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Rising to the occasion: Alyssa’s EF journey

Picture planning a trip to Hawaii for 150 people – the months of researching, negotiating, tweaking as well as perfecting countless travel, accommodation and activity details. This is Alyssa’s job at EF Education First as an Event Manager for EF High School Exchange Year. And by all accounts, she’s awesome at it.

But then picture just a few days before the trip, a hospitality workers’ strike brings operations at your hotel to halt. This was the dilemma Alyssa found herself in – and then out of – within a sleepless four-day race against the clock last fall. 

“I immediately went into problem-solving mode, considering all options. And by some miracle, there was a comparable hotel that could accommodate our group and was willing to negotiate a contract,” she explains. 

In true cost-conscious fashion, Alyssa didn’t let the pressure to secure a plan B get the best of her. Instead, she secured a new hotel contract that actually saved money for EF. 

“We made it happen,” she says, crediting her team and manager for their support. “It really ended up being a great hotel and fabulous trip for everybody. In event planning, there are always things that change. It’s to be expected. But this, well, it was pretty unique.”  

Once you get to know Alyssa, it’s easy to see how her ready-for-anything attitude and positivity is contagious. It’s also easy to see why she’s been nominated for the Core Values Awards in the Boston office, accolades given to employees nominated for their hard work each year, in multiple categories throughout her tenure at EF.  

But this year, when Alyssa won the EF Core Values Award in Boston for being a cost-conscious superstar, she was totally shocked. 

She knew she had been nominated, but in a company of such talented, passionate colleagues, never expected to find herself on stage accepting the award and receiving a trip to Istanbul. 

“To win was such an honor. And then when Istanbul was revealed as the award destination, it was amazing. It’s not somewhere I had thought to travel – which makes it all the more exciting.”  

Responding to unprecedented plot twists with grace and agility seems to be among Alyssa’s many event planning specialties.  

Remember the winter 2018/2019 government shutdown? Alyssa was just putting the finishing touches on a meeting for EF High School Exchange Year in Washington, D.C.’s Natural History Museum when the shutdown temporarily shuttered the museum. 

With 1,000 attendees to host, Alyssa sprang into action, activating her network and ultimately finding another meeting location without breaking the bank on what could have been a costly last-minute plan change. 

Talking about these experiences today, Alyssa can’t help but laugh. They’re so over-the-top that they’ve become legendary among her EF accomplishments. And it’s experiences like these and the wonderful people she gets to work with on a daily basis, she explains, that has kept her at EF for 7 ½ years now – experiences that push her to think on her toes, learn on the fly, work with new people and rise to the occasion. 

Interested in opening the world with us? Visit careers.ef.com

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