Meet Assistant Facility Events Coordinator Sarah Neely
by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Editor’s note: We love you to meet our new staff members. You, our biggest fans, get the inside scoop on who’s new to the Garden, and learn a little something about how we got here and why we love to work here too. Hope you’ll stop and say hi if you see us while you are here! Meet Assistant Facility Events Coordinator Sarah Neely, our newest staff member.
Q: What is your favorite part of the Garden?
The Asian Valley is hands down my favorite place to wander. It’s such a different space in the Garden and has really peaceful and quaint pathways with my favorite — bridges! I have a soft spot for a good bridge that’s over a stream or babbling brook.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
I really enjoy meeting the brides. Each one has a different vision and excitement they bring when planning their special day. It’s fun to see what type of wedding they decide to have and what they end up doing with the venue. There aren’t many places that you can leave the office and find a little oasis to clear your head and everyone at the Garden has been very welcoming and helpful, which has been a great feeling since day one.
Q: Tell us something surprising about you that (people) coworkers might not know.
I do target shooting! I have a boyfriend in the Army that taught me how to shoot, and my first time the employees at the range were calling me “dead eyes.” Apparently I’m a natural and a deadly shot with a 9 millimeter. I think it’s due to all the hours of playing Duck Hunt as a kid.
Q: Where did you work before you came to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
For the past 8 years I have worked in various part time positions from a private nanny, to tutor to catering coordinator. I worked at Burkwood Swim and Racquet Club for 8 years as mainly an Aquatics Manager and a Swim Instructor Coordinator. I also worked at I CATER as an assistant event coordinator to the head caterer, where I handled many events including weddings, showers and luncheons. Every December, since I was 6 years-old, I volunteered with the Richmond Times-Dispatch at their annual Holiday Hoops High School Basketball Tournament. Eventually I was and then was hired to work as assistant to the tournament directors, a job that also included coordinating catering/hospitality, as well as sales and marketing efforts. So, I have worn many different “hats” over the years. Finally, I’ve found a job that incorporates them all!
Q: Where did you grow up?
Right here in Virginia! I’m a small town girl from Old Church. It’s the boonies of Mechanicsville, where you see a lot of cornfields and get stuck behind big tractors on the way into town. Almost forgot, tons of deer too!
Q: What do you do in your free time?
Hiking trails in the mountains and exploring new restaurants, vineyards, breweries and music all around Virginia. Anywhere that I can put up my Eno hammock and enjoy nature is a plus on my excursions. I’m an avid volleyball player and swimmer, so whenever I get a chance to participate in races or pick-up games I jump at the opportunity.