Meet the team: Jenna Mesic

Managing our team all the way through the production of a program, our Project Director Jenna Mesic is giving you insight into the long process between idea and execution.

When did you start at DPEM? On July 15, 2012, I came on board at DPEM as the Project Director.

How did you get started in the event industry originally?  My career in events actually started when I was in high school. I worked for a friend’s family reunion planning company and that is what started my passion for events. I grew to love the industry in college where I begin to create & execute large events. After college I immediately moved to Las Vegas where I produced over 900 weddings & events in 5 years, expanding my knowledge base and love for the industry.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome as a producer, and what was your solution?  One of the biggest challenges I have faced in the industry was when I had to convert a horse arena in Novato into a beautiful wedding venue. The plans were going great until the week of the event when it started to rain cats & dogs! The barn was protected, but the acreage surrounding the property was at least ankle deep in mud. Working with construction crews and cement layers, as the rain begin to slow, we created an entirely new driveway up to this barn. At first we were not sure if we needed to go as far as creating a driveway, but I knew it was needed when I personally fell knee deep in a wet mud pile. Then it had to be done!  (Yes, I had to buy all new clothes for the day.)

What was the most luxurious or glamorous event you have produced?  While In Las Vegas with The Ritz-Carlton, I produced a $1million wedding at the hotel.  To this day, it was the most luxurious event I have ever produced.  The client was from LA and had over 700 guests at this black tie affair.  The 12,000 sq. ft. Grand Ballroom of The Ritz-Carlton was entirely re-carpeted per the client’s request, the flowers were draped en-masses from hand made chandeliers scattered around the room, the cake was a breathtaking 8 stories tall, and every guest had handmade napkins encrusted with small diamonds.  It was extravagant to say the least.

What is the most unusual request you have ever had?  One of the more unusual requests I have ever received was when a client asked for live centerpieces.  The client wanted live animals from fish to hamsters as the centerpiece of their event.  Sadly, for them, the venue would not allow it to be done.

As a client working with a new event planner, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to prepare them for the adventure?  Get to know your event planner because relationships are very important, and you want to be sure you are going to enjoy working with someone in all different scenarios and through potential complications.

What has been your proudest moment as an event producer?  Honestly, getting through any event where I know it could not have gone better and the client thank you at the end is always my proudest moment.

How would you describe your event producing style?  I would like to describe my producing style as a mix of detail orientated and enjoyable. I want clients to know that I love what I do, and am committed to their event’s success because I am invested in the outcome for the both of us.  I can also say that I am tough when need be, I look at the big picture and I like to foresee things before they happen.

What do you see as an upcoming trend for this year?  As the market is looking hopeful for 2013, I believe we will see some incentive trips resurfacing in some wonderful locations around the world.  People want to encourage their staff, which is always a great recognition tool. Therefore, I see businesses hosting family orientated events for the whole company.  Lastly, I see technology as the ever growing trend in conferences.  With so many business conferences around the world, the conferences are always competing for the next big show piece.

Where can you be found on your time off from work?  Spending time with my husband, at the movies, relaxing at home or wandering the aisles in Target.

What would be your dream event to produce?  I love events with a good cause and I have a childhood fascination with Disney, so my dream event to produce would be an event for Make a Wish Foundation at a Disney Park.  Not only would I manage the production side, but I would like to be involved with the children at the park as well.

What is your best-kept secret to success?  Do you what you love to do and do not choose a career based on money.

Posted by: Lindsay Sutherland, DPEM Team, Tips of the Trade
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Meet the Team: Reed Jones

When did you start at DPEM? June 2012.

How did you get started in the event industry originally?  After completing my Bachelor’s in Social Work I spent several months in the Cape Town, South Africa working at a refugee center. When I returned to the US, I started with a event production company in New York in 2007. I spent 5 years working on national tours, pop-up shops, and consumer experiences.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome as a producer, and what was your solution?  Needing to know and understand everything. As an event producer you need to have a solid understanding of staging and lighting, guest flow and management, but you also need to know how specific technologies work in different situations, or why some chefs need certain tools while others need slight different tool.

What was the most luxurious or glamorous event you have produced?  The New York City stop of the UEFA Champions League Trophy tour. We had an amazing party at the top of a NYC Skyscraper with soccer legends and celebrity fans.

What is the most unusual request you have ever had?  For the grand opening of the W Forshay in Minneapolis, I had to source a coffin and a vintage hearse, both were used for the penultimate moment that kicked the party off.

As a client working with a new event planner, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to prepare them for the adventure?  Be brave and creative. There are going to be many things that are going to be new to you, but all of them are going to lead you to through a very exciting and rewarding experience.

What has been your proudest moment as an event producer?  In April of 2010 I had just finished some events for Tribeca Film Festival and I was headed to LA for my next event. The weekend I was in LA, I produced casting call in Dallas and a booth at the FIRST Robotic Championship in St Louis. To have 3 events on the same weekend, thousand of miles a part from each other, go smoothly and successively makes me love the work we do.

How would you describe your producing style?  I am always looking for how to do things in a better way or in a new way. Some many specific events or types of events are common in our lives, but some of these can be a greater impact and made more enjoyable by all but looking at things in a new light and taking a fresh approach.

What do you see as an upcoming trend for this year?  Red Pandas are most definitely going to be the most popular animal of 2013. In the event world I think we are going to see the acceleration of mobile and social into an event in ways that will extend your experience beyond the event itself.

Where can you be found on your time off from work?  At home with friends playing game and having conversation, or out looking for new experiences with good company.

What would be your dream event to produce?  I would love to do an event that captures the definition of social/corporate responsibility at a time that is most crucial to those who it benefits. There are a multitude of ways that this event could occur and I try to always keep this in mind when producing any event.

What is your best-kept secret to success?  Down time. When working in event marketing it is always hard to step back from the fresh and exciting opportunities, but a little down time opens up new pathways.

Posted by: Lindsay Sutherland, DPEM Team, Tips of the Trade
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Working Smarter: Inbox Detox*

The events industry requires its members to be multi-tasking, detail-oriented, hyper-organized professionals. We look at tackling each day on the job as efficiently as possible. As the use of email is constantly increasing with attachments, notifications and what would otherwise be phone correspondence, we are seeing just how important email management is to us. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up:

- The biggest challenges are keeping up with the volume and minimizing the clutter and stress. Avoid checking your email each time you see a message pop-up in your inbox as this interrupts your work flow.

- You own your email–turn off the email notifications on your mobile device. This minimizes interruptions during meetings and productive work sessions.

- Check your email in the longest time possible. Experts suggest five times a day for most professionals. More often and you are cutting into your productivity.

- When checking emails, start at the top of your inbox and do not move onto the next until the top message is out of your inbox. As you are going through what has come in, you should be sorting the messages and setting a date when you are going to look at them again.

- While at meetings, prep the people back at the office and the people you correspond with a lot of your absence. Let them know that you are stepping out and who to contact if they can’t reach you. If needed, schedule a time when you get back to the office to process your email.

- Exception to the rule (there always has to be one): if the incoming email takes two minutes or less, than handle it regardless of the priority to reduce some of the clutter.

Durso, M. (2012). You own your email. PCMA Convene, 31 (12).

* Inbox Detox is a registered trademark of The Egan Group, Inc and Marsha Egan, author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of Email Excellence.

Posted by: Lindsay Sutherland, Tips of the Trade
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