“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” -Diane Mariechild
The event industry is nothing short of intense and competitive. There is no question that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make some of the most memorable experiences come to life. In this industry, women drive critical value and inspiration to ensure a successful event, but unfortunately we don’t always get the chance to recognize them in the way we know they deserve.
Here at LASSO, we want to acknowledge some of the most hard-working and talented women in this industry, which is why we have established our first annual “Top Women in the Event Production Industry” awards. To begin, we asked our vast network of the very best event production companies for nominations on who THEY thought should be recognized, and the response was nothing short of spectacular. We are excited to share with you the powerhouse women that were nominated due to their positive impact on the growth and the success of their team. We were overwhelmed to find that many of the individuals we contacted had such glowing words for their well-deserved colleagues.
Out of all the nominees that will be recognized this year, we’ve selected three distinguished women in the industry in three distinct categories. We would like to congratulate the following women on being awarded as this year’s top woman in your category! Join us in celebrating the following women in event production:
- Top Woman Entrepreneur in Event Production: Tinslee Poor, Co-Owner/Operator @ The Grayscale Agency
- Top Executive in Event Production: Melanie Reed, VP of Operations @ Alford Media Services
- Top Woman in Event Production: Alexis Sturgess, Production Coordinator @ On Point Creative
Following this year’s winners, we will be highlighting all of the amazing women nominated this year!
Highlights from our 2018 Winners:
Tinslee Poor, Co-Owner/Operator @ The Grayscale Agency:
Top Woman Entrepreneur in Production
The Grayscale Agency was created to be different than other event production and staffing agencies – from the ground up. Tinslee Poor, Co-Owner and Operator of The Grayscale Agency, knew that the event industry was missing one of it’s most valuable foundational pieces; an actual CARE and CONCERN for the success of events. “She had grown tired of hearing stories of great event staff being given zero direction and encouragement. She noticed that clients were suffering due to the lack of agency oversight,” Tinslee’s Co-Owner, Eric Alder, told us when nominating her for this award.
With a heart for the production industry and her crew, Tinslee truly believes that she can change this industry for the better. And, so far, she has been incredibly successful at doing so! “She has built a huge portfolio of clients by caring for their needs. She has personally met every single person that she staffs clients with, and that’s unheard of in the event production and staffing industry,” Eric continues.
Her determination to build an agency that cares has allowed her company’s rosters to fill up with hundreds of staff members who can attest to the compassionate environment that she has set and continues to maintain. After the tragic Las Vegas Route 91 Massacre, Tinslee made it her priority to enforce safety protocol and went out of her way to ensure her entire staff was comfortable before going back to work at events on the Las Vegas Strip. “She is one of the most caring, hard working, and selfless business owners I’ve ever met,” concluded Eric.
The key ingredient to the success of any business is having a passion for the industry and a love for the team that keeps your company going. Much of Tinslee’s success is due to her compassion and a dream to improve the state of the industry she loves. For that reason, we’ve named Ms. Tinslee Poor as this year’s “Top Woman Entrepreneur in Event Production.”
Melanie Reed, Vice President of Operations @ Alford Media Services:
Top Woman Executive in Production
Melanie Reed serves as the Vice President of Business Operations at Alford Media Services, a boutique event support company with over 85 employees. She has nearly three decades (29 years!) of event industry experience and acts as the primary interface between Alford Media and their $2B+ parent company. Melanie oversees several critical business departments including accounting, purchasing, human resources, IT, marketing, communications, scheduling, travel, cross rental, product innovation, office management, and operations. Anyone else say WOW to that!?
“She has been the driving force for numerous ‘game-changing’ innovations at Alford including; Digital Show Kit, Alford Access Client Portal, RFID, and Lunch-and-Learn training sessions,” said Steve Alford, President of Alford Media Services. On top of her extensive responsibilities, Melanie serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Freeman’s Women in Development Organization.
“Melanie is an active protector of the culture at Alford Media Services and under her leadership, the company’s future is in great hands.” concluded Steve. Such significant work deserves strong recognition and celebration, which is why she was selected to be this year’s “Top Woman Executive in Production.” Please join us in congratulating Melanie and thanking her for all her amazing work!
Alexis Sturgess, Production Coordinator @ On Point Creative:
Top Woman in Production
Alexis Sturgess is the Production Coordinator at On Point Creative (OPC), an experiential design and fabrication agency specializing in all things production – from music festivals to film, TV, both large and small events, trade shows, and more. OPC is a women-owned business whose motto is to dream, design, and deliver. Alexis holds over 7 years of event industry experience. OPC’s Founder & CEO, Kristen Sheehan, had glowing words to say about Alexis, so it was clear that we had to choose her for our “Top Woman in Production” award.
“Alexis’s dedication to our company, long hours, and efforts to consistently keep event crews happy while saving on budgets is exemplary and almost impossible to find these days. She is self starting, with a laser-focused work ethic that far outshines the standard in the event industry,” said Kristen, Founder & CEO of OPC.
We all know how important it is to keep event crews happy. Quality crews are the backbone of any successful event. However, many companies struggle with doing this while also properly managing and not exceeding their budgets. This is a challenge that Alexis conquers every single day at OPC and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate all of her hard work and dedication to both her company, and the event production industry with this award.
