<![CDATA[NACE BOSTON - Blog]]>Thu, 28 Nov 2019 06:17:38 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Venues:  Why You SHOULD Recommend an Event Planner]]>Thu, 22 Feb 2018 01:46:27 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/venues-why-you-should-recommend-an-event-planner
Venue coordinators, sales & planners manager (and directors) – have you ever been asked if your client needs an event or wedding planner and answered that they had everything they needed – they had you!  I’ve been there, thinking that I was the end all be all of event planning in my Hotel.  And most of the time, I can handle it – although I do my fair share of running around from location to location to ensure that everyone is doing their part, running on time, and that my couple is happy with how their day is shaping up.  I always have and always will look up to planners who make things happen, plan each stunning detail & who are there to see it through on the day.  But when my clients tell me that they really just want someone who is there on their day to see it all through my first thought was usually, well you have me, you’re good!
Then this past year I was lucky enough to be asked to be a day-of coordinator for a friend’s wedding at the exclusive JFK Library.  I thought WOW am I lucky to be a part of the 2nd wedding that has ever taken place in this spectacular venue.  And then I thought – hmmm, what have I gotten myself into?  What is the difference between what I do daily, and what I’m going to have to do on this day?  I know that I am really great at what I do at my Hotel, but what about going into a venue that’s not set up with a housekeeping supply closet, not a spare bobby pin or safety pin in a time of need, or really anything for that matter? 
What did I do?  I asked for help from Tammy Golson of Tammy Golson Events, a new and wonderful connection and friend made through NACE.  Tammy told me the first thing I needed to do was to find someone to help me on the day, and I thought YES – I always have my trusty assistant on hand so why would this be different?  And then she started really diving into the details, and this is what she had to say about not just my experience but why I should always recommend a planner to each and every client, and exactly what I should say:

“Even when the most high end wedding venue assigns you a member of their team to coordinate your wedding day [or event], there are still huge benefits to hiring your own wedding planner for at least, month of coordination.  When a planner partners with a wonderful venue and catering team, the wedding goes from good to great. 
The representative from the venue is key! He or she is the expert at the space, knows it best and often the catering and service (if those services are included in house) and the personalities of the staff and quirks of the neighborhood. The best wedding planners know the value of the venue manager’s role and expertise and vice versa and together the two work seamlessly to ensure their shared clients have their very best wedding and experience over all. Venues could host between 50-100 weddings a year [where planners pick and choose in order to be able to focus on each and really dive in to the details]. 
An experienced and professional wedding planner will quickly become the expert on your wedding. This gives you an extra layer of service, knowledge, experience and support through the process and on the wedding day. He or she will help couples build their dream team and manage their time wisely. A good planner absorbs their clients' stress, advocates for their clients wishes, manages family dynamics, and coordinates the complicated logistics and/or multiple locations for couples blending cultures, religions and families. Planners work with considerably less couples each year, so they have more time to devote to the couples that enlist their services. 
Based on careful collaboration, multiple conversations and open communication between the venue and planner, together we aim for food to be served at the right time and temperature and the service be impeccable.  The planner will take the lead on creating a detailed timeline of events for the entire wedding weekend— one that is accurate, fair, complete and realistic for all the vendors involved because the venue and catering team has been consulted and has weighed in on what their staff needs to do their job best.   The goal is to make sure all your wedding professionals are on the same page, prepared, have clear expectations and that nothing important to you be rushed or overlooked especially toasts and special dances.”

And what does that mean for the venue?  More time back to sell & plan, and an ease in the wedding day where the focus of the day changes from a one stop shop taking care of everything, and returns back to being able to be the expert on the venue and all of the people and moving parts that need to be organized to ensure event success.  A big sigh of relief, that’s what having a planner on your team means.
What did I learn from being a “day-of” coordinator?  Being a day-of coordinator was so much fun; I loved every minute of it, but it was also a ton of planning, preparation, and even more running around on the actual day then I do now.  Here are some key takeaways from my day of fun:

  1. It is never just for the day-of.  How could you walk in without having your hands in the planning, and being sure that you know exactly what is going to happen?
  2. It is your timeline on the day.  First the planner, then the venue (or catering team), and then the rest falls into place.
  3. There is SO much more that a planner does for the couple themselves on the day.So much handholding, finding of lost items (or rings!), runs out to grab items that “were definitely packed into the boxes of wedding items,” and endless running to ensure that the couple feels well taken care of.  And while one person is with the couple, the other is making sure all the details are exactly as they should be.  Note:  On a venue’s side, I’m available at a phone call’s notice but not every second for every issue.
  4. Emergency Kits are a must!  Mine was pretty great, but building one is key to ensure that no problem goes without a solution.
  5. The day doesn’t begin until you’re there, and doesn’t end until everyone else has left the building and all the items are packed up to go.  Note:  On a venue’s side, the coordinator might arrive first, but leaves after the cake.
  6. Sometimes, no matter how much you care about that couple, when you are the venue, the magic of the couple’s past, present and future gets lost in translation.  As a planner, it’s your job to know each and every detail of how that couple came to be.
  7. Bring a change of clothes.  Running around in all black is great, but when it’s time for the show – you must look good!
  8. I want an event planner on EVERY one of my events from now on…they ROCK.
So venues, maybe it’s time to step a day in the life of a planner, at a venue that you DON’T know like the back of your hand.  And then you’ll realize how much they take on, and how much weight they could truly take off your shoulders when you form that amazing partnership.  At the end of the day, we just want our couples to have an unforgettable experience, so why shouldn’t we have all the key players there to work together and guarantee success for all?  At the next NACE meeting, chat with one of our amazing event planners and hear from them why they should be at each one of your weddings and events, no matter how small or large.

