‘Quick Ten’ With New Experience Design Manager Jessica Heron

Please join us in welcoming our newest Destination South superstar, JESSICA HERON!

As our new Experience Design Manager, Jessica will be working alongside our Creative Team dreaming up décor concepts and fresh, innovative ideas for live events around the city. With a background in event production and design, catering sales and rentals, Jessica brings a wealth of industry knowledge and key relationships to this role. When she isn’t dreaming up ideas at the office, Jessica loves exploring Atlanta: grabbing cocktails on the BeltLine, picnicking in Piedmont Park, catching a show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and doing the Tomahawk Chop at Suntrust Park. We love Jessica’s go-getter attitude and bubbly personality – learn a little more about her in her ‘Quick Ten’ below!

DSOUTH: Jessica, thanks so much for sitting down to chat with us! Let’s start off with where you’re from. We know you live in Midtown now, but where did you grow up?

JESSICA: I was born and raised in Irmo, South Carolina and spent many summers down on the Carolina coast. Anywhere near the water will always feel like home to me. Home today is without a shadow of a doubt Atlanta. I’ve lived in Atlanta since graduating from college and love the bustle of city life, the kind Southern culture, and exploring everything changing in the city as it continually grows.

DSOUTH: We sure do love this city, too! You said you’ve lived here since graduating. Tell us a little more about your education background that led to your current career in the events and meeting industry.

JESSICA: I am a proud Clemson Tiger! I earned my BS in Marketing and BA in Communication Studies at Clemson University before jumping into my adventures in the event world.

DSOUTH: That’s awesome! It’s been a great year for the Clemson Tigers. When and how did you know that working in the event and meetings industry was what you wanted to do?

JESSICA: In college, I realized my complete obsession with event design. Whether it was entertaining small groups of friends or planning recruitment for my sorority as our recruitment chair, every opportunity for hosting others was one I leapt into. I never knew that event design was something that could actually be done full time. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than designing an event that flows and exceeds all of your client’s expectations. From selecting entertainment, thinking through what guests will eat, what they will taste, what they hear, and how they’re stimulated at the table by beautiful linens, perfect florals, and a stunning tablescape—every detail lends itself to a bigger picture: something exhilarating and meaningful. Sometimes I pinch myself that this is really my job!

DSOUTH: Do you have a favorite event that you’ve worked on to date?

JESSICA: Prior to working at Destination South, I worked mostly in the social realm of the industry. I have two absolute favorite events: the first event held on the Ponce City Market Rooftop Terrace in May 2016 and Camp Southern Ground’s An Evening to Remember this past November 2018.

The event at Ponce was part of a weekend of wedding festivities for a precious couple native to Atlanta. It was the sweetest to work with them to craft the menu and décor for their rehearsal dinner, which took place on the tented side of Ponce, the Rooftop Terrace. PCM’s rooftop had just opened for events and Skyline Park was still in the works. I loved the fresh landscape of a venue that hadn’t been utilized before and having clients that were willing to take a risk and dream big.

This past December, I worked alongside the Legendary Events team on An Evening to Remember, the annual charity event hosted by Zac Brown’s non-profit passion project, Camp Southern Ground. The entire event was such a logistical feat, complete with extensive tenting, floor installs, décor, catering, and various vendors working together to create a beautiful and successful fundraising event. I loved the energy surrounding the event: working with the best in the industry to perfect all the little details that came together to make this event an Allie Award winning success. This past year, we took home the 29th Annual Allie for Best Social Team Effort.

DSOUTH: Tell us a little more about what you do at Destination South. What do you look forward to in your role on the team?

JESSICA: I am DSME’s Experience Design Manager. I get to do what I love everyday: explore new sites around the city, dream big with clients, pull all the tiny details together and craft the perfect experience for each and every event from the time the client steps off the plane to the time they head back to their hometown with a new love for our city. I work with awesome industry partners to create fresh and innovative event designs that make the South the ideal backdrop for every event!

As far as what I’m most looking forward to: I love the capacity to create unique designs day in and day out. No two events are the same, which is what makes this so fun. I am so excited to join the creative team and learn from Lorri and Kristina. I can’t wait to develop ideas with two uber creative ladies that I admire so much!

DSOUTH: What is the one piece of advice you would share with others who are just starting their career?

JESSICA: Follow the golden rule: treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Treating others with kindness and respect will never come back to bite you. You only have one reputation and you should protect it with all you have.

DSOUTH: Who would you say has influenced you the most in life and in your career?

JESSICA: I feel so fortunate to have the best community of family and friends imaginable. I’ve had so many amazing mentors in our industry, teachers who have allowed me room to make mistakes and learn for myself, all the while patiently instilling their wisdom and helping me grow. My family and friends are intimately involved in shaping my life. My brother has been my biggest cheerleader, encouraging me to chase my dreams and not forget my passions. He and my parents always remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to and that there’s no fear in the pursuit of greatness. If you set your mind to it, you’ll achieve it. Moving through life with this mindset has opened many doors for me, and I’m so thankful for everyone who has spoken kindness and encouragement into my life.

DSOUTH: If you had to choose just one thing you were most passionate about, what would it be and why?

JESSICA: Meaningful relationships, hands down. I hope that I am always known for being a woman who has prioritized people, seeing who they are down to their core and loving hard. Aspects of life are fleeting, but your family and friends are there forever. Relationships deserve to be nurtured, watered and cared for so that they bloom.

DSOUTH: Summer is just around the corner and we’re sure you have some fun travel plans. If you could set off to any place on Earth, where would it be and why?

JESSICA: I’ve never been, but I am dying to visit Italy! I’d love to learn more about my family’s history there. I also love fashion, so visiting Milan would be an absolute dream!

DSOUTH: That sounds amazing! Do you think you’ll have room in your suitcase to take us along? Jessica, thank you so much for sitting down with us for this ‘Quick Ten’. We can’t wait to see all you do here at DSouth and are ecstatic to welcome you to the team!