Nov 25, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
Summer is when things slow down for most people on campus — but not for Jennifer Beattie.
“This is when all of the conferences we’ve planned over the year are finally on campus,” said Beattie, manager of Georgia Tech’s Conference Services. “In the mornings, we might check in a group with 700 people, and that day we might also check out another large group. It can be pretty hectic, but I actually enjoy it.”
The idea behind Conference Services is that during the summers, there are very few students who use the dining and residence halls. This unit serves as a one-stop-shop to coordinate overnight conferences on campus.
For example, the national nonprofit Teach for America has selected campus to be one of its annual nine flagship summer institute locations.
“The group brings hundreds of future teachers here for seven weeks in June and July,” Beattie said. “The best aspect of my job includes building relationships with new and returning clients, as well as other campus departments such as parking, dining, and the student center. We work as a team to ensure that customer expectations are exceeded.”
And Beattie doesn’t just assist off-campus groups.
“We also have on-campus departments that need lodging for their interns, for example, and we’re able to help coordinate this,” she added.
Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Beattie and her time at Tech.
How did you get into event planning?
The funny thing is that my bachelor’s degree is actually in photojournalism. But while I was in college, I worked as a resident assistant at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I loved working with students and on a campus. So, I ended up earning my master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration. While I was earning that degree at Texas A&M University, I got a job with Residence Life planning conferences. Things just kind of took off from there.
When did you arrive at Tech?
After my master’s, I worked on a few rural college campuses. At that point, I came to the realization that I wanted to live in a city, and I wanted a job that would allow me to live off campus (which can sometimes be a challenge when you work in my field). So, when I had a chance to come to Tech in 2002, I took it.
What is one thing most people don’t know about your job?
That my office exists! We are trying to get the message out that when it comes to having a summer conference on campus, we do housing well.
What is the greatest challenge you face in your position?
Finding meeting space for everyone can be tough. And I’m always trying to find spaces that are close together so that groups don’t have to walk all over campus to get from one workshop to another.
Where is your favorite spot on campus?
My office in the Commander Building. I spend so much time there that it’s kind of like a second home.
Where is your favorite place to eat lunch?
Highland Bakery, and I’m a fan of the chicken chili.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to volunteer. For example, I am one of the advisors for the Women’s Leadership Conference that students put on through the Women’s Resource Center at Tech. I also donate my time to the Georgia Aquarium, Passion City Church, and the Alliance and Fox Theatres. My latest adventure is being a foster mom for the Atlanta Humane Society.