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any ideas on how else an event planner will add to the value of a venue coordinator, and why you recommend a planner for your events.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[Industry Experts - How Do We Do It All?]]>Mon, 29 Jan 2018 20:53:09 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/industry-experts-how-do-we-do-it-all
Wedding experts – sometimes we feel like we have to do it all, am I right?  From client meetings, emails where we try to be that FIRST person to respond back, team meetings, networking receptions and more – we have a busy schedule on our hands at all times year round!  From a venue’s eye, at the start of the New Year other wedding industry experts might have a few weeks to take a breather and get ready for the upcoming season.  For us - busy time is right now and can sometimes feel never-ending. 
As November and then December creep up, we are jam packed with the finalities of our year-end - from financials, upcoming end of the year weddings and other events, not to mention our personal lives which take on a second life of their own.  With daily holiday parties we are expected to attend, cookie baking, gift shopping and wrapping, it can be overwhelming!  Come January 1st we are partied out and ready for a nap on the beach but instead the stream of emails, Wedding Wire & The Knot inquiries, phone calls and client pop-ins begin.  It’s a great problem to have, but a problem for our workloads, personal lives and our spirit nonetheless.
So how can we do it all?  Unfortunately we don’t have perfect answers.  Of course that is not what you are expecting, but every individual works differently and what works for some will not work for all.  Personally, to-do lists are the start of each day to get my head on straight and then one step at a time I try to claw through each obstacle, each project – because isn’t each email a project in itself?!  Shutting the office door, or saying ‘no’ to an obligation here or there or an ‘I’ll have to get back to you later’ can give you time for your next prioritized project and a breath of relief all at the same time, but then maybe not. 
Sometimes the end of the day brings a feeling of accomplishment and others it ends with mixed feelings and the dread of what’s to come tomorrow - ‘I might’ve sent out 4 contracts totaling over $50K in revenue and followed up with 20 prospective clients, but what about all those other emails that I haven’t even looked at yet – how is it 6pm already?’  Aside from drinking about it – a common after-work habit for many of us in the sales & event industry - what more is there to do? 
The best answer that one could ever offer is NACE.  Within our New England membership we are lucky to have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and ever forming friendships.  Our NACE members are people who we can truly lean on because they are understanding and empathetic in a way that is beyond what others in our daily lives can grasp – because we at NACE have all walked in each other’s shoes in one way or another.  A sales & planning manager working at a large corporate Hotel can find solace in speaking with not just another venue manager, but also a photographer or an owner of a rental company.  Why is that?  We all share the same clients and have the same goals in mind, and although we have different ebbs and flows of our year and our busy seasons, it all comes together on wedding day – the day where the hard work and stress pay off, and where we can all take a big sigh of relief as we tick off another success at the end of the night, job well done.  We all see how hard each other work from day to day and especially on those big days, and sometimes it is great to hear from another person how they manage to get through it all.
Yes, we have amazing monthly events where we learn a great deal from experts and then socialize with the best of the best, but it just starts there.  Whether it be inviting an industry friend for a private venting session or a laugh at the latest photo booth, our NACE friends are the people that we can partner with to ensure our own personal internal success.  Inviting new friends to lunch can not only bring the two of you closer together in connections, but you can learn best practices and have a laugh and a vent all at once! 
Booking and planning seasons can be something that turns into a race – a race to finish each day feeling accomplished and successful.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out the way we have planned.  So we need a backup plan – and that is support from our NACE community.  Every success bounces to the rest of us.  NACE is strong because we are a team of industry experts who collaborate together to ensure that success that we strive for.  And in the end, our work will all get done, our clients will be happy, and we will have formed bonds with our NACE friends that are set up to last a lifetime.
Any member who may be feeling overwhelmed - reach out to someone at NACE.  Ask them if they have been in the same position of having too many balls in the air, how they felt during that time and then ask them how they conquered it.  And at the end of the event or the end of the interaction, you’ll be able to walk away smiling knowing that you are not alone – you’re hand in hand with your friends, with your NACE family.

