how to become an event planner

Meet the Professionals

Throughout this site, and the accompanying book, professionals working across the different sectors of the events industry will share their experiences and advice. While the opinions expressed on this website have been informed by interviews with the contributors, unless expressly stated, the opinions of the author are not necessarily that of any or all of the contributors.

Marie Davidheiser
Marie Davidheiser
iris new york / Jack Morton Worldwide

Marie Davidheiser is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Operations for Jack Morton Worldwide.

Based in their New York office, she has worked on experiential campaigns and brand experience events throughout North America for clients including Bank of America, Samsung, Kimberly-Clark, American Airlines, Verizon, LEGO, and Walmart.

Having originally worked for Jack Morton as a freelance production coordinator, Marie then spent several years working for creative agency C2 Creative (now GO! Experience Design) on events for Bank of America, National Geographic and TV Guide, before returning to Jack Morton as a senior producer.

In 2016, Marie left Jack Morton and is now Managing Director of iris New York.

Farida Haqiqi
Farida Haqiqi
British Red Cross

Farida Haqiqi is the former Events Manager for The British Red Cross.

Events she worked on included the annual British Red Cross London Ball; a gala fundraising dinner for 600 people, a “major donor” event at Clarence House with HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, challenge events such as the London Marathon, and an annual British Red Cross Skills Share conference for 200 delegates.

Nathan Homan
Nathan Homan
The Dorchester Hotel / Rouge Events

Nathan Homan is Creative Director and Co-founder of special events agency Rouge Events, which specializes in brand communication events, product launches, parties and festivals for clients including Nissan, Jamie Oliver, Ikea, Sky, Ernst & Young, and Cartoon Network.

Prior to co-founding Rouge Events, Nathan worked in banqueting at The Dorchester and Four Seasons hotels in London, where career highlights included a state banquet for Nelson Mandela; a charity gala hosted by the late Princess Diana; a launch of Donatella Versace’s ‘million dollar dress’; and escorting Elizabeth Taylor to the stage for her final ever press conference in the UK, having just be invested as a Dame.

Chad Hudson
Chad Hudson
Chad Hudson Events

Chad Hudson is President, Creative Director and Owner of Chad Hudson Events, a full service event design, production and management company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Past events include Guess North American Conference, ABC’s Comic-Con booth, Major League Baseball’s All Stars Gala, movie premieres including The Twilight Saga, Ender's Game, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and numerous Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Super Bowl events.

Matt James
Matt James
Left Field Productions

Matt James is an award-winning event planner and owner of Left Field Productions. With 20 years’ experience in charity, corporate, brand experience, and special events, Matt has produced events for Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stella McCartney, Kevin Spacey, David LaChapelle, Canon, Mattel, Montblanc, Chopard, British Red Cross, and Credit Suisse.

The winner of 30 industry awards, Matt is often invited to judge awards and competitions, including The Eventice, Corporate Event Association Awards, and Incentive Travel & Meetings Association Awards; speak at industry events, including International Confex, RSVP, and ILEA conferences and lectures; and guest lecture at university event management degree courses.

Prior to starting his own business, Matt worked for leading Middle East advertising agency Publicis Graphics. He began his event-planning career working on fundraising events for AIDS charity London Lighthouse, before joining the corporate events team at the investment bank Credit Suisse.

Bill Jones
Bill Jones
THE CHANNEL COMPANY (formerly UBM Tech Channel)

Bill Jones is Vice President and Managing Director of Events for The Channel Company (formerly UBM Tech Channel, part of UBM) a global live media and business-to-business communications, marketing services, and data provider.

Bill’s event expertise spans on-demand conferences, virtual events, live events, conferences, road shows, and partner events. Recent events include Midsize Enterprise Summit, Healthcare IT Summit, Best of Breed Conference and Women of the Channel Workshop.

Fiona Lawlor
Fiona Lawlor
Jack Morton Worldwide

Fiona Lawlor is HR Director and Senior Vice President of the EMEA region of global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide.

Based in the London office, Fiona is responsible for attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining the talent needed to be an ideas-led agency.

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
ACCESS DESTINATION SERVICES

Christopher H. Lee, DMCP, is CEO of ACCESS Destination Services.

An award-winning destination management company with 14 offices throughout North America, ACCESS Destination Services provides creative program design, event production services, travel logistics, and recreational activities for meetings, incentives, and conventions. Clients include Wells Fargo, Nestle, and Energizer.

Chris has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1987 and is a Co-founder and Past President of the Association of Destination Management Executives International, a contributing author to The Guide to Successful Destination Management, and the more recent Best Practices in Destination Management. He was among the first to earn the DMCP certification in and is a past Destination Management Professional of the Year honoree, the highest peer award in the industry. Meeting News magazine has named Chris one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry.

A native of San Diego, California, Chris is a graduate of the Entrepreneur Program at the University of Southern California and holds degrees in Business and Marketing. Under Chris' leadership, his companies have earned numerous awards.

Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Miller
Access Destination Services

Jennifer Miller, DMCP, is a Partner of ACCESS Destination Services and President of its offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Arizona. Founded in 1970, ACCESS is one of the most recognized destination management and event production companies with 14 offices throughout North America.

After studying travel & tourism at San Diego State University, Jennifer began her career in the hospitality industry as a meeting planner/account executive for a local incentive travel firm working predominantly in the banking and financial sector. In 2000, she joined ACCESS San Diego as a Program Manager working on meetings, special events and incentive travel programs for Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, Exxon Mobil, Toyota, and AT&T. Then, as Director of Operations, she managed a team of program managers and was responsible for all client program operations and key account management. In 2004, Jennifer was promoted to General Manager of the San Diego office. By 2010, her leadership role was expanded to include the Los Angeles, Arizona and Las Vegas ACCESS offices. Jennifer became a Partner in 2013, and was then promoted to the role of President in early 2014.

