Vice President, Corporate Communications
Delaware North Companies
Wendy A. Watkins is vice president of corporate communications and public relations of Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and foodservice and one of the largest privately held companies in the world, with $3.0 billion in revenues and more than 60,000 employees serving half a billion customers in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia. Its family of holdings includes destination resorts, sports stadia and arenas, gaming and entertainment venues, airports and attractions as well as the Boston Bruins, owned by Delaware North’s Chairman and CEO Jeremy Jacobs.
Watkins leads the company’s global communications team and works across the company to enhance and promote Delaware North. Watkins is responsible for the company’s external and internal communications strategy including corporate public relations, corporate social responsibility, industry and public affairs.
Watkins is active in travel and tourism and food service industry issues. She was part of the initial launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative and the Chefs Move to School program. She is also an advisor and staff representative to the Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and US Travel CEO Roundtable, and helped craft the first national tourism strategy for the United States.
As a breast cancer survivor, Watkins has been an advocate for breast cancer research and efforts. Most recently, Watkins lent her expertise to help launch the Cancer Nutrition Consortium. The group was formed to look at the issue of proper nutrition during cancer treatment, with a focus on improving the quality of life of cancer patients through nutrition. The Cancer Nutrition Consortium is supported by representatives from the world’s leading cancer centers and corporations as well as renowned physicians, chefs and nutritionists. The Cancer Nutrition Consortium commissioned a landmark study, led by Watkins, which combines findings from seven of the world’s leading cancer centers, is spearheaded by Dr. Bruce Moskowitz of the
Bruce Moskowitz Foundation. Seven major medical centers across the country participated, including New York University Clinical Cancer Center, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at John Hopkins, University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and the Cedars-Sinai/Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Watkins was appointed President of the Board of the Cancer Nutrition Consortium in 2013. In addition, Watkins was recently re-appointed to the Health Research Science Board for the State of New York.
Watkins was named a Woman of Influence in 2011 for her inspirational leadership and accomplishments. She is a member of the Vice President’s Forum, a senior leadership group of corporate communications executives from around the world and participates on numerous other boards and committees of national organizations.
Prior to joining Delaware North in 2000, Watkins spent ten years with the Marriott family of companies holding leadership posts in corporate communications, public relations and marketing. She served as global director of corporate communications and public relations for Host Marriott, a NYSE global hospitality and food service company, ranked as one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Food Service Companies.
Prior to joining Marriott, Watkins led corporate communications, advertising and public relations for Brandywine Enterprises, the development and real estate division of Empire of America. Watkins also worked at LaNier Associates, a full service advertising, marketing and public relations agency. She began her career in public relations at Four Seasons World Resort
Watkins received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Orchard Park, New York with her husband Lawrence and their two children Michael and Kristen.