1. Where were you born?
Poughkeepsie, New York- otherwise known as “Po Town”
2. How did you first get started in the event planning and design business?
I was a hyper kid and my mother asked her good friend who owned a flower shop if she would let me hang out there after school. I was thirteen at the time and I wasn’t supposed to touch the designing part of things, so I just swept up after the designers and helped with customer intake. One day some designers called in sick and the owner asked if I could give designing a try. Turns out I was pretty amazing at it, though at thirteen it’s not usually a dream come true type of scenario. Most of my friends were not designing flowers in their spare time for fun! It built up my confidence and I was able to do something that no one else could in my age group. I had my own client base within six months and I worked in the shop all the way through college for the Holidays. I found out many years later that my mother paid my salary there when I first started. She must have really wanted me out of the house!
3. Describe in three words how you operate your business?
Kindness, Focus and Originality
4. Is there a dream party that you haven’t designed yet?
Oh definitely. I feel like we compartmentalize parties into categories, such as; weddings vs corporate vs non-profit etc. I would love to create an event that encompasses many of the species of events all packed into one, so there can be a broader experience had by guests that covers all of the bases at once. I like the idea that events would evoke an emotional response while enticing everyone with a visually stunning experience as well. To me, events need to be experienced through all of the five senses in order for them to be effective. The short answer to this, is that my dream event is created by an interactive five sense experience that is memorable in an emotional way long after the event has happened.
5. If there were three people you could have dinner with tonight who would they be?
Richard Branson, Snoop Dogg and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan
6. What is the most memorable event that you have planned?
I produced an amazing campaign for West Point Academy called The Long Gray Line. It was an incredibly educational and magnificent experience for me. Working with the people of the West Point community was one of the finest moments of my career. The other memorable most memorable event for me was one that happened at The Plaza many years ago when a mother of the Bride was battling Breast Cancer. It was her dream that she would walk her aisle down the aisle and she most certainly did. It was a beautiful and important moment of my career watching how people become so incredibly powerful through their will to love and live.
7. How has the event business changed over the years?
Well the internet certainly has a lot to do with it! I started my company with a beeper and a smith corona typewriter!! There is so much more access to our business in terms of options, purchasing and just choices overall. There weren’t so many of us in the industry either. When someone wanted to produce an event in NY there were about five names to choose from and now there are thousands! It’s good for me and it certainly keeps me on my toes. The other thing I notice is that there are titles to what people do in our industry such as specifically being and Event Planner or an Event Designer. I consider myself an Event Producer with a heavy concentration on design and conceptualization and I like to stay open to all aspects of the industry.
8. What do you love about the Plaza?
Ahhhh everything!! I love that it’s an iconic venue, but The Plaza also keeps up with the times while holding onto that incredibly important and historical status of being the finest at everything. To me, service is everything and The Plaza doesn’t only rest on its reputation, it’s always striving to do better for its guests. For me, I still feel like an excited little girl in the hallways, and I still feel that way even loading in through the kitchen. There is a happiness that resonates through every crevice of the building from the inside out. You could say it’s one of my “happy places.”
9. What book are you reading now?
Coincidentally I am reading a book called: The Women Who Made New York by Julie Scelfo, its acting as quite the inspiration for me. I should only hope to be crowned as one of those women in my lifetime.
10. Is there another passion you wanted to pursue other than event planning and design?
It’s common knowledge amongst those who know me that I was supposed to be a Rock Star but that just didn’t work out! I did spend many years on the road playing in an awesome band, and I just didn’t wish to make it a career, so music is still a very big part of my life on a daily basis. When we set up our parties in the Plaza Ballroom you will most definitely hear music blasting into the foyer for as long as we can get away with it.