Interviews with Planners - Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones has been in the industry for over 20 years! She had her own catering business, and planned meetings, weddings, and corporate events. Jamie has done everything from waiting tables and clearing those tables to now being the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Jackson Conference Center in Huntsville, AL. With a degree in Education, she taught school for a while and planned events "on the side." Realizing that planning was her passion, she pursued it as a full-time career and has not been disappointed. As the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Jackson Conference Center, a stand-alone conference center, she works with a great team to fulfill her passion. Jamie also owns a flower business and arranges flowers for corporate and social events. She has found this to be another great passion and outlet for creativity, and a much-needed service for planners!

What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?
Relationships are key for return business.

What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at? What was great, what was challenging?
I had a farm wedding at a remote farm. We started with a piece of land! We had to get a tent, electricity from a generator, treat the grass for ants and mow the field down. It turned out beautifully and was featured in Southern Living Magazine!

What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
The key to a great event is customer service. You have to answer calls quickly, be efficient, courteous and warm. Customers like being able to have a person they can call again and again, and depend on. Relationships are key.

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge?
There will always be a newer, shinier meeting space that comes along. It is important to make your customer want to continue to come to you by offering great customer service that cannot be matched.

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How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
I have seen the industry become more automated, but I think that is why "old school" meeting and event planners are more successful. They know the beauty of relationships and understand that most customers will go where they are appreciated and known.

What makes you successful as a planner?
I love my customers. I truly love what I do and look forward to going to work. I believe my customers see that. I have a relationship with them and I know what their likes and dislikes are, and know what they need before they do. Also, having the necessary support is key and I work with an incredibly talented, motivated team. 

In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year?
What I have witnessed:

  • Worst: Less employee recognition events.
  • Best: More industry updates.

What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner?
Not sure it is an "industry book" but it was quite insightful as a leader: "Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership" by Laurie Beth Jones.

Jamie Jones
Director of Sales and Marketing
Jackson Conference Center
Phone Number: 256.327.9695
Affiliations and Memberships: AUSA, NDIA, and Women in Defense

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