PENSACOLA, FLA.—Innisfree Hotels, the largest beachfront hotel owner-operator on the Gulf Coast, has appointed Rusty Branch to the position of Vice President of Community Engagement. The role is newly created, and as the first to take its title, Branch will focus on bettering and giving back to the communities where Innisfree does business.
“Innisfree is working hard to create generational changes in the communities where it does business—and beyond,” said Julian MacQueen, founder of Innisfree Hotels. “We wanted to create a role that was solely dedicated to moving our community-based initiatives forward, so we can create tangible, positive impact in people’s lives.”
As VP of community engagement, Branch will help craft the strategic direction for Innisfree’s “Hive” corporate responsibility program, which seeks to utilize profits to give back to the people in the communities where Innisfree team members live and work. Through its Hive program, Innisfree has invested in a diverse group of endeavors, including early childhood education, community gardening, work opportunities for persons with disabilities, vocational opportunities for non-violent teenage offenders and opposition to offshore drilling.
In his new role, Branch will be responsible for developing a process by which the Hive program’s initiatives can be optimized to create the most effective change possible. This includes a focus on engaging government and public entities to advocate for the communities’ broader tourism needs.
‘Natural Fit for This Role’
“From the beginning, we have felt that the best way to lead our business is to put the right people in positions that can help bring our vision for social change to life,” MacQueen explained. “Rusty’s background, along with his experience working with community leaders, public officials and everyday citizens, make him a natural fit for this role.”
Branch has had a long track record of working for the betterment of his community. In his previous roles with Lakeview Center, Inc., Branch spent 15 years advocating for behavioral health, vocational education, and child protective services. Most recently, Branch worked as the Escambia Destination Marketing Organization’s executive director, attracting visitors to the county to support the local economy.
“I am excited to help guide Innisfree’s organizational effect on the world for years to come,” said Branch. “The organization has built a strong foundation, and I am eager to unleash the talent that already exists within the Innisfree team and empower our associates to become change agents within their communities.”
Branch has served as a board member for CareerSource Escarosa, the YMCA, and Global Connections to Employment. He has also mentored underserved youth through Take Stock in Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Additionally, Branch is currently an active member of the Pensacola Civitan Club where he has twice served as club president.
To learn more about Innisfree Hotels’ corporate responsibility program, the Hive, visit https://innisfreehotels.com/corporate-social-responsibility-program.