Hospitality & Event Management Alumni Perspectives #1

This is a series of mini-stories that will touch your heart, inspire you to action, and always make you smile.  Thanks to the amazing students and alumni of DCTC’s Hospitality and Event Management program for this 15-year collection!

Thank you, LeAnn!

Dakota County Technical College’s Meeting and Event Management Program, along with Rosealee Lee, has provided so many great opportunities and opened several doors for me. As a graduate of the then certificate only program, I couldn’t have asked for better education or experience going into this ever- expanding industry.

The education portion of the Meeting and Event Management industry is so new compared to the wide array of experienced professionals out there. My competition, both as an individual in the industry and as a business owner, come from those who have been in the industry, whether on purpose or by default of their job description, for more than 20-30 years! The education I’ve received gives me a different approach to the industry, in which I hope to provide a new perspective to my employers and clients.

Through hands-on activities, real-life experiences and opportunities, and plenty of role playing, Rosealee and the Meeting and Event Management program have been two of the best resources I have as an Event Planner and I’m thankful for the insight and experience they’ve both provided. I highly recommend the program for a current planner in the industry seeking a fresh or new approach or for anyone seeking a career change.

Hospitality and Event Management Alumni Share Their Successes

I asked an alumni of the Hospitality and Event Management program to detail how her events had changed.  Here’s her response regarding an event she did shortly after graduation. She has since gone on to develop larger programs and secure a great place for herself in the business and hospitality industries. Her opening statement says it all!

Thank you, Dawn!

In previous years I just went through the motions and followed instructions given to me by the hotel staff.  This year I felt like I was the one in control (somewhat).  I still have a long way to go, but it was definitely a different air. 
  1. Preparing an emergency plan and working with our own Risk Management Department to get the appropriate paperwork on insurance issues (never knew I should).
  2. Working with all of the presenters or shareholders of the meeting, to have meetings on the progress of the meeting and the contents of the program.  This was a chore – we live in silos around here, but I wanted to make sure that everyone was an owner in the event and it was very clear to everyone how the meeting was going to flow.  Previously it was only one person who was in charge and all others were somewhat (or more like absolutely) in the dark about the entire event.
  3. Making sure that the “Welcome” speaker announced where the emergency exits were, where the restrooms were, and where the staging area was in case of an emergency.
  4. Getting emergency information from our attendees – before we just invited them!  This year I made sure that all contact information was readily available in the emergency plan that I and corporate had a copy of.
  5. Working with catering on the buffets served in conjunction with other events at the facility – saved money.
  6. Working with catering to serve the lunch desserts at the afternoon break -saved money.
  7. Insisting on a pre-convention meeting to make sure I knew who all the players were at the hotel and how to reach them.
  8. Insisting on a post-convention meeting to make sure I completely understood all the charges (which is where I found the screen fee.  The AV rentals were not included in the initial contract.  I purchased a “package” which included a free standing screen because the screen in the meeting room was in a corner at an angle.  The day we had round table discussions we used the ceiling screen instead of the free-standing screen because of the riser in the middle of the room, and boom – charged!!)
  9. Making all of my own centerpieces and using other materials we have on hand to use throughout the event, such as table covers we use at trade shows I used on the buffet tables (you taught us to be creative!)
  10. Making sure that I had an AV technician on-site during the time we had our keynote speaker and presenters.  He was worth his weight in gold.  I never had one in the past (actually didn’t know I could!!) and will never go without one in the future.
  11. Finding a linen rental company that I could afford so our awards banquet was an event they would remember!!

Mentors Open Doors to the Future, For Others and Themselves

Thank you for the positive response about my recent Mentor post, Mentors Make a Difference! Now it’s time to pay it forward. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about mentorship and realizing that we all are mentors.  We may mentor in different ways, but we all model behavior, skills, and values — that’s mentorship!  For many individuals, the act of mentoring goes still further.  And the really great thing is that mentors gain more than they give.  I’ll get to my ideas on that in a moment, but first, let me give you the Hospitality Alumni Mentorship Application.

DCTC alumni are needed to bring education full-circle.  Hospitality and Event Management certificate or degree graduates are doing amazing things in business worldwide.  Pass it on! Graduates, here’s the application you are requesting.

DCTC Hospitality & Event Mentor Program Application

Graduates here is just a partial list of what’s in it for you, besides the obvious “feel good — give back to the community” feeling you get.Develop your own careerhands_circle_team_19002 (1)

  • Get a great addition to your resume
  • Attain increased visibility within the professional community and your workplace
  • Grow your network
  • Add to your collaboration and communication “toolbox”

More mentor initiative information is available hereConnect with me on LinkedIn at any time.

Crazy Success

Following alumni of the DCTC Hospitality and Event programs is a summer passion for me.  Tiffany Vickaryous is now Director of Food and Beverage at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, ND.  For readers who are unfamiliar with the Alerus Center, think Stadium, Arena, Conference Center, and Home of UND Football.

Tiffany is a hospitality veteran.  She earned her stars even before college graduation, with her position of Special Projects Manager and Director of Sales at Ovations Food Services. In a 2011 article titled, Organized Chaos, Tiffany shared details about her career. I especially like how she described her love of “organized chaos.”

“The day oftiffany the event is my favorite part. It’s always crazy and something is always happening. There are so many moving parts. After it’s over, the last thing you want to hear is someone calling your name. It’s organized chaos—and I love it!” — Tiffany Vickaryous


Be a Rising Service Star

The 2nd Annual State of Service has been released from SalesForce.comholding_golden_star_pc_1239.  Included are great tips, terrific stats, and a cool self-assessment.  Take the quiz and comment here what your score was.

After I took the assessment I received three best practices that I can really get behind:

  1. Use communities to engage customers and socialize service solutions.
  2. Empower agents to personalize service interactions with a 360-degree customer view.
  3. Use case routing to connect customers with subject matter experts that can close cases fast.

Meet me on LinkedIn to chat about the rising service stars in your brand.

In Case You Forgot

CheckInEasy has done a good job of reminding us all about some forgotten essentials. Forgotten, perhaps, if you haven’t experienced the Event Management Certificate at DCTC.  Either way, it’s a great article that gives me ideas for a larger list.  Hmmm. . . I feel another article coming on.

Read 10 Forreminder_finger_string_3209gotten Essentials When Planning an Event.

Then, check out your future at the Hospitality and Event Management program!  Meet me on LinkedIn to find out more.