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Joel Manby is President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE). HFE is the largest family owned theme park corporation in the U.S. The Company creates, develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties spanning 26 locations in ten states.
Manby’s association with HFE dates back to 1998 when he was invited to serve on the HFE Board of Directors. He later became non-executive chairman of the Board and then accepted the role of CEO in 2003. During his tenure, two of HFE’s parks have earned the industry’s highest honor, the Applause Award.
Manby has incorporated the definition of love, the verb, into the companies existing organic culture to establish how leaders are to behave. He views love as a mode of thinking-one that has helped him deliver tangible results and position HFE as the 9th largest themed attractions company in the world.
An expert on leadership and customer relations, he spent 20 years in the auto industry. Joel was a member of the start-up team for Saturn Corporation where he was instrumental in launching Saturn’s innovative marketing and distribution strategy. After seven years with Saturn and a two-year term with GM’s International Division, he was promoted to CEO of Saab Automobile USA. During his four-year tenure at Saab, he led the company to dramatic results as sales increased by 67 percent and their J.D. Power Quality Rating improved from 30th to fifth in the industry.
Manby serves on several boards, including the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and John Scott Ministries. He also chairs reThink, a non-profit company whose mission is to provide effective tools which enable families to learn biblical virtues in the home, school and church.
As valedictorian of Albion College, Joel was a Rhodes scholarship finalist. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School on a GM scholarship. His involvement with his alma mater has continued throughout his career. Joel was elected to the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 and has served on the Albion College Board of Trustees. Celebrating his accomplishments and his dedication to the college, Albion presented Joel with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
In March 2010, he was featured on the hit CBS show Undercover Boss. Manby and the employees of HFE moved millions of viewers across the world with their unique approach to leadership. He now share the principles that make HFE successful in his new book, Love Works.
Joel currently resides in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Marki and their four daughters. Beyond the office he enjoys golf, exercise, playing the piano and spending time with his family.