elson ’16 is executive director of the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
It’s not a common occurrence to go from managing your personal budget as a college student to administering an entire county’s tourism budget just weeks after graduating. But Kayla Nelson, a 2016 Hastings College graduate, made the transition look easy. Almost immediately after receiving her diploma, Nelson joined the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau as the new executive director.
Her responsibilities include executing goals to bring more tourism to Adams County, managing the budget for tourism, preparing marketing materials and managing the staff.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau serves both Adams County and the community of Hastings by promoting tourism and supporting events and conventions. Tourists who stop by the cone-shaped Visitors Center on Highway 281 can get free maps, tourism guides, and tips on things to do and places to see.
Creating a winning attitude
Nelson, a dynamic young marketing professional, was a leader during college as well. A Colorado Springs native, she was captain of the soccer team her senior year.
“Being willing to understand how to work with a team was important. Soccer showed me that everybody has strengths and weaknesses,” Nelson said. “I learned the best managers are able to understand strengths and weaknesses and help team members. Being a captain on the soccer team was beneficial in the way I carry myself as a person and develop my work ethic.”
From all accounts, Nelson is doing a stellar job, but she admits that it was a massive change from being a full-time student to serving in such an important and demanding role.
“The hardest part of my job so far has been hitting the ground running,” Nelson said. “I have to think critically and understand the budget…It’s all a process, and I’ve been working through it. I’ve caught on very quickly.”
When asked how her time at Hastings College helped prepare her for her current position, Nelson had nothing but positive things to say.
“I would credit Hastings College entirely for me getting this job and helping prepare me for the work world,” Nelson said. “I learned how to present in a professional manner and was encouraged to be creative and apply real-world ideas to the classroom. I definitely credit Hastings College for everything.”