• Meet Wendy Porter, 2019 Best Special Events Planner

     
    POSTED April 29, 2019
     

    Minnesota Meetings + Events is proud to introduce our 2019 Hall of Fame, made up of seven top-notch individuals who are positively impacting the meetings and events industry.

BEST SPECIAL EVENTS PLANNER
Wendy Porter

Owner/Chief Events Officer; Wendy Porter Events LLC

On getting into the industry: “I completely fell into events. There was no degree in event planning at the time so it wasn’t on my radar. I was in corporate marketing for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement [a division of UnitedHealth Group] when someone said there was a trade show coming up and they needed someone to take it on. I thought ‘I’ve never done an event in my life, but I’ll figure it out.’ … They ended up creating a position for me.”

“My biggest challenge has been helping management understand the value of a professional planner. A lot of people think anyone can do what we do. ... I’m actually working with another planner to draft a research proposal for Oxford University to gather those concrete metrics and data.”

“My secret weapons are my experience and my network. With my experience I’m able to ask those big questions to find what the client is trying to achieve and translate that to the tactics needed to make it happen. ... And with my network, if there’s something I don’t know how to do I have someone I can call who does.”

On starting her own company: “I was actually working on a United event when I was in an elevator with an AARP exec. ... She said, ‘I’d never miss one of your events. You should start a company and call it Wendy Porter Events.’ That totally surprised me. I’d thought of starting a business, but it didn’t feel real until she gave it a name.”

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. 

 

Take note of these seven pros who are making their mark in the meetings and events industry. 

Jolene Ihle, Founder
IdeationMKT
Lifetime Achievement 

“I was 10 years old when I received my Muscular Dystrophy Carnival Kit in the mail. The box was filled with cool ideas and colorful materials to  support fundraising efforts. I was completely enthralled with the event planning process. … This experience was my jumpstart into events and I was hooked.”

 

Here's who has been crowned the winners and runners-up of the Minnesota Meetings + Events Best of 2020 readers' choice awards. Congratulations!  

Best Brewery/Cidery/Distillery/Winery with Event Space 
Surly Brewing Company