• Meet Meghan Gustafson and Christie Altendorf, Definition of Teamwork

    POSTED August 29, 2019

    Meghan Gustafson and Christie Altendorf, co-chairs of ILEA Live 2019, talk about the event’s return to Minneapolis and how they’re working together to pull off an event to remember.

MNM+E: What are your backgrounds in the industry and how did you get involved with ILEA Live?

MG: My current position is director of events and programs for the Minneapolis Downtown Council. Prior to that, I planned fundraising events for The Basilica of Saint Mary. I’ve been a member of ILEA for about 12 years. I’ve been on the advisory board since 2015, and I was president from 2015-16.

CA: I currently work for D’Amico Catering as the catering events and marketing manager. I became a member of ILEA nine years ago, starting in a community role planning the Star Awards. I then moved to the governors board of chapters and was president after Meghan from 2016-17.

MNM+E: As co-chairs of the event, how do you two divide your responsibilities?

MG: We work as a really great team. Christie brings a real creativity to things, and I bring committee experience. There is a great cohesiveness to our relationship; I’m the straightforward one and she is the diplomat.

CA: We have a great working connection and bring different strengths to the team. We help each other out when workloads ebb and flow. Meghan’s production knowledge is incredible. She gets stuff done and I’m the one who makes sure everyone is happy and on board.

MNM+E: What are your plans for ILEA Live 2019?

CA: Amazing education will be the core of this conference. The goal is creating an atmosphere of inspiration and intentional connections. Attendees won’t come here and build spreadsheets and marketing plans—they will learn how to enrich all aspects of their lives with creativity.

MG: We also want to feature locally what Minneapolis is about: the music scene, the wonderful food and the fantastic art, to name a few. We’re bookending the event with an opening night party at First Avenue and tours of Paisley Park on the last day.

MNM+E: What, in your opinions, makes Minneapolis a great destination for ILEA Live 2019?

MG: This is the first time that ILEA Live has returned to a city, and they chose Minneapolis. Our local chapter has won Chapter of the Year more than anyone else. People are taking us seriously as a destination. We have some really unique opportunities here, and we want to show how much there is to do 365 days of the year.

CA: I think Meghan really hit on all of the touch points. We really want to capture what a well-rounded community we are.

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.


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