We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Berthiaume and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
I have always been driven, determined and dedicated in all that I do. This goes all the way back to my high school days when I auditioned for the competitive dance team with no dance experience during my Freshmen Year. After giving it my all through 20-30 hours per week of practice, I was honored as Captain my senior year and earned a National Title and a college scholarship. After working 2 jobs through college, I was promoted to the Advertising Manager of the student newspaper and thanks to my PR internship at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, I fell in love with the tourism industry. Fast forward 25 years later and that same drive and determination has helped me in my professional career. There isn’t anything you can’t accomplish if you have drive and determination.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At Lion Country Safari, Florida’s largest drive-through safari, I’m honored to be park’s first female Managing Director, and now Officer, in 54 years. I loved serving as PR/Marketing Director for 17 years, but feel my newer role as Managing Director/VP has been a good challenge. It’s been rewarding so far because of all that we’ve accomplished. We re-branded a bit and have really stepped up our conservation efforts. From much-needed beautification projects such as our front entrance to remodeled animal habitats, a new gift shop and a water park, we’ve been busy. We are working hard to build a strong team to do the absolute best for the animals in our care and to provide outstanding hospitality to our guests. Our goal is to inspire and engage our guests through connections with wildlife. Lion Country Safari has encouraged and supported me over the years to become more involved in our community and in tourism. I’ve served on many boards and committees, plus had the pleasure of speaking to students and at conferences through the years. I currently have the honor of serving as Chairman Elect of the Florida Attractions Association, where I serve as one of 18 board members, representing nearly 250 industry businesses and over 340,000 Floridians employed in this industry. I’ve worked along-side some amazing employees and tourism ambassadors and have enjoyed every minute of this journey. It hasn’t always been easy, but through hard work, kindness and determination, I’ve made it here.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I grew up in Palm Beach County and really love South Florida. For beach days, we enjoy a staycation at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island- love the SiSpa. While in Singer Island, we like renting paddleboards. The Breakers or Boca Beach Club is another favorite for us to staycation on special occasions. A visit to Palm Beach Island is a must – shopping and site-seeing on Worth Avenue is always an adventure. Of course, we would visit Lion Country Safari to see large herds of animals in wide open spaces, too. Manatee Lagoon is a great place to see endangered manatees from a dock. A visit to Henry Flaglar Museum is another must for first -timers coming to our county. We enjoy cooking at home quite a bit, my husband has awesome “grill skills”, but a fun breakfast spot is Benny’s On The Beach on Lake Worth Beach. For delicious Italian food, we love locally-owned Agliolio. Rosemary Square, Clematis or Atlantic Avenue are fun places to enjoy an evening out. After all that, a trip to 9 Round for a good workout or two is recommended. My family loves to “go and do” so we often explore on the weekends. We love Palm Beach County!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom and dad have always been supportive in every way. Ever since I was a little girl, I was always in “awe” of my late mother. She worked hard to become a successful business women, but not without obstacles and challenges. Her poise, grace, drive, commitment to family and kindness for others always inspired me. She instilled in me to never expect handouts, but instead to work hard for what you want – because hard work pays off. My entire family, especially my husband and girls, has always been so supportive of me – lifting me up daily and cheering me on. Those I want to inspire most in life are my two daughters. I want them to see that anything is possible and know they can far exceed any of my successes. Finally, I have to thank Lion Country Safari for believing in me and supporting me through my journey, from hiring me as their PR/Marketing Director 19 years ago, to promoting me to Managing Director 2 years ago and then Vice President a year ago. We have accomplished so much at the park and I’ve been fortunate to make amazing connections along the way. This position has afforded me the opportunity to serve as the incoming Chairman of the Board for Florida Attractions Association, where I will continue to promote and advance the interests of Florida’s attraction industry.