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any ideas on how to get through busy season, and ways that our NACE members can help.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[NACE Volunteers:  Birthday-in-a-Box Program]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 18:39:08 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/nace-volunteers-birthday-in-a-box-program
On Tuesday November 7th before our Hampshire House meeting, our New England NACE board members got together for a wonderful volunteer opportunity, Birthday-in-a-Box!  “The Birthday-in-a-Box (BIAB) Program was created in 2005 to serve homeless children in domestic violence shelters, scattered sites, motels, and other locations which cannot accommodate Birthday Wishes Party Coordinators. The BIAB Program allows Birthday Wishes to reach homeless children in almost any living situation.  Party supplies are carefully packaged inside a brightly wrapped box and delivered to the program, agency, motel, or other facility for distribution to families, along with a bag of wrapped gifts for the birthday celebrant.  Each birthday box contains everything necessary for a great birthday celebration.”

Our NACE board created 10 birthday boxes which included boxes of cake mix, jars of frosting, cake pans, juice boxes or mini water bottles, candles, cutlery, napkins, plates, tablecloths & the essential décor supplies – party hats, balloons, streamers and more.  The hardest part?  Wrapping big boxes and the tops to those boxes!  With some struggles and a lot of laughter along the way, our amazing NACE board proudly finished the task at hand knowing that they were making a great difference.

New England NACE has received feedback from shelter staff that this program has been empowering for the families and we are more than excited that we were able to take the time to impact ten lives.  The BIAB Program reaches a total of about 3,000 homeless children per year and it shows us all how such a simple idea can make a huge difference.  Thank you to our board members!

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any thoughts on our time creating birthday boxes.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[Granite Links Golf Club Showcased Food Trends]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 18:18:21 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/granite-links-golf-club-showcased-food-trendsBlog by Naomi Raiselle, GENERATIONS cinemastories
New England NACE went all out for our annual Industry Trends Showcase at the stunning Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy. Six local designers presented some of their most on-trend work at the October event, starting with the exciting and lavish food menu.

 Members and guests arrived at the GL rotunda to Executive Chef David Todisco's Seasonal Fall Appetizer Display and delicious Specialty Cocktail - Red Apple Sangria Garnished with a cinnamon stick and fresh cranberries.

After cocktails and apps, and lots of anticipation, the ballroom was opened and guests were invited in to passed hors d’oeuvres including Truffle Pommes Frites with Garlic Aioli & served in paper cones; WITH Kicked Up Beef Sliders with Spicy Ketchup, Applewood Bacon, Cheddar, Onion Jam; Miniature Mushroom and Brie Pizza with Grated Romano, Truffle Oil, Lobster Tempura, Honey Ponzu Duck Confit, Fried Polenta, Cherry Glaze.

Our own superstar, Michelle Reid, made sure that food trends were covered all night including a most popular Mobile Pretzel Cart with Soft Pretzels in Classic, Almond, Garlic Parmesan flavors, served with Brown Mustard, Honey Mustard, Cheese Dip and Marinara Sauce.

Stationary appetizer stations included Shrimp and Chicken Lettuce Wraps accompanied by Avocado, Carrot, Bean Sprouts, Pickled Ginger, Chopped Peanuts & Cashews, Crispy Wonton, Julienne Cucumber, Cilantro, Red & Yellow Peppers.  These were topped with various sauces including Sweet Chili, Peanut, Ponzu, Sriracha & Hoisin. WOW.

In keeping with the trend for themed stations, Granite Links offered a Pork themed station that included:  Scallop Wrapped with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Maple Drizzle Skillet; BLT Cherry Tomato - Applewood Bacon, Green Leaf Lettuce, Toasted Brioche Crumb Lemon Aioli Olive Trays; Carolina Pulled Pork Sliders, Apple Slaw Tavern Pizza Boards; Korean Barbeque Ribs Wok Mini Carnitas Taco, Cilantro-Lime Slaw, Mango Salsa and Tavern Pizza Boards.

To be sure, no one left the event hungry!
We at NACE would love to hear from you about your favorite food trends.  Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[Videography & Venues]]>Tue, 24 Oct 2017 18:42:13 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/videography-venues

