Like many, I’m not really comfortable talking about myself. But here goes nothing…
- Though technically I grew up an “island girl” — I was raised on Hilton Head Island in the Low Country of South Carolina – I am not a fan of having sand everywhere and when I relax by the water, I prefer it be in a lake or a pool. I also admit I prefer the hustle and bustle and vast offerings of Atlanta’s metropolitan life to the more laid-back, simple life of HHI.
- Speaking of Hilton Head … the island may only be 69 square miles but it’s home to more than 200 restaurants, including Catch 22, a steak & local seafood restaurant operated by my parents. Having a wide array of culinary offerings nearby while growing up exposed me to many tastes and helped develop my food & beverage planning skills.
- Like my dynami teammate, Julie Thompson-Whelan, my blood runs Clemson Orange! I graduated from Clemson University and I’m an avid fan of the Tigers (ahem, college football’s National Champion two of the past three years). On a last-minute whim in early 2017, a friend and I headed to Tampa where “the Natty” was being played though we didn’t have tickets to the game. Alas, my friend called in a favor and, amazingly, we found ourselves in awesome seats 12 rows up from the field (at face value, to boot). Though we were in a sea of crimson-clad Alabama fans, we got an up-close and personal view of Clemson’s winning touchdown with one second left in the game. A memory of a lifetime!
- I was just three months old when I first visited Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando (no, I don’t remember the details but I’m told it was love at first sight). Many years later, I interned at the Front Desk of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and got to go into the underground tunnels of the Magic Kingdom. My internship gave me a great appreciation for hospitality and customer service and I consider myself very fortunate to have learned from (arguably) one of the world’s greatest organizations.
- Since college, I have worked in the hospitality industry on the client and vendor sides of the fence. My hotel experience came primarily with Starwood Hotels & Resorts where I was exposed to many aspects of hotel operations – Front Desk, Catering, Convention Services, etc. And my client-side experience came from the American College of Rheumatology and Georgia-Pacific, LLC where I was responsible for planning board meetings, city-wide events, educational and sales conferences, employee training, customer entertainment, and offsite social events. Understanding the priorities and perspectives of both the hotel and the client is very helpful when negotiating contracts, and designing, planning and executing programs.
- Travel is obviously a huge part of working in the meetings and events industry but, surprisingly, I have an equally huge fear of flying. I love airports for their fascinating people-watching but lean on technology to keep me distracted while in-flight. I know, crazy, right …?
- An Atlanta winter storm provided me a most unique and interesting event experience. In 2014, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team was staying with us at the Westin Buckhead in Atlanta and their match was delayed a day due to icy road conditions. Quick to accommodate the team, I helped coordinate their workout logistics in the Westin Workout facility. Apparently, it was effective as they routed Russia, 8-0, the following day.
- Two years later, “Snowmageddon”, a legendary mash-up of snow and traffic, crippled Atlanta for the better part of a week. Despite the craziness, I was determined to get to work and help out. I donned my best “snowshoes “ (my rainboots) and filled in with our short-staffed Housekeeping team. A long day of making beds and cleaning sleeping rooms gave me a healthy respect and appreciation for what these hard-working individuals do every day.
- While on a cruise excursion in Mexico once, my Mom and I decided to rent a Jeep and hit the beach. We parked in what appeared to be a legal space but returned to find the Jeep had been towed. I’ve always been a good negotiator so, after cabbing it to the impound lot, I used my limited Spanish “skills” to settle on a fee less than what was being demanded by the attendant. Honestly, we had no choice since that was all the cash we had, having spent the rest on massages on the beach. (We didn’t tell Dad for many years after!)
- I’m a big fan of ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock ‘n roll and met Ringo Starr when he performed at Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheater in the early 2000s. Currently, my favorite movie is Bohemian Rhapsody and I can’t stop playing Queen’s Greatest Hits!
- I absolutely love dogs and am very passionate about rescuing dogs. My husband, Cory, and I are proud “parents” of two mixed-breed rescue pups — Stella and Cali (named after two of our favorite beers, Stella Artois and Creature Comforts’ Tropicalia).
But, having said all this … I believe the single most important thing you need to know about me is that I’m truly looking forward to meeting and partnering with you on a program soon!