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  • Colorado Hall of Fame 2017

    Get to know the movers and shakers of Colorado’s meetings and events industry.

     
    POSTED March 13, 2017
     

Clang the cymbals, pop the champagne and bring on a drumroll for the newest members of Colorado Meetings + Events’ Hall of Fame. Established 10 years ago to recognize individuals who are based in Colorado and are positively impacting the meetings and events industry, there are now 70 Hall of Famers who were selected by our editorial advisory board, made up of industry representatives from around the state. Thank you to the 2017 inductees for their significant impact.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Patty Farmer

Director of Sales and Marketing, Industry Faculty
Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, Daniels College of Business
University of Denver

Patty Farmer has gone from being an adult probation and parole officer during the first years of her career to her current role as director of sales and marketing and teacher at the University of Denver (DU). After starting a family, Farmer and her husband, who was working for Maritz Motivation, started a destination management company, Denver and Beyond, in 1986. They owned and operated the company for 18 years before Farmer transitioned into sales positions. Farmer relishes “working with domestic and international guests and meeting and events staff, creating cultural experiences for a variety of events, and exceeding guests’ expectations by tapping into the creativity of my associates,” she says.

“Patty has contributed to the young minds of meeting and event professionals for years. Her influence on the college students at DU has shaped young professionals with integrity, determination and the energy to pursue the goals they have in mind when leaving college and entering the workforce,” says Tracey Rath, global account executive for Conference Direct, who nominated Farmer.

Career: After majoring in social work and minoring in criminology at St. Louis University and working in probation and parole jobs and owning Denver and Beyond, Farmer worked in sales for Holiday Inn Denver Downtown and The Canterberry Club for a few years before joining University of Denver in 2006. In addition to her sales and marketing responsibilities, she teaches Exploring Hospitality Management, Hospitality Sales and Marketing, Event Sales and Special Event Management.

Advice: “Stay current with the innovations that are developed by our current and future meetings and events personnel and continuously contribute to the development of hospitality and meeting planning students.”

Current Involvement: HSMAI board member, MPIRMC, CSAE, NACE, MIC

Future: “To continue to provide excellent guest experiences that address and exceed each group’s expectations and work with, benefit and learn from hospitality students at University of Denver.”

Observations: “Clients are demanding more creativity and innovative thinking and have greater access to industry pricing and creative ideas. Also, planners’ expectations for complimentary services has increased and technology changes continue.”

BEST MEETING PROFESSIONAL
Amy Drotar, CMM, CMP

Global Meeting Manager
Polycom

A lifelong resident of Colorado, Amy Drotar entered the meetings and events
world in 2000, quickly earning her CMP in 2003 and later her CMM in 2012. “I
love the amazing people I get to work with and seeing the impact our events
have on attendees. We create the environments where people can come
together and change the world,” Drotar says.

Career: “Polycom was recently purchased by a private firm, and we are currently re-examining the purpose and return on all of our major events. I am excited to see how the Polycom meetings and events team can contribute in more strategic and meaningful ways to the success of our company.”

Advice: “I encourage everyone to volunteer doing something that is slightly uncomfortable. Serving others is where the magic happens in this industry; it’s where you build relationships that will last your entire career and learn the most about yourself. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. My sister once told me, ‘Please give your friends and family the gift of asking for our help. Everyone wants to feel needed and trustworthy. You aren’t allowing anyone to feel that way because you don’t want to depend on anyone.’”

Current Involvement: MPIRMC

Observations: “Technology has changed everything from hybrid meetings and apps to social media and international communication. However, I find it interesting that we’re often using technology to get back to the basics of face-to-face meetings. It’s about human interaction: sharing ideas with like minds and getting exposure to differing opinions. This industry went through a period where meetings were all about ‘the spectacle,’ but now it’s returning to the roots of providing shared experiences with others.”

Future: “I had to step back from some of my volunteer work in the last couple of years to manage my real job, but I’m excited to get more involved with my MPI chapter again and see what opportunities present themselves. I also have started helping some not-for-profits with their events. It’s an energizing environment, a good reminder of how little it takes to make a big impact on the lives of others.”

