(special thanks to Leigh McDermott of Great Lakes Brewing Company for writing this recap of Wednesday’s luncheon panel discussion)
If I only knew then what I know now was a moving luncheon that took place at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Cleveland. For a little over 2 hours, special event and hospitality professionals had the chance to network, eat a delicious lunch and listen to 4 presenters. Presenters included George Schindler (President and CEO of Hospitality Restaurant Group, Inc.), David Gilbert (President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Incumbent President of Positively Cleveland), Lara McCulloch-Carter (Marketing Strategist and creator of ready2spark.com) and Michael Cerbelli (President of Special Events, Total Entertainment).
As a newcomer to the event industry, I found their presentations to be inspirational. Each speaker had very different experience in events and hospitality. A reoccurring theme was the culture surrounding events and how important that is to the industry as a whole.
Michael Cerbelli has created some of the most sensational events all over the world. He discussed at length how important it was the customer service and culture in his home office is the center of his business. He also stressed making clients feel important and that is something that is lacking in the industry. He has people that have worked for him for over 20 years and that is something his clients respect. The passion he has for his work and the people he works with should be motivating to anyone in the special events/hospitality business.
George Schindler owns some of the most unique restaurants in Northeast Ohio. George discussed how he has learned more from his mistakes than he has from his successes. Success can be blind luck, but you learn more about yourself from your failures. He spoke about how much research they put into opening the Thirsty Parrot across the street from then Jacobs Field. His company did research on the restaurant and staff and thought they had figured out the best way to run a business. Yet the neighborhood changed and the restaurant did not. They had to mold the restaurant to the area and that was something they didn’t think about then but definitely take into consideration now.
David Gilbert spoke mostly about Cleveland as a whole in terms of special events. There are so many opportunities to get back to an exciting city like Cleveland was in the late 90s. During that time the Science Center was built along with the Gund and Jacob’sField. Now we are entering that kind of era again and event professionals have a unique opportunity to stand out. There will be openings of casinos, a convention center and medical mart. These are new opportunities that we cannot afford to pass up.
Lara McCulloch-Carter had a unique perspective having joined the industry 4 years ago.One of her most motivating topics was the topic of mentors. She strongly believes that everyone can be a leader but that term has for so many years been put on a pedestal.We need to stop thinking in those terms. Every person we meet knows more about one topic than we do. We should take that opportunity to learn from people. Soak up their knowledge like a sponge and use it in our own careers.
I hope that other attendees of this luncheon found their knowledge and “war stories” to be as inspiring as I did. They have attained career goals that many of us dream of achieving one day and I hope we all will use some of their ideas to get there.
This Wednesday, November 10, 2010, from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM, please join the International Special Events Society (ISES) Cleveland Chapter at the Doubletree Hotel Cleveland Downtown/Lakeside as we host a diverse panel of local and national hospitality professionals looking back at experiences that helped them shape their careers. You’ll be amused, surprised and energized by the lessons they have learned over their collective adventures in the special events and hospitality industry.
ISES Cleveland is proud to partner with the Cleveland Chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) as we work together to provide our local industry professionals with the insight and education that they need to stay competitive in an ever-changing market.
Rick Turner, President of HSMAI Cleveland, and a founding Board member of the Cleveland chapter of ISES will moderate this lively and engaging panel as they discuss their formative years climbing the ladder of success.
Our panelists include:
George Schindler – President and CEO of Hospitality Restaurants
David Gilbert – President of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Incumbent President of Positively Cleveland.
Lara McCulloch-Carter – Marketing Strategist and creator of ready2spark.com, the special event industry’s most popular online marketing resource.
Michael Cerbelli – President of Special Events, Total Entertainment – New York City
Lunch will be provided by Doubletree Hotel, so please register in advance.
This event is open to both members and non-members. For more information and to register for his event, please visit http://www.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Invitation.aspx?i=d805065b-9f99-4a70-8ef8-ea291679fb2c
We look forward to seeing you!