How Industry Leaders Select New Vendors


What does it take as a vendor to land new business for a notable production? Ever dreamed of working on one of Colin Cowie’s famed celebrity weddings? Perhaps you’re looking to break into the corporate scene or event build relationships with The White House. Do you stand out above your competitor? In this series of interviews, learn from top industry planners what they seek from service providers. Are you reliable and understand a team mentality? Does your work ethic and persistence for excellence shine? In this day and age, word of mouth only amounts to a small portion of new hires though tenacity, great customer service, integrity and industry involvement are a few of the qualities highlighted by our Mavericks.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of being prepared and doing your homework when pitching for new business.
  • Does your work ethic raise you to the next level? Learn how word of mouth will only carry you so far and industry involvement may help give you the edge.
  • Discover what qualities are most important to industry event leaders reviewing new vendors.

Course Information

Estimated Time: 17 mins

Difficulty: All

CMP Credit Hours:

Maverick Series

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.

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Laura Schwartz

Laura Schwartz is a professional speaker and author of “Eat, Drink & Succeed!” Laura was named one of the Best Keynote Speakers by Meetings and Conventions Magazine and one of seven American speakers who exceed and surpass expectations by Successful Meetings Magazine.

Laura also emcees conferences and events, conducts interviews on stage with CEOs and organization leaders, and moderates expert panel discussions. Drawing on her experience as the White House Director of Events under the Clinton Administration and on the guiding principles of her best-selling book, Eat, Drink & Succeed, Laura tailors each presentation to the audience.

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Colja Dams

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.

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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.

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Andrea Michaels

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.

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Colin Cowie

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.

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David Merrell

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.

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Marcy Blum

Marcy Blum is a world-renowned event planner, entertaining expert and owner of the acclaimed event planning company Marcy Blum Associates based in New York City. Her signature style is actually the ability to find a signature style for her clients. “There’s no such thing as a Marcy Blum event,” she explains. “I try to get a real sense of my clients and use my knowledge and know-how to bring their event to life.”

Having orchestrated lavish functions for Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Carl Icahn, Salmon Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi, Billy Joel and Katie Lee, the Rockefeller family and Regis and Joy Philbin, Marcy Blum literally wrote the books on event planning: Wedding Planning for Dummies and Wedding Kit for Dummies. In 1986, Marcy launched her eponymous company, Marcy Blum Associates, beginning with corporate events and evolving into social events and particularly weddings.

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