Celia Anderson (2)Celia Anderson, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau

National Sales Director
Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: 34

Before joining the sales staff of her hometown CVB, Celia Anderson laid the foundation for her professional life as a four-year letter winner on the University of Arkansas basketball team. Anderson’s career includes an NCAA Final Four appearance, a women’s NIT Championship and a stint playing professionally in Greece. She also has taught English to third and fourth graders in Rwanda and worked as a personal assistant to The New York Times best-selling author E. Lynn Harris. She has written and published several books herself, including two novels and an upcoming book for young adults that draws life lessons from her basketball career.

Click her for additional information: http://www.rejuvenatemeetings.com/2013/07/18/CeliaAnderson/

Anderson’s varied career has also involved sales, which is an important skill for an author, too. “I learned that if you want to be a successful author, you have to be in sales,” she says. As an author, she attended trade shows and librarian conferences and booked speaking engagements to promote her books. Gretchen Hall, then Little Rock CVB’s vice president of communications, once heard Anderson speak and later offered her a job in 2012 when Hall became CEO of the bureau. “You represent Arkansas so well; I think you would be great at this job,” Hall told her. Anderson is now the national sales director of the Little Rock CVB, where Anderson draws on her diverse background and life experience to help faith-based groups plan their events. “This job is a perfect fit. I love going to religious-based conferences, and Little Rock offers a very intimate setting for those meetings to achieve their goals,” Anderson says. Her varied background also provides a fresh set of eyes on the meetings business, and she has embraced apps and social networking as tools to connect with clients.

Career-Changing Moment: “Career and life go hand-in-hand. Change came for me when I realized I needed to live for something bigger than myself,  around age 25.”

Inspiration: “My baby girl, Gabrielle, age 9.”

Most Proud of: “My mother, Sarah, just finished her bachelor’s degree at age 56. She worked her whole life in retail and paid the price for me to have the life I have now.”