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2019 40 Under 40: Kelsey Riley Dixon, davies + dixon

Kelsey Riley Dixon, 29, works in Seattle, Washington, as co-founder and president at davies + dixon. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Dixon discusses her passion for the events industry.

*Connect with Dixon on Twitter and Instagram.

What I do: I manage the backend aspects of our company, from finances like forecasting, budgeting, accounting, etc., to rate management and contract negotiation. I also run strategy on the company’s PR/marketing and share a large part in business development and managing the company’s relationships and partnerships. In addition, I participate with the team on senior accounts from account management and strategy development, primarily within the events and travel industry clients.

How I got here: I am an industry native with a Bachelor's (and Student of the Year Award) in tourism and events management from George Mason University. My career launchpad representing a luxury golf resort involved partnering with local visitors bureaus to lead regional sales efforts, strengthen client engagement and improve marketing strategy. Through college, I worked as a field sales manager with mark. by Avon and my work was highlighted in national media, which garnered a lot of career and networking opportunities thereafter. I met my co-founder, Makenzie Davies while working for Avon Headquarters. We became business colleagues and friends. Four years later, it led to an idea that we built on a combined dream. 

Greatest career accomplishment: By far, I’m most proud of starting this business, building a team and bootstrapping/developing the business from scratch. We’ve been incredibly meticulous about culture and helping to empower our team in their expertise. We’ve been extremely particular about clients, too, as they are like an extension of our brand. 

Impressive stats: Growing our team from two to six people in three years. We’ve seen a 40 percent jump in revenue growth year-over-year since launch in 2014 and worked with more than 50 partners from Thailand to D.C. to London.

Specific improvement I’ve made: With my background and education in the industry, applied with experience within davies + dixon as a marketing agency, our team was able to develop best practices and scenario exercises to help meeting planners better utilize communications and be prepared within social media. I’ve spoken on this topic at many events. In the world we live in today, this preparation is more important than ever.

What I do outside of work: Professionally, I am serving on the Association for Women in Events 2019-2020 board of directors. I love speaking on various topics outside of or adjacent to the industry, like digital nomadism, modern workplaces or financial independence. Personally, I am what I like to call “an adventurist.” My husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest to be able to take advantage of all the outdoor activities and adventures that exist there, like hiking, backcountry skiing, backpacking, road trips, etc. In that same vein, we’re avid travelers. In 2017-2018, we lived abroad for nine months, mostly in South America. While living abroad, I managed a full-time workload running our business while embracing a dream I've had for many years.