All of the Remarkable Nominees
We would be amiss if we didn’t acknowledge all of the amazing women nominated for the “Top Women in the Event Production Industry” awards. These women should be celebrated alongside our winners due to their years of experience, dedication, and the positive impact they have had on the event industry. Please join us in recognizing the following women:
Brittney Escovedo, CEO & Founder @ Beyond 8
Beyond 8 is an innovative boutique event production agency. They specialize in fashion, tech, restaurant, nightlife, and music-related activations. With over a decade of event industry experience, Brittney Escovedo, Founder & CEO, is the mastermind behind Beyond 8. If you check out Beyond 8’s robust client list, there’s no question that she has positively impacted the growth and development of her business.
“Brittney is beyond one of the hardest working people I know in the industry. Not only has her events made history, but she has also personally helped me accomplish so many goals while working for her. She is caring, kind, and goes above and beyond for all of her clients, no matter the size of the event,” said Dawn Martin, Production Manager at Beyond 8.
As a woman in this industry, it’s essential to not only ensure successful and profitable events, but it’s almost more important to have a positive impact on other women trying to make their own way in event production. Brittney has successfully been able to accomplish both of these lofty objectives. It is this kind of dedication that makes the event industry so unique.
Christina Tscherteu, Meetings & Event Manager @ OneSource Worldwide
In the event industry, having superior customer service is fundamental to long lasting company success. OneSource Worldwide, a full-service corporate meeting & event-planning firm, makes this a priority in their business. This is just one reason why Christina Tscherteu, OneSource’s Meetings & Event Manager, was nominated for these awards. With over 7 years of experience, Christina demonstrates outstanding customer service every single day along with an unparalleled level of commitment to the needs and often-complex expectations of her clients. She does all of this without hesitation.
“She works tirelessly and is often traveling back to back from one week-long client event to another multi-day pop-up meeting in different time zone. She deserves this acknowledgment,” says Courtney Patterson, Meetings Manager, Live and Web Registration Producer at OneSource Worldwide.
Claudia Zervos, General Manager @ Global Management Services, Inc.
Another woman we’d like to acknowledge is Claudia Zervos. Claudia is the General Manager of Global Management Services, a premier event and meeting planning company. With over 9 years of event industry experience, Claudia is said to be meticulous in her delivery of services to the exacting standards of Fortune 500 company clients.
Hanson Ansary, President & CEO of Maxxus Group, which is the parent company of Global Media Services said, “Ms. Zervos is one of the most creative professionals in this industry with a keen sense of what would appeal to a particular client. She is a joy to work with in every respect. She is a rare breed.” Such individuality and commitment to success are just two reasons why Claudia deserves to be recognized as an exceptional woman in event production.
Erica Helphand, Managing Partner & COO @ OP3
Erica has been a recognized leader in the Peer-to-Peer event space for the last 20 years. She has over 350 events under her belt and has been with OP3, an event company helping clients produce dynamic fundraising events, since they started in 2002. However, beyond her immense experience, it’s her work ethic and ability to both drive and support her team that ensures every event is executed well.
“Erica has helped raise more than $577 million dollars for her clients supporting more than 433,000 participants,” said Cathy Kestler from CK Consulting. “Beyond her immense experience, it’s her love of events that inspired me to nominate her. Erica loves this work because it’s an opportunity for her to learn as much as she teaches. She loves it because it requires her to find new ways to delight participants. She loves it because there’s nothing more breathtaking than pulling off an event that’s as-close-to-perfect as an event can get. She loves this work not because she thinks she can change the world, but because she knows she can.”
Way to go Erica! While she is extraordinarily humble about her accomplishments, make no mistake that Erica is the best advocate an event could have on its side. Her passion is what makes the impossible seem possible when it comes to her events. We couldn’t be happier to acknowledge Erica for all she has contributed to this industry thus far and we cannot wait to see what is in store for her and her teams moving forward!
Georgia Holland, Sr. Event Producer @ Encore Creative
Encore Creative’s Senior Event Producer, Georgia Holland, “is fierce,” says Stefanie Lerner, CEO. Encore Creative started over 36 years ago and has evolved into one of the premier event production and design companies in the US and international scene.
With over 12 years of industry experience, Georgia has mastered the art of creative development and design as well as the ability to work through complicated event logistics in order to execute the best events – all while giving her clients, suppliers, contractors, entertainers and more, her full attention.
“On top of that, she leads our department of producers and is responsible for training, quality control, inspiring, and nurturing – while still making sure we’re profitable too. She is truly a gift of loyalty, dedication, and excellence to me, our company, and our clients,” concluded Stefanie. Great job Georgia and let us all thank you for everything you do!
Hyacinth Belcher, President & CEO @ Onstage Systems
Another “Wonder Woman” who deserves the spotlight is Hyacinth Belcher, the President and CEO of Onstage Systems, a full-service event solutions and event production company. You can see her positive, warm approach to running the business when you visit their website: “We would like our clients to view Onstage Systems as we view ourselves, as part of your family! Nothing is more important to us than the comfort of our clients when developing a project. The trust in allowing us to be a part of your vision is key to a perfectly executed event.”
