I’ve produced successful events ranging from (yes) fireworks displays to rock concerts to zombies shambling down main street to Santa Claus arriving by helicopter in a pea-soup fog. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? That’s why I’m so detail-focused when I’m putting together something really stressful such as a fundraiser, press conference or VIP/media tour.
My pragmatism was partially gained in the world of rock and roll and theater. As a musician and actor/director both, I’ve experienced the good, bad and the ugly on stage, and I’ve made it my quest to ensure that any marketing event I’m producing will run smoothly, on-schedule and accomplish the strategic goal(s). The frosting on the cake? When everyone leaves saying, “That was GREAT!”
Yankee Candle Company “Quarterly Employee Breakfast” series – When the company was small, Yankee Candle founder Mike Kittredge would simply bring in a box of doughnuts and chat with the whole four-person team. By the late 1990’s, the company had grown to more than 1,200 employees. But Yankee still had the heart and soul of a small company, and our administrative team worked hard to keep everyone informed.
The latter-day breakfasts were held for 600+ persons, and I helped lead the production team. After meeting with HR and other cross-functional teams to determine the strategic needs for each breakfast, I scripted the session with minute-by-minute cues, produced all of the videos, signage and other theatrical components, and emceed the proceedings. We held contests, talked about new policies, fielded questions from employees, and kept morale high.
Yankee Candle “Field Rep Sales Meeting” series – With a network of sales representatives covering the continental US and parts of Canada, it was beneficial to host an annual sales meeting/information session to introduce new products, provide updates on programs and conduct listening sessions for top management. My role was to help script the production of the event in collaboration with the Wholesale division head. Components in my area of responsibility included PowerPoint presentations, videos, sell sheets, white papers and letters to the dealer network.
Celebrity & VIP Visits – At Yankee Candle and Kringle Candle, I coordinated visits by notable persons including:
- Senator Edward Kennedy
- Senator John Kerry
- Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Governor Deval Patrick
- Governor Jane Swift
- State Senator Stanley Rosenberg
- Penn Gillette of “Penn & Teller”
- US Olympic Silver Medalist Nancy Kerrigan
- Film critic Gene Shalit
The Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence – Not “just” a gala awards event, the Howdy Awards have energized western Massachusetts’ hospitality industry since 1996. The GSCVB Board of Directors was seeking a way to encourage superior customer service to visitors, and so I was inspired to create the Howdy Awards in the image of the Oscars. It’s since become one of the most well-known employee-recognition programs in the region, with hundreds of winners and dozens of businesses proudly participating.
Santa’s Arrival at Yankee Candle – By adding a live band, radio “conversations” with the inbound Mr. Claus and a welcome reception afterward, we grew this annual event into a beloved regional tradition that has now transcended generations and attracts thousands.
Kringle “Cars & Coffee” Auto Show Series – A car show on Sunday morning? Yes! This popular event drew many hundreds of first-time visitors to the Bernardston MA campus each month, many of whom returned later to shop, dine or bring their own show car. This is/was a great example of building sales through event promotion.
GSCVB “Zombie Walk” – I co-produced this 2013 event with the GSCVB to help promote Six Flags New England’s Fright Fest and boost hospitality business sales revenue during “shoulder season.” Held in downtown Springfield MA, the event capitalized on America’s zombie-mania and lured hundreds of the “undead” into restaurants and shops in the city center all afternoon.
Live Concerts – During my tenure overseeing events for the Kittredge family, I have produced dozens of private concerts, fundraising dinners, educational seminars and more. Notable performers I’ve booked have included The Doobie Brothers, Dave Brubeck, Hall & Oates, The Yardbirds, Average White Band, KC and the Sunshine Band and many other “name” entertainers.