Our Courses

The Sandbox Series

October 19 - December 6, 2021

The Sandbox Series – All Sessions are now FULL – email info@gmist.ca to put your name on wait list.

The sandbox series has been designed to bring together small groups of industry colleagues to “play” around with a series of themed sessions delivered in a very informal and interactive setting.   Each session will have an industry leader who will provide a brief presentation on a practice or idea they have been focusing on within their business or community.   The goal of the sessions is to create a space to share ideas in these crazy times and find like-minded colleagues to bounce some ideas or questions off of!


Very simple we will be using the online platform zoom to bring together 12-16 industry colleagues.  What we ask is you come ready to interact, share your ideas, ask your questions and just be willing to share.  These sessions are on a first come, first served basis and are free to industry.   We will record and post the sessions.

The Sandbox Sessions

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Tourism in a Pandemic : It’s about telling your story!  PART 1

Stan Cook Jr is one of the most recognizable tourism professional in Canada having won numerous awards and accolades as a business owner over the past 25 years.  Join Stan as he shares how using a repeatable and relevant story based formula to communicate to your clients what they need is the difference between disseminating facts and making a valuable point. Using stories to organize information for our customers is the most powerful tool known in the history of man. In the post Covid 19 technology packed world the elements of talking stories will garner attention from otherwise distracted customers.   This is a two part session with the next part the following week – we hope you can join.

Presenter: Stan Cook Jr., Tourism Consultant, NL

Target Audience: Tourism Operators

Monday, October 25, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Telling your story to those that need to hear it. PART 2

Stan Cook Jr has been telling stories for as long as he can remember.  One of the most decorated and awarded tourism professionals in Canada, Stan will lead us through a process that will help us think about the value of story telling.  Human beings are natural storytellers, we were telling tales long before we wrote anything down.  We have been telling stories so long that we don’t recognize it as a skill anymore. It’s just something we do, but it doesn’t mean we are any good at it. This session will give an overview on how to clarify your message through story telling so customers will listen. As second nature as storytelling is it is a skill that can be honed.

Presenter: Stan Cook Jr., Tourism Consultant, NL

Target Audience: Tourism Operators

Monday, November 1, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Developing Innovative Tourism Experiences

Ian jumped at the chance to return home to Newfoundland and Labrador from western Canada in 2010, accepting a position in Gros Morne National Park. His sense of place that many Newfoundlanders embrace makes him a passionate promoter of the province in his roles with the Gros Morne Cooperating Association and Parks Canada. Residing in Gros Morne has inspired Ian and his wife, Rebecca, to start five companies, Tour, Taste and Transform Gros Morne, Gros Morne Inn and Atlantic Healthy Oceans Initiative. Living in a world-class national park they develop customized sustainable tourism experiences by developing strong partnerships with local operators.  Join Ian as he shares with you his passion for tourism and how he has developed award winning hiking, culinary and culture based tours that connect visitors to the special character of place in Gros Morne.  Ian will share the key things to think about as you go through the process of building out experiences and the value of partnering within your own communities.

Presenter: Ian Stone, C0-owner Tour Gros Morne, NL

Target Audience: Tourism Operators

Monday, November 8, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Itinerary Development

Chris Sheppard is the Executive Director of the Legendary Coasts DMO in Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.   Chris is a familiar face within the Newfoundland and Labrador tourism industry and has more than 25 years of experience in many areas of the tourism industry. In this session Chris will discuss what an itinerary is and explore the various types and possible themes for an itinerary. He will look at the benefits of an itinerary for a visitor and why visitors want one. Finally, he will review some tips for writing an itinerary and what we do with them once they are ready to use.

Presenter: Chris Sheppard, Executive Director, Legendary Coasts

Target Audience:  Business, DMO, TIAs who want to learn more about itinerary development.

Monday, November 15, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Building Confidence with Festival and Events

Paul Gudgin has been involved with the festival industry for 30 years working on a wide range of large-scale and smaller events including the Aldeburgh Festival, City of London Festival, Durham International Brass Festival and 8 years as the Director of the world’s largest arts festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Join Paul as he shares some insights into the current state of affairs within Festival and Events through COVID and how we need to build back confidence within our organizers, attendees, funders and artists through new and innovative approaches.

Presenter: Paul Gudgin, Festival and Event Management Consultant, UK

Target Audience:  Festival and Events managers, administrators, municipal leaders, government support agents looking for further information and ideas around managing festival and events through COVID.


Monday, November 22, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Stories of Food

Lori McCarthy is the owner of the highly awarded and written about Cod Sounds.  Her business is focused on telling the stories of Newfoundland and Labrador through food – often gathered through her renowned foraging experiences.  Join Lori as she shares insights on where she sees the culinary scene moving through COVID and past it.

Presenter:  Lori McCarthy, Owner Cod Sounds, NL

Target Audience:   Operators who work in the food/experience sector who want to adapt/manage their offerings during COVID.


Monday, November 29, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Deciding on Trails: Cultivating a Trail Culture

Amy Camp, owner of Cycle Forward, specializes in helping communities better connect to and benefit from trails. Having helped to establish the first Trail Town program in Pennsylvania, she now works with trail towns throughout the U.S. and Canada. She recently published Deciding on Trails: 7 Practices of Healthy Trail Towns. Amy believes that when local people and leaders use and celebrate trails – when they decide to invest in trails – that a trail culture and trail economy take hold. Join us for an interactive discussion on cultivating a trail culture.

Presenter: Amy Camp, Owner of Cycle Forward, USA

Target Audience:  Communities and businesses who have an interest in utilizing/developing trails for community and visitor usage.

SLIDE DECK from Presentation.Sandbox Series Presentation

Monday, December 6, 2021 – 10 – 11:15 AM AST (10:30 – 11:45 NT)

Topic: Tourism Community Development

Colleen Kennedy is the Executive Director of the Gros Morne Cooperating Association located in Gros Morne region of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The GMCA along with Parks Canada and the seven municipalities that exist within the National Park have engage in an ambitious project to develop a tourism strategy that would become a guiding set of policies and practices to help support the Gros Morne Region as they work together to create great places to live and visit.  Join Colleen as she provides an overview of the Gros Morne Tourism Regional Implementation Plan (GMTRIP) and how they have engaged across different municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions to work together towards a common goal.

Presenter: Colleen Kennedy, Executive Director, Gros Morne Cooperating Association, NL

Target Audience: Those who work in community development, tourism and municipal government.


Here are some links to talked about community development documents in the presentation  below.  STAR and GMTRIP