Group Marketing Specialist, Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau (a division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce)
Hometown: Peru, NY
Education: BS, Business Marketing, SUNY Plattsburgh; MBA with a focus in Hospitality, Johnson and Wales University, Providence, RI
Community Involvement: I’m lucky enough to work for an organization with a primary mission of helping area businesses and community organizations collaborate with and support one another. As the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, we market our destination to visitors. We wouldn’t be able to do this if we didn’t have such a great community of businesses to work with and promote!
What’s your biggest professional success?
My MBA had a focus in hospitality and event planning—“event planning,” like weddings and fundraisers with pretty flowers and décor, not professional bass fishing tournaments with sun-burned anglers and live fish! Fast forward, and here I am on my 4th summer of planning tournaments exactly like that. I can truly say that I’m proud of it. Not only do I work with amazing partners on five-to-six pro bass fishing tournaments each year, but these tournaments—the staff, the anglers, their families—bring millions of dollars to our area through gas, food, lodging, replacement parts, attraction tickets, etc. Those dollars help our area grow even beyond fishing, and the tournaments themselves work hard to keep our lake, and the fish in it, healthy. So, my biggest professional success isn’t one specific occurrence. It’s that I’ve been able to adapt my skill set and see the sustainable results it helps create in our community year after year.
What’s your dream job?
My dream job would probably be owning a business with my husband, who graduated with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. You can probably guess what type of business it would be! I think a lot of outsiders consider Plattsburgh a risky place for a start-up when they take the town at face value. But the truth is, Plattsburgh is a small town on the brink of pretty amazing things. To be a business involved in this up rise and growth, would be life changing. I can say this confidently because I work with tourism partners every day who agree!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
The Visitors Bureau has always instilled the idea that it is crucial to shut your brain off from work when you get home or you would just go crazy. I recently had a new little human (a little boy) and this idea has never meant more. I find that I now work harder and have better time management during work hours because I know going to shut myself off from it when I get home to him. This helps me to fully embrace my time with him, family, friends; and even fully embrace the VERY little alone time that I get.
What important lessons have you learned in your career?
I think the most important thing is that you just can’t take everything so personally—you simply cannot please everyone and that is OK!
What’s the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?
Growing up here, I know the ups and downs our community has had, but in the past three years or so, everything just seems to be on an up. From the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to the airport expansion to tourism being at one of its highest points in New York State, things are just moving in such a positive direction and I am happy my career allows me to be a part of it.
What would make the North Country a more enjoyable place to live and work?
Honestly, if you would have asked me this right out of high school, I probably would have said, “There is nothing to do here—we need more to do.” But since I took this job almost four years ago, I’m proud of all there is to do in our backyard. I think the North Country (or the Adirondack Coast, as we like to call it) needs more people to see that—to explore what’s in their own backyard and to be ambassadors for it. Support local businesses the best you can and discover everything we have to offer—make people jealous that you live here! Who would want to visit or move here if we have locals who don’t even enjoy it?
Who is your mentor and what have you learned from him/her?
I have a lot of people in all realms of my life who I look up to, go to for advice, and consider influencers on the person I am today, as well as the person I’m becoming. I don’t believe that there is one specific person who stands out over the rest, whether friend, family, or colleague. From older to much younger, they’ve all had an important impact on my life in some way, shape, or form.
How do you contribute to the culture of your company?
The Chamber doesn’t see much employee turnover, which is really quite a compliment when no one wants to leave, but with that come some challenges and age gaps. I think I, along with the three other like-minded, similar-aged colleagues in my office bring a different way of thinking. Our ideas aren’t without flaws, and whose aren’t? But it’s important to work in an environment where your colleagues are willing to hear you out and encourage you to speak your mind. I think we work together to encourage that kind of culture.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Moving away to Rhode Island to get my master’s degree was definitely the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, but one I don’t regret a single day. (Alright, maybe I do regret adding onto my student loans, but I don’t regret the experience and education I got!) I’m very family oriented and moving away from that comfort zone wasn’t easy, but dragging my then-boyfriend of four months (now husband) and two dogs along with me did lessen the difficulty (I’m honestly still surprised he married me!) Although we were just about broke most of the two years we were down there, we made new friends, saw new things, ate great seafood and, although it was all amazing, we grew a new appreciation for this area and our hometown.
What is something that no one would guess about you?
I love watching TV. It’s my way of relaxing. However, I hate when TV is sad or scary, and if I do watch something sad or scary, I then have to end the night with something comic or upbeat just to fall asleep. A different take on not going to bed angry, I guess!
Write a brief note to your younger self…
Hey Alyssa, just a few things…
• No, you will not be a professional volleyball player. Just accept that you’re vertically challenged, and let that be the end of it.
• Stop saying there’s nothing to do here, because there is!
• Figure out what you want to do before you pay for a private college. SUNY and community schools are cool too!
• Stop being boy crazy—that REALLY does nothing for you.
• Last but not least, life does not end when you don’t get your way. It’s cliché, but everything really does happen for a reason…I promise.
Your older (but still cool) self