UP-AND-COMING MEETING PROFESSIONAL
Amanda Loeber

Program Manager
Convention Designs LLC

Amanda Loeber enjoys taking someone’s vision from a one-dimensional paper proposal and bringing it to life. After working for a country club in Maryland and the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Virginia, the mountains began calling this East Coast girl and landed her at Convention Designs, a destination management company based in Denver. “Delivering a flawless event and exceeding our clients’ expectations is an extremely rewarding experience. We’re an industry of puzzle masters who plan, collaborate and connect all the pieces of an event together for the satisfaction of pleasing our clients,” Loeber says. “I’ve gained new skills, refined existing ones and am able to work all over Colorado to fully experience everything this amazing state has to offer, while doing a job I love!”

Career: “I was always drawn to the event industry. In college, I majored in hotel, restaurant and tourism management, where my professors and curriculum further proved that the hospitality field was where I was meant to be. During my junior year, I landed a summer internship in the banquet department of the Philadelphia Cricket Club and was hooked. After graduating from college a semester early, the very next day I started my career as the banquet coordinator at Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, Maryland, and started climbing the professional ladder.”

Advice: “The meetings and events industry is always changing and ever-growing. Let the endless amount of things to learn excite you, not overwhelm you. Ask questions and network with other planners! There’s always perspective to be gained; striving to become the best planner you can be is an ongoing process.”

Observations: “Creativity plays a huge role in our industry—you can offer the same buffet station five times, but present it five different ways. The search for the new “it” theme or venue never ceases! Our ability to evolve and adapt quickly to trends and client expectations sets us apart.”

Future: “I’m fully invested in the destination management area of our industry and have only begun to dabble in it! I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge, contributing to Convention Designs’ ongoing success and continuing to establish my professional career.”

BEST SPECIAL EVENTS PROFESSIONAL
Tami Forero
CEO
Forté Events, Inc.

Tami Forero has set new standards and challenged traditional event ideas throughout her 24 years as a corporate and independent event producer. In 2006, she launched Forté Events in Colorado Springs and serves clients worldwide. As a speaker for national conferences, industry associations, CEO groups and training companies, she teaches event professionals and corporations how to secure the best return on their event investments. “I love that the events industry allows us to use our creative skills and business skills,” Forero says. “What a rare and precious thing!”

Career: “After college, I could not find steady work as a musician so I worked in banking in what I thought would be a temporary solution to my salary needs. Instead, I started planning events that promoted the credit card department and became very successful. For the next 13 years, I worked for various financial institutions as an inhouse event planner. In 2004, we relocated to Colorado and after realizing I was not excited about the event planning jobs available to me in my new hometown, I decided to start my own business and Forté Events was born in 2006.”

Advice: “If someone is new to the industry, I always encourage them to work in as many facets of the industry as possible … hotels, catering, rentals, A/V, planning, etc. It’s so beneficial in the long term to know a bit about each area of the industry and to learn while employed instead of jumping into owning a business. Also, join industry groups to stay educated and connected.”

Current Involvement: ILEA board of directors, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Event Planners Association, Christian Meetings and Conventions Association

Observations: “I hope that in the last five years, the event industry has become more business savvy. I see this evidenced by the change in the education offered at conferences now—it used to be all about design but now is a lot more about the business side of events. There’s a greater maturity now within the events industry that allows people to be more open to share information, taken more seriously in the business and nonprofit communities, and become more adept in business.”

Future: “I want my company, Forté Events, to continue to grow and provide an amazing work environment for event professionals. Also, my personal goal is to keep teaching and training anyone in our industry who needs help growing a successful business or career while maintaining healthy life balance.”

