Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?
My aunt used to be in the business for about 30 years. While I was growing up, I was drawn to her stories of travel and incentive programs she was planning for Avon. She eventually started her own company, managed that for quite some time until 9/11 happened and then went into non-profit events, working with groups like UNICEF. She inspired me and guided me along into the event industry, pushing me to go to school for hospitality and tourism management. Little would she know that I would follow in her footsteps all the way to starting my own company!
Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?
I am a huge Roman/Greek history nerd. I used to want to become an archeologist and seriously debated going to college for either archeology or anthropology. I have a bookshelf full of ancient history books and through that am also a very big science fiction/fantasy nerd too. Something pretty much everyone who knows me knows, I LOVE Harry Potter!!
What do you love the most about what you do?
Making a vision come to life. Whether that’s my own or a client’s vision. There is nothing more satisfying than creating a concept, bringing a group of partners together to bring that vision to life and then seeing it all unfold in front of you. This could be something as simple as a really well-designed wall build with interactive pieces or as complex as a general session stage design. Either way, when you bring the right group of people together to make magic happen, everyone gets a rush of achievement!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up all over the country. My late father was a government employee, so we moved around quite a bit. I was born in Mesa, AZ but we only stayed there for about a year. We lived in Illinois… Pennsylvania (2 different small towns)… Fredericksburg, VA (high school)… Harrisonburg, VA (college – GO JMU DUKES!)… Washington D.C. (my first job)… and have been in Chicago for the past 7 years (October is my anniversary!). I don’t think this is my forever home, but for now, it works =)
What is your event gone wrong horror story?
I was planning an employee appreciate party for a very large medicine conglomerate in Chicago. The client was responsible for ticketing at the event and the invite list. Well, someone let a group that wasn’t supposed to attend the event into the event grounds. An extra 1,000+ people came through the door and we ran out of food!! We had to call Portillos and beg them for literally ANYTHING they had: hot dogs, pizza, pasta, salads, etc. People were eventually happy they had food, but that was probably the most stressful call to Portillos ever made.
What made you interested in participating in ILEA?
I actually came across ILEA because of the theme around ILEA Live. I was looking for a new educational conference to attend and the Creativity theme really hit home! I have quickly found that ILEA members are some of the friendliest and most interested in helping one another on a personal level. I’ve been very involved in other industry organizations, but the members really do set ILEA apart.
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