Maybe it is the compassion for humanity that drives her. Maybe it is the love for food and the natural gift of creativity. As Rachel Bailey walked among us disguised as a normal citizen, a light shined through and began to grab everyone’s attention.
As Bailey sat in the coffee house, her contagious personality resonated throughout the room. You could tell that people were eager to meet her, but instead stared with envy. Anyone who came into contact with her left her side with a smile. She was anything but ordinary.
Bailey, who is the special events coordinator for the Taste of Athens, didn’t hesitate when the job was offered to her. Her continuous efforts to better the community of Athens made her the perfect candidate for the job. The Taste of Athens is hosted every year by the non-profit organization, Community Connection, who offers a 211-information and referral hotline for those in need. The Taste of Athens is Community Connection’s biggest fundraiser, and is an important asset to the organization. “The idea is to focus on the details, from the person who scans your ticket to the volunteers and the chefs themselves,” Bailey said. The result is a community event formed through precise organization, where good services strive to assure a pleasant experience.
“I want and believe that this event will feel more hospitable and warm than any Taste in recent memory. That's a really big deal to me,” Bailey said.
Bailey is not new to the non-profit world, having grown up with a mother who always emphasized volunteerism and practiced it herself as a docent at a museum. She knew she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps in some way, but was not sure how. When Fenwick Broyard, the executive director of Community Connection, presented the opportunity for the Taste of Athens she knew she had to take it.
“Tenacity is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Rachel,” Broyard said, “She has the perfect blend of creativity and fluidness, she is the best person to handle this.”
Her passion began with “People Who like to Eat,” the idea of putting on food-centric events for the community to engage in. Bailey and her friends, Andre Gallant and Alyssa DeHayes, comprised a series of events ranging from a Ramen Noodle cook-off; called the “Noodle Bowl,” to an ice cream social where all proceeds went to charities such as Wholesome Wave Georgia and the United Way. Once she realized there was a way to raise money and awareness in an innovative way, her infatuation with the non-profit world came to life. Her excitement in celebrating the food community was demonstrated through building charitable events in a boundary-pushing environment. This was only the beginning to a spectacular journey.
Bailey has been involved in the Athens food community long before her start in non-profits. Her background extends over 10 years working in the service industry and 4 years in the fine dining industry. Bailey worked in some of Athens most legendary eateries such as “Farm 255” and “Five and Ten.” She has identified herself through outstanding credibility to further the essentiality of the Taste of Athens and what it can do for Community Connection.
“She is very well connected, that is something that is natural to her,” said Megan Baer, a co-worker and friend of Rachel’s.
Bailey unveils her experience will help create a successful Taste of Athens this year, in the importance of communicating clearly about needs, expectations, and concerns of the community. Fear of failure does not cross her mind; instead it is replaced with the desire for success. Her deep understanding for the needs of others coincides with the perfect mix of warmth and hospitality.
Maybe it is the compassion for humanity, the love for food, or the natural gift of creativity that draws people to her. One thing that is for sure; Rachel Bailey has the world on a string and will do anything possible to better it for the good.