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Tonya Gray

Tonya Gray

Arizona State University Alumni Association

Career Roadmap

Tonya's work combines: Education, Non-Profit Organizations, and Communicating / Sharing Stories

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Day In The Life

Events Manager

I create event experiences which generate connections and life-long memories.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    Gateway High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Organizational Communication, General

    Arizona State University

  • Graduate Degree

    Business Administration and Management, General

    DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management-Arizona

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be a Meeting, Convention, & Event Planners:

High School

Bachelor's Degree: Organizational Communication, General

Graduate Degree: Business Administration and Management, General

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    I was involved in school - sports to student government - enjoyed building teams and events.

  • 2.

    Graduated from Arizona State University with a BA degree in Communication.

  • 3.

    Secured an internship and full-time job at Southwest Airlines in the Phoenix Field Marketing office.

  • 4.

    9/11 happened 4 months after my hire - threatened the industry and changed the business.

  • 5.

    Completed an M.B.A. at Devry University -Keller Graduate School - Arizona.

  • 6.

    Threat of layoff encouraged me to take early retirement at 30 - pursued travel/self-reflection.

  • 7.

    Secured administrative job in local non-profit where I assisted in event and meeting coordination.

  • 8.

    Through networking connection, hired as event coordinator with my alma mater, ASU.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Family:

    Be a lawyer or engineer - it will be easier to find a job and you can make A LOT more money.

  • How I responded:

    There is nothing wrong with practical or playing it safe or choosing a career that parents and popular magazines say provide future security. But, remember you are the ONE that must live that life, get the education, go to the job for 8 (or more full hours daily). I don't make a 6-figure salary but I have joy. Each day is different, I meet new people, and I get to be creative. I don't always get the limelight but I make others smile. Be kind, choose a passion, and don't have regret in life.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • My parents never saved so them paying for college was not a option. Apply for financial aid but I know lifelong debt is scary. Find eligible scholarships, get a part-time job, school is the real job - maybe with future potential employer or position.