NACE is excited to share with you venues’ best practices of ensuring videography success!  Naomi Raiselle of GENERATIONS cinemastories and George Horemiotis of SH Videography were kind of enough to compile their thoughts about their job which they are so passionate about in order to share their knowledge and experience with their fellow NACE members.
Key factors to ensure success on the day:
Detailed timeline:  A very detailed timeline will enable a videographer to be in the right place at the right time.  It helps to have this information in advance of the day, or at the least upon arrival, so that the videographer can prepare ahead of time to see times & locations of important moments throughout the day.  Naomi even likes to dive further into timeline information, “As a videographer I want to know if there is a reading by a family member from a podium, from the seat, from in front of the couple, during the ceremony.  That info will help us determine who will be filming from where, just ‘ceremony from 5-5:30’ is not nearly enough.”  Although venues are not always offered up that detailed information, it can be a best practice to ask questions to divulge the information and to update timelines after a rehearsal run through.
Open Line of Communication:  George states, “We love when a venue keeps communication open and proactive.  This allows us to prepare for what is happening next.  Shooting a live event can be very stressful for all parties, but when there is a friendly line of communication between the videography team and the venue, it makes all of our jobs go a lot smoother, and ensures a successful day from start to finish.”  Even though vendors have our detailed timelines, they are actively in the moment of the day through their lens – or sometimes taking a moment to hydrate!  Best practice, to notify all important parties before the next step on the timeline in order for the team to set up their shot in advance, also keeping everyone to said timeline. 
Diagrams of Ceremony & Dinner Reception:  Having diagrams for each space will improve a videographer’s ability to determine angles and locations they think will work best in the moment.  They are able to get an idea of the flow of the space, where the traffic from guests will be, and a head-start on where they should place their equipment to get the best experience for not only the videographer & the couple, but the guests as well.
  • Ceremony Placement:  Venues need to consider that although videographers are usually noticeable, they do like to be tucked away & the sides of aisles are the easiest place to hide during ceremonies.  Ensuring enough aisle space on either side of guest seating will set them up for success and give them the ability to move throughout the venue with ease.
  • Chuppahs:  Naomi suggests, “If it’s a Jewish wedding, the size and the material of the chuppah is important. A small chuppah with parents, grandparents, couple, rabbi, cantor, best man, maid of honor underneath leaves little room for videographers to film ceremony.  Also, chuppah poles decorated with large swaths of fabric and/or flowers can be a visual obstacle since they block angles to the ceremony. If the plans are to use a tallit or other opaque top for the chutzpah, make sure it is high enough so that the fabric doesn’t shadow the couple. A thick, opaque chutzpah top will likely throw shadows on the couple’s face - so lighting underneath the chutzpah is essential. It should be clear whether the client or venue is providing that lighting.”

Place to Store Gear:  Videographers need about an 8’x5’ space to store their gear.  It can be as easy as under a table or in a closet, but thinking ahead to leave a spot available is a great best practice for venues.  Often they are asked to store equipment in a room off to the side of the main ballroom, but their success depends on having all of their equipment accessible at all times.  Venues know that the uncovered gear sitting near a wall is not what their couple had in mind when they envisioned so as the venue coordinator we need to think, in advance, not just where our items will be hidden away, but space for our venue partners’ items as well.  Naomi estimates bringing four to five large black bags for video gear (tripods, light stands, cameras, mics, mic stands, lenses, batteries, etc.), not to mention photographers’ gear as well!

Timing of Vendor Meals:  The timing for feeding your hard working hungry vendors is just as important as a hot meal for your guests.  The most common practice of venues is to feed their vendors AFTER all of the guests have eaten, reasoning being that they want to make sure their Chef has given them correct meal counts and that they don’t run out of entrees – holding back the vendor meals ensures a few more entrees as a buffer just in case.  But what that does is it gives the vendors a few minutes window of opportunity to scarf down their meal instead of letting them take their well-deserved break while the guests are doing the same.  If venues wait to feed their videographers & other vendors it means that they might miss out on a key moment to film when the couple & their guests are on the move.  Venues - this is an easy one to solve – as your couple’s meals go out, send out your vendor meals too!  At the end of the day, their success is your success – and you’re sure to get amazing video of your venue.
Shout Out to Photographers: 
It is most important that videographers & photographers work together during each moment of the event.  Of course it is natural that a photographer will step into the camera from time to time, and the same for a videographer to step into a photographer’s shot.  So move around, and try to know where all cameras are placed so that you can avoid as much as possible stepping into the moment. 
Pet Peeves:  We all have them, and here are a few from our videographers’ perspectives: 
  • Videographers & other vendors, especially photographers, who do not know how to work together.
  • Guests with amateur cameras that have a flash that causes color banding in video, and in general guests who feel they must capture the moment but in doing so block the professionals with their iPads, phones, etc.
  • Professional photographers whose shutter is so loud that it appears on sound tracks – get a silent shutter!
  • And lastly, George’s biggest pet peeve: “The one thing that saddens me is that couples usually think of videography after all other vendors. The two things you have as takeaways to remember your day when it is all over are photos and video. Of course photos are beautiful but video is what truly captures the sounds, and emotions of the day.”  So venues, speak up for your videography friends!
After all of that food for thought, we wanted to leave you with our contributors’ favorite videography moments: 
  • Naomi:  “We have so many!! One was when we filmed the first same sex wedding in Boston. We captured the first, on-camera kiss as the first same sex couple were pronounced MARRIED by the minister.Also, one of my favorites was a gorgeous Greek wedding with reception at State Room. The stunning bride in her blush balletic gown kneeled in the center of a circle of guests as her new husband danced for her. At the end of the dance, he reached out to her and lifted her to her feet. SO romantic!!”
  • George:  “I really enjoy the first look – it is always exciting and special to watch the reactions of the couple seeing each other for the first time on their special day.  When I edit it with music, the first look is usually the shot that I use during a really emotional part of the song. I want it to give you chills each time that you watch it back.”
We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any other thoughts on how venues and other vendors can ensure videography success.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[September Member Spotlights!]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:55:56 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/september-member-spotlightsEach month NACE New England showcases individuals from our chapter in order for fellow members and followers to get to know how amazing our diversity in membership really is along with the qualities and characteristics of those members.  Please meet the members highlighted this past August!
Meet Fausto Pifferrer, Owner of Blue Elephant Events and Catering
-  What did you study in school?
I was a free spirit and traveled a lot.  A lot of my studying took place outside of classrooms!