UP-AND-COMING SPECIAL EVENTS PROFESSIONAL
Kaylin Clow

Senior Account Executive - Colorado Rapids
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Kaylin Clow reigns from tiny Martinsville, Indiana, and attended Indiana University to play Division I soccer and pursue a career in sport marketing and management, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degree in the field. Ready for a life after academia, she moved to Colorado with her fiancé, first organizing 5K running races around the Denver area for Race Operations Inc. before joining the staff of Colorado Rapids, a professional men’s soccer team. “It made sense for me to be in Denver because the sports market is so substantial,” Clow explains. “My favorite part of this industry is creating something special for companies’ employees and best clients. There is nothing better than creating a group outing and customizing all of the logistics to make an event come to life.”

Career: “I applied for multiple jobs in the sports industry and clinched a position with the Colorado Rapids’ Inside Sales Training Program. At this time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into as far as the event industry. I discovered a great deal of my group sales would turn into a demanding concentration on event planning.”

Observations: “Since I work mostly with corporate clients, I have seen that companies are making monumental strides to show employees and clients how appreciative they are for their hard work and partnerships. These events are not only for employees and clients, but for their families as well.”

Future: “I hope that the community continues to see the value in using a sporting venue for future special events. Working for the Colorado Rapids for three years now, I hope to transition into a manager and coordinate my own sales team in the future.”

Advice: “Be a problem solver. When a problem is presented to me, I never see the issue as something that cannot be figured out. I am solution oriented to make sure the event is portrayed as the event planner envisioned it. The key is communication and making sure everyone is on the same page to prevent last-minute obstacles.”

BEST SUPPLIER
Pamela Mather, CEM

Director of National Sales
GES, Global Experience Specialists

With more than 19 years in the Denver trade show market, Pamela Mather’s expertise has developed from working with clients utilizing anywhere from 2,500 to 1 million square feet of space. Twenty-two of her 30-plus years of experience in the meetings and events industry were with Brede in Colorado, Arizona and Minneapolis, prior to joining Global Experience Specialists as director of national sales two years ago and opening the Denver office and warehouse. “I am honored to be a part of the vibrant Denver hospitality community; it inspires me,” Mather says. “I love the relationships that develop, making others shine and providing solutions to clients.”

Career: “Upon receiving my bachelor’s degree from Bentley University, I joined the Textron corporate office in Rhode Island as a meeting planner - internal training for senior management. After receiving my MBA from Babson University, I moved to Atlanta for a job with an outdoor structure company. While there, I was exposed to the trade show industry and found the complexity of trade shows intriguing.”

Advice: “My advice is to always treat people like they are a rare gem. Stay grounded and find laughter in both the good times and the bad. Always give back, keep learning, and get involved … but, most importantly have fun. To the young professionals, my advice is simple: Be honest, don’t be afraid to ask for help and admit when you have made a mistake. The secrets to success in our industry are to be humble and passionate.”

Current Involvement: MIC Executive Council, IAEE, PCMA, LEAD Mentorship Program – Daniels College of Business, University of Denver

Observations: “Technology and social media are obviously top on the list of changes and impact all aspects of our industry; however, associations also are looking for an innovative partnership to create an experience and not just a trades how. Budgets have tightened up, so we became more resourceful, more creative and have increased communication both internally and externally.”

Future: “Personally, I hope to make a difference and inspire and encourage others, while bringing a smile to their faces.”

In a nod to the West, we salute the planners, suppliers, venues and attractions that make Colorado’s meetings and events “rodeo” one of the best in the nation.

 

Bronc Buster

BEST SPECIALTY RENTALS

THE WINNER IS: Fun Productions
Aurora | 303.732.5419

Runners-Up
» Eclectic Hive
» A Berry in the Wild

BEST HOTEL OR RESORT WITH MEETING/EVENT SPACE IN DENVER METRO (More than 200 Guest Rooms)

 

Congratulations to the finalists for Colorado Meetings + Events' 2017 Best of Colorado awards. We look forward to celebrating with each of you at the awards celebration on Monday, March 13 at one of the Denver area's newest venues, The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Colorado, where the winners and 2017 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced.

* Connect with us on social media before, during and after the awards with the hashtag #BestofCO2017