September 5, 2019 | Staff Spotlight: Abby Armato, Administrative and Membership Assistant |
This month, we’re highlighting Abby Armato, the National Main Street Center’s Administrative and Membership Assistant. Abby is typically the first person Main Street America members interact with if they have a question or need to get connected to resources. Although Abby has been on staff just under a year, she says Main Streets have been a part of her life long before she joined the team. Keep reading to find out why and to hear the one thing she wishes more members knew about NMSC.
1. What do you like most about your job?
I love supporting our members. When members call us on the phone with a question, I really enjoy being able to provide support and encouragement. Whether it’s getting them the access they need to our website, webinars, and handbooks, or redirecting them to someone else on staff who can help, I just like being able to support the Network.
2. What upcoming project are you particularly excited about?
I’m really looking forward to going to the Destination Downtown Conference in Hammond, Louisiana, co-sponsored by Main Street Arkansas, the Mississippi Main Street Association, and the Louisiana Main Street program. I’ll be there to engage with Main Street America members and be a face for the Membership team. I’m excited that I’ll be able to interface with conference attendees in-person, answer their questions about resources, and promote the We Are Main Street campaign, as well as the National Main Street Center’s 40th anniversary.
3. Tell us about why you decided to fill in your #WeAreMainStreet postcard with “the heartbeat of a community.”
Main Streets can become the heartbeat or the hub of a community, which is why I think they’re so important. Knowing and supporting your neighbors, whether it’s visiting their businesses, celebrating with them at a festival, or creating memories together in a shared space, is an opportunity for communities to have that pulse. I love that Main Streets provide the opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate both the individual and the collective.
4. What do you wish more people knew about NMSC?
I wish more people knew about our online member networking platform called The Point. It’s a great member benefit and an awesome resource to get tough community revitalization questions answered. While I love helping problem-solve when I can, members who have more technical or state-specific questions should be sure to post in The Point for support from the entire Network. It’s also a fantastic place to get to know the member Network better, collaborate with fellow Main Streeters, and form a national community.
5. What has been your most memorable moment at NMSC?
It was great having the opportunity to attend the NMSC Board of Directors meeting in Edenton, North Carolina this past year. I really enjoyed working with the Main Street Coordinator there, Jennifer Harriss, as well as NMSC Board Member Sam Dixon, who lives in the community. Having the chance to serve and support the Board, see a new Main Street community, and listen to Board members engage with community members was a memorable experience.
6. Which Main Street community is personally significant to you?
My family and I have spent a lot of time in Monroe, Wisconsin since I was in elementary school. I’ve been eating at the restaurants, going to the local antique stores, and shopping at the farmers market for years. It’s a special place that I loved going to growing up, and that I love sharing with friends now.
7. Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from the Chicagoland area originally and currently live in the Roger’s Park neighborhood in Chicago.
8. What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I really like to travel, whether it’s a short road trip in the Midwest or a long plane ride to Seattle. When I’m home, I love playing with my puppy Teddy.
9. If you weren’t at NMSC, what career would you have?
I’d be in the theater. I studied drama in undergrad, and I worked professionally as a director and teaching artist around Chicago after graduating from college.
10. What’s been the most unexpected part of your job?
I’ve had a lot of fun planning social events for the NMSC team. Whether it’s organizing staff happy hours, a cupcake decorating gathering, or a make-your-own caramel apple bar, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to create space for our team to unwind.