Hostess With the Mostess

September 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

After 13 years working in Fernbank’s special events department, Jennifer Yard knows her way around an event plan better than a paleontologist knows their way around a dinosaur.

From internal events such as the family-friendly Dinosaur Birthday Bash Weekend, to the upscale gala fundraiser A Timeless Affair, and from high school proms to corporate launch parties, Jennifer seems more like an orchestra conductor or an air traffic controller. Except she isn’t standing in front of the band or hidden away in a tower—she is in the middle of it all—moving chairs, placing linens, testing the microphone.

When it comes to events, she does a little of everything except greet each guest individually. “I’m definitely a behind-the-scenes girl,” she grins.

Her duties vary based on the type of event she’s directing. She coordinates floor plans, works with caterers, helps select and/or provide feedback on entertainment, and for some internal events, has even branched out into floral arrangements.

Before: Flowers for an event.

After attending art school in Atlanta, Jennifer decided she wanted something creative and something hands-on. She joined the Museum’s events department as a general office assistant. As staffing needs changed, her role grew. She is now the Director of Corporate and Social Events.

After: A custom arrangement created by Jennifer

Her current role does offer a lot of creativity, including some very “creative” event requests. “I get a lot of requests to move or hide the [Great Hall] dinos. Or requests to dress them up as a bride or in school colors,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job is at the end of the event, seeing everything come together and watching guests having a good time. Alternately, it’s also the people she works with on a day-to-day basis.

It’s clear she has an especially close tie to the rest of the events department. “We have fun. We work hard, but we also work well together and that makes it fun,” she said. “And bad days? They can always be fixed by shopping in the Museum Store.”

A self-described homebody, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her live-in boyfriend and two cats. She has a never-ending list of home improvement projects that keep her busy when she’s not knitting, making jewelry, sewing or gardening. She even takes time to sit back and relax with a good horror movie. “I’m a Halloween baby. So yes, I love scary movies!” she remarked.

For me, working with Jennifer has been a gift. Who else could help me fit an inflatable pirate ship beneath the world’s largest dinosaurs?

Visit is online for information on how you can host your next event at Fernbank Museum.

—Deanna Smith, Director of Marketing

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Not Your Average Opportunity From Galas to Ghostbusters

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About

At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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