Posts Tagged ‘speaker’

WOW! Moms at The Special Event 2012

I'm a WOW Mom!

January 2012 – Tampa, Florida

This dynamic session was organized by Michelle Bergstein-Fontanez, Director of Marketing, Exhilarate Events/BeatCreative  along with a panel of notable event industry moms:

WOW! Moms (left to right): Erin, Kelly, Elisa, Stacie, Filomena, Aymee #WOWMoms #TSE2012

How do industry mothers juggle a healthy family life & career all at once? What drives us to continue? What keeps us from throwing in the towel? How do we set the example? What are we teaching? What is the legacy we will leave?

As a panel, we – ten mothers from all facets of the events industry, and from all parts of the country – shared a glimpse into our home life; sharing family photos and personal narratives, and reflecting on our individual struggles and victories.   There was also a very heartwarming introduction video featuring pre-interviews of each panel members’ kids sharing their unique perspectives on their mother’s careers.

Attendees joined the conversation, sharing experiences, laughter, and a few tears.  This is how your fellow event industry mothers are making it happen day to day!

WOW! Moms (front to back): Stacie, Kelly, Christine, Erin, Aymee, Filomena, Annette #WOWMoms #TSE2012

WOW! Moms (front to back): Stacie, Kelly, Christine, Erin, Aymee, Filomena, Annette

Thoughts on being a WOW! Mom

It was quite an honor to share the stage with such a wonderful and accomplished group of women!  I hardly think of myself as a role model.  Like everyone else, I have my struggles, insecurities and regrets about being a working parent – especially in the hospitality and event industry.  I worry and wonder: Am I trying to juggle too much?  Am I spending enough time with my child?  Should I put more time into that proposal or hang the holiday decorations?   Is it worth it?  Is it WORKING?

Obviously I am not alone.  And I belive that was one of the key messages of the session: Let other event industry moms know that they are not alone.

While scripting and developing the session, Michelle asked each of us to focus on a specific point or realm of experience.  My topic was Growing Pains.  As one of the more senior members of the group, with a child who has literally grown up in the business, it was a unique opportunity for me to speak candidly about the phases of my life – both as a wife and mother, and as an event planning professional.  In order to write my notes for the session, I had to stop – literally s.t.o.p. – and reflect on 15+ years of personal and professional growth.  The highs. The lows. The victories and achievement. The tears and challenges.  I realized that the path which was initially unclear became a road to self-discovery and fulfillment.  Mind you it was a twisty-turny and winding road with potholes, but nonetheless a road.

I realize it’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan (rather, our plans).   The stress of meeting the daily demands on our time and energy can be overwhelming, exhausting, and even discouraging.   WOW! Moms are the women who support, encourage and motivate others; we all have this ability.  It’s good to be reminded that we can (and must!) choose to focus on looking forward, not behind.  It’s important to listen to your inner voice and make changes – whether it’s eating dinner together more often, or making time to do that ‘thing’ that has been on the back burner too long.   All we can do is our best.  We are bound to make mistakes along the way: could have, would have, should have…  Instead of letting these phrases haunt you, simply pray that you learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them.

WOW Moms at TSE2012

(c) E. Delgardio, 2012


02 2012

Business of Brides Conference 2011

I recently returned from the Business of Brides conference, which is ABC‘s annual conference.   The Conference was held in the ahhhmazzzinng and historic Tremont Plaza Hotel and Grand in Baltimore MD – let me just say that this venue was spectacular!  If I hadn’t promised myself to keep this post on point, I could go on endlessly about The Grand’s incredible ballrooms, furnishings and regal elegance. Fall leaves near Baltimore Inner Harbor

It was great to travel north during the Fall… Florida living does not offer much in the way of seasons, so it was wonderful to breathe the crisp air and enjoy the colorful scenery.   The weather was terrific and we got to explore the Inner Harbor area and taste crab and seafood specialties at the local eateries.

So much for the fun stuff; this was a business trip after all.

Being a planner is my career.  Because I take my career as a wedding professional seriously, attending industry conferences is a priority to me – it’s essential my professional development.   This year’s conference required significant advance preparation since I was slated to present an educational session with an ABC colleague, Heather Canada, MBC.   I was also preparing the necessary formalities in anticipation of receiving the professional designation of Master Bridal Consultant(tm) – a long time goal.   (Not to mention packing – which I started two weeks early, lest I forget something!)

I left for Baltimore the morning after completing a sensational wedding for one of our clients.  I think I was running on pure adrenaline (thank goodness for that!).  After arriving at BWI and checking in to the hotel, I polished up a few details and then went before a panel of Masters, the three Master Bridal Consultants who would view and judge my presentation.  I don’t know why this is such a nerve-wracking experience, but most most candidates agree that it is.   And while I did my best – considering a few technical difficulties and an undeniable level of exhaustion – I could not say that I nailed it.

