Growing Up: a Port kid to future Producer

Author: Erin Budzyna


Adventure & Exploration. Adding these two words in your life allows for new experiences, knowledge, lessons and venturing out of your comfort zone. Newburyport, a quaint New England town which I cherish the most, has always been my primary comfort zone. Growing up in Newburyport was a unique experience for me. The brick buildings, various shops, and coastal views seemed ordinary, as it was all I knew. When I entered college at Johnson & Wales University I realized how special and different Port is from my new home in Providence. Most people don’t get to grow up in a New England town where you are recognized at your favorite bagel shop, where you are a 5 minute drive to a gorgeous beach, and where you are perfectly located between Boston and Maine giving townies multiple traveling opportunities around them. This vibrant tourist town thrives in the summers, but its charm is evident throughout the year for its residents.

Upon graduating from college in Event Management I asked myself, where do I go from here? I was living in Providence, Rhode Island, a busy and fast paced city, something I hadn’t experienced but thoroughly enjoyed. I never imagined coming back to Newburyport as I didn’t want to re-enter my comfort zone, but instead take on a new challenge. While researching jobs I came upon Ember, which caught my attention immediately and happened to be located in my hometown. Was I really going to move back to my hometown after I graduated? This wasn’t ideal in my mind, but I wanted to accept the opportunity at Ember, as I knew I would gain more knowledge about the hospitality industry and would create my own adventure in my own backyard. I knew Ember wouldn’t be in my comfort zone, but it was a challenge I was excited to take on.

As I walked into the doors of Ember, I didn’t know what to expect as I have completed various internships in the event world, each different in their own way. My new position at Ember allowed me to see events from a new lens – the corporate world. Immediately I fell in love with my position as I was introduced into all areas of the industry and worked on every aspect of the team’s projects. While working at Ember, I realized the wide range of opportunities the event world had to offer me within my career. Working onsite at events allowed me to see different types of events, both corporate & social. Partnering with companies to give their attendees an exceptional event experience has been extremely rewarding for me. Ember has taught me how to step out of my comfort zone by way of creating unique event experiences.

Living and working in my hometown this summer has taught me a great deal about myself and the industry I am entering:

Aspects of the Event Industry I experienced in my hometown:

  • The importance of hospitality wherever you go - You never know who you will encounter on the job, or even on the weekends. Living in town I always want to represent myself well as a person and in my career with a gracious smile and kind attitude.

  • Networking - Everyone is connected! Living in Newburyport gave me more connections to the locals that I know. This is key to creating and cultivating current and future business connections.

  • Collaborating with local businesses - I worked on events where the team partnered with companies for graphics, prints, and other essential items for the project. Working on different projects this summer allowed me to learn about local businesses I could refer to and depend on for future events and partnerships.

Key lessons I learned at Ember:

  • The importance of expressing your ideas - Ember is all about collaboration and allowing everyone's voice to be heard. This allows each employee to share their unique ideas & creativity in a supportive environment.

  • Always expect the unexpected - Just hours before the start of an event this summer the team had to get creative, and we ultimately purchased large amounts of plastic wrap to cover all of the outdoor furniture before severe thunderstorms rolled in. Even when the weather predicts sun, always remember to keep the rain plan in your back pocket.

  • Having a strong team that supports one another is essential to success - Events can be stressful! As long as you have a team that has your back, you will always be able to tackle the unexpected obstacles and leave your attendees smiling.

Living in Newburyport and working at Ember this summer was an adventure for me. Going forward, I am open to an exciting journey no matter where it takes me.

Always be open to new experiences, wherever they may take you...

Mindy Wright