Grace Nacchia
Grace Nacchia
George P. Johnson

Grace Nacchia is an Event Director at George P. Johnson where she works on multiple conferences and exhibitions for clients that include IBM and GSMA (Global Systems for Mobile Communications Association).

Prior to George P. Johnson, Grace worked for Imagination on the Shell/Ferrari global exhibitions program and EMS Worldwide on roadshows and events for Sony and Royal Bank of Scotland. Grace has delivered events throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Dori Rodriguez
Dori Rodriguez
Jack Morton Worldwide

Dori Rodriguez is a Senior HR Associate for global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide.

Based in the Boston office, Dori’s role includes recruiting and filling entry-level positions at Jack Morton offices throughout the United States. She also leads Jack Morton’s Summer Internship Program.

Nicola Mosley
Nicola Mosley
George P. Johnson

Nicola Mosley is the UK HR Manager for George P. Johnson, the #1 ranked experience-marketing agency in the world. As part of her role, Nicola manages GPJ’s recruitment efforts in the United Kingdom.

Charlotte Saynor
Charlotte Saynor
Apple / FremantleMedia Enterprises

Charlotte Saynor is the former Vice President of Brands and Events for FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), one of the world largest creators, producers, and distributors of TV programs such as The X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Apprentice, and American Idol.

Initially joining FME as Global Head of Events, Charlotte’s role involved managing the global events program covering trade shows, conventions, festivals, brand launch events, executive conferences, and sponsorship events. Overseeing a team of 10 people, she has produced events in locations such as New York, London, Las Vegas, and Cannes.

Prior to FME, Charlotte was the Head of European events for Apple and has also organized events for TV brands such as Lost and Desperate Housewives whilst at Disney ABC . In 2013, she left FME and founded her own corporate event agency, Saynor Events.

Sharyn Scott
Sharyn Scott
Linklaters

Sharyn Scott is the former Global Head of Events for the law firm Linklaters, which has 28 offices throughout the United States and Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Sharyn’s role encompasses the full spectrum of corporate events from corporate hospitality, dinners, and staff holiday parties, to conferences, global partners’ meetings, and client receptions throughout USA, Europe, and the Middle East.

Prior to working at Linklaters, Sharyn has organized events world-wide for Citibank, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and the travel company Going Places, a division of Thomas Cook.

Lisa Simmons
Lisa Simmons
Goldman Sachs

Lisa Simmons is Project Manager, Europe, Asia, and Middle East (EAME) Events at Goldman Sachs.

Prior to Goldman Sachs, Lisa worked as a freelance event manager for Microsoft, British Telecom, and Credit Suisse before becoming Assistant Vice President in Corporate Events for Barclays Capital and Event Team Leader at Linklaters.

Liz Sinclair
Liz Sinclair
ESP Recruitment

Liz Sinclair is Co-founder and Managing Director of ESP Recruitment, the leading recruitment consultancy for the events industry. A specialist agency founded in 1999, ESP Recruitment have offices in London and Dubai covering all sectors of the events industry offering a professional, honest and confidential service to clients and candidates both in the United Kingdom and overseas.

An active player in the United Kingdom and international events industry, and has partnered with Event Magazine to publish the UK’s largest event industry annual salary survey for over 14 years. In 2009 she created The Eventice, an Apprentice-style competition for graduating event management degree course students to win a job with leading employers such as George P. Johnson and Bluehat.

Prior to co-founding ESP Recruitment, Liz worked for a number of conference and exhibition companies including Centaur, UBM, Terrapin and Informa.

Charlotte Wolseley Brinton
Charlotte Wolseley Brinton
Rhubarb Food Design

Charlotte Wolseley Brinton is the former Head of Events at Rhubarb Food Design, one of the UK’s top five catering companies, where she worked on high-profile events such as HRH Prince Charles’ 50th birthday at Windsor Castle, Elton John’s Annual White Tie & Tiara Ball, and Stella McCartney’s wedding.

After leaving Rhubarb Food Design, Charlotte founded her own special events company, Event Fusion, specializing in corporate events, boutique conferences, private parties, and weddings for clients such as The Serpentine Gallery, The Royal Exchange and the British High Commission. Charlotte produces events internationally in locations such as South Africa, France, Ibiza, Morocco and the United Kingdom.

Martin Turner
Martin Turner
Credit Suisse

Martin Turner is the former Global Head of Events for the investment bank Credit Suisse.

He began his event-planning career in Australia in 1981 and spent 16 years managing international group travel, meetings, conferences, and incentive programs for clients such as Toyota, Pepsi, Xerox, Time Magazine, and American Express.

After moving to the United Kingdom in 1997 he joined global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide as Senior Logistics Director, before becoming Global Head of Events for Credit Suisse.

Since leaving Credit Suisse, Martin has worked for UBS, Barclays Capital, MJM Creative, and NetJets. Martin also teaches Event Management to Post Graduate students at Birbeck, Kings College, and UCL Institute of Education in London for the Ashdown Academy.

Rachel Vingness
Rachel Vingsness
Jack Morton Worldwide

Rachel Vingsness is a Senior HR Manager for Jack Morton Worldwide and works with the New Jersey, Connecticut, and California teams. The Jack Morton HR team is focused on engaging talent, growing careers and fostering culture and community. Rachel’s passionate about her role in the agency and ensuring it’s a great place to work.




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The Truth about How to Become an Event Planner

The 10 Steps to Becoming an Event Planner. Career advice and information by employers, recruiters, and experienced event professionals.