Hyacinth has over 20 years of event industry experience. “Hyacinth’s guidance, vision, and passion for the entertainment industry has grown Onstage Systems in the DFW area and abroad to greater heights. Her ability to be a problem solver is the key to the company’s success. She is a tremendous credit to the industry,” said Darryl Morant, Audio Production Manager at Onstage Systems. Hyacinth is a role model to all men and women in the event production industry.
Maya Devassy Tarach, Owner & Event Planner @ Preoccupied Bride
Maya Tarach is the Owner of Preoccupied Bride, a wedding and event planning company for busy people. Her business was inspired by the planning of her own Indian-Polish wedding where her love of the entire process inspired her to become a certified wedding planner and do it for other busy couples in Chicago. Her goal is to provide dream weddings for people who are crunched on time.
Dave Florczak from A Posh Production said: “We worked with Maya on a large collaboration wedding, and though she is newer to the industry, she was more communicative and easier to work with than most other planners we have worked with.” Let’s all congratulate Maya on all of her outstanding work! We know it’s not easy taking on the stress for a wedding couple, but she does this every single day, without complaint.
Melissa Ferguson, Manage of Event Operations @ Encore Event Technologies at the Marriott Marquis Chicago
Another successful event professional we’d like to acknowledge is Melissa Ferguson. She has been in the event industry for over 20 years and throughout that time, has worn many hats. “Melissa has persevered through the challenges the industry has thrown at her. She deserves recognition,” said Justin Olson from Sound Investment AV.
Melissa exemplifies the key traits that every event professional should aspire to. Her hard work has paid off and she now holds a distinguished role as the Manager of Event Operations for Encore Event Technologies at the Marriott Marquis Chicago. We are honored to recognize Melissa for her hard work and dedication.
Meredith Francsis, Technical Producer @ Kehoe Designs
Meredith Francsis serves as a Technical Producer for Kehoe Designs, a full-service event design and décor company. Meredith’s colleague, Jacqueline Tran, said, “Meredith is an invaluable team member at Kehoe Designs. Meredith is a master of leading the technical team to create massive events with spectacular visuals. She uses her exceptional video, audio, and lighting design technical experience to create technically complex events with command and grace. By understanding the technical capabilities, she brings out the best from her team of technicians. She is in her element when creating an immersive event environment by completely transforming a 20,000 sq. ft. event space into an ‘under the sea’ themed night club or creating the perfect gala experience where each necessity is anticipated by understanding what the client needs before they recognize it themselves.”
Meredith is constantly bringing new elements of surprise to an event, whether it’s having a person pop out of a stage or having the entire drape line disappear with a full room kabuki system. Her attention to detail, unwavering support to both clients and colleagues and positive attitude continually enhance Kehoe Design’s organization. Her growth, both personally and professionally make her such an important person to acknowledge when it comes to women positively impacting the event industry.
Suzanne Neve, CEO @ Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA)
The Florida Festivals and Events Association’s mission is to promote and strengthen the festival, event and fair industry in Florida. FFEA is a leading resource for events professionals and organizations in Florida.
“Suzanne brings those producing events together through FFEA, creating long-lasting partnerships between members,” said Angel Narlinger, VP at Rebeka’s Dreams Entertainment & Production Services.
Prior to accepting the position at FFEA, Suzanne spent five years directing events for the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. As CEO of FFEA, she is responsible for all operational aspects of FFEA. We are all very grateful for her efforts to connect, educate, and advocate for the event production professionals in Florida and beyond.
Valerie Ulrich, Vice President Special Events and Conferences @ First Republic Bank
Valerie Ulrich is the Vice President Special Events and Conferences at First Republic Bank, a private bank with service at the forefront. With over 24 years of event industry experience, Valerie embodies everything that her company values such as exceptional client services, integrity, and hard work.
A colleague said, “Valerie has been driving a tremendous level of innovation, excellence and the incredible ability to manage complex events and conferences. Her level of professionalism has been inspiring.”
First Republic Bank’s motto states, “it’s a privilege to serve you”. Well, it’s also a privilege to recognize such an accomplished event industry professional like Valerie!
As we wrap up this year’s “Top Women in the Event Production Industry” awards and acknowledgements, we want to thank everyone that nominated these influential and inspirational top-performers. These women continue to shape the event production industry for the better. We were blown away by the nominations that came through and it’s been an honor showcasing these fine women for you this year.
About LASSO: Built with and loved by the very best event companies.
LASSO helps live event companies automate labor workflows and better manage their contingent, project-based, mobile event crew or staff. LASSO’s end-to-end workforce management and mobile app solutions cater to the specific needs found within event services and offers all of the necessary tools within one integrated platform – from recruitment to electronic signature, onboarding, skill set management, scheduling, communication, time-tracking, travel management, vendor management, payroll, and more. Event companies, both small and large, trust LASSO to help them make more informed scheduling and event decisions as well as eliminate costly, labor-intensive crewing processes.
Learn more and Request a Demo at www.lasso.io.