-  What would people be surprised to know about you?  
That I collect vintage Snoopy and Charlie Brown memorabilia.

-  What one word would your best friends use to describe you?

-  What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
I am a hands on owner. I book my events, attend my events, set up and break down my events. I know all of the clients who come through our door. Also, when people come in to meet with us, we are genuine. We are who we are. We are normal people, and our clients get to see that.

-  What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
Professionalism and loyalty. Both go a long way!

-  What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I would love to design and do a runway event in Milan. From set up, to logistics, to breakdown. I think that would be amazing!

Meet David DiCicco, Director of Design and Sales at Marc Hall Design
-  What did you study in school?
I studied international business and finance at the University of Tampa, but while I was abroad in Rome, decided to drop the international business part for hip hop and Latin dance classes. Needless to say, I graduated with a finance degree only, but can dance my way through any wedding.

-  What would people be surprised to know about you?
I have an obsession with fire that I attempt to tame through the use of candles.

-  What one word would your best friends use to describe you?
I’m sure my best friends would have quite the list, but I’ll go with resourceful.

-  What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
Marc Hall Design is dedicated to the highest level of service and personalization of design. Conceptualizing and executing take a certain talent and I’m proud to say our team and the partners we select perform both pretty seamlessly.

-  What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
Originality, loyalty and confidence. I have the upmost respect for anyone who can confidentially and proudly build trust with their client by being themselves and, of course, delivering a killer product.

-  What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I’ve been dying to design an over the top pool party brunch. Location and client to be revealed.

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any thoughts on highlighted members from September.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[August Member Spotlights!]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 16:47:23 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/august-member-spotlightsEach month NACE New England showcases individuals from our chapter in order for fellow members and followers to get to know how amazing our diversity in membership really is along with the qualities and characteristics of those members.  Please meet the members highlighted this past August!

Meet Ashley Kirouac, Event Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency Cambridge
-  What did you study in school?
I went to Northeastern where I studied Psychology & Sociology.  Northeastern offers a very nice co-op program and my 2nd year I received a co-op job from the Justice Resource Institute, in their Developmental Disabilities Division.  From there I worked my way up through their ladder eventually running one of their group homes in Waltham, and on the side I did wait staffing through Event Temps and served at venues as small as a backyard party to as large as huge collegiate graduation events along with everything in between.  It was that 2nd job where I found my passion in events.  2 years later I completely flip flopped careers and have pushed myself to get to where I am today.

-  What would people be surprised to know about you?
I like to do the scary stuff that other people don’t like to.  I’ve been skydiving and would go again, but just recently I went “Over the Edge” for the Special Olympics.  Raising $1,300.00 myself, and $175,000+ in total for the event of a two-day span, I then celebrated by rappelling the 220+ feet from the roof of Hyatt Regency Boston.  As my two rappelling neighbors were scared, I looked down and waved to the crowd and then bounced off the wall a bit (a little scary when my short legs barely made it back to the wall), and then decided to go as fast down the wall as possible for fun.  It was an amazing rush that lasted all day!

-  What one word would your best friends use to describe you?

-  What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
At Hyatt Regency Cambridge we care about people so that they can be their best.  Yes, we have ballrooms with stunning Boston Skyline views along the Charles River, but when it comes down to it, we try to dive deep into every detail from the first guest that arrives until the last guest departs from our Hotel, with a fabulous wedding in between!  For example, our food is phenomenal and our Chef always makes an appearance at our tastings.  One time, Chef heard that a certain starch was chosen for the wedding guests but (let’s say) the groom really preferred another option.  Come wedding day, that delicious potato dauphinoise was a surprise on his plate adding another delighter to his day.  We try to be proactive and think about how we can improve upon our guest’s experiences, even if it is just in the slightest way.  And not just with wedding guests of course, but all guests!

-  What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
Our jobs are not easy – we work long hours, weekends, and usually are working when everyone else is enjoying themselves on a holiday or long weekend.  I really admire the dedication that I see in my colleagues, and the passion that drives them to work the hours and with the quality of work that they do.  They push me to be a better person every day, to work hard and keep pushing and they remind me that it will all be worth it.  And when I see the happiness in my couples’ eyes on their wedding day, I know that it has been.

-  What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I love to organize and make things new and pretty – to take something broken and reinvent the wheel for it.  For example, when I started at Hyatt Regency Cambridge I took a look at our collateral for weddings, and how we positioned our proposals to our potential clients and realized we could do better – so I changed it!  I always love to have a hand in what we do to market weddings at our Hotel, I think that is the driving force to get our potential couples in the door and then I take it from there!

Meet Jennifer Sepulveda, Catering Sales Manager at the Harvard Club
-  What did you study in school? 
I studied hospitality management at Bryant College for two years before entering the business full time.

