SAEM Alumna in Atlanta Promoted to Corporate Sales and Events Supervisor Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Meet April (Weber) Upplegger
Job title: Corporate Sales & Events Supervisor
Employer: Slingshot Entertainment
Degree earned: B.S. in Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management, Point Park University, 2011; Master of Hospitality Administration, University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016
College activities: Impulse, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, Community Service Club including spring break community service trips with Habitat for Humanity to New Orleans in 2010 and Miami in 2011
Scholarship from Point Park: Presidential Scholarship
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
High school: The Public Academy for Performing Arts
Now living in: Atlanta, Ga.
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, scuba diving, hiking, dancing and cooking
LinkedIn: April (Weber) Upplegger
-- Kelsey Munro, Director of Events, Slingshot Entertainment
"I applied to transfer to Point Park University and then packed my bags for the 1,700-mile journey. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
-- April (Weber) Upplegger
How did you land your recent promotion with Slingshot Entertainment?
My previous position as event supervisor for Slingshot Entertainment helped me to get to know the activities in the establishment and learn how the events department was running. The organization was looking to make some changes in their management structure so they created a position for me where I could use my hospitality experience to bridge the gap between our sales department and our events department.
Tell us about the work you do.
Slingshot Entertainment is a unique 130,000-square foot facility that offers entertainment for both children and adults. The park includes a racetrack with adult and kids go karts, 14 bowling lanes, a complete ninja warrior course, children's play areas, meeting space, a bar and a restaurant.
My role as the corporate sales & events supervisor is to help create a seamless transition for our corporate clients from the inquiry, sales and booking phases into rolling out events on site with our events team. The majority of my position entails helping to manage the logistics of getting large groups of guests through all of our venues, managing their food and beverage and ensuring that our large staff works together to deliver the most successful event possible.
I help to oversee everything from small events for 10 people to full facility buyouts for hundreds of guests. Companies choose Slingshot Entertainment for team building activities, employee appreciation events, holiday parties, employee incentives, trainings and meetings.
As a native of New Mexico, what brought you to Point Park University?
Pittsburgh was a long way from my desert home. I spent my freshman year at my hometown university working toward a career in film production, but soon realized that it wasn't the lifestyle I wanted. I had a strong background in the performing arts and had heard about Point Park University through a peer who had been looking at going there as a dance major.
When I saw that Point Park offered a degree in sports, arts and entertainment management that was related to the business side of the performing arts, I was intrigued. I had never heard of a program like that. Within a few months, I applied to transfer to Point Park and then packed my bags for the 1,700-mile journey. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
How did your SAEM classes and internships prepare you professionally?
First off, I brag about our SAEM program all the time. The fact that our professors are industry influencers and active in the field gave us as students so many amazing opportunities. The professional connections they create for us, along with their real-life expertise, is unparalleled.
Before I transferred to Point Park, I was not aware of how important internships are. During my first year in the program, I jumped at every opportunity to intern in order to help me figure out what direction a career in SAEM could take me. I was able to try out different focuses in SAEM and ended up having a full resume to send out to potential employers upon graduation.
One of the classes that made the biggest impression on me was Event Management. I remember starting off the class not knowing what to expect and then being really invested in the concept by the end of the semester. We had a final project assigned where we had to create a business plan for an event.
It was a big project, but I remember being really interested in every component that went into the plan. That was what pushed me to apply for an internship in event planning in Sydney, Australia the summer before my senior year. This experience led me to further my career in event management. When I was finishing up my master's program, I had an advantage over my peers because my final course was creating a business plan - which I already had experience with through Point Park.
What are your career goals?
My five-year career goal is to open my own event planning company. My long-term career goal is to own a bed and breakfast with event space to run an event planning company right there on site.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Take advantage of every opportunity that is provided to you. Even if it is scary or ends up turning into a dead end, you will probably still learn something from the experience that will make you a better person and employee in the future.