Whether running her own distillery, cocktail room and event space at Royal Foundry Craft Spirits (RFCS) or juggling her full-time role as an account director for BCD Meetings & Events, Nikki McLain, CMP, a mother of two, dives into new challenges and opportunities head first.

MNM+E: How did you get your start in the industry?
[After college] I landed a PR job in Minneapolis where I was working on product rollouts, which ended up being events. I was coordinating venue locations and managing on-site logistics, so that’s where I got my first real taste for planning. I’m naturally Type A and love lists and getting things done, so events were a natural fit.

MNM+E: How has your experience influenced your work with RFCS?
I really drew from that planning experience to set clear goals for the kind of space we wanted to create. It’s a blank canvas that can be completely transformed to fit a guest’s style and needs. The event space is just as important as other elements of the business, so we’ve designed it to become so many different things to so many different people.

MNM+E: What are your goals for the future?
I have 17 years of industry experience in advertising, PR, meeting planning execution, strategy and account management roles. I loved those roles, but I don’t see myself going back to the day-to-day planning side of things, and what’s interesting about the distillery is being on the other side of that equation. Now I’m the supplier and the venue helping people create these amazing experiences. It’s just as rewarding, so that’s the focus and I can’t wait to see how things evolve from there.

MNM+E: How do you juggle it all?
: I perform better when I’m busy. During workday hours, BCD is my main focus and the distillery lends itself well to after-hours work. I have an amazing support system at home and a talented staff at RFCS I can rely on, but my No. 1 rule of thumb is to respond [to emails] within 24 hours or sooner. It’s a personal goal that helps to keep me moving. At the end of the day, it’s my name on the business, and I want people to know they’re in good hands. It’s definitely not easy, but you never know what’s coming. You have to stay ahead of that curve.

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 


For Andrea Mokros, Minneapolis-based public relations executive and independent event consultant, the last decade has been a whirlwind. From serving as special assistant to President Obama and director of strategic planning for then-first lady Michelle Obama, to welcoming newcomers to the Bold North as the vice president of communications and events for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Mokros shares the key takeaways that inspire her work today. 


Meghan Gustafson and Christie Altendorf, co-chairs of ILEA Live 2019, talk about the event’s return to Minneapolis and how they’re working together to pull off an event to remember.