“Hospitality is in my DNA,” says Darren Ennis, owner of Sheba Productions. The event planner is an Iowa native whose youth as a restaurant rat in his father’s Sioux Falls, South Dakota eateries sparked his interest in creating memorable celebrations for others.

Over almost 20 years in the business, Ennis has lent sophistication, class, and style to the Magic 8 Ball, the US Bank Skyway Open, the New Year’s Eve Crystal Ball, and a fete for Arianna Huffington at Dan Buettner’s home on the Lake of the Isles, among other events.

When Ennis first meets with a client, he delves into the clients’ expectations, ideal demographic and attendance numbers. “It’s a multi-pronged approach,” he says. “I’m all about having a party just to have a party, but many times clients are there to accomplish particular objectives.”

Ennis’ favorite part of event planning is the collaboration. He often seeks out the same team of décor, audio-visual, and rental specialists to manifest his clients’ visions. “We’re able to get creative and think big picture and outside of the box, but on the other side of it, what I perversely love are all of the details,” he says.

Ennis shares a love of details with his new wife and longtime business partner Sheba Fideler, who works as a brand strategist and graphic designer under the Sheba Concept & Design umbrella (Fideler started and runs the graphic design portion of the company). The couple also co-owns The Sample Room, a small-plate restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis.

While Ennis primarily handles the event planning, he will pull in Fideler as a vendor or bounce ideas off her when needed.

When it comes to event time, the soirees unfold successfully one way or another. As Ennis says, “There’s so much time and effort that go into developing a concept and when you finally execute it, you’re so exhausted, but when you step back and feel that all the parts have come together and you’re feeling that vibe and the collaboration, that’s the high for me.”

Over 400 association executives, staff and members of the hospitality community connected at the Associations North Solutions Conference at Mystic Lake Center on June 13-14. The conference consisted of the Annual Meeting & Expo, a Cornholapalooza (bean bag tournament) and a Golf Classic, and an open-concept trade show.

 

A firm understanding of her own goals has pushed Sydney Wolf to the top of her game.