December 5, 2018
Spotlight Article: Director of Events, Ashleigh Conner
Ashleigh Pair Conner brings to the Chamber a deep knowledge of events management in all areas from planning, budgeting, setup, marketing and fundraising. She previously worked for the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center where she was part of the grand opening of the new facility and was part of its subsequent growth and success for fifteen years.
Ashleigh is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Additionally, she has earned her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation and is on-track to earn her CVP (Certified Venue Professional) designation. Ashleigh leads the Chamber’s events department in developing and providing strategic opportunities to serve all Partners’ networking and marketing needs, and works with Partners to maximize their sponsorship opportunities.
Q: How long have you lived in Columbia/ worked for the Chamber?
A: I’m a Lexington native and I was excited to join the Columbia Chamber team in September of this year.
Q: What is your role at the Chamber and what does it entail?
A: I have a degree in southern Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management from the University of South Carolina so my role as Director of Events for the Columbia Chamber is fitting. When I came on board in September, I only had a few weeks to plan the largest event the Chamber holds, the Annual Gala but it went off without a hitch. Thank goodness for the all-hands-on-deck team approach the Chamber staff has. Event planning, sponsorship fundraising, and building key relationships is among my scope of work.
Q: What is your favorite type of event to plan and why?
A: I have dabbled in the planning of all types of events so it is hard to pinpoint my favorite. Honestly, all events excite me, I think it’s the adrenaline rush of making sure all of my i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed that I enjoy the most. I don’t get buried under the minutiae, instead I thrive off of crafting the best event possible.
Q: Why is it important for Partners to attend Chamber events?
A: Chamber events are where it all happens! I have witnessed the magic of new relationships, new business deals, and new Partnerships happen all due to Chamber connections.
Q: How can Chamber Partners get more involved with events, besides attending?
A: Sponsorships are vital to the livelihood of the Chamber, more importantly, the exposure our Partners receive provides an extremely beneficial return on investment. In 2019, we have new annual sponsorship opportunities that provide Partners with unique initiatives that will highlight their businesses all year long. I enjoy hearing how the Chamber has hand-over-fist helped businesses thrive; for our long-time Partners and fresh newcomers, I look forward to creating new opportunities and packages that work for your business.
Q: What are your favorite things to do/places to go in Columbia?
A: The Columbia music scene is one of my favorite parts of our growing city. The talent that emerges from our town is world-class. It’s hard to venture out without stumbling upon some live music. I love taking my children down to the Cayce Riverwalk Park and Ampitheater to catch the Rhythm on the River music series or the Five after Five series in Five Points.
If you are interested in receiving more information about Chamber events or sponsorships, please email Ashleigh or call (803) 733.1138.