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Nov. 29, 2021

Navy Pier Names Amanda Willard as Vice President of Marketing and Communications

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CHICAGO — Navy Pier announced today the appointment of Amanda Willard to the position of Vice President of Marketing and Communications, effective Monday, Nov. 29. In her new role, Willard will lead the Pier’s marketing, branding and communications initiatives to create unique opportunities to attract more locals and tourists to Navy Pier.

Willard brings over 19 years of experience transforming brands to better connect with customers through marketing strategy, consumer messaging, promotional outreach, branding, advertising, and customer and donor engagement. Willard’s skills and expertise will be essential in her role as she looks to build brand awareness and support the mission and values for Navy Pier, as a nonprofit cultural institution.

“Amanda comes with a wealth of expertise that will play a vital role in developing integral Pier-wide marketing initiatives to better spotlight our independent businesses, free public programming, events, and one-of-a-kind attractions,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier. “She brings impressive experience from around the globe, including intimate knowledge of Chicago’s cultural nonprofits. With her strategic marketing experience, results-driven leadership skills, and ability to inspire creativity, Amanda will be a key player in showcasing Navy Pier as one of Chicago’s top cultural destinations.”

“I am thrilled to join the hard-working team at one of the city’s most iconic cultural institutions,” said Willard. “It is a fantastic opportunity to highlight innovative events, creative programming, new partnerships and fun experiences for our local and global guests to enjoy. I am excited to draw upon my love of Chicago and my years of building global brands as we shape the future of Navy Pier, the People’s Pier.”

Prior to her appointment at Navy Pier, Willard most recently served as a Marketing and Brand Consultant for Willard Brand Consulting (2020-2021), Vice President of Marketing and Brand for TeeOff by PGA TOUR, EZLinks LLC (2018-2019) and Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Communications for Lincoln Park Zoo (2014-2018). She also currently serves as the Vice President of Programming for the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association Board. Prior to her time in Chicago, she spent six years based in the U.K. and South Africa as a Client Director with Landor Associates.

About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and typically welcoming nearly 9 million annual guests. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more.

The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2021, Navy Pier continued to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts—including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurants and partnerships, and thrilling additions to Pier Park. The Pier is also proud to continue providing free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a mission-driven 501(c)(3) organization, in support of the organization’s post-pandemic revival and free public programming. For more information, visit


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