Design for Success: Embassy Chefs Met the Challenge! You can too!

haiti-serving-the-winning-dishWhat challenge, you ask?  Seamlessly integrating components of an event is always a challenge; even more so when logistics, procurement, stakeholder objectives, marketing, and public relations meet.  This slide show from the 9th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge shows the magic that happens when synergy meets success. Thank you, BizBash and PCMA for excellent reporting. Students at DCTC’s Hospitality and Event Management program learn all of this and more as part of their journey.  Together we make your success happen. One simple course, a certificate, or degree can change your life, amp up your career and earn accolades for your organization!

Learn about stakeholder objectives in SMGT 1160.

Explore procurement and financial aspects in SMGT 1160, 1161, and 1162.

Logistics range from event space, traffic flow, signage, floral, audio-visual, communication and just a few hundred other items.  Start with SMGT 1160, 1161, 1162, 1680, and 1696 . Then move on to SMGT 1166 to create WOW in the exciting world of event design.

Want to know more about marketing and public relations?  Check out SMGT 1176.

All of the components come together in SMGT 1172.  Don’t get caught up in the small details and neglect the big picture.  After all, a successful hospitality event manager is a project manager at the core!

Achieving success is an adventure! Learn about your adventure by email from Marki Struensee, or contact me on LinkedIn.

DCTC Hospitality Student & Alumni Reunions

circa 2007? Life has happened to the alumni pictured here. Many reside throughout the U.S. and other countries. (Hello to Fah in Thailand!)

Many of you have asked for a chance to get together and network with other DCTC Hospitality program students and graduates.  I’ve also had many inquiries about cruise meetings – how they work, what the experience is like, etc.  So . . .

We’re celebrating the first decade of our programs twice:

January 7 in the Minneapolis/St Paul Metro area, AND

June 24-27 in Miami, Nassau, Bahamas, and Great Stirrup Cay.

Here’s the scoop . . .

Giggles and Catch-Up Potluck

January 7, 2016, Thursday, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.potluck

At Rosealee’s condo party room, 3600 Wooddale Ave So, St Louis Park, MN

Bring a snack or dessert to share, and your beverage of choice.  Guests are welcome.

RSVP to with subject “Reunion” – please be sure to indicate # of individuals attending.  (I’d love to get an approximate count of how many will be attending to ensure I make enough of the famous meatballs.)  There is NO CHARGE for this event.

Inaugural DCTC Hospitality Alumni Cruise

Thank you, Sharyn Bennett, owner of Calico Jack’s Travel and program alumni, for organizing this opportunity. Registration will open soon.  Visit the DCTC page at for more information.  Contact Sharyn by phone (651-247-4185) or email (

Board the fabulous Norwegian Sky on June 24, 2016 in Miami, FL for a three-night cruise.


We’ll visit Nassau for an exclusive shore excursion, the Bahamas and your own private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

map - Copy

We’ll enjoy

Group enjoying drinks at the Bier Garten

  • Training Sessions – discover the ease of planning a cruise event for your clients ☺
  • Networking
  • Ship Tour ☺
  • Meet the Ship’s Officers ☺

☺ Exclusive for DCTC students and alumni

Norwegian Sky departs Miami, Florida           Return to Miami on June 27, 2016.

Cabins are available from $419 to $669, double-occupancy.  What’s included in the price?

  • Round trip cruise from Port of Miami to Nassau, Bahamas
  • Meals in the complimentary dining venues
  • All beverages (INCLUDING alcoholic beverages)
  • Onboard Entertainment
  • Use of the beautiful pools and hot tubs
  • Norwegian’s Youth Program facilities and activities if you’re bringing children
  • Gratuities
  • Taxes and port charges
  • Travel Insurance

* Calico Jack’s Travel representatives are available to assist you with additional arrangements including airfare, pre-cruise or post-cruise hotels and more.

Can we bring non-DCTC alumni family and friends?  Sure, the more the merrier!


Meeting, Convention, and Event Planner Ranks 12th on the List of Best Business Jobs

US News and World Reports ranks Meeting, Convention, and Event Planning as one of the top business jobs again this year!  It’s pretty clear that when people meet, business happens.  In fact, meetings, conventions, and events are major revenue drivers for much of today’s business community on a global scale. I love that I now get a chance to share tips and tricks learned in my career of planning VIP functions for 20 or larger groups of up to 70,000 “close personal friends”.  I am honored to mentor others in the diverse field of hospitality, while connecting with peers and associates.  There’s something very special about this community and I am continually astounded at how much everyone shares their ideas and innovations.  Even after decades in the field, I love that I can learn daily from others.

Once again, US News and World Reports has honored this field with one of it’s crown jewel rankings.  As pointed out in the article linked here, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects meeting, convention and event planner employment growth of 33.2 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 31,300 more jobs.

Please connect with me on LinkedIn and visit Dakota County Technical College to explore your future in:

Meeting and Event Management

Hospitality Lodging Management

Spa and Resort Management

Ronald McDonald Called – He Needs You for a One-Day Internship – Act NOW

Ronald McDonald 35th Anniversary Gala Shift is Resume Magic
Select Ronald McDonald Internship Shift not later than 10/16, 11:59 p.m.

Gala Date: Saturday, 10/25
Location: Marriott City Center, 30 S 7th St, Minneapolis

Ronald McDonald Shift Sign Up
Name ______________________________________________________________________
Email ___________________________________ Phone __________________________
Select ONE 1 p.m. arrival: Silent Auction Set-up 2-3 hours, break and then monitor/close auction from 4p-10p ONLY 4 spots remain
4 p.m. arrival for registration or invoice running/champagne delivery (anticipate 5 hour shift) Only 3 spots remain
(Dinner will be provided) Carpooling encouraged to save on fuel and parking $.

Complete form and send this page to, use subject line: Ronald McDonald Gala, on or before 10/16, 11:59 p.m. Shift confirmations will be sent out 10/17 by noon.

Pics from last year’s event here

All interns will receive letter of gratitude from host organization, photo of event and sample collateral for your portfolio. This is resume magic and fun!!

Meeting Students Where They’re At!

classroom or online - you choose - custom_board_education_books_14423 DCTC Hospitality Programs take service to a whole new level with the support of Industry Partners. Students can take advantage of optional classroom opportunities in many courses. Why? We meet you where you’re at!

You can choose to be completely online one week and only partially online next week. Students who live in other states, are traveling, or just can’t make it to class may work online completely. Or, they can reduce their computer-screen time by participating in part-time classroom opportunities at real companies and venues. This is learning at its best!

Get it YOUR WAY – IN THE REAL WORLD – fall semester optional classroom opportunities are listed below. SAVE these dates and watch your course site for location information!

SMGT 1160: Sept 6, Sept 20, Oct 4 – Fundamentals of Meeting, Conference, & Event Management

SMGT 1161: Oct 25, Nov 1, Nov 22 – Advanced Meeting, Conference, & Event Management

SMGT 1162: Sept 6, Sept 20, Oct 11 – Special Event Management & Coordination

SMGT 1022: Sept 13, Oct 18 – Leadership

SMGT 1215: Nov 8, Dec 6 – Negotiation Strategies

SMGT 1670: Nov 22 – Lodging Systems & Technology

Chart your career path in Meeting and Event Management, Hospitality Lodging Management, or Spa-Resort Management.

For more information about any of DCTC’s Hospitality Programs, contact or meet me on LinkedIn.