Open Letter To The Attendees of Catersource Event Solutions 2016

Catersource Event Solutions is a special show to me. Jason Capps of Bella Sera Catering introduced me to the larger world of the events industry outside my region and I’ve never looked back. I have NO idea how people survive in this industry without the support of those at the highest levels of commitment to their craft.


I’m on an hour layover in Phoenix on my way to Las Vegas where I will be attending this transformative conference as a speaker, a conference ambassador, and for the first time…as a business owner. This is my personal money being spent on this conference two days after announcing my business. If anyone has a reason to skip this year it’s me…but that would be the exact last thing my business needs right now.

I have heard many excuses to not attend professional development conferences over the years (because I’m always trying to convert people) and while missing a year because of business booked at the same time is the best excuse…I don’t know what your excuse is to never attend one. In my opinion, if you aren’t growing your network, testing your limits, and investing in your craft you are one of the worst labels I can give someone…you’re a hack. Don’t be a hack.

To all my friends I’ll see at Catersource Event Solutions this year:

1. For conference veterans who have seen and heard it all…you haven’t. The world is changing so rapidly that you will lose business to hungry faster businesses if you believe already know it all. Chances are good you have an excellent grasp of the fundamental principles of what it takes to have an excellent business but, like a shark, you can’t stop swimming. It’s great to support your old friends they give presentations you’ve seen dozens of times but consider jumping in the deep end and taking time to try a first time presenter in an area that you know frighteningly little about. Growth happens outside your comfort zone. Be inspired by Meryl Snow. She is one of the (if not THE) premier educators at this conference and she is ALWAYS learning new things. When in doubt, try to be like Meryl Snow. 

2. To those new to this conference, the education may just change your life. Wait until you hear that your problems aren’t unique and that the struggle is not only real it’s happening in every market just like yours. Let the feeling of people speaking your language with excitement wash over you and give you the energy you need to take on the rest of this year.

3. To everyone – While the education at this conference is exceptional…the alchemy will happen at the Mirage Hotel Lobby bar. Drink lots of coffee (or exercise if that’s your thing), stretch, and pace yourself because this week is a marathon. Understand that informal conversations at the bar at night have the potential to exponentially impact your business. The people I’ve met at these settings have been invaluable and many have become mentors and quite a few are my very best friends now. If you aren’t incredibly social, just sit next to people and listen. No one worth it will mind. You have the chance to sponge stories from the masters…don’t miss out.

4. I want to meet up with you! I’ve left a lot more windows open for conversations and coffee with people who want to meet up. I will meet and talk to ANYONE. If you are at this conference, I’m at your disposal. While I look forward to meeting up with old friends, I am doing whatever I can to meet as many new people this year. Help me out with that.

5. My presentations this year are focused on both sales and marketing and how they can work in tandem. My presentation on Monday, “Selling and Marketing The Intangible. Going From Vendor to Partner by Selling Your Design Expertise”, is about to attract and close clients who want to pay for your skills and experience and not your commodities. On Tuesday, I have the opportunity to proctor a real conversation with two of my favorite people. Join Aaron Kaufman of Fifth Element Group and Kate Patay of Creative Coverings and myself as we kick off a real conversation on the show floor called “Selling Social. How to Sell Yourself in Event Settings“.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 10.06.15 AM6. If you are newer to Catersource Event Solutions and don’t know who Mike Roman is, do yourself a favor, look him up. Better yet, ask people at the conference if they knew him and have stories about him. I have a few but not nearly as much as many at this show. My ongoing dedication to this very inspirational person in my life can be found 24/7 on my Facebook Profile. This conference and the experiences you will have came about because of his vision and we all owe him a debt that we can only pay by doing our part to inspire future generations.

Send me an email any time this week so we can meet up. My flight is about to leave and my #CSES2016 experience will officially begin!