• Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     
  • Minnesota's 2020 Hall of Fame

     
    POSTED April 22, 2020
     

Take note of these seven pros who are making their mark in the meetings and events industry. 

Jolene Ihle, Founder
IdeationMKT
Lifetime Achievement 

“I was 10 years old when I received my Muscular Dystrophy Carnival Kit in the mail. The box was filled with cool ideas and colorful materials to  support fundraising efforts. I was completely enthralled with the event planning process. … This experience was my jumpstart into events and I was hooked.”

ON HER FIRST JOB: “My first real position was as a promotions coordinator for Chuck E. Cheese’s when they first entered this market. … It was there that I met my husband of 30 years.”

ON HER MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
“Ideation. Ideation is the creative collaboration process of bringing an idea to life by connecting strategic solutions with powerful insights, through innovation and development, to actualization.”

“I’ve been fortunate to work with ambitious people and successful entrepreneurs early in my career and [to be] exposed to a broad spectrum of the industry. I’m grateful for the opportunities and the autonomy to take the bull by the horns.”

ON HER MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:
“Being one of the founding members to form the Mpls-St. Paul ILEA chapter ranks high as the most significant experiences in my career. Knowing we made an impact in our community and for future event professionals is rewarding.”

ON HER SECRET WEAPON: “It’s no secret that food is always the best way to win hearts at a meeting but knowing your client’s favorite flavors is a super-power weapon of opportunity.”

“2020 is going to be groundbreaking in many ways. With a focus on taking the ideation playbook I’ve been applying to business for years, I’m excited to create events and sharable experiences (which are more important and popular than ever) that are inspiring and seamless for Twin Cities brands.”

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Diane Dukes, CMP, Vice President of Meetings & Events
Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) 
Best Meeting Professional 

“I find it interesting that each year Forbes Magazine comes out with the most stressful jobs list, and every year the meeting professional is in the top 10, sometimes even the top five. I find the job challenging and fun, never the same, always with a lot of moving parts. I like the travel, working with the vendors and hoteliers, and trying to create the most educational and beneficial meetings as possible for our attendees.”

ON HER MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
“Negotiation is probably the most valuable skill for [my work with] PLUS. … I like to negotiate from a position of strength to gain as much as I can for my association and at the same time recognize the needs of our suppliers.”

ON HER BIGGEST CHALLENGE:
“Every event is its own challenge. However, we had an event where the host hotel had a ‘bomb threat’ and we had to evacuate one whole tower where our attendees were staying. That was an interesting experience to say the least; and although it turned out not to be an actual threat, we didn’t know that at the time.”

ON THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF HER CAREER:
“We travel to wonderful cities and traditionally have hosted big-name speakers. I’ve met two U.S. presidents, one former prime minister, four secretaries of state, some of the best authors and comedians as well as brilliant business leaders from across the country.”

ON WHAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU:
“My passion is travel and American history, and I am often lucky enough to combine both interests. I have visited all 50 states, some many times, and now I am working on seeing all the national parks and presidential libraries.”

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Joe Kollar, Director of Operations
Mayo Civic Center
Up-and-Coming Meeting Professional

“I played sports in high school and college and I really thought that I  would end up working in that world exclusively. … I was introduced to the meetings/events side of the business randomly, and I really took a liking to it. The controlled chaos, the relationships that you build, and the people that you get to meet and work closely with is what kept me here. I would have a difficult time transitioning to a job witha standard work week and no excitement at all.”

ON HOW HE DESCRIBES HIS JOB:
“My job is being a partner to the client as they bring their event into Rochester and into Mayo Civic Center. It’s my job to make sure their needs and expecta- tions are met when they come to our facility and into our city. I achieve that goal by working closely with them and then keeping all of our internal facility staff focused on delivering on all prom- ises when event day comes.”

ON HOW HE UNWINDS AFTER A BIG EVENT:
“This depends greatly on how the event ultimately turned out. If it went well, I like to go home, relax and unplug for the day. If everything didn’t go the way we wanted to, I like to go home and obsess about it uncontrollably and use it as motivation for the next one.”

ON HIS MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
“The most important skill in this work is your ability to communicate—whether that’s speaking, or more often, listening. There’s so much information coming through during the planning process that you really need to be able to communicate effectively, and then know when it’s time to be quiet and listen to what the client is saying.”

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Hayley Matthews-Jones, CSEP, Founder
Minneapolis Craft Market and Minneapolis Vintage Market 
Best Special Events Planner

“I went to art school and realized half-way through my degree that I actually enjoyed coordinating the exhibitions we hosted more than I enjoyed creating the work to go in them. … I loved the variety of skills I was able to utilize in events work, and I like project-based work where you get to complete an event and then move on to something new.”

ON HOW SHE DESCRIBES HER JOB:
“I’m pretty much everything right now: marketer, strategist, administrator, IT support, you name it! I’m working on getting some additional support in place this year, so that I can free up more time to  work on some of the things that only I can work on to keep growing the business, while also maintaining high standards on what we’re currently offering.”

ON HER BIGGEST LEARNING MOMENT ON THE JOB:
“Working alongside [my previous supervisor] for five years instilled in me the importance of methodical documentation and organization in your work, so that when it comes time to replicate projects or training in new staff, you have everything available in a logical place. It sounds basic, but it’s a skill that not a lot of people have. I currently host more than 120 events per year, so having those systems in place  is really essential to being able to work effectively and increase efficiencies.”