-  What would people be surprised to know about you? 
I would say most people are surprised to find out that I am from Scotland, born in Greenock.  I traveled quite a bit before the age of five.  My family lived in Canada (twice) and Australia before landing in America, Miami.

-  What one word would your best friends use to describe you? 
That’s a tough one – probably thoughtful.

-  What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
The Harvard Club of Boston is one of a kind – very unique, classic.

-  What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
I admire my colleagues dedication to their positions.

-  What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I have always loved art and in particular photography.  I would very much enjoy having time to work on this and see where it leads.

Meet Maricruz Polito, Bridal Hair Designer at Maricruz Hairstyles
-  What did you study in school?
After high school, I studied Cosmetology in Mexico and graduated. In 2000, I moved to the US. Applied to Blaine Beauty School here in Boston. I dove head first in learning terminologies and honed my skills practicing the language.

-  What would people be surprised to know about you?
At one point in time I saw myself as an architect or an engineer of some sort and started a Electromechanical Engineering program at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. I realized my love for cosmetology was deeper than I thought and returned to architecting/engineering hair designs ever stronger.

-  What one word would your best friends use to describe you?
Adventurous! I love to experience life as much as possible. I feel, one that possesses adventure often may have many growth spurts. Being adventurous encompasses courage and the mind set to step out of one’s comfort zone and make things happen.

-  What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
I pride myself on quality, attention and detail I offer to my brides. I’m able to design what my brides envision and make it come alive. From the first inquiry, to the first trial all possible options and three hairstyles that I offer enables me to ensure satisfaction. I prefer the brides see the hairstyles on themselves rather than looking at hair pictures the day of. Together we can make a more informed decision on which hairstyle to choose for their day. I want to feel that they feel 100% sure they love and feel comfortable with the hair style they choose.

-  What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
I admire most is respect, creativity and patience. I understand that I’m not going to please all clients all the time. Some clients are difficult and hard to please, some ask for astronomical reductions in my prices others have day to day stress. I admire how people express the work of others in a positive light. It empowers hairstylists and lends itself well to the art of the developing business owners. I love following people in my line of business. I admire them and see them as source of inspiration to do well rather than competition.

-  What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I truly love and enjoy my brides. I look to continue working with brides as often as I can and continue to grow and learn from them. As always, my love and passion lies with other professionals, collaborating in photo shoots, bridal shows and events that are featured in major Bridal Magazine covers.

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any thoughts on highlighted members from August.   Thank you for sharing!

<![CDATA[Feeding Our Neighbors - an Industry Initiative]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 14:49:16 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/feeding-our-neighbors-an-industry-initiative
Feeding our Neighbors began with a conversation… So many people are quick to donate leftover flowers after weddings & events, so why not food? NACE members, we know that there are some events where the waste is overwhelming – most commonly, big conventions and graduations. We have seen countless items from continental breakfasts to filet mignons thrown in the dumpster without even the slightest offer to the hard working servers or industry partners to take it home with them - and certain venues prefer to order their servers pizzas instead of letting them eat the massive amount of leftovers that end up in trash bins. Feeding our Neighbors started because of this food waste epidemic. It’s an initiative to push a world of understanding and guidance to caterers and venues to utilize that leftover food and feed our neighbors in need, while being environmentally sustainable.   
Originally born out of New England NACE as a Community Service initiative, Feeding Our Neighbors has since been embraced by fellow local industry organizations Boston Wedding Group and ILEA Boston. This is an industry-wide effort with industry-wide support.
The primary goal of FON is to educate food handlers about the law and logistics regarding donating surplus prepared food after events. From early food education we in the food industry learn food safety techniques and we tend to stray from allowing any food to leave our establishments due to liability: if anyone got sick after eating their donated food, caterers believe they’re liable and that they’ll have a major consequence. This fear is due to a lack of knowledge.  The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act is a Federal Law passed by President Clinton in 1996 to encourage the distribution of donated food to individuals in need. It protects food donors and recipients who “Act in good faith” from criminal and civil liability when donating “Apparently Wholesome” food to a non-profit organization (who will rightly distribute this food). Yet, caterers either did not know about the Law or continued to be uncomfortable with the fear of liability. So in 2012, Feeding our Neighbors set out to banish this fear via conversation and education.
NENACE members joined Co-Founders Dana Siles and Naomi Raiselle to re-educate fellow event professionals about how they can participate with Feeding Our Neighbors. Their message: food donation is easy and there are no liability issues. The icing on the cake: donating leftovers brings great PR and businesses may take advantage of enhanced tax incentives. Little by little, Feeding our Neighbors members spread the word and donations began to rise. The NACE board and Past and Present Presidents Lyndsay Picciano, Michelle Reid, Jill Person and Maria Panaggio-Phillips have been very much involved in the success of Feeding Our Neighbors.
One of FON’s most recent and active participants is Lombardo’s: David Lombardo, ILEA Immediate Past President and General Manager of Lombardo’s realized that many of their expected 700 guests were not going to arrive to the event for unexpected circumstances and quickly acted – within a few hours the food was picked up and delivered to Father Bill’s in Quincy. David recalls “It was a wonderful feeling to know that the extra food that was already paid for could go to help those in need, especially right after a big snow storm! This was our first experience with FON and the effect on our kitchen team was tremendous! They were all beaming with pride that the hard work they put into cooking would still be enjoyed by the community around us in need.”
FON’s message has rapidly spread in recent years. Within just the last month, FON was represented by Naomi Raiselle as she spoke at NACE Experience and she had an extremely positive response. ServBoston invited David and Dana to present at their last meeting at Catalyst. It was so well received, that they were extended the invitation to present at all of this year’s ServBoston meetings.
The latest addition to the FON effort is Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a 501(c)3 assisting shelters and soup kitchens by bringing the leftover food to them. They are based in NYC with growing branch in MA. Dana recently became Greater Boston Area Coordinator for RLC and they have included a special page on their site dedicated to Massachusetts. RLC makes it easy to sign up and schedule pickups from any device on the go via their website-based platform, and they are actively working on an app to even further streamline the process.
FON’s earliest participants include popular local venues such as Fairmont Copley Plaza, Hampshire House and Granite Links Golf Club. Among FON’s first milestones was the High End Bride event at the State Room - it was an enormous event amongst industry professionals which had a huge amount of food leftover. Longwood Events Chef David Blessing agreed to donate to the Boston Rescue Mission, and he spoke to the group about his involvement and made awareness on a large scale.
Another concern businesses face is the added workload when donating leftovers. But no worries: all it takes is to put unused cuisine into an aluminum pan with a cover and include the contents and date. Even a ziplock will do. And then a simple push of a button to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and they will come to the venue to pick up the food. Venues all over New England are getting on board. The Feeding of Neighbors initiative is expanding into the industry, with new developments moving us closer to food donation as being a Best Practice.
New England NACE members are encouraged to sign up as a Volunteer to pick up food throughout Massachusetts. Learn more about Feeding Our Neighbors, Tax Incentives, The Law, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and more here.
In the years to come we in the Events Industry can be a primary part of what moves the needle of hunger forward, not only in New England but throughout the U.S. So join the conversation… Start by joining the Feeding Our Neighbors Facebook Group.

