The Walton County Tourism Department is excited to announce the appointment of Nicole Barefield as Communications Director.
With experience in the news media business stretching back 40 years, Barefield brings an extensive background in marketing, management and communications to her new role. As Communications Director, Barefield will be responsible for the oversight, supervision, and implementation of the organization’s communications programs, strengthening Walton County as a premier visitor destination.
“Nicole will be an immensely valuable addition to the team at The Walton County Tourism Department,” Tourism Director, Matt Algarin said.
“With her media expertise and deep knowledge of the region leading the way, she’ll help promote Walton County as a world-class and welcoming destination for all.”
A graduate of Florida State University, Barefield began her career as a reporter and section editor at The News Herald in Panama City, Fla., later advancing to marketing director. In 2007, she became the publisher of the Washington County News and Holmes County Advertiser, and most recently was group publisher of four Florida weekly newspapers owned by Neves Media Group.
Her career has led to leadership roles in key industry initiatives, including audience and brand development, and business innovation at a time the newspaper industry was shifting towards multi-media platforms. Locally, she was an integral part of on the development team that created the free-standing Walton Sun weekly newspaper, which successfully engaged the Walton County resident and visitor markets for many years.
Barefield is passionate about community stewardship and has long been involved in civic and non-profit organizations that serve to improve the quality of life and economic environment for local communities. Most recently, she served on the executive board of the United Way of Northwest Florida and is a past-president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Chipley.
In 2017, Barefield was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame (Eastern Division) and in 2016 was honored as a Pinnacle Award Winner from 850 Business Magazine. She is a recipient of the Women of Distinction Award in the media category by the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle, and a Notable ‘Nole from FSU-Panama City.