New Orleans Chefs Rally for Fishermen and Families
By Kara Pigeon
Kara Pigeon, director of production and partner of Signature DMC, sat just like many of us watching the news of the BP oil spill disaster and wondering what one person could do to help the situation. As many people felt this way during the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Kara thought there had to be a way she could use her talents to help the people of the Gulf Coast. So she reached out to executive chef Matt Murphy of the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and together they realized the best thing they could do is use the talents they possess: event planning and cooking!
The Chefs for Fishermen and Families benefit was born. This event was meant to be the first of many to help feed the idle fishermen, oyster harvesters and shrimpers along the Gulf Coast devastated most by the oil spill. Along with Kara and Chef Murphy, Wendy Waren of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Char Thian of the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans were brought in to give the event the support it needed in bringing the community together.
Community is a big part of New Orleans and all cities throughout Louisiana. At a Congressional panel on June 10, 2010, Grand Isle [La.] mayor David Camardelle said, “I want to continue to hold the American flag … I'm going to continue to feed my people. I just need your help. It's like a war, and I'm on the front line.”
On June 19, 2010, 20 New Orleans-area chefs drove two hours south of New Orleans to the Bridge Side Marina in Grand Isle to give people living there a day of good food, entertainment and sense of community they have been lacking for the last 60 days and counting. In a recent Washington Post article, Buggie Vegas, who owns the marina, said about the town's residents, “Everybody feels alone. We were used to working together every day, and then it just stopped.”
More than just the chefs gave their support and donations to make this event a success. Country entertainer Mark Adam Miller donated his time to provide a musical backdrop for the day. Community Coffee Co. donated product and brought down their trolley and a staff to serve products and hand out a pound of coffee to each of the families in need. The president of Community Coffee, Matt Saurage, was so happy to hear that the event was happening and that Community Coffee could be a part of giving back. True to form, Saurage attended the event and gave back to the community himself. Pepsi Co. jumped in and helped spread the word with signs all over the island and donated product to the event; many other area businesses signed up to volunteer for cleanup.
More than 300 residents, military and relief workers attended the event. The goal of the day was making sure the people of Grand Isle knew it as a day for them. Kara made sure they understood by saying in her opening address, “Today is a day of rest for you. You are not alone. We are here for you.” Many staff and volunteer workers felt the message was well received as all the community stood up and cheered when the mayor of Grand Isle spoke in thanks.
Smiles, laughter, community: Mission accomplished!
Name: Kara Pigeon
Company: Signature DMC
Address: 715 Camp St. New Orleans, LA 70130 USA
Behind the Olympic Rings: The Impact of ISES at the Games
By Rachel Mangal
The 2010 Olympic Games rolled into Canada to capture the hearts of the nation in hype we had never felt before, and ISES was involved with creative solutions every step of the way. Most of us now only have the famous red mittens as a last reminiscence of the Games. Here are some really interesting backstage details you haven't heard yet!
A recent ISES Toronto chapter meeting — “Behind the Olympic Rings” — featured top event professionals sharing their experiences and challenges, ranging from obtaining legal permits to weather to ever-changing staffing. The audience walked away with a new appreciation of lighting, tenting, entertainment and catering, and the magnitude of effort needed to produce an Olympic-sized event.
Air Star was named the official lighting provider for more than 14 Vancouver locations including various private events such as Grouse Mountain and the NBC morning show, where 10 balloon lights provided soft lighting on the outdoor set. Director Michael St. Eve explained their struggles to produce more inventory on short notice, adhering to overzealous permitting requirements. The Air Star team solved some of the technical challenges and melting snow with tilting light towers.
Regal Tent serviced Molson (Hockey House) and Samsung, along with providing the structure for the Olympic Broadcasting House. How do you secure a tent in the center of the city without being allowed to punch into the concrete? What do you do if the area being tented is slanted? Michael McCulloch, CEO, overcame these struggles by designing and sourcing a new tent floor supplier in Europe. With both clients set only meters apart in the Olympic Village, the need for a unique look and to not appear like a tent resulted in the creation of new products including two-story tents with real windows, interior walls (available now to rent) and the creation of straight-wall facades.
Jim Stone's expertise as a key counsel to many of Canada's top entertainers landed him a portion of the entertainment logistics for the Opening Ceremonies. Stone was responsible for ensuring Canadian opera diva Measha Brueggergosman along with pop icon Sarah McLaughlin were right on cue for performing their acts. Stone said these famous Canadians were exceptional musicians with deep hearts.
Kelly Dooley, director of food and beverage operations for Molson Canadian Hockey House (Compass Food Services), shared the ins and outs of setting up a 62,000-square-foot Hockey Pavilion Pub. Dooley hired 400 staff in November for training. Competition was fierce for serving staff in the city, with venues paying $40 per hour for bartenders, and Dooley's budget couldn't compete. Staff who committed knew they would be hosting the greatest party this country had ever seen.
The Molson Hockey House tent structure housed nine bars, 12 buffets, stages, three jumbo screens, a raised VIP area and an International Hockey Federation private lounge. Each day, 3,000 fans poured in including random appearances of both the men's and women's Canadian hockey teams, hockey great Wayne Gretzky and the Prince of Monaco, along with famous musicians. This was definitely the best place to be and work during the Games!
