Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ISES Portland March meeting - "Pimp My Warehouse!"

Today I attended the International Special Events Society (Portland chapter in formation) monthly meeting. ISES is a group near and dear to my heart, as it is the organization that provided me with so much education, networking, and the kick start to my business, when I first had the idea of creating my own event company back in 1997 in Austin.

When I moved my business to Portland in 2002, I was astounded at the event talent here, and equally astounded that there was not an ISES chapter. In 2004, a group of event planners including Molli of Soiree, Olivia (then of West Coast Event Productions, now of Hotel Lucia), Susan of Class Act Events, and me, began a founders' group to investigate the idea of creating an ISES chapter in Portland. Our board of directors has changed and grown, and continually impresses me with the level of talent and professionalism that I have access to through ISES.

At that time, there was lukewarm interest and a few naysayers. We were told that there were many networking organizations "doing the same thing" in Portland and that we might not achieve our membership goals. But I knew in my heart that the vibe of ISES is different, the mission of ISES is unique, and that someday there would be a place in Portland for an ISES chapter.

Fast forward to 2009, where our "Pimp My Warehouse" event attracted nearly 80 attendees and brought together such amazing names as West Coast Drape, Henry V Events, Peter Corvallis Productions, A Swank Affair, Hollywood Lighting, Stages Northwest, and Royce's Prop Shop to collaborate on creating a gorgeous nightclub out of an auto dealership. Even though it was lunchtime, many of our attendees wished that there were cocktails and that we could stay all afternoon and network in the cozy space. It is a testament to the good that can come of having a vision and sticking with it. I know that Portland and the events community at large will benefit from this creative, collaborative, and passionate organization.

I'm posting a few pictures here taken from my phone, but I am eagerly awaiting the professional pics from Michael at West Coast Drape, who I met for the first time at this event (even though I have worked with WCD at several events). The energy at the event was so amazing, and I had so many great conversations with events friends old and new: Premiere Catering, KTDid Productions, Bravo Publications, Vibrant Table Catering, Alesia Zorn Calligraphy, Royce's Prop Shop, Notes of Celebration, Celebrate Catering, and so many more. I can't say it enough: ISES is a wonderful group that has given me so much over the years. I hope that any of you, special events professionals, reading this, will take a look at ISES and see if it is a fit for you.