When Barack Obama took the stage at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, JWU grad Natasha Carter was watching the culmination of months of hard work — as an event planner for the DNC host committee. The Perfect FitWhen Charlotte won the bid for the DNC, Natasha knew she had to be a part of it.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on an event this monumental.” And as a Charlotte native, she was eager to “help the city
shine.”When Natasha got the call that she’d been chosen for the internship, she was ecstatic. “It was a perfect fit for me,” says Natasha, a returning learner with a background in hotels and event planning. The internship utilized all of her hospitality and business skills, from meeting planning and working with vendors to marketing and integrated campaigns.
“I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned in school to help the team, either to get organized or to communicate information to venues or clients.”What Does the DNC Host Committee Do?Imagine preparing an entire city to welcome 35,000+
delegates, media and visitors — not to mention training more than 10,000 volunteer workers and coordinating security. That’s the job of the DNC host committee.
With an event this huge, “everyone pulls their own weight,” says Natasha. “It takes organization and hard work, and interns are considered an important part of the process. I thought I’d be in here copying or filing, but I’ve been hard at work since day one.”Matchmaker for Charlotte VenuesOne of Natasha’s many projects was to help match the hundreds of DNC-related events to appropriate venues in and around Charlotte. “I knew my background in hotels and event planning was going to come into play. And the skills I’d learned at JWU, like business to business marketing, helped me in my work with local venues.”She also found a mentor in Stacey Harris, senior events coordinator for the DNC host committee. “We worked on so many different projects together. Sitting in on meetings with the executive committee was eye-opening — I was able to learn how to handle an event with high-profile guests.”
Leap of Faith Pays OffThis is a second career of sorts for Natasha, who made the decision to return to school as a promise to her two boys, Symon and Collin: “I was determined to show them that they
could do anything if they worked hard for it.” And her hard work clearly has been worth it. “Coming to work every day has been a privilege,” she says, smiling from ear to ear.