Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 18 2015

PCMA SE Member Spotlight - August 2015

Chris Colbert
    Q & A with TJ Jackson, PCMA SE Membership Director

How many years have you been in the hospitality industry?
20+ years.

How long have you been a PCMA member? I have been a member for over seven years but involved much longer. I am now in my third and final year serving on the board of the SE Chapter as Membership Director. It has been a truly rewarding experience and our committee has been able to make significant strides in our chapter retention and recruitment. It’s been fun!

If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be and where would you live?
I would be the exact age I am now, which I'm not telling! I feel the "older and wiser" theme rings very true for me personally and I am grateful for the lessons. Ironically, I feel as if I am aging in reverse in the sense that I am much more comfortable in my own skin and open to do bolder things now that I would not have considered at a younger age. I just learned to swim at an advanced level and deep water dive. I most definitely would love to live at the beach to use my newly learned swim skills.

The Meetings & Conventions industry generates significant economic impact in our world. Where do you see the greatest potential for growth? I feel the social consciousness of sustainability, green initiatives, healthy choices and the overall footprint of meetings is a hot button. It has increasingly become part of ordinary language for planners, suppliers and in the minds of participants. This opens the door for new destinations to be considered based on initiatives, distance and unique facilities focusing on their niche appeal. The trend of more "local" flavor positively impacts a growing segment of a community that was not able to benefit from meetings in the past.

All of our days are consumed with tasks related to our specific profession. What is the most time consuming work task in your day? Responding to e-mails. I have to prioritize my day in blocks and stick to specific tasks in set time frames-phone, e-mail, proposals, etc. This is most important especially if you have a heavy travel schedule.

Tell us about the most significant aspect of your life outside of the “industry.”  I am currently preparing for my next phase as an educator and will incorporate my years of industry experience. I have volunteered as a teacher abroad and it's been quite gratifying. This industry stays in your blood. The lessons of hospitality are forever with you. 

It’s your birthday and you can go anywhere in the world to celebrate, where would you go and what mode of transportation would you choose?  I would fly to Moorea, in French Polynesia/Tahiti. It’s a long flight that usually includes a ferry to the island, but simply an amazing destination to celebrate anything.

Name your favorite restaurant; where is it located and what is your favorite item(s) on the menu? I love out of the way gems. There's an amazing restaurant on a mountain overlooking the ocean in Jamaica called Evita's. Its open air and small. The owner, Evita, is on site working to ensure each guest feels like a celebrity and the food is fresh and amazing. I order the Escovitch Snapper fish, caught daily.

More about TJ:
TJ has been a tremendous asset to our chapter by serving the past three years as the Director of Membership. She has built a fantastic committee, and together, they have worked very hard to recruit, retain and recognize our members. We wish TJ much success in the next chapter of her life, both personally and professionally. She will be missed when she moves on at the end of the year.
~ Jennifer Smith Hicks, CMP, CASE, PCMA SE President 2015-2016