'Quick Ten' With New Experience Design Manager Kristina Cherry, MBA

Springtime in Atlanta brought a new addition to the Destination South Meetings + Events team – KRISTINA CHERRY! With a passion for design aesthetics and a track record for creative problem solving, we couldn’t be more excited to have Kristina join the team as our Experience Design Manager. This week Kristina took some time to chat and answer questions that we were most curious about. Enjoy getting to know more about her in this ‘Quick Ten’ interview!

DSOUTH:  Kristina, we’re thrilled to have you on the team as our Experience Design Manager! There’s much that we’d love to know about – let’s start with, are you originally from Atlanta?
KRISTINA:  I am – I was born in Marietta, raised in Roswell, and I live in Atlanta now. Forever, I Love Atlanta!

DSOUTH:  A native Atlantan! Is there anything unique in your family’s history in Georgia?
KRISTINA:  I come from a long line of artists – my grandparents met at art school in 1942 and they passed their love of creation on to their children who are all creators. Out of 6 grandkids 3 of us are called to the world of design and creativity!

DSOUTH:  What was the education background that led to you to a career in the events + meetings industry?
KRISTINA:  I started out in college as a business major – certain that I would take the path to making money and having a job. After one semester of Economics I quickly changed my major to Fine Arts: Studio Painting. As I had feared, the closer graduation got the more undecided I was about the future. I spent a great deal of time in college giving my energy and talents to Dance Marathon. It is a 12-hour event for hundreds of college kids to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. That’s where my love for the thrill of events started. My advisor recognized my passion and offered me a job at the university with one caveat – I had to go to grad school to be eligible for the position. Thus, I ended up getting my master’s in business administration. After graduate school, I accepted a position with Camp Twin Lakes, a local Atlanta non-profit, in their Special Events Department, and the rest, as they say, is history!

DSOUTH:  Throughout your life and career journey, who has influenced you the most?
KRISTINA:  This is a hard one to answer! I have been privileged that so many people in my life have invested in me, that constantly influence me. I have a strong group of women that surround me and influence me on everything from how to balance it all to the new trendy restaurants in town. Also, my mentor, friend, and former boss, designer Steve Bales. In all the best ways, he lifted me on his shoulders and helped me really cut my teeth in this industry.

DSOUTH:  Now that you’re a part of the meetings and events community what do you enjoy the most?
KRISTINA:  I love that no two days are the same and that we get to work with so many different types of people every day. I am really looking forward to “building the dream.” Working with a client to create a dream concept and then breaking it down into steps and then finally watching it all come together.

DSOUTH:  Today, if you had to choose just one thing you were most passionate about, what would that be?
KRISTINA:  Family. I am so fortunate to be very close with my family and the older I get the more I appreciate it. And I am even more fortunate to have many friends that I truly consider family. They all keep me centered and give me peace in this hectic world we live in.

DSOUTH:  What advice would you share with others at the beginning of their career?
KRISTINA:  “What’s the worst they could say? No?” This was advice shared with me in college and it has truly shaped who I am as a professional. What’s the harm in asking? So many people are afraid to speak up that they miss out on opportunities big and small. It could open so many doors for you and it has for me!

DSOUTH:  If you were to set off to any place on Earth, where would it be?
KRISTINA:  My “summer home” is Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. I grew up going every summer and it has become an invaluable part of my life. It is just a small island with no businesses or tourist attractions. It’s where I go to hit the reset button.

DSOUTH:  When home, what are some of your favorite things to do in Atlanta?
KRISTINA:  I love to spend time in the Chattahoochee River, whether it is kayaking, fly fishing, “shooting the hooch”, or simply walking along the trails. The river is such a hidden gem in this giant metropolis we call home.

DSOUTH:  Lastly, what is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
KRISTINA:  My girlfriends and I have an adventure jar that we all contribute to and we try to tackle a new adventure big or small every week!

DSOUTH: Adventure jar…love that idea!! Kristina, thanks again for the chat today!