We are going to do something different with our Mondays for a while. We are blessed to have so many talented and creative ladies on the I Do Y’all team, we thought we’d take some time to let all of you get to know them a little bit. You occasionally see a face or two here and there on our social media streams, but we have a group of insanely talented chicks behind the scenes who are so awesome, everyone should have the chance to meet them and see what they do. Honestly, they all blow my mind each and every day with their creativity and their passion. Moreover, they are kind, compassionate, intelligent, gorgeous, and downright badass babes – each and every one, and it is such a gift to have them on our team.
First up, is Candi Hawthorne-Hilton, our Corporate Sales & Events Manager. Candi is the absolute queen of organization. She not only keeps everything moving in one direction, she does it effortlessly armed with nothing more than a smile and a diet coke. She simultaneously plans photo shoots, runs wedding shows, manages sales people, and keeps me from losing my mind. I don’t know how she does it all, but I don’t know what I’d do without her. I’m not sure where she went to school, but from all the magic she works at the office, it had to be Hogwarts.
Name: Candi Hawthorne-Hilton
Job Title: Corporate Sales & Events Manager
Career path: After 16 years in the healthcare field, I landed in the industry by chance and luck as the office manager. I have since grown to love the wedding industry and can’t wait to see what the future brings!
School: I entered the workforce pretty soon after completing high school, dabbling off and on through the years at college. I have been back in school full-time for the past year to complete my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, a passion very close to my heart.
Hometown: I grew up in a tiny community called Star, MS – mostly only notable because of country music singer Faith Hill. I wouldn’t trade being from small town Mississippi for anything, though. We may only have one red light and a dollar store, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the people where I am from rise up to support those in need in our community.
Share a bit about your family. My family is a bit of an eclectic bunch, and they definitely keep my life interesting. I am a single mom of six, which means being bored is never a problem in my house. I have three girls and three boys, spanning ages from a freshman in college to pre-k. The baby flavored one just learned to use the potty and gives the best hugs, so currently he’s my favorite. We also love our fur babies. Nancy Drew, the disgraced cat, likes to run away only to return home pregnant. TJ, Maxx, Ross, LL Cool J, Eminem, and Vanilla Ice are the kittens who have stuck with us. They’re cool cats, even if Vanilla Ice did get his head stuck in a ravioli can yesterday. We also have a part Australian Shepherd named Prince and a pit called Rosie the Riveter.
What is your favorite part of your job and what memories stand out about your experience here? My favorite part of the job is working with such amazing creative talent. After every photo shoot we have a tradition, and that tradition makes up my greatest memories from the job – our post-wrap selfie. Every team member, creative, and model gets together for an “It’s a Wrap” selfie. The culmination of weeks of hard work and preparation combined with a day of grueling work by all involved, the exhausted but elated smiles of wrap selfies are always so satisfying.
What wedding pros do you love – blogs, magazines, vendors, etc.? I Do Y’all, of course. I also love seeing and following the work of wedding professionals in the markets we serve. The Gulf South has some truly amazingly talented creative professionals that continually blow my mind.
Sum up your own wedding for us (or your dream wedding). So there’s a big joke at the office about the things I would be willing to do for Race and Religious, an amazing venue in NOLA. No one I work with would be surprised that my dream wedding would be a small elopement in NOLA, followed by a party and a second line parade.
What are your hobbies and or things you are passionate about? I am passionate about writing. I love to travel locally, and more weekends than not am off on an adventure within a few hours from home. Politics are my jam, and I really love debating and discussing social issues. I am most passionate about human beings, and seeing them succeed.
Who are your personal heroes, professional or personal? My personal heroes are my children in every way. Through them I have learned how to love and be loved unconditionally. They have taught me how to give and receive grace, mostly because I have needed it so much as a mom. There are many heroes I’ve encountered so far, but without the compass of my kiddos I would be lost.