As the special events coordinator at Shadowbrook Restaurant, a high-end restaurant in Capitola, CA, Allyson books, coordinates and manages private events and weddings from start to finish. She also coordinates the restaurant’s event calendar and is responsible for its’ Community Tuesday and Wine Maker Wednesday programs.
After graduating from Sonoma State University in 2008, Allyson moved back to her hometown of Aptos, CA, and started working two different jobs, while also looking for a career. But instead of considering jobs in her field of study, Allyson had a strong pull toward another passion; event planning.
I have always loved party planning and weddings! I grew up in a family of florists and wedding- dress makers. I was always fascinated with the idea of planning events and being a social butterfly at the event. When I was in college, I joined a sorority, which allowed me to use my skills in event planning.
With a firm intention of breaking into the event planning business, Allyson pursued and landed a position as a receptionist at the Shadowbrook restaurant in March 2010, known for its’ amazing event venue right on the Soquel Creek.
Three months later, Allyson was given a major opportunity that kick-started her career. The employee who held the events coordinator position decided to move back to Southern California and Allyson took this opportunity to ask her manager for the job. Recognizing her passion and drive, Allyson was hired on for banquets and soon after acquired wedding planning as well.
After holding this position for more than two years to date, Allyson shares her passion for her career;
I love watching months of planning and preparation come together on the day of the event and seeing the guests’ faces light up when we exceed their expectations. Also, seeing the various ways of decorating is always fun!
Despite finding a job outside of her major, Allyson reveals that she still uses her knowledge of anthropology from time to time in her current career, especially when working with different cultures to plan events. But although she misses some aspects of her major, she states that she didn’t have a problem with the transition to event planning because it’s where her heart is.
When asked who has mentored and inspired her along her career path, Allyson replied;
My mom and aunt have given me the direction that I needed growing up. [Also], my current manager has taught me more of the management side and how to deal with clients in a positive way without losing your cool.
Allyson has big plans for her future. She is currently training for a management position at Shadowbrook so she can manage all of the restaurant’s events. She also plans to start her own company that would focus on weddings and small, private dinner/cocktail parties.
When she’s not busy making a name for herself in the event planning business, Allison reveals that she loves to cook and is always in the grocery store, figuring out something new to try. The energetic professional also enjoys reading, being outside, walking her two dogs and spending quality time with her husband.
When asked what advice she would give to other rising pros who may be thinking about pursuing a career outside of their majors, she said she would tell them to follow their hearts.
There are so many adults who leave college and go straight to a corporate work force and get bored so easily! They find out years later that they hate their jobs and end up having to change careers 10, 15, 20 years down the line! I have always known that corporate America is NOT for me. I like working with people and helping them achieve their vision. From birthday parties of 8 to weddings of 150 – I can honestly say that I will be in this profession for a very long time.