Longtime Industry Member Cassandra Taylor Retires
Thirty-two years ago, Cassandra Taylor—an RCMA member—started her position as national sales manager at the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. She was one of only two national sales managers and the first African-American sales manager.
“I was not hired to only handle the multicultural and SMERF market,” she says. “I handled whatever phone call came into the sales department. That allowed me to work with many different types of people and situations.”
Taylor is now retiring—she’s especially excited to spend time traveling with her husband and grandkids. Most recently, she served as director of convention services—a role she didn’t even need to apply for. After seeing her dedicated work at an event for the National Bar Association, the president and senior VP/COO of the organization asked her if she was interested. It was a perfect fit.
“They allowed me to create ideas and implement new and unique events and programs,” she says. “We made sure each client felt special and appreciated with Southern hospitality.”
Her entrance into the industry is a fortuitous tale. From 1983–1985, Taylor owned a card and gift shop named Greetings on Beale Street. The store was located in the same building as the MCVB office, and she developed relationships with employees there. Upon closing the shop, she mentioned to one of them that she was going to be looking for a full-time job. Coincidentally, the CEO was looking to restaff the organization. She met with him and he listed off the available positions. She told him she liked the national sales manager job.
The rest is history.
Taylor became familiar with RCMA in 1986 when she attended a meeting in Texas. Right away, she knew it was a perfect fit.
“The suppliers and meeting planners were very warm and welcoming,” she says. “They were always willing to help and assist whenever I had a question or problem.”
While Taylor is retiring, don’t think she’s quite finished with the industry. She plans on serving as a hospitality consultant throughout the coming years. And, she dreams of turning her home in Franklin, Tenn., into a bed and breakfast, so keep your eyes peeled.
But, she’ll never forget her 32 years with a company that supported her throughout the decades.
“Working at the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau for 32 years has been the most rewarding and memorable career that I have ever had,” she says. “I have made so many lifelong friendships throughout the years. I will be forever grateful to each one.”