Officially the dual market sales manager for Dave and Buster’s, Jennifer Castro prefers to call herself the Ambassador to Fun. With a title like that, you can expect passion, out-of-the-box thinking and positive energy. But there is even more to Castro than that.
Castro acts as the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International’s vice president of education, a role that allows her to manage the details related to the chapter’s monthly programs. She has been an MPI member for eight years and counting.
“I joined in 2001 in California, but became very active in August 2007 after I transitioned to Arizona and needed to create a networking foundation, since I was new to the area,” she says.
MPI provided that venue, and more, for Castro.
“MPI offers incredible professional and leadership development opportunities,” she says. “On a business level MPI was an incredible way for me to get acclimated to the Arizona hospitality market after moving here in late 2006. Over the past two years I have fostered strong networking connections and friendships, as well as generated strong brand awareness for Dave and Buster’s.”
Castro has been with Dave and Buster’s for more than 11 years, and she credits MPI for providing an avenue for her to professionally challenge herself in new ways, as well as allow her to continue her passion for ongoing education in her industry.
“I am responsible for selling events at both Arizona Dave and Buster’s locations at the Tempe Marketplace and Desert Ridge Marketplace,” Castro says. “My membership with MPI has proven to be essential in a variety of ways. I can always count on MPI for vendor needs I have for my events.
Additionally, Arizona is a huge destination city for corporate events and conferences. MPI is a great way to build business relationships with the event professionals that make decisions on where to host their offsite events.”
While it seems no industry is immune to the current economic climate, Castro admits that the event and meeting industry has been particularly challenged this year with negative media exposure.
“Companies across the board have cancelled events nationwide, which has impacted Dave and Buster’s,” she adds. “Corporations are really scrutinizing the events they decide to move forward with.”
However, Castro manages to find the silver lining among the clouds of the economic storm.
“At Dave and Buster’s we have found that many companies are now focusing heavily on team building, which is great for us since that is our specialty,” she says. “MPI is an integral part of helping to re-educate the public on the importance of meetings and helping those in our industry navigate through the changes that are impacting everyone in our industry during these unfamiliar times.”