Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast welcomes Jennifer Simms as the new director of special events.

Simms will have the primary responsibility of coordinating fundraising events as well as providing support to other events within the agency footprint.

Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, Simms attended James Madison University and holds a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in hospitality management, according to information provided.

She moved to Sarasota in 1998 after college and has worked in several different facets of the events business in the Sarasota community.

For the past eight years, Simms designed and managed all the events, galas and fundraisers for Sarasota Opera. She enjoyed theming these events along with the operas, such as a Carmen-inspired wine and tapas party at the Crosley Estate with live Spanish guitar and flamenco. As a fundraiser for the Youth Opera, she created “A Taste of Downtown” Food and Wine Festival at the opera house.

She was a catering sales manager at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota for eight years, where she booked and serviced the corporate market and an assortment of social events to include galas and weddings.

Simms spent three years at TPC Prestancia Golf Club planning and executing themed member events, weddings, golf tournaments and social parties. Working in the hotel, private club and the nonprofit sector has taught her a lot about the trends of the event and fundraising business during the past 20 years.

Simms enjoyed her time as a Big Sister several years ago and found it to be a very rewarding experience.

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