• Meet Wendy Porter, 2019 Best Special Events Planner

    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.

     
    POSTED April 29, 2019
     
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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.”

Carly Van Veldhuizen, the mastermind behind Girl Friday’s mesmerizing creative custom installations, talks inspiration, materials and the value of a solid team.

 

The 2018 Meeting Planners Symposium held at The Graduate Minneapolis and McNamara Alumni Center was all about unique venues and experiences. From a Scrabble team challenge to a mini hackathon, meeting with no walls and a surprise session on a coach bus, this learning opportunity was anything but ordinary. Teams worked together to solve a complex problem and pitch their idea for $500 cash. Through beautiful chaos, attendees discovered fresh, unconventional approaches to do their jobs better.

 

This three-city area offers lodging, event space—and plenty of free parking.