Megan McShane loves her job. That's because it's all about promoting Marco Island, the place that she loves so much. But just because she loves the island, doesn't mean she knows everything about it, which is why she joined the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Marco program.
Originally from Connellsville, Penn., McShane has worked in the Marco Island area for more than four years. She’s currently the social media/membership sales manager of Fiddler’s Creek.
“I collaborate with all business on the island through social media to highlight the many options visitors can participate in to customize their experience,” she said, listing a litany of classic Marco Island activities, such as going on a charter fishing trip and then heading to the Snook Inn to cook and eat the day’s catch. “Our visitors interact with each of us throughout their visit.”
And that’s what she likes best about her job.
“My favorite part of my job is ... showcasing why Marco Island is so magical,” she said. “Every day on social media I get to explore other people’s posts highlighting why this destination area is so special. These days, visitors want to see real candid pictures of what their vacation is going to be like, not stock pictures. I get to see what made their visit so memorable and showcase it on our social media pages.”
McShane, who was recommended for Leadership Marco by her general manager, said she’s enjoyed expanding her knowledge of the area.
“My favorite part of Leadership Marco is learning about the community and all the benefits. I only know about the hospitality side, and I now get to see the other side of the coin,” she said. “Through this program I’ve had direct insight of why residents resign here: community. Every business I’ve visited throughout the program takes pride of being part of the community. Everyone knows each other, from the hospitals to the Fire Department to the museum. There’s a sense of family at every location.”
As for her own family, McShane said they visit at least once a year, and she enjoys showing them the paradise she calls home.
“What I like most about Marco Island is its history and growth,” she said. “This island represents dreams and growth. The Mackle Brothers purchased the island in the 1960s and began the transformation with their unbelievable visions. It’s because of their ambitions and the love for Marco Island that we are the tourist destination we are today.”
Leadership Marco is the Chamber of Commerce's 10-week program that gets Marco Islanders together to learn the inner workings of the island and meet their fellow leaders.
The group's first educational session was History Day on Aug. 9. Media Day was Leadership Marco Class of 2017's next adventure, and provided an inside look at how journalists in the area do their jobs.
Education Day, which included stops at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology, Lely High School, Marco Island Academy, Marco Island Charter Middle School and Tommie Barfield Elementary, was supposed to be Wednesday, Sept. 6, but was canceled in preparation of Hurricane Irma.
The following two sessions, one of which was supposed to Law Enforcement Day with the Marco Island Police Department, were also canceled and rescheduled for a later date.
Leadership Marco's next regularly-scheduled session was its Culture/Real Estate Day on Oct. 18. The leaders visited and heard presentations from the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors, Marco Players, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and more.
During the following session the class got an inside look at both the island's health care facilities and the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department, where the leaders partook in some hands on activities, such as putting out fires.
This week, the class traveled to Immokalee and Everglades City where it gained a better understanding of the work it takes to put food on the table.
The Class of 2017 will meet through early December before its graduation ceremony on Jan. 27 at the Marco Island Yacht Club.