Check out a great video on Feeding Our Neighbors here

Feeding Our Neighbors: www.NewEnglandFeedingOurNeighbors.org/RLC
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine: www.RescuingLeftoverCuisine.org/MA
Food Donation questions: dana@danasiles.com
Press Inquires: nraiselle@rcn.com

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any donation stories to tell or feedback on Feeding of Neighbors. Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[July Member Spotlights!]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:19:16 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/july-member-spotlightsEach month NACE New England showcases individuals from our chapter in order for fellow members and followers to get to know how amazing our diversity in membership really is along with the qualities and characteristics of those members.  Please meet the members highlighted this past July!

Meet Claudia Tauro, Owner of Claudia Tauro Events

What did you study in school?
Education has and still is a very important part of my career. I first pursued a career as a surgical assistant but soon after realized that I wanted to work with people in a more joyful scenario. I became a travel agent and opened my own agency, where my focus was helping engaged couples plan their honeymoons. I would create customized honeymoon experiences for them. I then decided to study Event Planning and began my career as a Wedding Planner.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
People might not know that I like simple things because weddings are often associated with extravagance. The most beautiful weddings don't have to be over the top to be just that: beautiful. However, what is "too much" for one bride might no be so for another. Wedding planning is complex because there are many moving parts even if the bride and groom agree on what they want that day to look like. I'm all about simplifying things. I enjoy taking the complexity out of wedding planning for the couple to have a stress-free experience leading up to and on the day of the wedding. My goal is for them to have an unforgettable day and to make sure everything is seamless.

What one word would your best friends use to describe you?

Organized. My family and friends tell me that all the time.

What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
Our competitive advantage resides in doing things very professionally and with love. I am very conscientious during the planning process, making sure every step taken has a specific purpose in mind, considering alternatives that can create efficiencies, and be planning ahead for contingencies. I like to build something that reflects who the bride and groom are and think about the wedding as the construction of the most important day of their lives.

What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
I admire their different styles and their enthusiasm and dedication to their work.

What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I am already working on a project for an Expo that is very focused on the Latino community to provide a service that is tailored to their needs.

Meet Chef Edward Cloonan III, Executive Chef at Plainridge Park Casino

-  What did you study in school?
I trained Classical French at Le Cordon Bleu and graduated with High Honors. I enjoyed learning where the foundation of what  today’s cuisine is built on.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I once had a goatee down to the middle of my chest and dyed like the Irish flag. Ahhh the good ole days…crazy kids.

What one word would your best friends use to describe you?

What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
Our dedication to Customer Service in a fun relaxed atmosphere.

What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
The dedication to the pursuit of perfection. Always willing to jump in and help one another whether at work or outside of work.

What kind of projects would you love to work on?
The current project that I’m working on is a Garden to Guest initiative here at the casino. We planted some cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and various herbs. This will provide a fresh hyper local offering for our customers and the education of our culinary team on how vegetables grow.

