Southern Hospitality Internship Program’s Quarterly Newsletter – Summer & Fall 2022

SPOTLIGHT on our Director Barbara Joines

Barbara Joines unique experiences and leadership qualities make her the perfect person to lead the Southern Hospitality Internship Program in Tennessee.   Her experiences and knowledge have been vital in setting up this internship program for college students all across the country.

Barbara is a unique, seasoned executive with over 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry and a great love for her community. Her career has spanned everything from theme park management to the championing of charitable causes. Through it all, a passion for the growth of those around her has been the mark of her career.

After relocating from Florida, she was hired at Silver Dollar City, which would later become Dollywood. Initially drawn to the spirit of the park and its leadership, she was instrumental in the park’s metamorphosis, helping to maintain the rich, family culture as new attractions, rides and themes were added. During this time, she embarked on a journey to learn every possible aspect of the theme park business.

Barbara was blessed to work for a Company that embraced ambition, new ideas and creativity. On-the-job training was endless, management by wandering around and servant leadership evolved as the Company’s required style of management and grew from 300 to over 2,000 employees. Dollywood received many awards, including the Applause Award, which they were one of only 15 parks in the world to receive. Barbara’s responsibilities and titles changed throughout her Dollywood days until her retirement as Vice President & General Manager Emeritus. It seems the only thing she did not learn how to do was to retire.

Barbara and her husband, Gary Joines, pursued their love of travel. It was on a cross country trip that the idea for a new company began to form and Barbara’s first venture into retirement would come to an end. Let Us Look Now, a consulting company was formed with a key focus on business improvement projects.

Consulting projects led to the acceptance of a then newly created Chief Operating Officer position for Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment in Pigeon Forge. There, Barbara was challenged with bringing improvement to their areas of focus for the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud, the Comedy Barn and Smoky Mountain Opry theaters.

After retiring from Fee/Hedrick, God’s list for Barbara was not yet complete. In 2016, when wildfires devastated Sevier County, Tennessee, the Joines home miraculously survived. This experience inspired and equipped Barbara with a compassionate insight that created an opportunity to accept the Executive Director for the Mountain Tough Recovery Team. In this new role she was able to use her servant leadership skills to bring invaluable relief to the impacted families through recovery initiatives in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.

An integral part of Barbara’s career has been her commitment to serving others. Dollywood’s training on the principles of Servant Leadership, mentoring and walking-the-talk developed a management style which is blended with her business philosophies today. These qualities have opened the door to many opportunities for community impact, including serving on the Board of Directors for The Dollywood Foundation and introducing educational programs, such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program for childhood reading. Barbara has also served in various leadership capacities for Alzheimer’s Tennessee and is active on the planning committee for the annual 4-county WALK, which includes Sevier, Cocke, Hamblen and Jefferson counties.

Today, Barbara continues to pursue excellence in business. Her latest endeavor is working with Sevier County Economic Development Council on a new initiative for the Southern Hospitality Internship Program (SHIP).  This innovative program is dedicated to workforce development in Sevier County, Tennessee through internship and career opportunities within a 4-billion-dollar tourism and hospitality industry.

She and her husband, Gary, live happily in Wears Valley. Together, their adventures show no signs of slowing down.

Barbara Joines may be contacted at [email protected]rg.



Summer 2022

Semester Dates:
May 16 – August 21
Registration Deadline: April 1
Fee Deadline: April 15

Fall 2022

Semester Dates:
August 29 – December 4
Registration Deadline: July 15
Fee Deadline: August 1


Belmont Career Fair
Nashville, Tennessee
Wednesday, March 9th

University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality
Orlando, Florida
Wednesday, March 16th
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Rosen College Courtyard

Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Thursday, March 17th
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Ramsey Center

Nashville Area College to Career Fair
Nashville, TN
Thursday, March 31st
Nashville Fairgrounds

University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Knoxville, Tennessee
Thursday, March 31st
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Student Union Plaza

University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida
April – TBD

For more information on recruiting events, contact Luke Fall.

New Housing Available to SHIP Students in Pigeon Forge

The Dollywood Company has partnered with Wisconsin-based Holtz Builders Inc., to construct a residence hall at the theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee under Holtz’s brand International Residence Hall (IRH). This facility will be owned and operated by the Holtz Company. Holtz successfully operates seven student housing facilities in the Wisconson-Dells.

This new project will cost approximately $20 million and will house approximately 750 students. An entire floor of this facility will be dedicated to the Southern Hospitality Internship Program (SHIP) students.

IRH in Pigeon Forge will be available for Summer 2022 SHIP students. Please check the SHIP website for updated information.

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Click to enlarge

Industry Leaders Make Up SHIP Advisory Committee

The Southern Hospitality Internship Program (SHIP) Advisory Committee is a collection of individuals who bring unique tourism and workforce knowledge to this new program. The advisory committee plays an important public relations role as well as providing the SHIP Director and staff with a fresh perspective on programmatic issues.

Mark Adams
Gatlinburg Convention Visitor’s Bureau

Kent Anders
Ober Gatlinburg, Inc.

Chris Blanton
Citadel Construction/The Cherokee Group

Ryan DeSear
Ripley’s Entertainment

Leon Downey
Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

Rick Harrell
Sevier County Economic Development Council Board of Directors

Barbara Joines
Committee Chair
Let Us Look Now, LLC

Justin Jones

Brenda McCroskey
Sevierville Chamber of Commerce

Eugene Naughton
The Dollywood Company

Jim Rule
World Choice Investments

Jackelyn Schafer
The Park Vista, a Doubletree by Hilton

Pete Tennis
Wilderness Resort

Kent Yarnall
Old Mill’s Pottery House Cafe

THANK YOU to our Business Partners