"The relationship is an equal partnership in my eyes; we both collaborate on how to best reach our organizational goals."
Devetta McIntyre, Senior Director, Events with Reach Media, Inc., shares how her relationship with Experience Kissimmee is a true partnership where both parties are interested in the success of her events.
What was your first industry job?
My first job in the industry was as a volunteer for an Urban Radio station in Detroit. I knew I loved working with the community and since there was an opening for interns in the promotions department with an African-American heritage station, I felt it was the perfect match I couldn’t pass up. My initial job was entering listener information into the database from station promotions and I quickly became bored with that. I would finish my “quota” for the day and then when possible, I was volunteering for additional hours and working with our street team during the live radio remotes and community events. This carried over internally with the other departments within the company. I wanted to see how we could work more efficiently and cohesively with each other. That is a practice I have taken with me to each job and volunteer position that I have held since then and groomed me for the position I hold today as the Senior Director, Events for Reach Media Inc.
SUZZANNE: What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
DEVETTA: The hardest part of my job is that events/promotions departments are first in line for cuts when it’s time to revamp budgets. It becomes a challenge to justify why you need the supplies, staffing and talent for each event.
What I enjoy most is when I am still able to provide our attendees a memorable experience despite the challenges and frustration that comes with the job. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of walking through the event and hearing the guests talk about things that they like and are enjoying. I even like to hear what it is that they don’t like, so that we can tweak as much as possible to make the experience even more enjoyable. Looking at the photos/videos at the end of the event also are a treat because you can’t see everything while the event is taking place. It makes my heart smile to know that I was blessed to be a part of something that brought joy to others.
SUZZANNE: Outside the industry, what is your dream job?
DEVETTA: Wow, interesting questions. My dream job would be working from home and a “match-maker,” not the typical match maker of romance, but of community. I would love to be able to partner industries with community events and organizations. Planning events and activities for communities that focus on family, faith and fellowship.
SUZZANNE: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
DEVETTA: Through my first employer in the industry, a Detroit radio station. We used to do these Brown Bag seminar series and one was on family reunions. When one of our account managers included the Detroit CVB, I was impressed and amazed at the services and resources that were available for locals and visitors of Detroit.
Our relationship with Experience Kissimmee has also proven to be a very valuable and resourceful partnership. The staff have been gems since we first started working together. They are always willing to work with us on creative and innovative ideas to promote Kissimmee and our event in such a way that the relationship extends beyond our Labor Day weekend for the guests.
SUZZANNE: What do you most value about your relationship with Experience Kissimmee/other CVBs in general?
DEVETTA: What I value most about this relationship is that the staff is so plugged in with the local Kissimmee community and surrounding Florida cities and drive markets that they can help us focus on upcoming events and possible partnerships that help us both meet our goals.
SUZZANNE: How would you describe the relationship? What would you compare it to?
DEVETTA: The relationship is an equal partnership in my eyes; we both collaborate on how to best reach our organizational goals. I would compare the CVB to a “one-stop shop.” I trust and consult with them on referrals for hotels, vendors, entertainment, etc.
SUZZANNE: Thinking about Kissimmee, what are some of the unique attributes that the destination was able to bring to your meeting?
DEVETTA: My favorite part of the event is that it is a centrally located “party in a box.” Meaning that the Gaylord Palms sits on so much land that we are able to hold the majority of our events onsite. And it’s very accessible to a wide range of shopping, theme parks and attractions as well as shuttles to our restaurant partners during select times.
SUZZANNE: Which specific services do you rely on?
DEVETTA: I rely on the Experience Kissimmee staff for so many things – local partnerships, pulse of the community, vendor referral, community updates, event promotion, etc.
SUZZANNE: What do you think is unique about the value they provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
DEVETTA: The uniqueness of this partnership is the personal emotional investment in our event. Some of them have worked for past partners, in the record industry, etc. and they understand the importance of Reach Media being able to provide a family friendly event in an environment where parents can feel safe to let their children roam freely.
SUZZANNE: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
DEVETTA: They are such hidden gems that planners are missing out on a valuable resource if they don’t connect with the local CVB. Kissimmee is a shining example.