By Bob Stein
I recently had the opportunity to interview Ann Frescura the new Executive Director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. Ann took over the position that was vacated by Debra Lynn-Schmitz this past summer.
Question: What prompted you to apply for the Executive Director position?
Answer: It has been a life long dream of mine to eventually relocate to Southwest Florida and had been actively searching a variety of online employment sites, specifically targeting opportunities in the Sarasota area. When I read the job description I thought – Wow!
Q: Do you have any nonprofit or chamber experience?
A: Yes, I have 12+ years in nonprofit management and event planning.
Q: What do you know about Siesta Key and Sarasota?
A: The first time I visited Sarasota (about 5 years ago) I immediately felt at home. I absolutely love the culture, the dynamic arts, tourism, and business community, and of course the beautiful weather and beaches.
Q: You have been a Promotion and Events Director, how long and what was the biggest event you managed?
A: For over 5 years, I managed the Springfield Area Arts Council's First Night Springfield, which is a family-oriented, New Year's Eve celebration of the Arts. This event involved 10 or so sites which each host a variety of arts performances simultaneously from afternoon to Midnight, concluding with a major fireworks display. Average attendance was 5000 (with good weather).
Q: What was the funniest event you recently managed?
A: I'm so proud of the Downtown Bacon Throwdown (July 2015) – it was great fun to be creative and bring a new event to Springfield. We had a blast with the promotion and the media and the public just ate it up (no pun intended)! The two day event had 10 live bands, 15 food vendors, a People's Choice bacon competition, a car wrapped in bacon duct tape, bacon themed costumes, and a free kids area. 6500 people attended!
Q: Where did you grow up, were you a city or country girl?
A: Total country girl! I grew up on a hog and grain farm just East of Springfield. I loved working on the farm and showing hogs in 4H! I had a wonderful childhood and appreciate the work ethic and values my parents taught my brothers and I.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: Outgoing, dedicated, and organized; plus, fun-loving with a good sense of humor.
Q: How did you get involved as an Events Director?
A: I've always enjoyed being involved with events and community projects, and have a knack for organizing and working with a variety of people. While pursuing a master degree in Community Art Management and Public Administration I became directly involved with the Arts Council and other local nonprofit groups which gave me great experience and lead to career choices.
Q: Where did you go to college, and what courses did you take?
A: A.A. degree – Benedictine University, Springfield, IL; B.A. degree and Masters program – Community Art/Nonprofit Management and Public Administration – University of Illinois at Springfield.
Q: What would you like to say to the business and residents of Siesta Key?
A: I'm so grateful for the opportunity to become part of your community and look forward to a great 2016!
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