When Rachel Dellinger walks into a room, you are immediately attracted by her natural charisma, unforgettable laugh, bubbly personality and a great sense of humor. I first met Rachel at the Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK) general membership meeting in May 2016. As the president of YPK, she welcomed a room full of young minds who were eager to connect. With a few words, Rachel captured everyone’s attention and moved through all of the agenda items effortlessly while keeping everyone engaged. I started to wonder, “Who is this Rachel?”
Later, an idea to highlight YPK members took shape as the result of a discussion by the YPK Marketing and Communication Committee. The first person who naturally came to mind was Rachel. Here's what we found.
Who is Rachel Dellinger?
Rachel Dellinger is the Director of Communications for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. A Knoxville native, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, where her passion for publicizing the arts was fostered. She serves as President of the Young Professionals of Knoxville, a 150+ member-driven organization dedicated to connecting, developing and serving young professionals in Knoxville. Through YPK, she has been able to graduate from the inaugural Leadership Certificate Program, serve as the Event Chair for the 2015 Impact Awards, and volunteer on the steering committee for the YP Endeavor Summit organized by the Knoxville Chamber. Rachel has served on several nonprofit and club boards, including Tennessee Stage Company, Tennesseans for the Arts and the Knoxville Rotaract Club. She is passionate about connecting, supporting and working with people in any capacity, and she enjoys grammar, social media and live performance of any kind.
Describe yourself in five or fewer words.
Positive, friendly, connector
As a native Knoxvillian, how would you describe the city to those new to it?
Knoxville is a gem! I know many folks who made a pit stop here, planning to stay for a few years but definitely turned a temporary habitat into their new home! You don’t have to have roots here to be accepted; just a willingness to roll up your sleeves. It’s a great place to live because of its location, natural resources and vibrant cultural scene/nightlife. Can you tell I promote Knoxville for a living?
Tell us about a “typical” day at work.
As the Communications Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, my day includes scheduling media appearances and promoting our Orchestra musicians and artists, as well as constantly updating the KSO website and social media pages to communicate the organization’s message. I also get to enjoy going to symphony concerts around town, including schools, hospitals and libraries.
Outside of work, where can we find you?
I love attending YPK events, and I also have served on a number of boards and committees, as well as volunteering at church. Hobbies include trivia night with friends and walking or playing with my dog, Wally.
If you could have a week to do anything or travel anywhere, how would you spend it?
I am torn between a Caribbean resort or traveling around Europe seeing the sights.
What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?
I am making my way through The West Wing on Netflix, and learning so much! I listen almost exclusively to Broadway musical soundtracks, including Hamilton, The Musical (!!!) and am reading a few fiction novels from the library, as well as books about tips for professional women, such as New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace by HGTV co-founder Susan Packard.
How did you get involved with YPK?
In 2011, while working for Leadership Knoxville, a community based nonprofit, I wanted to get involved with like-minded professionals around my age. I applied to YPK and joined a committee not long after joining. I love the social networking because I extremely enjoy meeting new people and learning what they’re all about. I am proud of the professional development opportunities YPK offers because it shows a piece of Knoxville, such as hearing from a local CEO or touring a local brewery, or even hearing about a startup biz run by fellow YPs! And of course, it’s important to volunteer together as a group out in the community – one of the main reasons I joined YPK was to have a group to do those activities with.
How do you, as a young professional, contribute to our community?
Cue Whitney Houston singing, “I believe the children are our future…”
What has been your best memory or favorite experience with YPK? How has YPK impacted your life?
I’m not sure I can adequately express in words how YPK has impacted my life. From the ages of 25-30, I have been involved in this organization, which has seen me through a career change, introduced me to a wealth of new friendships, many of which will be lifelong, and YPK and the people affiliated with it have been a support to me during a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I can’t say enough how important it is that young professionals reach out and get involved, even if it’s serving, volunteering or networking with other organizations and plugging into our community. It’s up to us to shape this city into what we want to see it become! YPK is also a great tool in helping introducing those new to the area to Knoxville’s many treasures.
Favorite experiences include: four seasons on a kickball team with Knox Sports & Social, volunteering at Ronald McDonald House and distributing toys with Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, a craft beer-tasting membership meeting with local breweries, hearing from speakers, including the mayors and UTK sports coaches, and the many hours spent talking and laughing over drinks, meeting new friends and connecting folks to one another.
We are always looking for interesting members of YPK to highlight. If you would like to share your story with us, contact us!
Rachel Rui, PhD, Communication and Recruiting Director, Department of Chemistry, University of Tennessee, Knoxville