Rising Star: Conley Crimmins brings marketing sensibilities honed at Garden & Gun magazine to McLemore club

Photography by Olivia Ross / Conley Crimmins

Conley Crimmins' marketing career has been braided with hard work and providence.

The 31-year-old Chattanooga native is the director of marketing for Scenic Land Company, developer of the acclaimed golf and residential community McLemore on Lookout Mountain.

Her return to Chattanooga comes after an eight-year sojourn to Charleston, South Carolina, where she was a senior marketing manager with Garden & Gun magazine, a publication which has been called the "soul of the South."

Crimmins, a graduate of the Baylor School and Wake Forest University, said that landing at job at the prestigious South Carolina magazine sprang from a mixture of her fervent hope and "divine intervention."

While a communications student at Wake Forest University, Crimmins said she read an article in Garden & Gun by journalist Allison Glock that made landing a job at the magazine her north star.

"It changed my life," Crimmins says. "It changed the perspective I had on where I came from; who I was raised by; what it meant to be a Southerner, especially a Southern woman."

Crimmins was so determined to join Garden & Gun that she took at internship at Charleston Magazine just to get closer to her target, and that's when providence arrived. Two days before she was to leave the city, she went to services at Charleston's Second Presbyterian Church. Exiting the church, she introduced herself to the preacher and mentioned her internship at Charleston Magazine.

"Oh, my wife owns a magazine," said the Rev. Cress Darwin. "Garden & Gun."

From that chance conversation, Crimmins wrangled a meeting with Darwin's wife, Rebecca Darwin, president and CEO of the magazine. On their first meeting, Crimmins discovered that Darwin shoots sporting clays - one of Crimmins' hobbies - and was also born in Chattanooga. At that point, Crimmins says, "I felt like it was more than 'meant to be.'"

Initially, Crimmins worked as a direct report to Rebecca Darwin, helping to develop a recreational real estate division of the publishing company. She later moved to marketing where, among other things, she handled a major client, Blade & Bow bourbon. In one year, she arranged 17 marketing events for the Kentucky bourbon maker, Crimmins said. At one point, she was managing as many as 30 corporate clients for the magazine, she said.

Crimmins is deploying her formiddable marketing talents in the development of the McLemore resort, which has a growth path she describes as a "snowball rolling downhill."

In the next couple of years, the development - which has garnered glowing endorsements from the golf press - will open a second, 18-hole golf course and a new hotel expected to attract up to 500 guests daily. Links Magazine recently ranked the 18th hole at McLemore as among the top 10 finishing holes in the world, a list that includes Pebble Beach (California) and the Old Course (St. Andrews, Scotland).

Conley Crimmins

* Age: 31* Hometown: Chattanooga (Lookout Mountain)* Job: Director of Marketing, Scenic Land Company (McLemore)* Education: The Baylor School, Wake Forest University* Hobbies: golf, shooting sports

Crimmins said she learned of the McLemore development through word of mouth and through its advertising in Garden & Gun. She said she became intrigued when she learned that a position with Scenic Land Co. was opening up.

"I thought, 'This is kind of awesome to potentially get in at this early phase," says Crimmins, who notes that the development meshed with her love of golf and working experience marketing resort destination properties.

"A big huge golden nugget I took away from Garden & Gun is learning about consumer behavior and consumer patterns," she says.

Crimmins says the McLemore property sells itself.

"McLemore is a peaceful place to be the clubhouse, the view, it never gets old," she says. "Every time you play 18 and look down at McLemore Cove, there's something else to talk about, there's something else to think about. There's just a calmness about that place that is the X-factor it has versus a lot of other similar properties."