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Inside AAA – Meet Jason

Inside AAA is a blog series that provides readers the opportunity to get a glimpse of the people who work for you, the AAA member. In this series, staff members provide insight on their job and themselves.

This week, Inside AAA features Jason G. Watkins, CMP. He is AAA’s Director of Meetings.

What is your favorite on-the-job task?
Developing the framework of logistics surrounding the annual meeting is one of my favorite on-the-job tasks.  The framework includes not only the host city and facilities, but managing all of the multiple vendors it takes to produce a 6,000 person program.   Even when the annual meeting is happening we are working on the following years events.  Imagine the Olympic logo – five circles.  For the AAA meetings department each of those five circles represents a meeting we’re working on at any given time: the current year, the following year, and the three years ahead.  For us to be able to keep all of that going is exciting and makes for very interesting days in the office.

What is the most rewarding on-the-job moment?
One of the rewarding aspects of the job is working with the dedicated volunteers of the program committee (aka Section Program Editors), the executive program committee and the executive program chair.  What’s even better is seeing the event as it is happening, the excitement of 6,000 anthropologists in one central area in deep discussion, dialogue and creative expression of ideas.  And the moment when I see the program chair or a section editor during the meeting and they say “Hey, we actually did it!” is the most rewarding.

What is the most bizarre object in your office?
I have a collection of name badges from events and conferences I have attended hanging on my door.  The collection serves no purpose other than to annoy me anytime I try to close the door, as they inevitably get stuck or in the way.  But, for some reason I cannot let myself throw one away or stop collecting them. You never know when you’ll need a name badge?  

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
In the last two-three years I have been doing more running (albeit slowly).  It is great for stress relief and a jump start to the day.  Plus, it is awesome to be able to run through the national mall and by the national monuments at sunrise.  About 5.5 million people live the DC metropolitan area, but at that hour the monuments are shared only between me and the other 20 or so people crazy enough to get up that early.


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