We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa Chastain and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa, what do you want people to remember about you?
My proudest accomplishment in my life is my relationships. The life-long friendships we have cultivated through years of working to improve communication, deepen understanding, and see each other fully are the most important thing to me. I hope to be remembered just as a person who showed empathy and kindness and sought to foster positive relationships with family, friends, and community.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am lucky to serve as the Director of Sales at the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. I attended the University of Georgia where I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art and Art Education. While I love art and working with students, I quickly realized that teaching was not how I wanted to spend my career. As an underemployed recent college graduate, I was searching for any full-time role that would help me pay the bills and stumbled into a customer service position at a locally-owned company in Athens. I stayed with the company for several years, eventually transitioning into the Marketing Director position. During my time there, I became involved with the Chamber of Commerce and started to find my sense of community in Athens. Last year, as did many others amid the pandemic, I found myself ready for a change of pace. The timing was kismet as a position at the Chamber of Commerce became available. I am so happy to be able to work with an organization that fosters conscious community connections and facilitates important conversations that move us all forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Athens is such a cool little town and I love showing it off! It boasts a lot of the amenities of a larger city while still maintaining the unique small town vibe. I would take visitors to some of my favorite Normaltown spots: dinner at Hi-Lo or Punta Cana, drinks at Normal Bar (don’t forget the boiled peanuts here!), and coffee and pastries at Hendershots while catching a show. For art lovers, the Georgia Museum of Art and the Lyndon House have great collections. There is no scarcity of public art and murals in Athens, so you’re likely to catch a glimpse of the great local art scene no matter where you explore. Spring Saturday mornings are for the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park, where there is always good music, delicious food and coffee, artisan goods, local flowers and more. With six breweries in town, the Athens Beer Trail is a really fun way to spend the day checking out local craft brews! A trip downtown will keep you entertained all day. There are tons of cool shops to browse like Dynamite and Cillies for unique wearable pieces, Wuxtry and Lo Yo Yo Stuff for records, and Bear Hug Honey and Native America Gallery for gifts. The lunch options are endless but a few of my go-to spots are Dawg Gone Good BBQ, The World Famous, and Ted’s Most Best. Of course, if you time your trip just right you can experience some of the signature downtown events like Twilight, Athfest, and Athens Pride + Queer Collective Festival! There is never a shortage of fun things to do in Athens so it’s perfect for a day trip from the city or to stay for a while!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to Athens Pride + Queer Collective. Cameron and the entire organization has helped me deepen my sense of community in Athens and I’m honored to be able to serve alongside them.