It was the ski bum lifestyle that called to Lindsay Arell. Her only dream as a 20-something was a free lift ticket and enough tips to cover monthly rent; she was in Vail following college waiting to be accepted into the Peace Corps. Nonetheless, her passion for nature, the mountains and Colorado’s pristine attributes set in motion an avalanche of change for Arell and her beloved state. 

A Denver native, she graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, receiving a degree in political science. However, Arell was inspired on the mountain and became more involved in the Vail community and resort as a lift operator, soon becoming the race and special events coordinator. 

“When I started at Vail, I could never have predicted this career path. But I always knew I wanted to work with the environment,” Arell notes. “I think the key to success in this area is working within an industry I was very familiar with the opportunities for improvement.” 

Arell returned to Denver after a few years out West to further her budding career of event production, but with a twist: She wanted to bring sustainability to the forefront of the industry. “The GM of the Colorado Convention Center proposed an idea. What if I were to become the sustainability coordinator? It was a new position, never been filled or even mapped out; I jumped at it,” says Arell, who became the first sustainable programs manager for CCC. 

The timing was perfect. Governor John Hickenlooper, then mayor of Denver, wanted the 2008 Democratic National Convention to be the most sustainable convention ever, and Arell was tasked as the team leader: “The common goal of a sustainable DNC was to lead incredible collaborations amongst various agencies and organizations in Denver.”

Fast forward eight years and Arell is now an industry leader. She is the president of Honeycomb Strategies , a company based in Denver that has an emphasis on helping events and conferences prepare and execute greener practices. In addition to her roll as sustainable program manager for CCC and City of Denver Arts and Venues facilities, other clients are as varied as the Philadelphia Eagles, Natural Products East and West Expos, Sustainable Brands, VISIT DENVER, Vancouver Convention Centre, Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, and Incheon Convention & Visitors Bureau in South Korea. 

Whether Arell is working with local organizations to find new uses for leftover conference materials or tracking metrics such as energy and water consumption, this hometown girl proves that moving mountains and creating new solutions is possible. honeycombstrategies.net; 303.681.1768 

Gail Davis, founder and president of Dallas-based GDA Speakers, was working in corporate training for EDS when the phone rang. “One of my mentors called me and said, ‘There’s a position in the events department, and I think you should do it. It would be so easy for a working mom,’” says Davis, before adding wryly, “It was clearly someone who had never planned events.” 

 

Danielle Boyles’ first job in hospitality was at the front desk of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. “I lived and worked in Asia for four years and learned to speak Japanese while I was there. The Royal York hired me on the spot to work at the front desk and with the Japanese tour groups. I never looked back,” she says.

 

From Baltimore to Boston to brainstorming, Ralph Weaver has never been one to say “no” to trying something new. After studying communications and marketing at Boston University, the Baltimore native made his way to New York City where he worked with a public relations agency, allowing him to dip his toes in the world of event planning.  

And he hasn’t looked back since.