Meet an EMP: Ali Van Norden

Ali PhotoYears in Museum Field: 4

Degrees/Certificates: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Concentration: Sports Journalism) at the Pennsylvania State University with a minor in Communication, Arts, and Sciences.

Current Occupation: Group Sales and Events Coordinator at the National Constitution Center

Previous Museum Experience: Group Sales Account Executive at the National Constitution Center (August 2010 – November 2014)

Other Relevant Work Experience: Groups and Season Ticket Representative at the Philadelphia Phillies (May 2007 – October 2010)

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? While he wasn’t really a mentor, I owe everything to where I am to my boss at the Philadelphia Phillies, Phil Feather. He took a huge risk on me and I’m eternally grateful. My position at the Phillies was only meant to be a summer experience and turned into 3.5 amazing years, all because of him. I have no idea where I would be if he didn’t take that chance on me.

As for in the museum world, I look up to and respect my colleague (and fellow EMPer) Beth Van Why (Meet Beth HERE). There is a running joke amongst a lot of us that, “We want to be like Beth when we grow up” and it’s so true! She is amazing to work with, helpful, and wants to work with everyone she can and truly cares about our growth. We would be lost without her!

How does your current position fit into your career plan? My current position allows me to add a new skill set, which is event management and logistics, while enhancing my experience in sales. It allows me to expand my project management skills, while building managerial and staffing experience as well.

What museum organizations do you belong to? Philly EMP

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? It’s not so much that I wish I knew it before I began this professional, but I was blown away by how much of a tight knit community the museum world was. I came into the NCC blind regarding the museum world. I love that most people know each other and how so many are willing to collaborate with one another! Can’t say that about a lot of professions.

What do you enjoy most about your position? I love that there is always something ‘new’ to do. There is always a new school group to work with, always a new Town Hall program to help run and organize. It keeps me on my toes and fresh and allows me to engaged with visitors and clients on a daily basis!

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? Very similar to what I like best about my job, it’s the fact that there is never a dull moment and always a new project. When you are doing the same thing over and over, sometimes it can be hard to continue to stay excited. I never have to worry about that because there is always a new sale, project, or event to plan!

Ali graduated college with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism. Ali always thought she wanted to work PR for a sports team. Ali was offered a job at the Phillies out of college in sales. Ali just wanted to get into the door. When it was time to move on career wise, Ali found that she was good at this profession that she fell into so she kept her career in that direction. That lead Ali to the NCC as a Group Sales Account Executive. As she took on more roles here, Ali found that she was most passionate about her job when she was working and running events such as the NCC’s Town Hall programs. It allowed her to engage with visitors on a completely new level. Ali started to focus more on that as a career and that lead her to her current position as Group Sales and Events Coordinator. Ali’s favorite museums outside of Philadelphia include the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.

Fun Fact: While working at the Phillies from 2007 – 2010, Ali was privy to a lot of perks! She was at every single home playoff game in that span and has a 2009 NLCS Championship ring to show for it! Phillies fans may also notice, going by Ali’s tenure, that the team also hasn’t been the same since she left. Coincidence? Sorry Philadelphia!


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