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10 Under 30 :: 2016

Written by April Darrow
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KAELA GILLUM

Title: Events Manager, Taos Ski Valley, N.M.
Age: 29
Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Higher Ed: Principia College
Six-word bio: Flatlander turned mountain air enthusiast.
First job in the industry: Children's ski instructor at Taos Ski Valley.

How did you get here?

As a kid, my family visited Taos almost every summer and skied Colorado in the winter. Early in college, we started skiing Taos, and that was the point I fell in love with the mountain and culture. I moved to Taos after college to have the ski bum experience and to be able to keep up on the slopes with my dad and brothers. That one year turned into more.

What do you love about working at a resort?

I love seeing people come in on vacation excited to be in the mountains. We’re in a business to make people happy, and I think that’s so cool. As a reward for that, we get to work hard then go play on the mountain.

Who is your professional mentor?

My father. He owned and operated his own company for a number of years, and taught me that it’s important to be approachable and not be the person who’s getting upset or mad about constructive criticism. Being able to be open to suggestions is important. My goal is to make TSV a better place, and my events a better place. Like my dad, I try to say, “How do I make this better?”

What’s the biggest challenge you face?

Making sure I communicate with all the appropriate staff with event details and tasks before an event starts. There are a lot of moving pieces to every event, and I like to be in control. At times I have to remind myself to let go and know tasks I have assigned will be accomplished. 

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

Seeing an event go off smoothly. I’d have to say the most rewarding event is this past season’s Freeride Championships. The athletes were on point and gracious, which is awesome when you’re dealing with 250 athletes. We didn’t have the most amazing snow conditions during the event, but people were smart and respectful. Just seeing everything come together and everyone having a good time was so rewarding.

In 10 years?

I’ve been looking a lot at the five-year plan lately, because Taos is in a redevelopment phase, and though we don’t have many summer events yet, that will change. In five years, I hope to be involved in the evolution of Taos into a year-round resort with summer and winter events. I came into this job with a great winter event program in place, but it’s exciting that summers are wide open to start developing events from the bottom up.

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Additional Info

  • Author: April Darrow
  • Volume: 55-4
  • Page: 36
Read 30266 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 September 2016 15:05
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