A Q&A With FEDA's Meeting and Event Planner

When did you join FEDA?

October 2017.

What did you do before coming here?

I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008 and interned at Clear Channel Communications in the promotions and events department where I was first exposed to corporate event planning. Following that, I worked at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, a meal replacement company, for nine years on a small marketing and events team.

What attracted you to FEDA?

Growing up, I discovered first-hand how a distribution model operated through my dad’s career in sales. He is a distributor for our family’s small office equipment business. Distribution is something that is familiar to me, as is the foodservice industry after nine years working for a company that relied on using foodservice equipment every day. Taking on the position as the meeting and event planner for FEDA, I have the opportunity to continue to work within the foodservice industry while streamlining my focus on event planning at the same time.

What has surprised you the most about the foodservice equipment industry and FEDA?

I am surprised with how much I now notice foodservice equipment in different spaces. When I’m out for dinner or shopping at the deli counter, I recognize manufacturer brands and tie them back to the equipment our members distribute, and take a small amount of pride in being able to represent them. When I started at FEDA, I remember Brad Pierce talking to me about the business he does with the U.S. Navy. Working for FEDA has made me realize the scope of all the behind the scenes work that our members do.

Your goals for FEDA as its new meeting planner?

My goal is to produce successful conferences and events that align with FEDA’s mission, advance the interests of our members, and infuse a more modern approach. I want to create a comfortable and positive experience that allows for attendees to freely share ideas, take away actionable information, and ultimately contribute to their business success.

What are some of the big projects you are working on now?

I am deep into planning our 2019 Annual Conference, themed “Think Strategy Lead the Change,” that will take place in Phoenix April 3-6. Attendees can expect a redesigned format from past conferences with new concepts for strategic learning. As part of that new format, one of the projects involved is launching the registration process where registrants will have the ability to create their own itineraries and choose which sessions they’d like to attend according to their desired skills development.

I am also working closely with FEDA’s Young Industry Leaders Steering Committee on events, specifically two retreats in Chicago and Pennsylvania for Young Industry Leaders this fall.

What is your favorite activity/hobby?

Cooking and traveling, staying active on the lake front with my husband and seven-month-old son, trying new restaurants around Chicago—most recently Aba in the West Loop, which had great forest-like ambiance.

What is your favorite movie?

The Shawshank Redemption.

Where are some of your favorite places to travel?

Greece, Ireland, and wine country in California.

Name one item on your bucket list?

Attending the Kentucky Derby.