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The Sophisticated Storyteller

Last summer, Dustin Arnheim returned to the city to head up sales and marketing for Choose Chicago, a role he quietly champions

By Todd R. Berger

Dustin Arnheim | Photo by Tom Michas

Some 21 years ago, Dustin Arnheim started in the hospitality industry at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago as a corporate management trainee for Hyatt Hotels Corp. A self-described introvert, Arnheim pursued positions in sales that often attract extroverts, first with Hyatt, then with Visit Indy in Indianapolis, Indiana, and with Visit Baltimore in Maryland. Now that he has come back to Chicago, this time as senior vice president of sales and services at Choose Chicago, Arnheim embraces his role while staying true to himself.

“I’m in a very high-paced job that I love, but I also need some downtime to just recharge,” Arnheim says. “Family time is so important to me; I love playing games with my kids, and I savor the opportunity to just grill out and have good old-fashioned family fun.”

However, it’s certainly not all downtime for Arnheim. He has lofty goals—under the leadership of Lynn Osmond, Choose Chicago’s president and CEO, Arnheim has launched a sales strategy, with the goal of booking nearly 2 million hotel room nights in 2023. “We are working to become more sophisticated storytellers of Chicago as we sell the city,” he says. “We are telling a new Chicago story, which will provide us the opportunity to get out there and highlight the beauty of our city, the beauty of our neighborhoods, and the diverse culture that we offer.”

With Chicago hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention, Arnheim believes next year will be an incredible opportunity to share the city’s rich history. “I think the dynamics of this city are so intriguing, and we have so much to offer,” he says. “Chicago has everything, and I cannot wait to showcase our city on the highest stage next year.”

Although the city is important to Arnheim, it’s not the only thing that influences him. “One of the things that shaped me as a leader today was helping my son through his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome [a rare nerve disorder that often causes paralysis],” Arnheim notes, emphasizing the impact that his son’s three-month battle with the disorder had on his life.

Arnheim adds, “My former leader, Al Hutchinson, who is president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, taught me the importance of leading with your heart. I try to bring that into everything I do day in and day out, and really just bring the human perspective to the job.”