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Cheers to 15 Years
photography by Brittney Guest and Megan Morris

As Jonesboro Occasions celebrates its 15th anniversary this month, we thought it would be fun to provide an inside look at the creative team of staff members who dedicate their skills and effort to make sure every issue is deserving of our city, our readers and our advertisers. It’s a fairly small staff, but they easily make up for their size in heart, creativity and dedication. Cheers to 15 years and the dedicated staffers, past and present, who have contributed to our story along the way.

Audrey Lott Poff

Job title: Publisher and Editor

Number of Years at Occasions: 15

Favorite Occasions Memory: Being able to help bring the inaugural Northeast Arkansas Race for the Cure to Jonesboro in 2017.

Favorite Occasions Cover: There have been 180 covers during the past 15 years so it’s hard to choose, but the black and white cover of Kyle Dean Massey and “the pineapple cover” are at the top of my list.

When I’m not at Occasions I’m: enjoying family time, relaxing in the pool, or staying up way too late brainstorming.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: thankful and ready to celebrate! It took a few months to put the first issue together because everything had to be created from scratch, and we were operating from my home, which included three kids ages 10, 7 and 1.

What I like best about my job: I like being able to bring the many positive things that are taking place in Jonesboro to our readers and being able to promote the work of local nonprofit organizations.

Brittney Guest

Job Title: Art Director

Number of Years at Occasions: 12

Favorite Occasions Memory: Our Thanksgiving dinners in October, especially the one at Stan Jones Mallard Lodge

Favorite Occasions Cover: I can’t pick from my babies! But, if I have to pick, I’m really fond of our October 2009 sesquicentennial cover featuring watercolors I painted of Jonesboro landmarks.

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: most likely running or drawing.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: starting my sophomore year at A-State.

What I like best about my job: I get to use my artistic gifts to share the good things happening in my community!

Audrey Hanes

Job Title: Editor-at-Large and Contributing Writer

Number of Years at Occasions: Almost eight

Favorite Occasions Memory: Hosting Thanksgiving dinner (in October) for the Occasions crew at my house several years ago.

Favorite Occasions Cover: From inside a huge freezer at Home Ice Company to the middle of the woods at Craighead Forest Park at night to stopping traffic in the middle of Main Street, we have had some really fun cover shoots over the years, but my favorites are the annual Charity Ball covers each February.

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: hanging out with my husband, Eric, running after my 3-year-old twins, Luke and Ellie, and preparing for baby number three, Chandler, who will be here in December.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: getting ready to start the journalism program at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Go Tigers!

What I like best about my job: The awesome people I work with and the people I get to meet. As a transplant to Jonesboro, it has been such a great way to get to know the city and interact with so many interesting people, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Rodney Poff

Job Title: Advertising Director

Number of Years at Occasions: Seven

Favorite Occasions Memory: Getting to watch Jonesboro artist Sean Shrum paint the Johnny Cash cover.

Favorite Occasions Cover: See above.

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: When am I not at Occasions? 

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: working as a public utility inspector for the State of Oklahoma.

What I like best about my job: Getting to work with my wife every day. 

Donna Fincher

Job Title: Business Manager

Number of Years at Occasions: Six

Favorite Occasions Memory: I enjoyed having a team for Race for the Cure, attending Night of the Stars and our staff birthday celebrations.

Favorite Occasions Cover: The latest is always my favorite including this month’s cover featuring Miss Arkansas Claudia Raffo, but other favorites featured Austin Cook, Kyle Massey and Maggie Benton.

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: spending time with family and friends, traveling, going to the movies or volunteering. 

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: working at a brokerage firm.

What I like best about my job: I like the fact that I’m still using my business administration degree from A-State while enjoying what I do. The staff is like family; there’s always something fun to look forward to and never a dull moment. I enjoy being part of downtown, as well.

Emma Watkins

Job title: Account Executive 

Number of Years at Occasions: Three

Favorite Occasions Memory: Seeing my mom start the business out of the spare bedroom in our house 15 years ago. 

Favorite Occasions Cover: I have so many favorite covers! I love the Kyle Dean Massey cover because I love his work and his kind spirit. This month’s cover is also special to me because Miss Arkansas Claudia Raffo is one of my Alpha Gamma Delta sorority sisters and one of my dearest friends from college. I truly admire her.

When I’m not at Occasions I’m: either working on a production or working it out on a spin bike; I love theatre and exercise.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: just seven years old. I am so thankful for this business and for the community that supports it.

What I like best about my job: Having the opportunity to see my mom lead her staff with such grace. What an inspirational woman!

Megan Morris

Job Title: Account Executive

Number of Years at Occasions: I’m a few months shy of three years.

Favorite Occasions Memory: Our Christmas parties are always the most fun.

Favorite Occasions Cover: July 2017 (the pineapple cover)

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: at the ball fields watching my kids play softball or baseball, coaching cheerleading or spending time with family and friends.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: a journalism student at Arkansas State University.

What I like best about my job: getting to talk with and meet new people. I like hearing their stories about their business and building relationships with them.

Cody Moore 

Job Title: Editorial Assistant and Special Publications Coordinator 

Number of Years at Occasions: One

Favorite Occasions Memory: When Lindsey Wingo and I got the chance to be featured in Occasions for the annual Downtown Issue.

Favorite Occasions Cover: The 2017 Readers’ Choice cover, the iridescent-like pineapple.

When I’m Not At Occasions, I’m: most likely doing something with my other occupation, director of events for the Downtown Jonesboro Association.

When the first issue of Occasions was published in August 2003, I was: 8 years old and in third grade. That makes me feel like a baby! 

What I like best about my job: I like talking to people in the community and writing about about the individuals and businesses that surround me.