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Industry Briefs
Katrina's Corner

Thoughts from a Seasoned Event Professional (who happens to be Black)

I am excited to embark upon the task of sharing my perspective of the Corporate Event Industry as an Event Planner, (who happens to be Black: expressed in such a way quite deliberately).  My unique tips and strategies spanning my 30-year career are intended to enhance your event business.

First a bit of my personal background…I am married with three adult children and one granddaughter, Zoie.  I was raised by a man who participated in the Civil Rights movement and witnessed the Freedom Riders in Anniston Alabama.  I was not taught to follow my passion, but to select a career where I could make MONEY.  My destiny was decided for me in that my dad insisted I become an electrical engineer.  He proudly drove me from our home in Denver Colorado to Prairie View A&M University in Texas.  I went along with the program and went to work for Bell Labs.  I married and had my first baby boy (who now does Global Manufacturing & Sourcing for the Ralph Lauren Corporation).  For his first birthday I hosted a party for every child we knew including friends, family, kids in Sunday School, children in the neighborhood etc.  We blocked off the streets and as the adage goes “commenced oh festival!”

One of the parents happened to be an employee of Pepsi Cola Bottling Group and mentioned that if this party was for a one year old, I could certainly manage the Pepsi company parties.  He connected me with the right individuals from Pepsi and voila…Precious Parties was born.  We have evolved from Precious Parties, to Creativity on Tap, to Visibility by Design, and now our final current branding - Forums Meetings & Events which highlights the power of connecting.  The word and act of Networking seems to be a cliché, but I cannot stress enough the necessity to truly connect with others in a genuine way.  This can definitely lead to opportunity.

I greatly anticipate using this platform to share more of my experiences in hopes that you will use them to enhance your current position or brand.  I am dying to explore with you the reasons why I have never used my photo or those of my staff of 13 on our website at this point.  I am looking forward to explaining why in the past, I have felt it necessary to run back to corporate America every time the going got rough.  I intend to give you information on the conferences that you must attend and the places you must be in the industry.

Stay Tuned for my next entry, “Is Black your Brand?” Followed by:

Finding RFP’s Online
Earning Government Business
Low Barrier to Entry
Highlights from the Party & Event Planners US World Report
Gaining Sponsorships for your Events
Grant Resources for 501(c)3’s

In the meantime, I can be reached at:

Katrina Ruff, CMP, CIS
SVP Business Development
Forums Meetings and Events

Mobile: (303) 349-9779