The next morning, the MBC candidates were gathered together and we waited as colleagues were called in and out of rooms…  Eventually my name was called and I entered a meeting room along with a number of others.  I saw many familiar faces but still no indication of success or failure, until Lois Pearce announced that all of us present had advanced to Master Bridal ConsultantOh my goodness!  I was literally shocked – and elated! – and proud, too.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment – everyone was cheering and hugging and congratulating each other.  It was awesome. {happy sigh}

Elisa Delgardio Master Bridal Consultant(tm)

So now I  join the ranks of the very talented and dedicated professionals who have achieved either (or both!) the Master Bridal Consultant or Master Wedding Vendor designation – hooray!!
*As of this writing, there are 71 MBC/MBV’s worldwide.



11 2011

What I Learned Last Year

2010 was a remarkable year. “In a good way or a bad way?” you ask… “Yes.” I reply.

As I make this first blog entry of 2011, there are literally innumerable topics and events I could write about. So why am I writing about this…? Honestly, I’m not sure; except that it’s foremost in my mind at the moment.

For starters, I’d love acknowledge a few recent accomplishments. It’s funny how you can plug along all year and not see much progress. In retrospect, 2010 was a very strong year for me professionally, and it’s rewarding to see how many professional goals I was able to reach!
: I enjoyed speaking at a record number of industry meetings and conferences
: For the 2nd year in a row, I received a nomination for an Orlando WOW Award
: I gave back… more
: Advanced to Accredited Bridal Consultant

I could continue the list but it’s not my intention to compile a CV. My intention is to illustrate this point: While many goals were met (quite triumphantly!), I also encountered many obstacles (stepping stones), challenges (opportunities), and disappointments (reality checks). It was not the easiest year for business owners, such as myself; it was a physical, emotional and financial roller coaster ride – to say the least! Of course this comment flies in the face of certain conventions, but I place a high value on honesty.

And this is where things get interesting: I learned some incredible lessons. I gained some amazing insights. I met some inspirational people.

Arlene Blake, Elisa, Kerline Docteur, Heather Snively

Arlene Blake, Elisa, Kerline Docteur, Heather Snively

One such experience centered around the ABC’s annual conference. During that conference I was slated to present my portfolio of work and experience to advance to Master Bridal Consultant. For whatever reason, things did not work out for me in that respect. Instead of being advanced to Master-level, I was advanced to Accredited-level. I was disappointed, feeling that I had proven my skills and credentials . However, the significance of the situation quickly became evident and my focus shifted from what I did not receive to what I did receive: the support of my peers. I was buoyed in particular by three Master Bridal Consultants – Lisa Burnett, Heather Snively and Brigid Horne-Nestor – who reached out to me and shared words of encouragement. Longstanding friends and associates also cheered me up with kind words. In the end, I took away a much more valuable experience. Without question, I will become a Master Bridal Consultant, but in the interim, I am content to appreciate the many wonderful friendships I’ve forged.

life's little inspirations, encouragement, i love you note


I also mentioned previously that one of my events was nominated for a WOW Award! This was quite a thrill, but {insert sigh…} unfortunately a colleague took home the trophy. I am determined to keep trying though; I will stay the course! (ha-ha)

It is because of last year that I’m excited about this year! I’m working with wonderful clients, I’ve set new goals and I’m looking forward to every new opportunity – even if it comes disguised as an impossible situation.

The road leading to a goal does not
separate you from the destination;
it is essentially a part of it. ~Charles DeLint


02 2011

Wedding Professionals Gather in South West Florida for WeWed Summer 2010

WeWed – A Gathering of the Best Wedding Professionals

Elisa Delgardio, Jeannine Kennedy, Kelly McWilliams, Saundra Hadley

Elisa Delgardio, Jeannine Kennedy, Kelly McWilliams, Saundra Hadley

(c) sam brockinton

(c) sam brockinton

Founder and event organizer Kelly McWilliams describes it this way: “WeWed gatherings are for those who want to continue to build their business and/or become a better business person. It’s about getting motivated, learning how to improve, discussing what our industry is, where its going, and how to stay on top (or get back up there).”

When Kelly offered the first WeWed Brunch at the award-winning Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club I knew I must attend! It was such a fun and educational experience that I cleared my calendar to attend the second event at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. This year, I was honored to be asked to speak at WeWed Summer 2010 which was hosted by the new and uniquely luxurious Resort at Marina Village. Not to mention that I was in the incredible company of Saundra Hadley, Jeannine Kennedy and Kelly McWilliams (of course).

My presentation centered on Time Management techniques and strategies. I basically discussed that there are many options available to us, but the important thing is to find the system or method “that works best for you”. Sometimes a combination of techniques works the best. It’s all about trying new things and taking the time to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.


Time Management CafeLeft: Opening powerpoint slide

I was thrilled that I also got to enjoy the other speaker’s presentations, and I met so many wonderful people. I returned to Orlando feeling very motivated!

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