Robertson heads up the nonprofit Northwest Yacht Brokers Association and produces the Boats Afloat Show and the Seattle Boat show in January.
What do you do? I am the executive director for the nonprofit Northwest Yacht Brokers Association. We are an association of nearly 300 members in the marine industry. We produce the Boats Afloat Show in September and partner on the Seattle Boat show in January. In addition to running the boat shows, we hold continuing education events, socials, run a nationally recognized broker certification program and monitor business practices.
How did you get started in that field? It’s kind of a funny story. Nine years ago, when I was hunting for my first real job out of college, I went to apply at another association that was in the same field. They didn’t have the position available anymore, but after talking to their director, he referred me to another colleague at the NYBA. I went in for my interview and landed the job! I’ve always been a boater and my communications/events degree was the perfect fit. As time went on, I was able to take on more and more responsibilities, proving myself to the board of directors. I was eventually promoted to executive director. It goes to show that the people you meet along the way in your job search can be invaluable. Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What’s a typical day like? When I explain to people what I do for a living, they always ask me, “Putting on the two boat shows takes up an entire year? What do you do the rest of the time?” What they don’t realize is that there is always a new challenge every day. Running a nonprofit, you must wear many hats. Not only do I get to do glamorous tasks such as putting on a long-standing Seattle event, working around gorgeous yachts, meeting city leaders and working with a professional advertising team, but as with any job, I have daily tasks of simply running a business and managing staff.
What’s the best part of the job? The best part of my job is working with our members and subcontractors for the boat show. I get the opportunity to learn about so many different facets of so many different types of careers. I get to dabble in politics, art and advertising, media, social marketing, accounting and contract negotiation, to name a few. Therefore, I learn something new each day, and I get to take those skills and apply them.
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What surprises people about your work? That I’m so young! I’m in my mid-30s, but when people talk to me on the phone, they always think I’m older. Then when they meet me in person they can’t believe it. Don’t judge a book by its cover! Other than that, just how much two people (we’re a very small office) can accomplish. We work hard, we never use the phrase “that’s not my job” and we strive for efficiencies and better communication on a daily basis. Working to meet those standards is the key to success in any field.