Meet Tina Hughes
By Katey Springle Lempka
Tina Hughes joined the RCI, Inc. staff on August 1, 2016 as the Assistant Director of Conventions and Meetings. After over a decade at her previous job, it took her a couple of weeks to adjust, but she is now starting to settle in and really enjoy life at RCI. She likes the smaller staff (as compared to her last job at the North Carolina Bar Association), and the benefits that go along with that (like not having meetings every day). “Everybody here is so nice,” she says.
The oldest of three, Hughes grew up in upstate New York, outside of Syracuse. She has two younger brothers, both retired Navy men. When asked if she missed the snow in Syracuse, she said, “Absolutely not. I really had no idea how much different it was to live somewhere warm. I love it when it snows here. People go crazy and we get to stay home.” She says that back home it was not uncommon for there to be snow on the ground from October to sometimes as late as June. She loves that in North Carolina, we have flowers blooming by April .Hughes’ family consists of her husband, Don and two grown boys—Austin, 26, and Spencer, 23. Austin lives in Colorado and works at The Melting Pot, the oldest restaurant of its name in the U.S. Her youngest is back in college, studying business management. She had Austin when she was 10, she says with a grin. And we would be remiss not to mention her “fur-babies”—two dogs and two cats. “Right before Spencer went to college, one of our dogs had unexpectedly passed away, and Spencer said when he went to school, we needed protection, so he brought this chocolate Lab mix. We named her ‘Newbie,’ and I said we didn’t need to keep her, because she was so big. We still have Newbie. And then my husband found a cat (he works for the town of Cary). He admitted that he had been feeding it for a while, and then one day he said, ‘Why don’t you just come see it?’ And then we had another cat.” Hughes volunteers for Bob’s Buddies, an organization that supports children with brain tumors and their families. Once a year, every year, she and her husband work the phone bank. She says, “It’s only one day a year, but it is the hardest and most rewarding day of the year for us. It’s so awesome to hear the stories.” Hughes says the people she and her husband bought their house from had a daughter who died of a brain tumor, and when they heard about it, they said, “Let’s do this in her memory.”
She adds, serious for a moment, “And even beyond that, no child should die, ever.”
Hughes also loves to cook, check out local craft breweries, and look for antiques. But, she says, she tries not to buy any more antiques. She also loves food trucks and goes to food truck rallies. Her favorite is the one in downtown Cary, because they have three different breweries, and it’s an easy Uber ride home.
She’s also an Uber driver when she has extra time to kill.
What doesn’t she like? Bridges. If Don is driving, she just hides her head until he says it’s safe to come out.