Meet Kristin O’Connor, Catering Sales Manager at Capers Catering

What did you study in school?
I studied Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and a minor in political science from the University of New Hampshire.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’ve been skydiving, bungee jumping and scuba diving.

What one word would your best friends use to describe you?
They’d probably say I’m a planner…ha! I guess that’s fitting.

What qualities make your business/company distinctive?
Capers Catering really focuses on customizing menus based on their clients specific and unique tastes. We are quick to respond and are a full service provider, helping plan events from start to finish.

What qualities do you most admire in your colleagues?
I love the dedication my colleagues have to this industry. It’s hard work and long hours and seeing the passion that drives them is inspiring.

What kind of projects would you love to work on?
I love anything related to food and beverage trends and projects. We recently volunteered our time and services at a Mother’s Day Brunch and that was the perfect way to make a small difference in people’s lives with food!

We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any thoughts on highlighted members from July.   Thank you for sharing!
<![CDATA[NACE Volunteers:  Women’s Lunch Place]]>Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:21:24 GMThttp://www.newenglandnace.net/blog/nace-volunteers-womens-lunch-place
On Sunday May 14, 2017 members of New England NACE volunteered at Boston’s Women’s Lunch Place (WLP) to host a beautiful Mother’s Day Brunch for ladies and their children in need.  With the assistance of friends, family & the staff of WLP the brunch was a stunning success and touched not only the women which we impacted but all of our volunteers as well. 

Women’s Lunch Place is located on Boston’s Newbury Street in the basement of the Church of the Covenant and serves women in the community breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday of each week, welcoming anyone in need of support, friendship and/or a meal.  This amazing location was started in November of 1982 by two friends, Eileen Reilly and Jane Alexander, who volunteered at Pine Street Inn and noticed the extreme need for services for homeless women who lacked a safe place and support system in their daily lives.  They noted that some of the women would even pose as men in order to access a shelter; a huge safety risk to their well-being.  It was then that they decided to create a safe space where women felt taken care of, offering seated meals at tables with florals instead of making them stand in a line waiting to be served.  “Dignity is Everything at WLP.  [This organization] restores the dignity and empowers personal decision-making by placing the individual needs, preferences and aspirations of our guests at the center of [their] model of care.”  Fast forward to today and Women’s Lunch Place not only offers a delicious meal, but also a place to revamp a women’s self-care – offering laundry, showers, medical care and classes “to empower them to pursue their dreams.”

The night before Mother’s Day, our NACE volunteers arrived at Women’s Lunch Place excited and ready to ensure a special and memorable day for the ladies who would enter through those same doors the following day.  Complimentary linens from XO The Girls & PEAK Events, design by Tasha McQueen Bracken from SD Events, fresh flowers from Stapleton Floral Design, Jimmy Guzman’s JNG Event Consulting & LoLo Event Design, along with printed menus from Lynn Graham’s Lynn Graham Designs flowed in from our generous sponsors.  With the help of the above team and Naomi Raiselle of  GENERATIONS cinemastories, and other NACE members tables and chairs were set, linens were laid and napkins folded to create the perfect setting topped by invitations & floral centerpieces.

In the morning final touches were laid – Jimmy Guzman from JNG Event Consulting with the help of Ashley Kirouac & Michelle Fabiano of Hyatt Regency Cambridge created an enticing entryway for the ladies using fresh flowers set inside of the cracks of stone surrounding the entry path & staircase.  Ashley Gambee of Wedding Wire ensured that each place setting was set with perfecting, finishing off the place setting with fresh orchids from JNG Event Consulting.  Kristin O’Connor of Caper’s Catering arrived with Caper’s delicious cake pops, sure to put a fabulous stamp on the end of a great meal. 

Once the room was set & the music by Alissa Musto of Entertainment Specialists began, it was time for the doors to open.  The ladies were greeted and welcomed to their seats by Lyndsay Picciano of Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston along with her daughter, and New England NACE President Maria Panaggio-Phillips of Brian Phillips Photography with her family, topping off the perfect family-fun atmosphere filled with love. 

Last but certainly by no means least - from the start of day one through until the final guest departed, our New England NACE volunteer team leader Dana Siles of Dana Siles Photography documented each and every precious moment which occurred along the way - see here for a wonderful slideshow.  Dana was impressive in coordinating the moving parts of volunteers and sponsors - all in all our sponsors donated a total value of $8,650.00 – the day could not have been such a success without their generosity and ultimately created smiles all around from un-expecting attendees. 

Mother’s Day can be a very challenging day for some of the guests who attended the brunch this past May, and we at New England NACE chapter can only hope that we made even just the slightest impact to ensure that their day was better than if they had decided to go anywhere else.  New England NACE is so grateful to Women’s Lunch Place to have welcomed us to be a part of such a wonderfully special day and we hope to continue to participate in such moving events in the future. 
We at NACE would love to hear from you.  In the comments below, let us know if you have any thoughts on our time at Women’s Lunch Place.   Thank you for sharing!