Meeting and Event Management grad Tiffany Vickaryous is crazily successful
Even though she hails from the boondocks, Tiffany Vickaryous, a graduate of the DCTC Meeting and Event Management program, has never had trouble dashing off to big cities. As special projects manager and director of sales for Ovations Food Services, a premier food and beverage provider to more than 100 public assembly facilities, including nearly 30 convention and exposition centers throughout the U.S. and Canada, Vickaryous leads a traveling task force in charge of opening and developing new venues. That means she’s no stranger to suitcases, airports, taxicabs and places far from home.
“My job at Ovations takes me across the country,” she said. She’s currently overseeing her company’s catering operation at the Atlantic City Convention Center in New Jersey’s most magnetic resort destination. “I know the feeling of waking up in a hotel room and wondering what time zone I’m in. Sometimes, I think my theme song could be ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ by Johnny Cash.”
Setting the industry standard for superb service, Ovations Food Services specializes in delivering fresh food and beverages to stadiums, arenas, convention centers, fairgrounds, exposition centers, speedways, casinos, performing arts centers, resorts and amphitheaters.
Here are some Ovations venues where Tiffany Vickaryous managed the takeoff of a state-of-the-art operation:
- Atlantic City Convention Center
- Nashville Convention Center
- Palm Beach Convention Center
- Ocean Center Daytona Beach
- Texas Tech Athletics Department
- Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University
- Gateway International Speedway
Vickaryous’ on-the-road-again adventure began 30 years ago in Warroad, Minn., a town of maybe 1,800 people on Lake of the Woods only six miles from the Canadian border. She graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1999 after attending Woodcrest Baptist Academy, a private school in Fridley, Minn., for most of her academic career.From 2000 to 2004, she lived in the Northwest Angle, working as operations manager at the Sunset Lodge Resort on Oak Island near the center of Lake of the Woods. During that time, she expanded her career options in the hospitality industry by enrolling at DCTC to earn a certificate in Travel and Tourism. She loved the program and felt strongly about making her mark as a hospitality professional.
“I love to meet people,” she said. “I love working with our clients—especially ones with crazy budgets. They are out to enjoy themselves and our job is to make sure they have the best time possible. I can’t think of anything more fun.”
“Managing events can get complicated, but in the end it’s about planning for the worst and expecting the best. We do everything we can to ensure our clients have a great time. I could never see myself doing anything else.” — Tiffany Vickaryous
A few years later, after working as a manager at two high-end hotels, Residence Inn in Edina, Minn., and the Sheraton Downtown in Nashville, Tenn., she again enrolled at DCTC, this time in the Meeting and Event Management program. Her instructor was the incomparable Rosealee Lee, a member of the Minnesota Meeting+Events Hall of Fame and a recipient of 2011 Vision Award for Inspiration from Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal. Lee continues to advance her program, expressing a passion for the vast hospitality community second to none.
“The day of the event is my favorite part. It’s always crazy and something is always happening. There are so many moving parts. After it’s over, the last thing you want to hear is someone calling your name. It’s organized chaos—and I love it!” — Tiffany Vickaryous
“Rosealee is a great role model,” Vickaryous said. “She knows everyone in the industry. She has the knowledge, wisdom and connections to make a real difference in the career paths of her graduates.”
Vickaryous’ career path was all about Ovations, which set her up at the 118,000-square-foot Nashville Convention Center as the sales manager responsible for the F&B needs of multiple venues, including the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville Superspeedway and Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
“Tiffany exemplifies how to best harness the power of networking to launch your career. She is as real as it gets and her bulls**t meter is off the charts. Like all the best hospitality pros, she under-promises and over-delivers—and when she says she’ll do something, she does it. If she says the sky is yellow, it’s yellow. I’m immensely proud of her.” — Rosealee Lee
“We carry out months of planning leading up to an event,” said Vickaryous, who routinely works 12-hour days and, during one 14-month period, oversaw venue opening in four different states, starting from scratch each time. “The day of the event is my favorite part. It’s always crazy and something is always happening. There are so many moving parts. After it’s over, the last thing you want to hear is someone calling your name. It’s organized chaos—and I love it!”
Rosealee Lee considers Vickaryous one of her top-tier alumni, pointing to her impressive abilities as a communicator and motivator. “Tiffany exemplifies how to best harness the power of networking to launch your career,” Lee said. “She is as real as it gets and her bulls**t meter is off the charts. Like all the best hospitality pros, she under-promises and over-delivers—and when she says she’ll do something, she does it. If she says the sky is yellow, it’s yellow. I’m immensely proud of her.”
For her part, Tiffany Vickaryous is overjoyed to be in the thick of the industry she loves. Already a master at operational turnaround, she’s at the top of her game with nowhere to go but up.
“Managing events can get complicated, but in the end it’s about planning for the worst and expecting the best,” she said. “We do everything we can to ensure our clients have a great time. I could never see myself doing anything else.”
For more information about the Meeting and Event Management program, contact:
- Rosealee Lee
Meeting and Event Management Instructor
Supervisory Management Instructor