Profile: Susie Bridges

As part of my Internship and Career Foundations class last semester, our project was to pick someone in the field you are interested in working in and vertical network with them. Finding someone to interview was pretty challenging, as I do not know anyone in the Nashville area who works in Event Planning, Hospitality, or Tourism. So I turned my search to the Internet and found someone so wonderful and hardworking that I had to reach out! I had the pleasure of connecting with Susie Bridges who works in the Hospitality and Tourism field! Take a look at some of the things I learned about her!

Where have you worked before? 

Susie has worked in a couple of different areas: She started in the Disney College Program as an Attractions Hostess at Disney's Hollywood Studios, then she transitioned into the role of Marketing Professional Intern at Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, then moved to a Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons. After that, she started as a Marketing Event Coordinator at Walt Disney World Resort Special Events. Then she took her hard work to the high seas as a Guest Communications Manager at Disney Cruise Line (onboard role Disney Dream and Disney Magic cruise ships)! Now she is currently working as a Digital Content Specialist at Tourism Australia. 

How did you get to where you are now? (School, work, experience?) 

Susie graduated from Auburn University with a public relations degree in 2014. Her major focused on digital marketing, social media, traditional marketing, website development, journalism, and general communications- she says that it was a great broad intro into the world of marketing and communications. Her first true experience with the corporate world was when I was in the Disney College Program during her junior year of college. Even though she was working as an intern at a Disney theme park ride, she was exposed to The Walt Disney Company through internship classes, seminars, and plenty of networking opportunities. One thing that helped her a lot was during the day she would work at the ride, but after hours she did a lot of research on which departments of the company that interested her and met with people in those areas to learn from. Because of her Disney exposure and a degree in PR, after college graduation, she landed the Marketing Professional Internship with Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons which truly accelerated my career. 

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 

The best piece of advice that she has ever received was from her grandfather - he taught her to always be kind to everyone you work with. Whether it's the CEO or the building cleaners, always treat everyone with the same amount of respect and kindness. 

If you could go back and tell yourself 3 things when you were in college, what would they be? 

1. Everything happens for a reason. Looking back she can now see why she was not selected for certain roles and why she was placed in other roles. It's really difficult to have this mindset at the moment when things are tough, but she always tells herself to reflect back and remember everything will work out.

2. Network. She would absolutely recommend to network as much as possible and as soon as possible. It doesn't matter if you are an intern or attending a career fair or at a club meeting, any environment is a fantastic opportunity to network. It is so helpful to have a connection within a company or to have an encouraging mentor assist you throughout applications. She really didn't start networking until the end of her senior year of college, and she wishes she had started earlier. 

3.  You can't always be perfect. It definitely took her a while to learn this, but always remember that things will never go perfectly. You may work for months, weeks, hours, etc. on a project, but more often than not, something will not be executed as planned! It's a tough pill to swallow, but once you understand that element, you'll be able to deal with the punches / last minute changes that come naturally in the field. 

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