VENICE, Fla. -- Freedom Boat Club, the world’s oldest and largest boat club and franchise operation in North America, has tapped Wanda Kenton Smith as its new chief marketing officer, effective September 1. In this capacity, Kenton Smith will work with the Freedom Boat Club executive team to develop and direct global and North American marketing activities, as well as manage marketing for its company-owned stores.
“We are very pleased to welcome Wanda aboard and look forward to leveraging her 34 years of marine industry marketing experience and connections to directly benefit Freedom Boat Club and our valued franchisees,” said Freedom Boat Club President and CEO John Giglio. “Hiring a senior level marketing expert was part of our future growth plans and is a significant step in our long-term corporate strategy. We believe Wanda is uniquely qualified to help us develop and achieve our marketing goals.”
Kenton Smith is a national and international award-winning marketing veteran of 34 years with a marine specialty. She previously owned and operated Kenton Smith Advertising & Public Relations for 13 years, a $20 million full service agency servicing more than 30 leading global and domestic marine brands. She also formerly edited two consumer boating magazines and two B2B newsletters, along with directing worldwide marketing for a major boat manufacturer for 11 years.
For the past 3.5 years, Kenton Smith has served as director of marketing for Legendary Marine, the Boating Industry Top 100 #1 Ranked Boat Dealer for 2012 and 2013 with four Gulf Coast locations, as well as managing a handful of select accounts through her consulting firm, Kenton Smith Marketing. She currently serves as president of Marine Marketers of America, chairs the RBLC Diversity Council and is the marketing columnist for Soundings Trade Only.
“I’ve been following Freedom Boat Club and am very impressed by its dynamic and visionary leadership, its highly successful business model, and the its outstanding growth over the past few years,” said Kenton Smith. “The boat club concept is thriving and Freedom Boat Club is the leader in this niche, having established the winning formula. It will be very exciting to organize its in-house marketing department, and to work closely with a highly committed team who shares my same passion for the marine industry and the boating consumer.”