Brunch with Bosses
Hello! We’re Ally & Amanda— your go-to blogging duo for all things Knoxville business. We’re passionate about local business and are excited to be sitting down with some of Knoxville’s top business executives. We’ve got the inside scoop, and we’re here to share it with you! Whether you’re looking for some mid-week motivation or just a quick, insightful read, we’ve got the tales of trials and triumphs you’re looking for.
Tell us about your position at Visit Knoxville.
“I actually started out as a Community Partnerships Director, and within a few short months I was able to step into the role of Senior Director of Marketing. I’m really fortunate because marketing is more than just my background, it’s also a passion of mine, so it was a blessing to be placed in such a fortuitous situation,” she explains. “I think of it this way… Visit Knoxville is like a marketing agency. The city— and all of Knox County— is essentially like our client. Every day, I basically get to market Knoxville and, since I’m from here, I really love getting to be a part of Visit Knoxville and seeing the positive effect we all have on the city’s growth.”
Can you talk a little bit about your career path up until now?
“Sure, I was a Communications major in school and interned for a small firm that, upon graduating, led to my first job. I spent a couple of years with that firm before going on to work for one of my clients at the time. After realizing that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing, I went to work at Cumulus Radio, then called Dick Broadcasting. I spent 12 years in radio, going in as a Copywriter and transitioning to the Creative Director role. Radio was the opportunity that allowed me to connect with the most people. It’s even what connected me with Asen, where I worked as a freelancer before joining their team full-time,” she smiles.
“Post-radio, I ended up in a role that, to me, felt a lot like corporate communications, and that made me miss the creative life. One day, I was telling a good friend who worked for Knoxville’s parks and rec department that I was interested in ‘selling the city’ because I love it so much, and he said I should talk to Kim Bumpas, the President of Visit Knoxville. So, I went ahead and reached out on Facebook and just said, ‘listen, I would really like to come work for you and here’s why…’ I told her about my passion for the city, my background at UT, and how I’d been involved in several community events, which opened the door for a further conversation. Nothing was available for me at the time, but once the opportunity arose, she reached back out. Long story short, I had no background in tourism, but my marketing experience and connections within the community ultimately allowed me to step into a role with Visit Knoxville.”
What’s the biggest challenge you face as Senior Marketing Director?
“The biggest challenge for me is balance. I know this is true for a ton of people, but I rarely complete my day as expected. I can’t just go in every day and say, ‘okay, I’m going to accomplish this today’ and then sit down and do it. Usually something else pops up, and then something else, and so on. And I end up getting pulled in all sorts of directions. Keeps it interesting, but I’d still say balancing everything— making sure I prioritize how I need to— can be challenging. In marketing, you just really have to be able to multitask.”
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out in their career?
“The advice I would give is… don’t be afraid to pursue an opportunity. Keep your options open. I truly believe that you should always be loyal to people who are supportive and good to you in the working environment. But, at the same time, people who are supportive of you won’t deny you the opportunity to better yourself and your life. So, just be aware of opportunities around you and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb if you want something. That’s literally what got me this job. Branch out, make new connections, ask somebody to refer you into a community or organization, and never burn a bridge! These days, it truly is about who you know, not what you know.”
Anything exciting coming up in Knoxville that you can tell us about?
“I’m going to start my answer by saying there’s always something happening in Knoxville! This June, for example, USA Cycling will return to Knoxville, which is really exciting. Those are the people competing for your Olympic team, your Tour de France team… I’m a huge sports fan, especially when it comes to the Olympics, so I realize how lucky we are to have them come to our city.
If you’re not into sports, I’m also really excited for music on Market Square this summer. And it’s farmer’s market time again, which is so nice. Oh, and the Tennessee Theatre just announced a new Broadway series that I’m excited about. There’s just so much to do in Knoxville, especially during the summer, that really doesn’t cost much and is super fun. I think locals sometimes don’t realize that. You just have to get out and explore the city!” she recommends.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville?
“When people ask me this question, I have trouble nailing down one thing. So, I’m going to actually say one thing, because it can actually involve a lot of other things!” she laughs. “By far, my favorite night in Knoxville is First Friday (the first Friday of every month). It’s one of the best times to come downtown and really see what the city’s all about. There’s so much diversity here, and it’s so refreshing to see all the local artists, hear some good music, explore the art galleries and breweries, grab some delicious food from one of the many restaurants close by, or even just sit on the Hyatt rooftop and drink wine. Put it this way… I work downtown, so for me to say that coming downtown during my free time is one of my favorite things to do in Knoxville… that speaks volumes.”
Big thanks to Angie for taking the time to share her story with us!
Every month, we brunch with a local boss who’s killin’ it in our community. They share their unique insight with us, and we share it with whoever wants to know! Have a suggestion for a boss you’d like us to brunch with? Contact us today!