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ISC hires new coordinator

The new International Storytelling Center coordinator hopes to increase regional knowledge and awareness of what the center has to offer during the first year of her new role.
“From weddings to business seminars, we can host many types of events and add something special with our old Jonesborough charm,” said Jessica Hartley, who accepted the job at the end of February.
As the coordinator, she will manage the operations of the center.
International Storytelling Center Executive Director Kiran Singh Sirah said Hartley’s main responsibility is to act as the point of contact for the center. He said she brings a lot of skills and assets that he believes will be good in helping understand different types of groups and ways the center can be used.
“She has a really personable and warm personality that is really inviting,” Sirah said. “She could think big and think local and know how to tie those two things together.”
He said with the center having the capability of being used for such events as conferences, meeting spaces and wedding receptions, Hartley will work with the various different community groups and organizations to schedule those activities.
“More and more people are starting to come and use the center for multiple purposes,” Sirah said. “We want to be able to work with the wider community and promote the hospitality that Jonesborough is known for . . . be one of those contributing partners here and encourage people to stay longer. Stay for much longer and enjoy everything that Jonesborough and the region have to offer.”
Sirah said the center is a community hub, not only for Jonesborough, but for the wider region.
“I get to do some really fun things now as I work with people hosting events at the center, meeting the storytellers and hearing their beautifully crafted stories,” Hartley said.
Sirah said he loves Hartley’s passion, as well as her understanding of storytelling.
“She had an open way of thinking about opportunities and thinking really creatively. She is passionate about the community and supporting the wider region,” he said. “She had exciting ideas of ways the center could be used.”
Hartley attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she studied horticulture and landscape architecture. The choice of a major stemmed from her growing up in rural East Tennessee where a fondness for nature was instilled at a young age.
“The general interest in plants evolved into a passion for how to sustainably use natural resources to provide healthy natural food, as well as improve our surroundings with the lovely sights and smells of wild flowers, shrubs and trees,” she said. “I wanted to study environmental science because of my interest in how to best protect and preserve global resources. We are all members of this planet, and I feel we should all do something to improve the world around us.”
Two years ago, Hartley took a customer service position at the International Storytelling Center where she had to play the role of the approachable and friendly face of the center.
“I worked the front desk, so as soon as people go into the building, I would be there to greet them and answer questions about storytelling, the Town of Jonesborough, the center and everything in between,” Hartley said.
As a customer service employee, she gained knowledge of the center through selling tickets, attending to the gift shop and working with volunteers.