While a degree and experience are expected, top level event industry professionals base their decision to hire on a unique blend of street and book smarts, personality, teamwork and strong work ethic. How do you react in an unpredictable, stressful situation? Do you feel comfortable working with all different types of people from high level executives to delivery crews? Do you have the ability to be creative yet analytical? What does your social media status say about you and do potential employers really care what you post? Learn from our ELI Mavericks what it takes to be successful and stand out among other job applicants.
- Learn how interviewers engage job applicants in stressful situations to gauge their reaction under pressure.
- Hear from seasoned vets what it takes to succeed in the events industry and the skills needed to take you to the top.
- Take away tips and best practices for interviewing within the events industry.
The Event Leadership Institute is proud to produce our exclusive Maverick Series: interviews with people who plan the biggest and most high-profile events, run the most well respected and award-winning companies, manage the biggest venues, and demonstrate thought leadership, innovation and creative thinking. Join us as these industry Mavericks share their stories, insights and guidance.
For over 25 years it has been David Merrell’s philosophy that “All special events truly demand a customized approach in order to fully achieve the client’s vision and purpose.” It is this vision, passion, and dedication, to each and every client that has inevitably led David E. Merrell and AOO Events, to become one of the most sought-after producers with a growing list of Fortune 500 and international corporations for product launches, corporate events, celebrity-attended fundraisers, and intimate weddings.
Continuously leading the market in a forward direction with authoritative momentum, David E. Merrell and AOO Events can respectively be considered a driving force in today’s event industry.
Colin Cowie is a global citizen in every sense of the term. Having traveled over 13 million miles and visiting nearly 100 countries, he creates excitement and finds inspiration wherever he goes. His love for design and business keeps him hands-on with all of his projects. Through his website, books and television appearances, as well as by example, he consistently sends that message to the world.
Born in Zambia and raised in South Africa, he is an avid supporter of several charities focused on children’s education and health. The party planner of choice for celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Seacrest and Kim Kardashian, what sets Colin apart is his experiential approach to design; what you smell, touch, taste, feel and hear are carefully orchestrated to create the ultimate experience for Colin’s clients.
Winner of over 70 international event awards, Andrea has planned and produced events since 1978. Building her company, Extraordinary Events, into a globally recognized brand has included product launches, consumer events and large-scale public events as well as more intimate and boutique conferences or multi-day incentive trips in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia or Latin America or wherever a plane can fly. Her list of clients ranges from presidents and royalty to Fortune 100 companies.
She is also the published author of “Reflections of a Successful Wallflower: Lessons in Business, Lessons in Life.” among several other books where she guest authored with greats like Deepak Chopra or Jack Canfield.
Although a Paris native, Lauren has lived in NYC most of her life. She always knew she was going to own a business where she would create magic and memories.
Whether she is working with a charm-laden raw space or a sprawling family estate, the common thread between Loli weddings & events is that every last detail strikes a balance between approachability and luxury. Lauren loves to weave high-quality design elements into experiences that feel comforting and reflect a shining sense of hospitality, something she picked up while planning events for the likes of restaurateur Daniel Boulud & Thomas Keller.
Sarah Pease co-founded Brilliant Event Planning in 2008. She has spent the last 10 years getting a rush from constant improvement, meaningful work, and smashing goals — as a teammate, an entrepreneur, a lead generator, a creative mind, a TV personality, and above all — a marketer. Sarah has shared conference rooms, helipads, stages, television studios, dinner tables, and aircraft carriers with some of the brightest minds in nearly every industry – sparking new ideas and creating a culture of marketing innovation around her.
In her more than 10 years of event experience, Noelle Provencial has produced more than 500 events across the country, including top customer events, ticketed events, marketing panels, high-end celebrity events, internal meetings, and employee functions, ranging in size from 30 to 300,000 people. She has managed experiential programs large and small for brands including Groupon, T-Mobile, Skinnygirl Cocktails, Eggo, Zipcar and Outcome Health. Noelle has a true passion for events; her goal is to develop and execute stunning, memorable and high-impact events for companies that want to leverage experiential marketing to drive critical business goals.
Jed Weinstein co-founded WCMG with Anthony Coopers in 2010, fusing together their skills in production, marketing, creative and sales. WCMG clients have included Jaguar, Dreamworks, Lexus, Reebok, Moncler, The New York Food & Wine Festival, Hollywood movie stars, and Gilt Group.
Haley Carlson is the former Director of National Events and Sponsorships for Tribune Publishing. She has a strong background in producing unique experiences for audiences of all shapes and sizes.
André Shahrdar is the Executive Vice President for Business Strategy and Development at the Barkley Kalpak Agency, an international event marketing agency. Their clients include Mastercard, Hyundai, Samsung, HSBC, LG and other leading global brands. André is a highly skilled change manager with a keen understanding of the power of a well-defined brand and a proven ability to navigate growth through clear strategic design and execution.
B. Allan Kurtz
Managing Director of both Ziegfeld Ballroom and Gotham Hall, Allan Kurtz has been at the helm of Iconic Spaces’ venues since 2003. His background includes five years as Director of Catering at Sheraton Meadowlands, three years at Water’s Edge, and 13 years at the Tavern on the Green in various positions, with the last five years as Managing Director. Allan is an active member of the prestigious NYC & Co. Restaurant Committee and served on the board of the Central Park Precinct Community Council and on the advisory board of his alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University, for over 15 years.
Christina Neault brings 20 years of international experience, a deep roster of contacts and solid credibility to the table. She is a fashion industry leader, having served as the Executive Producer of Fashion Week in NYC, LA and Miami. She was a highly sought-after consultant for fashion weeks in Berlin, Mexico City, Mumbai, Seoul, and Toronto. She has also consulted and produced events for national broadcast networks and some of the world’s most renowned designers.
As a consultant, Christina produced events, television segments and galas that capitalized on her unique ability to integrate commerce and creative with style. Her client list included Cotton Inc., NFL, The View, The Today Show and QVC. She is currently working with clients on event concept, development and execution, full logistical management, as well as serving as the fashion programming consultant at Pier59 Studios.
Colja Dams is Chief Executive Officer of VOK DAMS, one of the leading agencies for events and live marketing globally. With offices in Dubai, Beijing, France, Shanghai, and Wuppertal, Germany, VOK DAMS has produced award-winning events for leading brands all over the world.
Karen Dalzell, Cultural CEO of Dalzell Creative Group, started Dalzell Productions in 2000 when her experience as a producer demanded horizons beyond off-off-broadway theater.
With over 20 years of experience encompassing all aspects of the event, Karen’s particular skill is to combine creative project planning with new and inventive business models that provide a solid, sustainable basis for continuing, open innovation. She has been recognized as a strategic visionary and entrepreneur with a track record of success in producing exceptional events. Karen is a recipient of prestigious awards for exemplary performance.
Mary Wittenberg is President of the EF Education First Pro Cycling cycling team and past President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Road Runners (NYRR). During 17 years with New York Road Runners, Mary oversaw the TCS New York City Marathon and many other races, events, and running-related programs. Mary was selected in 2015 as Global CEO of Virgin Group’s new festival sports brand, Virgin Sport, but left the organization in 2017 when the company cancelled plans for events in the United States.
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