Allison Sousa, Director
Allison joined the City of Lenoir City as director of The Venue in August of 2016. “Starting 4 months prior to The Venue being complete and open to the public was very helpful,” she said, as she was able to focus on research, pricing, policies, staffing, marketing, supplies, and other tasks necessary to ensure her team could hit the ground running.
Allison earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and marketing from Belmont University and her Master of Business Administration degree from Baylor University. She was also certified in Chamber of Commerce management through the University of Georgia's Institute for Organization Management.
Her professional background includes work in the private and public sectors, concentrating in the areas of marketing, hospitality, financial services, and non-profit management. Most notably, she was president of the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau for almost 8 years, during which time she helped found the Loudon County Education Foundation and Leadership Loudon County. Just prior to working at The Venue, she managed her own marketing company for six years.
When discussing her current position, she tells the story of reading about the city’s new event center being approved by City Council, turning to her husband, Steve, and saying, “that’s my job!” They’d intentionally drive by the site while The Venue was under construction to monitor the progress, just waiting until the day when Allison could apply to manage it.
“Back in my Chamber days, we talked extensively about the need for an event center. In my mind, being hired as the director brings my Loudon County journey full-circle and utilizes all the skills and talents I’ve developed in my other positions over the years,” she said.
Something people might not know about Allison is that she’s been playing the piano since the age of five and has a singing and acting background (though those talents are very rusty today). She is involved in numerous local volunteer organizations and is the mother of two sons; one a senior at Lenoir City High School and the other a Private First Class in the United States Marine Corps.
Jessica Fair, Executive Assistant
Jessica has been working at The Venue since December of 2016. While her title is “executive assistant,” she’s really a secret weapon, as she is a troubleshooter extraordinaire! Jessica works part-time at The Venue and is also a biology professor at Roane State Community College. Prior to both, she worked with the city’s Parks & Recreation Department for years as an assistant manager at the pool.
“Since the beginning of last year, I have had the privilege of being a part of the small, intimate events, as well as the larger cultural events we are now hosting,” said Jessica. She also assisted Stephanie on her ETCH Fantasy of Trees creative team in 2017.
When asked what talent or skill Jessica feels she brings to her job, she responded, “I am very creative and can usually come up with unique ways to decorate or problem-solve.” She added that she’s a people-person and enjoys getting to know The Venue’s clients and learn about their events and cultures. Her favorite part her job is being a part of an important event in someone’s life.
Something many people may not know about Jessica is that she currently holds two Guinness World Records for living underwater (73 days, in case you’re curious). She also enjoys working on cars and recently completely restored a 1975 Toyota LandCruiser. It has already won “best of show” at the local “Dirt & Donuts” car show!
Unfortunately, The Venue will be losing Jessica soon. Her husband, Thorne, joined the United States Air Force, so she is relocating to Spokane, Washington at the end of the year to be with him. We are thankful for their service to our country.
Madison Chambers, Event Captain
Madison became a part of The Venue family in April of 2017 as an event attendant and was quickly promoted into her current, part-time event captain role. Her friendliness, positive attitude, willingness to learn, and excitement for the event business make her a valuable member of The Venue’s team, as do her social media and public relations skills.
During her college years at UT Chattanooga, Madison worked for a production company involved with executing festivals and concerts. Currently, in addition to her work at The Venue, she also substitute teaches for Lenoir City Schools. She is also a charter member of the Loudon County Young Professionals organization.
Madison never met a stranger and considers herself a people-person. “I love to help guests with what they need during an event and make them feel welcomed,” she said. “Making sure customers know they matter is important to me, and important in our business.”
Like many of The Venue’s staff members, Madison enjoys the variety of events coming through the facility. She said, “The Venue has hosted some incredibly elaborate weddings and parties, but the corporate events are terrific, too.” The bottom line is that Madison enjoys her job and has fun with every event.
Madison is a newlywed and she and her husband reside in Lenoir City. Something many people might not know about Madison is that she used to be a gymnast. “It has proven more useful than I ever expected,” she said. “I’m usually the one elected to crawl under the stage and maneuver around to plug things in!”
Brittany Mashburn, Event Captain
Brittany joined The Venue as a part-time event attendant in the spring of 2018; but has since been promoted to a part-time event captain. It became clear very early on that Brittany’s initiative, work ethic, organization skills, abilities, and desire to learn made her the perfect candidate for advancement. She is also a pre-K teacher at the Farragut Church of Christ Preschool.
Prior to her position at The Venue, she always held positions that allowed her to work with the community and get to know other people in the area. Brittany also volunteered along side her mother for ETCH’s Fantasy of Trees in the children’s activities area. “Volunteering for the Fantasy of Trees has been a blessing to me,” she said. “We are able to hold on to a family tradition and give back during the best time of the year…Christmas!” She looks forward to continuing the tradition with her own daughter.
The number one skill Brittany feels she brings to her job is organization. “I am a very organized person and want our staff members and clients to know events will go smoothly in the back of the house, event before they begin,” she said. Her favorite part of the job is the “family feeling” that exists with The Venue staff. “My position at The Venue is a dream come true and a step into a door God has opened for me.” She also enjoys taking every opportunity to tell people about The Venue and to learn about cultural events that represent the diversity of the community.
Something some people might not know about the married mother of one is that she’s a Disney World addict! But you won’t find her at the beach in Orlando; she doesn’t like sand!