Today is very bittersweet for me. It’s a Monday, which typically isn’t the best of days for anyone, nor is it a day that many look forward to. I can’t say that I have been looking forward to this Monday, but I can say that it is a Monday that means a lot to me, one that holds a special place in my heart and one that I will always remember.
You see, I have made a big decision. One I didn’t see coming (any time soon, anyway) and one that will change my life forever. I have decided to leave the job I love more than words and venture into the next chapter of my life. Today – this Monday – is the final Monday I will be working as the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator for The Jacksonville Landing.
I started at The Landing as a Public Relations intern on January 10, 2009. (Wow, it seems like it was only yesterday.) Upon the completion of my internship, I was offered a part-time job for the summer, which led to a full-time job, a promotion, a raise and a large office with a couch and a breathtaking view of the St. Johns River.
I was beyond ecstatic about this opportunity for so many reasons: I loved everything that the job entailed; I actually looked forward to going to work every morning; So many people were having trouble finding a job and I had been given the opportunity of a lifetime; And my boss and co-workers were absolutely wonderful. For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of working with each of the shop and restaurants owners and staff, creating and managing all of The Landing’s social media, being a part of so many wonderful events and SO much more.
In fact, I think one of the hardest parts about leaving will be giving up so many events that I have worked so hard to create and/or manage over the past three and a half years. Of those, Yappy Hour and Earth Day are two events I will miss the most. I created Yappy Hour, a monthly dog event, when I began interning. The first event took place in March 2009 and, what we thought would be a three-time-only event, still continues once a month to this day and is bigger and better each time.
This year marked the 22nd Annual Earth Day & Ecology Fair at The Landing and my fourth year being a part of it. As a part of my internship, my big assignment was to manage the logistics and PR for this event, and I have been doing so ever since. The Earth Day committee has become near and dear to my heart and the event will remain one of my favorite community events in town.
But most of all, I will miss my Landing family: merchants, security, HVAC crew, past and current interns and the Management staff. The merchants and shop owners have been so wonderful to me over the past few years and I am so blessed to have known each of them. The hardest part though, without a doubt, will be leaving my co-workers. It’s rare to find a staff you get along with every day and look forward to spending 40+ hours a week with. And it’s rare to have a boss that would do anything in the world for you and treats you like one of her own children. Janice (my boss and GM of The Landing) and Toney (owner of The Jacksonville Landing and Sleiman Enterprises) have been nothing but helpful, supportive and unbelievably amazing to me since I first walked in this office, and they mean more to me than they will ever know. We have a small office of six, which consists of Pat (Administrative Assistant), Michael (Marketing Director) Ray (head of Security), Chris (HVAC genius), Janice (General Manager) and myself, so it’s easy to see how and why we are all so close. Why we are a family.
I am so grateful for the people I have met, partners I have worked with and relationships I have made, and I would like to thank each and every one of you for making my experience at The Landing so amazing.
This Friday will be my final day at The Landing and on Tuesday, May 8, I begin a new chapter of my life as a Public Relations Manager for Team Detroit, a nationally recognized, cutting-edge ad and PR agency. Their home office is in Detroit, but I will stay in Jacksonville, working from their small office and managing the PR and sponsorship events for the Southern Ford Dealers (92 dealerships throughout south Georgia, southern Alabama and central Florida). This is a brand new position that I will be building from scratch, which is terrifying yet very exciting. I will be creating and managing the social media for the Southern Ford Dealers, promoting and traveling to sponsorship events and many other PR-related duties.
I sit here writing this post with tears in my eyes and I can’t help but think about all the wonderful times I’ve had at The Landing, all of the memories I have made and how much I will miss it all. I know this is going to be a big difference and a huge change for me, but I am excited to take on the challenge and advance to the next step in my professional career. Nothing can ever replace the time I have spent at The Landing, the invaluable lessons I have learned and the experience I have gained. I look forward to returning to The Landing and many of the events as a “guest” and seeing it all from a different perspective. After all, The Landing will always be “my first love!”
(I wonder how many times I will still introduce myself as “Blakeley from The Landing?”)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go re-learn how to walk in heels …. I’ve gotten spoiled being able to walk around in flip-flops, jeans and cotton skirts.
With that, I will leave you with a few of my favorite Landing moments:
And of COURSE I loved the concerts we did with 99.9 Gator Country: