After many professional and personal years in the meetings industry in the Washington, D.C. area, I found myself relocating to Carlsbad, California a few years back. Initially intending to apply my national planning skills to an organization headquartered in this are, I almost immediately began receiving calls from associates and fellow planners from other parts of the country needing assistance. Since I was no longer full time with an organization and now available to assist, I saw a great need in our industry for skilled, professional support in contracting, pre-planning, site visits, and execution. Based only on colleague referrals, I began contracting for organizations in D.C., Atlanta, New York, and London. As we plan in multiple cities at any given time, I found my distance a value for many organizations, offering a flexible schedule of availability and site visit accessibility.
I specialize in contract negotiation, with a strong focus on attendee experience, mutually beneficial negotiation with vendors, and legally protective language inclusion for the client. The contracting stage is a critical element in your planning process; it is where we think through every opportunity and risk associated with your program and how it may be perceived and experienced, affected by both controllable and uncontrollable factors. Only through thorough and strategic language can the client be protected in a fair and prepared manner, while maintaining a collaborative and balanced relationship with your venue or vendor, who is now our partner. Simply put, your planners are spread thin and cannot always tackle every detail in the contracting stages, and legal teams are not always versed on the nuances of experiential design. Let me help.
Prior to this new adventure, I spent the past 10 years as a client planner, working exclusively for associations and organizations, charged with planning and executing annual seminars, conferences, receptions, golf tournaments, exhibit halls, etc., in cities all over the country, for attendees from all over the country. This is where I was able to rest on my strength and knowledge as a planner and become a leader. Training and leading a team to develop solid, memorable, effective programs and experience-driven events lead to increased company morale and image. Here, my background on the hotel and venue side of planning proved to be invaluable in my ability to connect and intimately work with a a variety of essential staff servicing each detail of an event.
After studying Hospitality/Tourism Management at Virginia Tech, then Tourism/Event Management at George Mason University, both in Virginia, I began in this industry as a catering sales manager at a wedding and event venue. This environment honed multitasking, with up to five weddings to execute on any given Saturday night, and hundreds over the course of the year. This is also where I learned how important teamwork is in this industry. Not only among your coworkers and fellow planners, but the kitchen staff, the housemen, management, etc. When it comes down to creating a memorable and fluid program for a client, many variables exist, down to the timeliness of the mailman carrying an essential detail of the event.
At the end of the day, everyone involved in making the event a reality is one big team, here to serve the attendees of the event. I insist on streamlining the attendees experience by orchestrating all vendors to work as one. The nature of events is a volatile one; you can plan for weeks, months, years, and inevitably something does not go as planned. I believe in taking the additional time, the painstaking attention to each detail, to not only PLAN, but to consider all variables and mitigate risk to the best of our abilities. In my opinion, the most invaluable and essential skill in this business is composure: to keep calm, think clearly, and make effective, influential, and impacting decisions in the heat of the moment. Having the right people on your team, representing you, your company, your organization, your event, makes all the difference in how the event is perceived and digested by those in attendance. Allow me to offer a professionalism blended with personal touch, the ability to read what a client, customer, CEO needs at a given moment, through thoughtful organization and a sensory assessment of your guests' experience.
I love what I do.