Tuesday, September 30, 2008


On occasion I get asked how I found my career, specifically, how I found something in which I could work my entire life so far. The truth is, I backed into it.

As an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, I got a part-time job inventorying the physical plant or all of the buildings on campus. I hated it for reasons I don’t recall.

Lesson learned: It taught me the importance of conducting an inventory and I’ve incorporated that basic step throughout my career in destination or community marketing. It also taught me how an engineer’s mind works.

I don’t remember how but in a few weeks, I landed in the Office of Tours and Conferences. In those days, the two summer school sessions weren’t enough to keep people employed in departments responsible for “housing” and “foodservice” so our office promoted and facilitated scores of week-long “youth” conferences. Big perk – supervising the President’s box at football games.

Lessons learned: Event coordination and facilitation, business travel, inter-agency politics, branding and development of marketing tools and my first real life experiences at management.

When I graduated, I made my way to law school but I was married and had a baby daughter so I needed a full time job so I could go to school at night. I landed in a chamber of commerce department that had been dormant for years and unbeknownst to me at the time had its own board of directors. As I came on board during its resurrection, it was separating to become an independent organization as all but 3% of DMO’s are today.

Lessons learned: Community marketing, my first big missteps in management, rough house and very personal politics…and that unless I could be on the Supreme Court, I didn’t much like the study or practice of law and personally, the personal loss inherent in some career decisions.

Big lesson: That this work, community marketing, is important, exciting, challenging and that I was good at it.

So when I say I need to detox before I decide what to do next, I mean two things. One, obviously after nearly 40 years, destination marketing is a passion and somewhat addictive and I need to clear my head and two, I might just back into what I do in the next phase of my life.


--Lisa S. said...

You are making a change? Tired when I read your post earlier, I wasn't sure. Now, still tired, I read it again and am still unsure. Are you embarking on a new career?

Reyn said...

Hi Lisa - Yes, I told the TDA about 4+ years ago that this would be my last 5 year agreement...that will make 20 years and while the job is still very challenging and rewarding and I could do it until I drop, I felt it would be a good time to transition.

I want to take on some new challenges in the next phase of my life. So I'll retire officially in 2010. The Authority executed its succession plan and appointed Shelly as CEO elect.

I'll stay in Durham