Kristy Poore laughs when she remembers how she came to her current position as the national sales account executive for Destination Ann Arbor.
“One of my former bosses was retiring [from the organization] and she said, ‘I think you would be a good fit doing sales,’” says Poore, a hospitality management graduate of Purdue University who previously worked in a variety of positions in hotels and restaurants.
That was 17 years ago. To say it has been a good fit is an understatement. Working primarily with associations and, more recently, weddings and social and fraternal organizations, she loves the opportunity her job brings to build relationships and demonstrate the advantages of working with a destination marketing organization (DMO).
“I’m always trying to educate people on the benefits of using a DMO to assist them in bringing their events into Washtenaw County—to find out what kind of experience they want to have,” says Poore, who has since added CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) to her credentials. “We have the connections and partnerships to cut through the red tape and be a one-stop shop for those coming into town.”
People gravitate to Ann Arbor, she says, with its vibrant downtown, walkability, art galleries, shopping, entertainment, and diverse restaurants fueled by a thriving University of Michigan community. It’s also centrally located to Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and near the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, she notes.
But the best part is rising to the challenge of meeting customer expectations. Poore cites the example of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, which has convened in Ann Arbor for decades. When a new training director started, he asked for help establishing a charity 5K race and associated events. Initially daunted, Poore investigated the mechanics of staging a race and worked with local authorities to make it come together. In 10 years, it has raised more than $750,000.
“I’m a salesperson, not an event person,” she says. “But you figure it out, work with your partners, and make it happen.”