After 17 days, here are some of the final statistics:
- More than 290,000 servings of alcohol
- $38,000 worth of Saputo cheese
- 340 pounds of garlic
- 9,920 whole lemons and limes (583 per day)
- 2,774 pounds of Mediterranean pasta salad
- 200,000 Molson-branded biodegradable beer cups
Although they were met with challenges, the strategic management skills of ISES members ensured success. The ISES Toronto audience came away with appreciation for what the event professionals in Russia are about to go through!
Name: Rachel Mangal
Company: Strategy Institute
Address: 401 Richmond St. W. #401
Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3A8
Phone: 416/944-9200, ext. 282
Through the Eyes of a President
By Kathleen DeLuca, CMP, CSEP
The gavel has been passed; another ISES journey completed. What was it like to be ISES president? It has been an incredible journey for me with years of chapter, region and international volunteer roles. Every role I held during my journey awarded me some of the best experiences and moments in my professional career, but none more so than this year's volunteer role as ISES International President.
During a tough economic climate, a year when other nonprofit organizations were struggling to stay alive, ISES made significant strides. Expenses were tightened without detriment to any of the programs contained in our plan of work, and our international committee volunteers worked tirelessly to accomplish their work objectives.
I would be remiss if I did not share with you some of the exciting accomplishments of the ISES 2009/2010 year:
The education council began to evaluate the educational needs and offerings in the special events industry in order to determine what educational programs and products are needed and how to best deliver them to our members. The goal of ISES taking the lead in the special events industry education is a project that will span several years. It is one of our most exciting ISES endeavors.
Our support of the Convention Industry Council's (CIC) “Face Time. It Matters.” initiative, in partnership with several other leading industry organizations, strengthened our ISES brand and will bring us pertinent data in the special events industry.
Our Esprit award submission process is now electronic, our ISES Community was revamped and expanded, and the CSEP manual was completed and the application process simplified. We welcomed new chapters worldwide and are poised for continued growth.
The delivery mechanism for the Chapter Leadership Conference was changed in an effort to bring training directly to the regions so entire boards could benefit from international training. Leaders in every region learned, shared and networked together, which will undoubtedly make their chapters stronger.
As president, visiting chapters and having the opportunity to spend quality time with members was rewarding beyond words. I had the opportunity to attend programs, experience galas and industry awards, and was invited to induct 2010/2011 chapter boards. This was one of the best experiences of being president.
It was my honor to serve as ISES' 21st president. I would like to thank the ISES Board of Governors who served alongside me, the regional vice presidents and affiliate chairs, our international chairs and committee members, and all the chapter leaders and committee members for a terrific year. Last, but by no means least, I thank Kevin Hacke, our executive director, and our dedicated staff at ISES Headquarters for their support and management this year.
For those of us who have grown with ISES, we know that the benefit of ISES goes beyond membership and business — it is friendships we have established throughout our ISES years. ISES is the vehicle by which we strengthen the special events industry through all our contributions and collaborations. It is an exciting time for ISES as we begin plans to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2012. I encourage you to share your talents with ISES. It is a journey you do not want to miss.
Name: Kathleen DeLuca, CMP, CSEP, President
Company: Events Plus Inc.
Address: 102 Dayton Ave.
Collingswood, NJ 08108 USA
Crossing the Fine Line: Remaining Ethical in Sticky Situations
By Melanie Goodwin
The event industry is rife with ethical gray areas, which we encounter every day. The creative, collaborative and interconnected nature of our business can often produce blurry lines that are easy to cross — even when trying to do the right thing. The best way to navigate these issues is to remain aware and recognize delicate situations.
If a company proposes an excellent event idea, reproducing it without them in order to save money is a form of theft. While many escape prosecution, it is still an infringement on the company's intellectual property rights.
If you absolutely cannot afford to pay the company to create the event as proposed, let them know. They may be willing to help you creatively cut costs or consent to the use of their idea for a consultation fee.
If the knowledge of a service is learned through an agent, event planner or provider, be certain to book the service through them each and every time. Planners spend a lot of time and money researching, finding and vetting quality providers.
Sometimes a vendor is approached by a client who wants to “cut out the middleman.“ In such a situation, the vendor should let the client know that their business is valuable, but that they must book through the planner who originally referred them. This will protect any long-term, repeat business from the planner and maintain the vendor's reputation as a professional and honest provider.
Special discounted pricing is generally an accepted practice for clients who bring high-volume, off-season or repeat business. However, demanding that a one-time vendor slash rates drastically or dangling unconfirmed or hypothetical “future business” in order to gain discounts is unfair.
Momma said it best: “If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.” It is one thing to educate clients on what sets you apart from the competition, but referring directly to a competitor, insulting them or spreading negative gossip is counterproductive.
It is easy to find oneself in an ethical gray area, and we will all make mistakes. As long as everyone strives to create win-win situations for all parties involved, a lot of hassle can be avoided.
Name: Melanie Goodwin
Company: Ultimate Ventures, a DMC Network Company
Address: 4400 Beltway Drive Addison, Texas 75001 USA
Phone: Dallas 972/732-8433
Fort Worth: 817/294-3335
ISES Editorial Team and Staff
Alexis M. Gorriarán, CSEP
Chapter Services Sr.
Membership Services Associate
401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611 USA