“I started my business when I still had  a full-time job and I would say taking the leap from the stability of that job to work full time on my business—and having it be successful—was such a pivotal time for me. … There’s a huge amount of power in following your instincts and committing to your passion—whatever that may be.”

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Kelsey Doyle, Event Manager
One10
Up-and-Coming Special Events Planner

“I was working as a business analyst for Target and realized that I needed to make a change in my life. I sat down, took inven- tory of my skills and spent a lot of time dreaming about what my ideal job would look like. I got into the industry obliquely by selling private event space and it took years to find out my dream job even existed.”

ON HOW SHE DESCRIBES HER JOB:
“I work with clients to develop incentive trips that reward and motivate their employees with unique adventures like snowmobiling on a glacier in Iceland or going on a safari in South Africa. I then work with local partners and the teams at One10 to organize flights, dinners and everything else needed to create a seam- less guest experience.”

ON HER MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
“The ability to think on your feet. In this industry last-minute changes are guaran- teed and it’s necessary to be able to quick- ly evaluate your options and make decisions that optimize the balance between client expectations, guest needs and the reality of the situation.”

ON THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF HER CAREER:
“Off-roading in a Jeep on a small island off the  coast  of  Malta, with stark limestone cliffs rising out of the crystal-blue water, and being overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude that I get paid to do this.”

ON HER FIRST JOB:
“This job no longer exists, but I was the receptionist at my local Target. Sometimes when the phone rings I still instinctively want to answer, ‘Thank you for calling Apple Valley Super Target, this is Kelsey, how can I help you?’”

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Angie Kufus, National Account Executive
Meet Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Convention Center
Best Supplier

ON HOW SHE DESCRIBES HER JOB:
“My core focus is to sell and market the Minneapolis Convention Center and all of it 1.6 million square feet of splendor. It has so much flexible space that it’s the perfect fit  for many different types of events. … As an employee of Meet Minneapolis, I have the luxury of learning about all of the amazing venues, hotels and experiences the Twin Cities have to offer. If the convention center isn’t the right fit, I am able to listen to [clients’] needs and recommend other solution wherever they might be. The goal of Meet Minneapolis is to bring economic development to the city. It doesn’t have to be at on specific location.”

ON HER MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
Honest empathy and personal integrity/character are amongst the most valuable in my opinion. No matter how experienced a meeting planner, the event they are producing has a lot of moving parts and is very demanding. Things [for clients] can change quickly and they need to trust that the person working with them understands their needs, provide accurate information and can help impleme what’s needed for a successful event.”

ON HOW SHE UNWINDS:
“Not to brag, bu have some really awesome friends and fam ily. Time spent with them is always delightf Although the time may be energetic, the fun actually relaxes me and puts me in my best state. I also enjoy scenic walks, listening to podcasts and books on tape. If I really want to relax, I read … because I fall asleep.”

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Rachel Thompson, Sales Manager
Visit Greater St. Cloud
Up-and-Coming Supplier

ON HOW SHE DESCRIBES HER JOB:
“My job is offering a landscape in Greater St. Cloud where [planners] can focus on what makes what they do unique, and empowering them to try something they have always wanted to do.”

ON HER MOST VALUABLE SKILL:
“Anticipating the needs of others before they even know they need it. This allows event professionals to trust you, look to you for advice and offer you a seat at the table. Make an event planner look good and they will remember you!”

ON HER FIRST JOB:
“My first job, besides babysitting, was coaching gymnastics. This was the sport that showed me all of the clichés I can carry with me in life: It’s not how many times you fall, it’s about always get- ting back up. Work hard and you will see results. Dedication makes champions. Don’t stop just because it’s hard—the list goes on.”

ON HER SECRET WEAPON:
“My ‘secret weapon’ is my stature. When I walk into a room, it’s certainly not my height that demands attention, but it might be my boldness and desire to help. Just like dynamite, big things come in small packages and I strive to be someone who helps make things happen and leave an impact (in a positive way, unlike most dynamite).”

 

Even during a worldwide pandemic, the hospitality industry is working to make people feel at ease. Though many hotels can only open their doors to health care workers and first responders, they’re reaching out to their local communities with bright messages in clever, socially-distanced ways. Through the heart-shaped lighting of windows at night, hotels are serving as beacons of hope in cities across the country. 

 

Although several cities are opening up again, many offices are still enforcing work from home policies. As they did when Stay at Home first began, plenty of organizations are still offering webinars with insights on how to tackle the new normal. Gaining new knowledge is a great way to use extra time that might have been spent on a commute. 

Here at M+E, we’ll keep the following list updated, as some webinars are live and some are pre-recorded. Please email lauren.pahmeier@tigeroak.com to add more applicable webinars to the list.

 

Take note of these seven pros who are making their mark in the meetings and events industry. Colorado Meetings + Events is proud to introduce our 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, who are among the state's most creative, dedicated and passionate individuals. Our editorial advisory board, composed of 15 industry representatives from around the staste, nominated and selected this year's inductees for their commitment and unique contributions. Now in its 13th year, the Hall of Fame has 90 distinguished members.