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.

Man, I will miss that view.

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:

St. Patrick’s Day Newspaper Article, March 2010 & March 2012

Newspaper article when I received my promotion

Video: Landing gets a Dream Machine

Video: Green Fireworks on St. Paddy’s Day

Michael having fun on a surprise speedboat ride.
Pat having fun on a surprise speedboat ride – that hair cracks me up!
Our crew having fun on a surprise speedboat ride!
Kenny Chesney did a live radio remote from Hooters at The Landing when he was in town for his concert.
True story.
Yappy Hour with Rachel, Nina, her pooch Dixie and Janice.
Jamie, Toney Sleiman (middle) and myself
Pat, me and Janice waiting in line to see Oprah in Chicago!
One of mine and Jimmy’s first dates at The Landing.
This was great. The news reporter (left) burst a bottle of Guinness on the blarney stone live on the morning news on St. Patrick’s Day and splashed beer all over her co-workers coat!

And of COURSE I loved the concerts we did with 99.9 Gator Country:

Steve Holy, Sept. 2010
Love and Theft, Sept. 2009
Kate and Kacey, Sept. 2009
Easton Corbin, Sept. 2009
Justin Moore, March 2009
Jimmy Wayne, March 2009
Darryl Worley, March 2009
Chuck Wicks (so hott!) and my mom, March 2009
Bucky Covington, March 2009
The Band Perry, March 2010
David Nail, March 2009
Craig Morgan, March 2009
Chris Young, Sept. 2009
They made me get on stage and make announcements at my very first concert in month two of my internship – talk about diving on in!
The Jacksonville Landing
Fireworks on the waterfront
The Landing
Posted by:Blakeley

11 replies on “Beginning a New Chapter

  1. Blakeley I understand your sadness in moving on, I know for a fact that your Jacksonville Landing Family is and always will hold a very special place in your heart. More than anyone I appreciate everyone there taking you under their wing and into their lives as if you were a long lost daughter. I am quite certain you will be missed tremendously and I will be forever greatful for everything Janice, Toney and the rest of the gang have done for you. Having said that…I want you to know how unbelievably proud of you I am! This is the beginning of a new chapter and an amazing opportunity. You always have and always will excel at everything you apsire to and I am confident you will be just as loved and appreciated in your new position as you were in this one. I wish you all of the best in your new adventure as you spread your wings and soar to new and greater heights. All of my love today and always! Mom

    1. Wow, thank you Mom! As if I weren’t emotional enough before reading your comment!!! It definitely means a lot hearing those words from you, so thank you 🙂 Love you very much and can’t wait to see you in a few days!

  2. I’m going to miss the Jacksonville Landing family as well. But don’t worry there will be many more celebrations and happy hours with the Landing Family, because what is family for if not to celebrate life. You know I have an extremely low tolerance for lack of Landing. Proud of you babe, I hope these car salesmen are well rested and ready for Hurricane Blakeley to come through with high winds and torrential downpours of car buyers.

    1. Haha, you are too cute. Thanks, my dear! You’re right … definitely MANY more dates with the Landing fam in the future. I like the way you put it – nicely said.

  3. Detroit….yay I think you need to work hard so u can move up the ladder and move to Michigan, how awesome would that be ❤

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