Rashelle Beasley is the interim director of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“On the Job With ...” this week features Rashelle Beasley, interim director of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau. She shared her answers with Danny Carter.
Q. What was your first job?
A. My first unofficial job was working in my parents store in Sale City; I made $7 a week. My first official job was as a telemarketer for TCI of Georgia (now Mediacom). I drove from Moultrie to Albany Monday-Friday. Gas was cheap back then.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?
A. Car insurance and gas. My mom gave me a car, but I was responsible for the insurance and gas.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found during the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. Positive reinforcement. I praise all accomplishments, sometimes a little too loudly, but that is just me. And I constantly say thank you!
Q. What led you to your current position?
A. After graduating from Leadership Albany, I prayed for God to find me a career that would help me promote Albany in a positive light. I had a great career at The Albany Herald, but I knew my passion for Albany would be better served at the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. My mom and husband are my role models. My mom is a strong, loyal and highly ethical person. She was a very hard worker and dedicated to her job. My husband graduated from ASU three years ago, and went from being a cable guy to a teacher. He is a great role model for me, my children and his students. Mary Ligon has been a great mentor for me during the past several years. I can always count on her to be objective and honest. She likes to ask tough questions, which in turn makes you think more.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Always be prepared for the unexpected, I have learned to embrace change. With the recent recession you have to come up with “out of the box” ideas, which could mean changing everything you worked so hard for in past years.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology — examples email, automated phone systems, cellphones, PDAs, etc. — what would you most like to see go away?
A. Automated phone systems; it seems “0” for the operator isn’t an option these days. People want to talk to a person.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My droid. My husband hates it. I like being connected to email, text, and Internet at all times. I prefer handling things immediately if I can. He prefers for me to turn it off.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. For more than 35 years, my mom’s family has gotten together every Thanksgiving at the Methodist Church in Cotton, Ga. My uncle makes us all pose for (the dreaded) family photo before we can eat. Think about 50 children and adults trying to take a picture when they smell turkey, dressing, rolls, corn and everything else under the sun coming from the kitchen — not a good time for a photo. But this is really my favorite time of the year. Thankfully, I have all of the photos from those gatherings. Many family members have since gone home to be with Jesus while we have welcomed many new additions.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I am one of those people who read several books at one time, and just finished “The Help.” I am now working on finishing “Heaven is for Real.” I read The Albany Herald and God’s word daily.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. I am up at 5:30 a.m. drinking coffee and watching “Young and the Restless” from the day before. My grandmother was a huge Y&R fan, and I am continuing her tradition.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and why?
A. I would love to sit down with Andy Stanley and Francis Chan. They are two of my favorite inspirational pastors, the first being Bryan Gerstel of course. Their messages are “real” and come straight from the Bible. They don’t preach religion, they preach the word of God.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I love the outdoors. I would choose the woods over a mall any day. I enjoy being a pace group leader for Albany Run/Walk, even though my knee has put me out for the season. I have completed a half-marathon and two half-marathon training runs.
decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I wouldn’t take anything back. I have not always made the right decisions, but I have learned from each of them.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Talking to people from all different walks of life, at the Welcome Center where I get to interact with visitors and locals. I love being able to talk to locals about Albany’s positive features. We live in a great, beautiful city. I have a strong Southern accent, and I love sharing it with visitors. My husband doesn’t appreciate it as much as they do, but it is who I am.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. I have had so many people tell me you “you have a really hard job promoting Albany.” And I have to correct them; we don’t have a hard job promoting Albany to visitors. We have a hard time convincing the locals that Albany rocks.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Typing. My staff laughs at me because I can type and talk to them at the same time.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. I love to spread God’s word through music. My church had a family production that allowed me to sing and perform God’s word. I loved seeing those kids’ faces get excited about Jesus. Mary Frances always told me “Mommy you are so silly.”
Q. Finish this thought: “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself …”
A. My first day of retirement, I will be fishing with my husband in Florida.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. I believe without integrity, your experience, education and knowledge are insignificant.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. This year is going to be a tough year, but we have a lot going for us. We have businesses expanding and opening. We just need to keep the momentum going. Our downtown manager is doing a great job of bringing businesses, events and people downtown. The community must support all of our economic efforts.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Contemporary Christian and Country
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. During the past 10 years, we have seen a huge change in the landscape of downtown and northwest Albany. I think the next 10 years will continue in that same pattern. I would love to see more businesses on the east side of the river downtown.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. Three years ago, my family and I took my mom to the beach with us for a whole week. We didn’t do anything special — just sat on the beach and watched my husband and kids play.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business during the past few years?
A. Everyone is finally realizing tourism is an industry and an economic driver in the economy. In fact, Georgia now ranks second only to Florida as a tourist destination state, and in Dougherty County alone, the economic impact of tourism last year was $184.15 million and generated 1,980 jobs. Albany is very fortunate to have so many fantastic attractions, hotels and restaurants to attract more and more visitors to our region.