PREVIOUS LIFE: Entrepreneur and CEO of too many jobs trying to find the right fit (11 in one year!)
CURRENT PROFESSION: President & CEO, Winterfest, Inc. FORT LAUDERDALE
While working in a position that was out of my element in 1993 and reaching out every lunch hour and evening looking for the right fit, I was beyond frustrated. I would find myself crying while driving home and I knew in my heart that I was destined to be in marketing and PR, but I so desperately wanted to be involved in the community at the same time. I had been volunteering for Winterfest since 1987 and just loved being involved in this amaz-ing family event. When I came across the perfect job as
Director of Advertising at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, I just knew I had to get an interview. Problem was, the day I came across the position was already the deadline! I left work early and drove to the Chamber ten minutes before it closed and begged the receptionist to let me meet the decision maker. He finally agreed, as there was only one way out and I was in the doorway. That said, he gave me ten minutes and two hours later I walked out as the new Director of Advertising for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce! After a fabulous two years, I heard my calling, and in 1995 I ended up walking across the hall to the Winterfest office to start a new posi-tion as Director of Public Relations and within a year I took over as the President and CEO. It was meant to be.
THE HAPPY ENDING:
I was absolutely terrified when I became CEO, as I was only 29 and the Board of Directors had concerns with my experience. In fact, I was so apprehensive about even applying for the position, I actually waited until the night of the deadline to toss my name in the hat. I went through numerous interviews with a variety of board members. I developed a strong level of confidence with each interview as I began to realize that I was already doing much of the responsibilities they were looking for. Right after my final interview and during the other candidate’s interview, I had the chairman’s assistant place a note in front of him saying I knew in my heart that this was my job and to please hire me. Thank goodness he liked my style, as it gave him the boost to hire me. From the moment I got the call, I was off and running and continually striving to make this event the best. With an amazing staff, board and sponsor family that I adore, Winterfest produces the largest one-day live event in Florida and the seventh-largest in the United States, with over 1 million spectators coming from all over the world to watch it from the shoreline. In addition, with millions more watching our parade on television, we are proud to be ranked in the top 20 parades out of the 50,000 recognized parades worldwide…right up there with the Macy’s and the Rose Bowl Parades!