The Destinations Department is under new leadership, but the mission of providing exceptional service remains.
“I am very excited and honored to continue building on the legacy David Smart leaves behind,” said Shane Watkins, who filled the department director vacancy left by Smart’s retirement last year. “It is our goal to produce the best meetings, incentives and events in the industry, while continuing to serve our members and employees at a level they deserve and a level the organization can be proud of.”
Watkins earned the Strategic Meetings Management Certification (SMMC) in 2011, a distinction held by only 49 people worldwide. He also completed the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program in 2009. Both designations are highly revered in the meeting industry, and CMP certifications are achieved by less than 20 percent of people engaged in meeting management. Before accepting the role of director, Watkins served as event project manager since 2001. That position is now held by Brittany Daniel, CMP.
“I am looking forward to moving into this role and expanding my range of projects,” said Daniel, a native of Covington County. “I have always enjoyed meeting and working with new people. With this promotion, the circle of people I interact with will only expand, which is an exciting opportunity for me.”
A graduate of the University of Alabama, Daniel received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. New employee Kristin Sides also joined the Destinations Department. Sides shares event planning responsibilities with fellow employee Casey Earnest. Both Sides and Earnest formerly worked with the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.
“Our department has gained a tremendous asset with the addition of Kristin,” Watkins said. “Her experience with meetings management and knowledge of hotel operations will be a great help in planning meetings and events for our Federation members and Alfa Insurance. Kristin, alongside Casey Earnest, will be there to answer our farmers’ questions regarding registration and travel for all Federation events. I’m very excited to work with such a talented team in the Destinations Department.”
The Destinations Department is an in-house service provider that coordinates travel and events for the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance.