” she said. “And about 98% of the moves were because I was referred or promoted.”

Kimble-Huntley also serves as a Community College of Rhode Island Foundation trustee and an occasional instructor at College Unbound, which aims to help adult learners overcome barriers to attending college.

Whether it’s been delighting children with toys, connecting people with pleasantly memorable experiences at hotels and other venues, or attracting people to Rhode Island, Kimble-Huntley’s career has been all about helping people have fun.

“That’s a common thread between Hasbro, gaming and tourism – it’s all entertainment,” she said. “The actual industries themselves are entertainment.”

No posts to display