Stacy Ososkie is Public Relations Director at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. "Knoebels is home to my earliest and most frequent amusement park memories," she says. "I started my first job at Knoebels and began to learn what it took to make it a summer oasis for visitors from near and far. Though schooling and my first full-time job stole my attention for a few years, I couldn’t stay away forever. I came 'home' three and a half years ago and couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. Why? What could be more rewarding than providing visitors with a safe, fun, and memorable experience year after year?"

Thoughts on Women in the Industry

What is the most pressing issue facing women in the workplace today, and how can the attractions industry influence positive change?
The most pressing issue is the misconception that if an industry consists of predominantly male leadership, there isn’t a place for female leaders. The attractions industry needs to be an industry in which young women grow up aspiring to work. The industry is so diverse, which makes it an option for a full-time, fulfilling, and lifelong career for women, regardless of their skillsets.

How have you seen the industry evolve in regard to gender roles?
I see more and more women taking on leadership roles and making a significant and positive impact. This industry grows by the minute, and new directions and initiatives are created just as quickly. The value of the individual put into a new role, in my estimation, has less and less to do with one’s gender, and more with skill set, willingness to learn, and drive.
How have you built your network of women in the industry?

I’ve met dozens of intelligent and driven women through IAAPA events and committees, and the resources provided by the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Association (PAPA).

I’m also honored to work at a family-owned and -operated park that has had, and has today, many strong women who have had an integral role in the business’ success. Most notably, just down the hall from my office is third-generation family member Leanna Knoebel Muscato. She has recently become the first female president of PAPA. She is an intelligent, ethical, successful, and family-minded business woman who is a perfect role model for any female in the industry.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to convey to women starting their attractions careers?
Surround yourself with individuals who clearly take pride in developing those around them. Notice I didn’t specify it must be other women. The industry is one of the most beautifully connected businesses in the world, and there are countless individuals who understand it takes individuals of all ages, genders, nationalities, abilities, etc., to make guests of all ages, genders, nationalities, abilities, etc., feel welcome at our facilities.

Creating Careers of Distinction

How do you invest in yourself as a leader?
Seminars, webinars, networking events, and committees. The attractions industry offers many opportunities to learn and grow. I enjoy taking part in new opportunities that allow me to continue on in my journey as a lifelong learner. Perhaps one of the best investments I’ve made is empowering my team to find solutions to challenges we face. I learn from them every day. Listening to frontline team members and incorporating their ideas has made my job easier, and most importantly, our guests happier.
What is your most cherished work principle?
My most cherished work principle is embracing change while remaining true to what makes us unique.

What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment?

At age 18, my parents dropped me off at college saying, “If you do well at school, maybe you can work at Knoebels when Joe retires.” I jokingly responded that Joe isn’t going to retire! How lucky could I be that Joe Muscato would eventually interview me as his replacement after 33 successful years as the park’s marketing/public relations director? I now spend each and every day communicating how special the park is with media and visitors to Knoebels.
What has had the greatest impact on your career?
Whether or not I realized it at the time, the Knoebel family’s work ethic began shaping me from the time I was just a seasonal team member. They are not above any task that must be completed to make the park “work.” They know what it takes to keep the park running, and the decisions they make are based on the fact that they understand why people choose to visit Knoebels. I realized this when I would tell my college friends that when they visited the park, they would most likely cross paths with a Knoebel family member. They aren’t the kind of people who reap the benefits of their business without investing their time and energy into it. This is a concept that is easy to support.

What has been the greatest challenge of your career?

The greatest challenge has been maintaining a work-life balance. I love the park, so I find myself wanting to be here all the time, or working from home when I can’t be at the park. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve come to realize that if I want to do my best work and set a good example for my team, I need to find that balance.
What was the greatest piece of career advice you ever received?
I’ve always been told that I should choose a career that is both challenging and rewarding. Let’s face it – every workplace has challenges. But what’s the pay off? One thing we can be sure of is that if we hold true to our values, and work to improve services for our guests, there is little that we cannot accomplish. We work in an industry that people choose to patronize!

The Future of the Industry

What makes you most passionate about the industry?

Having a career in an industry that provides guests with experiences and memories is rewarding. The pace at which the industry grows and changes offers a challenge that is fulfilling when we see the smiles on our guests’ faces, hear their stories of their family vacations, and come to the realization that they could have chosen to spend their time and hard-earned money anywhere, but chose to do so with us.
What is your vision for the industry in the next 20 years?
If we continue our emphasis on being guest-centric, and being responsive to the specific reasons they choose to visit each of our facilities, we’ll continue to grow and thrive. Within the next several years, the transparency and communication our industry is providing will also reaffirm our commitment to safety. More specifically, we will renew the realization that we are one of the safest forms of recreation available to the public.

​​Know a professional we should talk to? E-mail Prasana William, IAAPA manager, digital content and strategy.




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