Melissa Dwyer says she’s always been an outgoing person who loves to communicate with people, so it’s no big surprise that she’d find work as an event planner. What might be surprising, though, is how the Clarenville native wound up working for a group based in Cape Race, Newfoundland, helping to plan the local commemoration of the sinking of the Titanic.
Dwyer works for Receiving Titanic, a branch of Cape Race-Portugal Cove South Heritage Inc. (CR-PCSHI), a non-profit group that promotes tourism and community development. Much of that tourism is connected to the Titanic, since Cape Race was the nearest point of land to the shipwreck’s site, and home of the wireless station that received the doomed ship’s distress call.
Dwyer helps plan fundraising events which will culminate on the evening of April 14, the anniversary of the sinking, and will include a themed supper and the re-enactment of the distress call being received at the wireless station. She says her path to her current job began at College of the North Atlantic (CNA).
“I took Journalism from 2004 to 2006,” says Dwyer. “I just always wanted to be front row centre, talking to everybody. That’s what gave me the idea to go into journalism – the public speaking side of things.”
After completing the program, she went to Alberta and worked her way up to become an executive assistant at an oilfield services company, where she also took care of event planning. When she came back to Newfoundland and heard that Receiving Titanic was looking for an event planner, she applied.
“The event planning and the Journalism diploma are still on my resume and that’s what got me the position,” she says. “Having that Journalism diploma definitely gives you extra confidence and some experience.”
She says the skills she learned in the Journalism program help make her an effective event planner.
“When you’re doing interviews, I don’t know if you realize it at the time, but it’s really great experience building,” she says. “You’re calling people and you’re emailing people and that’s the same thing that I’m doing today. I’m trying to track people down, the same as if I’m trying to interview them.”
For now, Dwyer is happily immersed in all things Titanic, but she has some advice for potential CNA students.
“I really think that you need to get out there and get talking to people to find out what’s involved,” she says, explaining that the skills she learned in the Journalism program could apply to a lot of different careers. “Sometimes you don’t realize exactly what you’re qualified for.”
To find out more about the Journalism program at CNA visit www.cna.nl.ca
. For information about Receiving Titanic, and the events planned for the commemoration, visit www.receivingtitanic.com