C.E.O. and founder
What was your most memorable event you have ever worked on?
My favorite event ever was the celebration we did at the State Department to recognize the completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy program, raising $21 Million to endow the American History art collection in the Diplomatic Receptions Rooms. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Madeline Albright presided over a room of 200 guests who dined on a famous meal from the days of Benjamin Franklin—who actually showed up to speak about the meal (a reenactor, of course). Each guest took a photo in the private office of the secretary surrounded by all the attending secretaries of state. The room, designed by Bryan Rafanelli, was exquisite, with feelings similar to a state dinner. We also celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Secretaries of State Balcony that featured a granite wall with the Chairs of the Patrons of Diplomacy featured under the secretaries of state and myself. The pomp of the evening and the recognition for chairing the program was one of the best nights of my life.
What was the AHA moment that made you love events?
Back in the 70s, I was at the premier of the first Star Trek movie. I was actually the first person to get into the reception following the premiere at the newly opened Air and Space Museum in Washington. The band played the theme song for Star Trek as I walked into the room, which boasted a model of the Enterprise. It felt like I was being transported into a new world. It was at that moment that I understood how events are magical, how the combination of sights, sounds, and smells have the power to give you that event high, even without any alcohol.
Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?
- Volunteer for any and every type of event
- Understand both digital and face-to-face marketing
- Learn everything by using our resources—the BizBash Daily, BizBash.com, GatherGeeks Podcast
- Practice Managed Serendipity: be at the right place with the right people
- Have a positive mental attitude