One Minute With: Nelda Alston, Director of Operations, Connex

By Lauren Culpepper posted 5 days ago

  

For 18 years Nelda Alston has worked at PRSM. What she’s experienced during its transformation is remarkable – and incredibly personal. 

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“Like any association, we’ve experienced growing pains. Looking back at that first meeting in the basement, no one even knew we existed. But I’m glad I got to experience this. I got to see our association through the times. That’s my favorite thing about PRSM.” 

“Back in the day, I used to handle all the money for our conferences. Credit cards, checks, even cash! You name it. And the lines of people … Suppliers would fight for space because they wanted to purchase the best booth spot. But in 2008 our booth purchasing became automated, which changed everything. That meant I got to stay back at the office and take care of things. I miss the member interaction but those shows are very tiring— 12 hours on the show floor means you’re pretty much dead for two days after.” 

“During my time with PRSM, I’ve done a little bit of everything. I’ve answered phones, managed membership, handled conferences, overseen office moves — whatever is needed, I’ve done it.” 

“I came to PRSM from Blockbuster where I worked in the Facilities Department. My boss was one of the original founders of PRSM, which formed in the office next to mine. We quite literally started in a basement, and I’ve seen it grow since then.” 

“The more people we’ve added to the association, and the more specializations we’ve accrued, the more ideas we have. You get a bunch of people in a room and the ideas just start to flow. It’s exciting to watch!” 

All in the Family

“We are a family. We pull together through natural disasters, family losses, you name it.” 

Growth Spurt

“In my 18 years with PRSM, the association grew from 4 employees to 18.” 

The magic number: 3

“During my tenure, PRSM offices moved three times.”

The Future Forecast

“I want to make it to our 25th anniversary in 2020 and then maybe I’ll go part-time. PRSM has kept my mind going. It keeps me fresh. I’m very fortunate to have had this experience. It’s a great place to work. But you have to know when it’s time to let go.” 

Market Crash

“Back in 2008 when the market crashed, retailers were pulling back, and we had to be smart in order to pull off our conference. Money was tight for retailers, but our suppliers stepped up to the plate. They sustained us, and our conference ended up being quite successful. I would say it was a turnaround year.”

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