Tell us about your job.
I manage the team, and I’m responsible for coordinating with our marketing department and working with our sales manager to set our strategy and direction.
When did you first begin working in the event field?
It’s been my full-time job for 17 years, but I’ve been involved in event planning my entire career. Every job I’ve had has included an aspect of event management. Even in graduate school, when I worked in Career Services, I was responsible for organizing a their annual internship fair.
What type of events have you worked on?
I’ve managed an annual barbecue association conference, which included a big barbecue festival for the public; a cheese competition with more than 1,200 artisan cheeses. Here, we do everything from retirement seminars for 20 people to big, multi-day conferences and training events for 300. We have events for schools, churches and religious groups, companies, university departments—it really runs the gamut.
How has event planning changed over the years?
The food at meetings and conferences has changed a lot - so much has happened with special dietary needs. [People want] healthy options, gluten-free and vegan, and allergies are more common. We’re fortunate to have caterers who can accommodate those needs.
What do you think are the best selling points of your venue?
At a lot of venues, you rent the room and then have to rent tables and chairs, and [you] either put them up yourself or pay the venue to do it. An event planner needs to get an AV company to bring in a microphone and projector and find a caterer. We do all that for you. My team works hand-in-hand with event planners from the day an event is booked until it’s over, and we give them a single point of contact. We don't charge people for AV, Wi-Fi or event set up. Those are big expenses customers don’t have when they come here.
What's the most exciting part of your job?
Watching my team in action—we get incredibly outstanding marks for customer service. We have really strong, experienced, talented people. When I see how easily my team handles everything, and that they’re great at it and provide incredible customer service, that’s the best part for me.