I ngrid Nagy, CSEP, owner and CEO of By Design Collective, says one of the events she’s most proud of took place at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, where she and her team drained the hotel’s pool and covered the basin with carpet. They then proceeded to introduce vertical food displays to the world, showing off portable walls covered in delicious bite-size food. “We received so many compliments on that event, but [draining the pool] just happened. It was one of those ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ moments,” says Nagy.
It’s been a long road to the triumphant moment where she wowed the world at the base of that pool. While attending college with plans to become a dietician, she was struck by the realization that for her, “it wasn’t about the food intake and science as much as it was the experience,” Nagy explains. Since then, she’s worked just about every job she could in the food industry, from service staff to the delivery department, learning sales and culinary skills and finally buying the company she had worked for in 2002. Nagy has transformed it with her husband, Cade, into a successful event collective that includes Catering by Design, Decor by Design and Picnics by Design.
This year is especially busy as her term as international president of the International Live Events Association coincides with the annual ILEA Live conference, which is taking place in Nagy’s home base, Denver, from Aug. 16-18. “We have some tours and ancillary activities that will allow people to see Denver and experience the cutting-edge event scene here to get inspiration,” says Nagy.
When she’s not running an in-demand catering and décor company or planning an international conference, Nagy enjoys spending time with her family, which also includes a son and daughter. “We like taking trips and having experiences as opposed to things,” she says. As one of Denver’s top experience curators, it’s clear that Nagy’s priorities translate into her work.