Having lived in Northern Virginia since I was in kindergarten, I knew Arlington was where I wanted to live after college. After graduating high school in Burke, I attended Northern Virginia Community College for a year to save some money before transferring to James Madison University.
After graduation, I moved back to the area with some friends and was offered a job with a satellite broadcasting association and when they relocated offices from Alexandria to DC, that’s when I finally made it to Arlington to help the commute. While working for that association, I discovered that I can still weave in my interest of traveling and hospitality with my career if I worked on the events team. It had never dawned on me to look for jobs on the customer side of hospitality. From that point, I was focused on conference/meeting planning as my career path.
I have had the good fortune of working for a couple of great associations over the years that really supported me and let me grow my professional experience while getting to travel to some wonderful places and work with some great people in the hospitality industry. My previous employer was an association that represent airports and their employees and I thought I had just landed my dream job! I got to travel a lot, from Alaska to Nova Scotia, and many great places in between, host meetings and conferences for the aviation industry and sit on some presentations because secretly, I’m an aviation nerd. I felt confident working for that organization because hey, everyone travels, so airports are recession proof, right?
Well, I was wrong. The pandemic hurt that association two fold. With no meetings, the association lost a substantial amount of income. And with a membership of airports and people who served airports, with no cash coming they were forced to make cuts where they could, and that includes memberships and sponsorships for outside organizations. After being part of a first round of layoffs for that organization, I spent a lot of time wondering what I wanted to do next. I took online courses, browsed new industries, received a contact tracing certificate, but eventually came around to sticking with event/meeting planning because it is what I know best. I then saw the Events Manager position open up at the Chamber and got really excited at the prospect. Arlington has been my home for nearly 20 years, my first date with my wife was at a popular local bar (sadly, no longer around), my friends live here, their kids go to school here, and I frequent many of the members’ businesses, so it seemed like a no brainer. I started in mid-December and have not looked back. The staff and members I have meet have been very welcoming and I look forward to the future when I can bring events into the members’ businesses and meet them in person.