Nikki Saylors tractor

Saylors sits atop a tractor at the Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of SC.
Image Credit: Nikki Saylors

Nikki Saylors may only be a few years removed from Clemson University, but this alumna is already making big waves in the upstate area as marketing director of Lake Hartwell Country and site manager for the Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina. Saylors recently managed to find a few free minutes in her busy schedule to talk about her current duties and how her time at Clemson prepared her for a career that she truly loves.

What degree did you earn from the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences?

I received my bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in religion in May 2015.

What is your typical work day like?

I could write pages about my typical work day, but it’s anything but typical. Want a job that keeps you on your toes? Get into marketing and tourism! Because my job is so diverse, my work schedule changes daily. We are a very boots-on-the-ground-style office, so we make sure we are getting out into our region to visit our tourism sites. We want our tourism partners to be able to put a face with the name, and know that we are here to help them with any marketing needs.

Some days I get to enjoy more of the agricultural side of my job, and take care of our livestock that is on-site at the Ag Museum in Pendleton. I may also assist individuals with their applications for the Century Farm Program, which my office runs for the state. Earlier this week, my director and I prepared for a group of international travel writers to visit our region. We will take them across our three counties and let them experience what makes this place so special.  And to keep the creativity flowing, my marketing assistant and I create digital and print ads for various media outlets.

What is a really cool thing about your job?

Nikki Saylors - Chattooga Belle Visit

Saylors visits Chattooga Belle Farms in order to experience one of her organization’s tourism sites first hand.
Image Credit: Nikki Saylors

My job is fun. I am a true believer in individuals enjoying their career choice, because we spend so much of our lives getting to where we can have a career, and then spending those years working in it. We need to make sure we believe that what we are doing is great, makes an impact and inspires us!

A part of my job that I love is our “Experience LHC” days. Basically, we take a day each quarter and just experience our region like a tourist would in that season—that may mean going on a kayak tour of Lake Jocassee, apple picking at one of our many orchards or fly fishing on the Chattooga River. There is so much to experience in our area, and I get to do that as part of my job! Through marketing and tourism, we are also making a huge impact on the state. Tourism is a $22 billion industry for South Carolina. It’s a win-win!

What is a fond memory of Clemson for you?

I have so many wonderful memories from my time at Clemson. I studied abroad in the Czech Republic one summer with a focus on cultural anthropology. It was such an eye-opening experience for me. When you immerse yourself in a culture that is completely different from your own, you step outside of your comfort zone and think outside of your “normal” individualistic box. I experienced something completely new while I was almost 5,000 miles away from Clemson, and I have been able to use what I learned throughout my business and personal life.

How did Clemson prepare you for your current career?

Nikki Saylors - Ag Museum - Channel 7 Team

In her job, Saylors (second from left) often works with the media. Here she is working with members of the Channel 7 news team at the Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of SC.
Image Credit: Nikki Saylors

One could wonder how I ended up in marketing with a degree in anthropology, but that’s what makes a degree in anthropology so amazing! It not only prepared me for a career in many different fields, but it gave me the insight to really push forward and excel.

I truly enjoy working with people and I know the importance of relationships with others. Clemson has such amazing professors across multiple colleges, and I am honored to have been able to learn from them. I am forever grateful to them for assisting me in who I am and where I am today! Clemson University itself has forever made its mark on me and I am so thrilled and honored to be part of the Clemson alumni family.

Any advice you would give to students interested in your current line of work?

Create relationships and get out of your comfort zone. Get to know your fellow classmates and your professors. You will learn so much from them that will help you in your career path, and especially if you are interested in tourism and marketing. It’s a very social career, and you will encounter many different personality types. Starting a conversation with someone you normally wouldn’t interact with can open doors you never knew existed.