Meet Kennedy Collection's Account Manager, Christy Beard!
Around here, we’re all about engaging the senses through smart event production, and our furnishings can play a big role in the tone and functionality of spaces where people gather to connect. The latest addition to the Kennedy Collection team, Christy Beard, brings an artist’s eye to her work, along with a skill set sharpened by nearly a decade of visual merchandising management and visual design freelancing. This Savannah College of Art & Design graduate got her start with a visual display internship at Anthropologie, which paved the way for her career in aesthetics, and now that she’s joined us as Kennedy Collection’s account manager, we couldn’t be happier about it. Read on to meet Christy and learn about our official in-house aesthete.
What does a typical to-do list look like for Kennedy Collection's account manager?
My job is all about connecting with clients and making their visions come true. My typical to-do consists of creating proposals that are the perfect blend of what the client is requesting while surprising them with new, aspirational ways to play with furniture that they may never have thought of. I love a good design challenge. My job also far extends beyond just making the sale — I’ll often come onsite to ensure everything is placed and styled just the way the client wants — that’s truly my favorite part.
On the marketing side of my job, I’m supporting our internal team at Kennedy Creative. Finding ways to create better presentation materials digitally and in person, looking at prospecting strategy, and most importantly planning non-client events that will further connect us with our Austin community.
How did you become interested in the event rentals industry?
It was definitely an a-ha moment when I realized the event rentals industry was a path for me. Through the years I’ve developed a very broad range of interests when it comes to design, and interior design was always a passionate side hobby of mine. The feeling of creating magic for people has always brought me so much joy and previously in my retail roles, I often felt I wasn’t there to experience the magic once I created it through merchandising. In this role, I get to interact and collaborate with the customer, while being there when the moment is made. It’s an awesome feeling. The events industry just has this buzz and energy about it that I’m really drawn to – I’ll be here a while.
What led you to Austin?
Moving to Austin was a leap of faith. I needed a new direction in my life and it was between Austin and one other city. I had never been to Austin before, let alone Texas, but reading about the city — the culture, the music, the creativity, the growth — I was intrigued. It’s definitely my favorite spot of all the places I’ve lived.
You have a strong aesthetic background -- a degree from a prestigious school of the arts and a visual display tenure with Anthropologie (swoon). How do those experiences come into play at Kennedy Collection?
All the different elements of my design background have been extremely helpful to my role at Kennedy Collection. Working in visual merchandising I developed an eye for floor planning, flow, aesthetic, and how to set a space people just don’t want to leave. I’ve found many skills that make you a successful merchandiser also translate seamlessly into being able to set a space for an event. My current role gives me the best of all worlds – the puzzle of setting a space, the interior design when curating our furniture collection and styling proposals, and the collaboration with our clients.
Attending SCAD, I was exposed to so many different types of creatives. This really helped me appreciate what it means to be in a creative role, and it gave my natural design interest purpose. Many people don’t realize design can be grueling work: it takes practice and constant sharpening of your eye. In event rentals, you’re always creative problem solving when issues or changes arise. I love this type of work.
Let's talk about the power tools workshop you lead for women in Austin in your free time. How did that get started, and what's your favorite thing about it?
This workshop is one of my most cherished side gigs I do for my community of fellow boss babes in Austin. It really was a light bulb moment one day while I was browsing workshops I wanted to try. In this moment I realized, if you wanted to learn about basic power tool use and building skills, you either had to take an extensive course or just wing it by watching YouTube videos (yikes). I’ve been very lucky in my past to have strong mentors who taught me these skills. I always had a space for questions and to fail without judgement. I wanted to give women in the community that same space, a safe environment to learn, fail and grow.
I love seeing women beaming at the end of the class, feeling powerful and proud of their new skill set. It’s such a great feeling when you realize it was never that hard, you just needed the opportunity.
What’s your favorite part of working at Kennedy?
There is such a sense of community at Kennedy — everyone is so quick to jump in and support. This tribe of people will literally not let you fail. Being brand new to the company and the events industry, I’ve had so many questions and needed guidance in my new role. I always feel like I have a group of people to turn to, no matter what the road block. I think that’s why we’re able to create such unimagined, seemly impossible events — our team works so hard, and we all win together.