HOW TO WIN A GALA "Winning a Gala Award makes everything you do worthwhile-your work is being acknowledged; your peer group has selected you. I take a lot of pride in the way I present things, and for the Galas, I try to describe my event in a way that others can feel it without having been there. I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting my entry as I would with a proposal. It has my name on it, so it has to be top-notch."
STUDENT POWER "I do a lot of events out of town, and I often get local help from the colleges and universities in the area. I hire students for working registration and booths, helping in parking lots, cleaning up and so forth. We recruit from sororities and fraternities and from the special event or hospitality department if there is one."
WEATHER OR NOT "The worst part about this job is the uncontrollable factors, such as weather. For a recent event, we had to deal with a hurricane. We set up in the pouring rain; tents blew over- luckily, it was clear the day of the event. The best thing to do is remain calm, know you have no control over this and hope for the best."
LOOKING AHEAD "I see two trends for the future: First, our industry as a whole will consolidate more-more merging, more partnering. Secondly, with the Internet and technology boom, there will be more streamlining. For example, you don't need to go on as many site visits anymore. Instead, you can view ballroom specs on the Internet. There's no replacement for being there, but you can do a lot on the Internet until you're ready to go."