Spotlight on Kelsey Winters
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Posted by: Jennifer Trumper
Meet Kelsey Winters, a graduating senior from Goshen College. Kelsey is combining her love for theater with the event planning process while also juggling a teaching assistant position on top of earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Peace, Justice and Conflict studies with a Business minor. The Student Development Action Team had the chance to meet Kelsey at the November Educational Forum, which she was able to attend with the support of her supervisor as an ACCED-I member. We followed up with Kelsey after the Forum to learn more about her student experience in event planning.
What started your interest in collegiate conferencing and events as a student?
I was involved in theater in high school, mostly with backstage and stage management, and assistant directing. Once I got to campus, I was plugged into the theater department right away. I was able to be a stage manager for one of the shows my freshman year. Through that position, I connected with other people on campus within the performance venues, leading to positions like house management and assisting in the box office and event office.
What was one key takeaway you learned from the ACCED-I Educational Forum?
I really benefited from getting a sense of how event offices work at other schools and the opportunity to meet other people who work in collegiate events as a profession. I’m currently at a small university so it was interesting to see decentralized event structures. We have a team of 4 here that handle everything in a centralized office. It was a new experience to learn how decentralized offices are structured and how they operate with other departments across campus. I also enjoyed how the keynote, Dianne Devitt, talked about ways to be creative and the value of intentionality being creative in the work you do.
Do you have a mentor or colleague that you look up to for guidance?
I’m lucky to have quite a few. One mentor that stands out is Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of the events office, who asked me to join her at the ACCED-I Educational Forum. We all affectionately call her ‘Mama Bear’ because she is so encouraging and wise. She has great perspective on things so we all really value her input. Everyone really respects her.
What is the best advice you ever received?
One piece of advice that stands out is from my current supervisors, Cynthia and Tia, in the events office. They’re really good at encouraging student workers to ask questions if there is anything they don’t understand or want to learn more about something. I took it for granted at first but realized I learned a lot more by asking questions about the process and background of events before they got to the setup point. Asking questions to gain more understanding and being curious about the way things work has been really valuable to my growth in these positions.
What advice would you give to a student?
Get involved outside things you have to be involved in! Find different ways to get involved, whether through extracurriculars, like theater, or picking up more jobs, if you have the capacity. I currently have four jobs, and three are different positions (office assistant, box office assistant, house & stage manager for shows) within the events office at Goshen. Find all the different ways you can be involved in a process. It’s busy and you need to have the time, but you learn more and build relationships. I found I learned just as much through jobs and extracurriculars as my formal classroom training.
Describe something that you did at work that you are most proud of.
I’m most proud of one specific summer when I was an office assistant for conferences. I was a student manager two summers ago for summer conferences and events. That summer, we were short staffed on top of other obstacles that made the summer more challenging than normal. Being able to lead a team of student workers, while being on call almost every night was really rewarding. I took direction from Cynthia and Tia to help with the scheduling and relaying different jobs. We even had a successful, 100-person family reunion with just two staff members.
What do you love most about your jobs?
The people. I’ve been able to have so many good connections within different departments. I also got lucky and never had a bad experience with any supervisors or bosses. I really thrive on the crazy, sometimes stressful, working environment during events and it makes work really fund.
What do you like least about your jobs?
The hours required for events can be a little hard to work around. Luckily as a college student with an already weird schedule, it’s worked out, but work life balance in the future is important to me.
Congratulations to Kelsey, who will be graduating in December! Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn to see what she conquers next.