An Interview with Senior Creative Services Manager Amy Nathanson
If a confetti cannon came to life, it would be less fun than Amy Nathanson. Here is a list of things Amy owns: neon cactus, crocheted mermaid tail, mounted plush flamingo head, and every animal-shaped Kate Spade bag, including the piñata one. We went out for drinks once and she took me to a daiquiri factory with a self-serve candy bar. Did you know this existed? I didn't.
I met Amy through our shared friend bitch, Rita Davidson, and I'm convinced that when the two of them are alone under the cover of the full moon, they turn into flamingos. Do you know anyone who can get an NHL mascot to come to their birthday party? I do, and she's today's bitch. Meet Amy Nathanson!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I am the Senior Creative Services Manager at Destination Nashville and I have been with the company for almost 3.5 years. We are an all-female Destination Management Company that works with meetings and conventions that come to Nashville. We help them create, plan, and produce themed events, dinners, entertainment, tours, and transportation. Do you need live reindeer? Five 16-foot tall guitars? A Jane Lynch drag queen? I know a guy…
When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I’ve been in the wedding and events industry for more than 10 years. In the past, I worked for several florists and a linen company, so basically everything that decorates a table. When I worked with flowers and linens, I was sales/creative/operations combined. Creating a vision with brides and setting up weddings was fun and fast-paced, but absolutely exhausting (like, my body actually hurt) with a poor work-life balance. My first day on the job at the linen company, I made a sales call to Destination Nashville. The minute I walked into their office, learned about what they did, and saw how they worked with one another, I was hooked. From that moment on, I was willing to do whatever it took to work for them! Eight months later, I was hired.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
We’re not doctors and we’re not saving lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of this business—winning accounts, losing accounts, letting yourself get offended if someone doesn’t like your designs, etc. At the end of the day, and even though I absolutely adore what I do, I plan parties. I try to put it into perspective with the rest of the world and remember that what I get to do every day is pretty damn cool and makes a lot of people smile.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?
To me, you’re really not going to be able to do the best job you possibly can until you have drunk (grammar check—oh Lord) the Kool Aid. Look for a job that physically makes you want to give 150% every day. Self-motivation is super important to me. Take ownership of your job and act like you own the company. If you’re not there yet, fake it ‘til you make it, honey.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
This is really funny because I was just thinking about this the other day. I totally want to take up things that I would have cried over, had my parents pushed me to do them when I was a kid. I want to learn French. I want to learn how to play the piano. I want to make all of the weird yarn crafts and dips I’ve saved on Pinterest. I’d probably also take a bunch of bizarre webinars and get certified to do questionable things.
What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?
Graduating college—hands down. Took me a while to find something that I really loved, and when I found Art History, I dug my claws in hard.
I hear you laughing about that Art History degree, but I actually got to use it this year at Destination Nashville. I took a favorite Rococo painting of mine (Fragonard’s “The Swing”) and designed an entire party around it—I wanted to go to there (thanks, Liz Lemon).
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
I bake cakes! And pies and cookies and bread and bars... Something about measuring and stirring and frosting really calms my ass down. It teaches me patience on a level that I can understand and follow. The results are almost always amazing (tooting my own damn horn) and I get joy out of sharing them with people I love.
What’s a fear that keeps you up at night?
I’m single, I’m a homeowner, a new car owner, a cat mom, and a Kate Spade-addict with an active social life. I proudly juggle all of these things on my own and pray that they don’t come crashing down. I’m very happy to have made an awesome life for myself, but I just worry that it could all go “poof” at any moment.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
I am not a wedding planner! I have paid my dues in the wedding industry and dealt with my fair share of crying brides and rude mothers. It taught me a lot, and I have a lot of friends that do this for a living that I respect VERY much, but I’ll never go back. I don’t do rose petals, I don’t do shoe decals, I don’t do upside down cakes that hang from the ceiling.
What does self-care look like in your life?
Self-care is watching Pioneer Woman in bed on a Sunday. Self-care is time for a manicure, it’s meal-planning, sometimes saying “no” to hanging out, Epsom salt baths, and lots and lots and LOTS of music.
What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?
There is an Oh My Deer print from Porter Flea that hangs above my desk that says, “Be a Nice Human.” I love that and I love pointing to it when other people visit my desk and need to read it. You can be strong, intelligent, creative, and command attention and respect and STILL be a nice human being.
Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?
Pretty sure there has only ever been one creative person in my entire family—my paternal grandma. She and my grandpa babysat me a lot when I was little and they would take me to museums, public gardens, great movies, cooking classes, plays, and we ate LOTS of desserts. She cooked and baked with me, made clay animals with me, taught me how to sew, how to read, explore, and garden. She loved gold lame, sequins, sparkles, big necklaces, and big sunglasses. She was smart as a whip, insanely funny, and so incredibly kind. I am proud to take after her and I think that I got all of my best qualities from her.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
My favorite TV show is either Law & Order: SVU, Pioneer Woman, or F*ck That’s Delicious (on Viceland). Favorite snack would have to be a cheese plate. I can make one virtually anywhere out of anything—it’s a gift.
All photos courtesy of Amy Nathanson
P.S. Meet last week's bitch: Founder of Campaign Greenhouse, Kathryn Poindexter!
P.P.S. See a full list of all my Bitches here!