Kelley grew up in the hospitality industry and was taught customer service from the time she could walk and talk. As she grew and learned different areas of being a hotelier, her passion landed on event planning. She loves taking a concept or an idea and turning it into an amazing, fun-filled event for all involved. For 3+ decades she has worked in all areas of event planning & management from being the caterer, hotel sales manager, and hotel operations manager, to the other side of the fence as a planner, manager, contract negotiator, and chaos tamer.
Events by KelleyNCo plans conferences, workshops, retreats, and nonprofit fundraisers. We are experienced in every step of the process and our goal is to make your life easier because we tame the chaos and worry about all the details.
If you are a Coach, Association, Business, or Nonprofit in need of event planning expertise, look no further. We help create events all over the United States from beginning to end and every last detail in between.
Let us help you tame the chaos!
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
I’m thrilled with the latest trend of offering activation centers and more robust options for partners wanting to collaborate on a large event. Gone are the days of silver, gold and platinum sponsorship. With the activation centers and other options, it allows a wider range of potential and exposure to your collaborating partners. It also allows for sharing your collaboration partner’s message in a way that better works for that particular partner. It’s not just cookie-cutter any longer.
Online and digital tools make things go smoother (when they work as supposed to) and are easily available to a wider audience. Things like having your agenda online or in an app allow for last minute room changes and not everyone is lost or confused because it’s quickly changed online or in the app. You can do quick polls in an app during the event or have the audience ask a question via an app instead of having to walk a mic around the room. It also cuts down on the mic “hogs”.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
You don’t always have to have a huge budget to create an elegant and memorable event. You just have to be willing to work hard, be creative and put your attendees’ needs and comforts first.
I have worked on events with a budget of $500 to $350,000 and wowed the people in attendance at both events. As an event manager, it’s crucial to focus on the details. It’s the details that end up creating the big picture. It’s the big picture that makes it elegant and memorable.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
Think about who your ideal attendee would be. What type of person supports your cause, age range, interests, and income. Are they casual or prefer black tie? Once you know these things, then brainstorm with your team on something that would interest them, allow an opportunity that not everyone may get to have (example: petting/feeding elephants), and what hasn’t been done over and over and over in your area.
I always caution my nonprofits not to plan numerous fundraising events a year because people get sick of being “nickeled and dimed” to death. Instead, create a signature event and make it AHHHHMAZING!!
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
I have a true entrepreneurial mind and also suffer from being a multi-passionate entrepreneur so I have always had varied interests in business. For the last six years, my primary business was digital marketing and social media while also planning one large conference a year. I could never completely give up doing event management because it is my true love and passion. I get energized when planning a large event with a lot of moving parts, pieces and people.
Finally, I decided it was time to focus completely on event management and planning. The transition has taken about 18 months but I am finally in that place and looking forward to gaining new event clients to grow the business. My clients get a tremendous amount of value when working with me because I have a plethora of skills and knowledge in all the things that make an event successful: venue selection, food & beverage, contract negotiation, technology, marketing, follow through and timing.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
A fundraising event for the American Heart Association when I was in my early twenties. We created a mystery dinner with celebrity servers. It was fun, unique and successful. There were so many different elements to work through because it wasn’t going to be served as just your normal dinner. There were very specific things (no silverware, only carrot & celery sticks and toothpicks) that were done and had to happen at particular times (certain random items were served for each course).
If you need an interesting and fun event, let me know and I can explain how the whole event worked. People had a wonderful time, laughed a lot and the event made a good amount of money.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
I offer a free 30-minute consultation so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need someone to bounce an idea off of or get feedback.