‘Quick Ten’ With New Program Operations Manager Sarah Yarnell

We are thrilled to have SARAH YARNELL join the Destination South team as our fabulous new Program Operations Manager!

Sarah will be working alongside the Operations Team ensuring all details are planned to a T and that everything runs smoothly for the most successful onsite events. Originally hailing from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sarah has called the A-T-L her home for over four years. She brings heavy hitting event industry experience to our team, including past roles as a wedding planner, an event manager at an art museum, a hotel catering sales manager, and most recently, an event coordinator with a catering and design company. We dig Sarah’s chill demeanor and easy-going personality. Find out more about her in our ‘Quick Ten’ interview below!

DSOUTH: We are so excited to chat with you, Sarah! Can you tell us a little about where you are from and where you call home?

SARAH: I was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved to Atlanta a little over four years ago. I love Atlanta! I live in Midtown and love that I’m so close to everything in the city. The ‘Noog will always be home to me, but Atlanta is a close second.

DSOUTH: What do you like best about living and working in Atlanta?

SARAH: Living and working in Atlanta is awesome! There is always something going on in the city. I love going to see live music; there are always great bands coming through Atlanta. It’s the best! But I also really like that Chattanooga is only an hour and half drive away so I’m never too far from home.

DSOUTH: We love Chattanooga, too, but we are so glad you are here in the A with us. What brought you to Atlanta’s event industry?

SARAH: Once I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to get out of Tennessee for a while. I was accepted to the University of South Carolina (GO GAMECOCKS!) and that’s where I decided to join the Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management Program. It was a perfect fit for me! I have had so many different roles in the hospitality industry over the past 10 years. I’ve been a wedding planner; I’ve done hotel catering sales; I’ve been an event manager at an art museum. Each one of these positions taught me something new and gave me the tools to further my career in the industry. I’m so happy that they led me to Atlanta!

DSOUTH: Wow! You really have worn a lot of hats in your previous roles. Tell us about your new role at Destination South. What do you do?

SARAH: I am the Program Operations Manager. I work on the operations side of things (hence the name). Once a program or event is contracted, I am part of the team that helps execute the client’s vision and ensure the event runs smoothly.

DSOUTH: You have been part of the team since April. What do you like best about your new position?

SARAH: I am so excited to learn a different side of the event industry as well as work with clients and vendors that I have worked with in the past. I can’t wait to build relationships and partnerships with new vendors and clients, too!

DSOUTH: What is the one piece of advice you would share with others at the beginning of their career in the event industry?

SARAH: Be prepared to work hard! Get in there and get your hands dirty. If a table needs to be moved, move it—don’t ask someone to do it for you when you can just as easily do it yourself.

DSOUTH: That’s great advice! No job is too big, too small, or too dirty. Who would you say has influenced you the most in your professional life?

SARAH: I don’t have just one person that I can say has been the most influential, but I believe that every boss and colleague I have had since being an “adult” has helped shape me and push my career to where it is today. I am so grateful to have had so many influential people around me that have always encouraged me and supported me to keep bettering myself.

DSOUTH: We all have those people in our lives who help us become better individuals. Experiences also play an influential role in our lives. If you could set off to any place on Earth for a “once-in-a-lifetime” travel experience, where would it be?

SARAH: If I could go anywhere, I would go back to Fiji! I took a trip there in high school not knowing a single soul. It was an incredible trip and probably the best two weeks of my life. We traveled to different cities, ate amazing food, and even stayed with a Fijian family. The culture was fascinating and the beaches were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life. It was the coolest experience!

DSOUTH: We love a good beach trip! What do you like to do when you are not working?

SARAH: When I’m not working, I love taking yoga classes. It’s such a great way to get my mind off work and it doesn’t hurt that it’s good for your health.

DSOUTH: We are all about some self care! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we sign off?

SARAH: Sure! I have a two-year-old niece, Charlotte, who I am borderline obsessed with! She is adorable and has the cutest blonde curly hair. She might be my most favorite human being on the face of the planet.

DSOUTH: It’s true—we’ve seen photos of this little one and she takes the prize on cute toddlers! Thanks so much for sitting down with us, Sarah! We are so excited to have you on our team.