Mindy Moore – Chicago Hospitality Professional of the Month (January 2016)
Interview with our Director of Group Events at Ravinia Festival and Here’s Chicago’s January 2016 Chicago Hospitality Professional of the Month!
Where did your hospitality career begin?
I started as a waitress so I learned very early on the art of interacting with the customer. I was only 16 when I got that job at Gullys, and it was a very fancy restaurant for a teenager. It was a tough job, but I fell in love with the service business immediately.
How many years have you been in the hospitality business?
Before I even finished school, and long before starting a family and raising successful children, the hospitality business was a big part of my life. There was never a time when it wasn’t my “real job” even when I had a different day job and ran a restaurant at night. I noticed that I walked to the advertising agency, but I ran to the restaurant.
What do you love about planning events in Chicago?
Planning events is Chicago is the greatest. We have the most creative resources that are on the cutting edge and trendy with enough conservatism to get the messages across. We are centrally located, have the best hotels, best food and beverage and musical opportunities. Our close-knit community will always welcome the newcomers and take the time to teach and share our experience. Plus, they are all my friends!
Why do you feel you are hospitality professional of the month? What would your friends say about you if they were nominating you?
It seems I have worked either with or for everyone I know in this business, and I know how hard they work, so I just think of myself as Mindy-Moore-of-the-Month. My friends tell me that I have a creative spirit and am fun to be around especially when the deadlines loom and I power up to “get-it-done” mode. What I know about myself is that each event is the most important event whether it’s 25 students eating burgers or 2,500 guests at an expensive fund-raising dinner.
What qualities to you feel a person needs to excel in as hospitality professional?
It depends on what level of your career you’re in, because so many of us pick up what we need to learn on the job. Obviously, hospitality, professionals need to maintain contacts, have strong organizational and time management skills, and be familiar with best practices in health, safety and sanitation. I would say the less obvious job requirement is human compassion. Remember the pressures your client is under, put yourself in their shoes so that you not only hear but also surprise your client. Be careful when multi-tasking that you don’t lose focus on each task you must tackle. Most of all, accomplish all of this while reflecting back the fun your guests are having.
How did you get into hospitality field?
A famous restaurateur said, “Mindy, you are great at this business and should make a career out of it. I would like to create a position for you if you in our company.” I said yes and have been working professionally in hospitality ever since.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad was the best event planner and most gracious host I ever met. So you can say this is in my genes. He had an amazing knack of making people feel welcome. He always kept his favorite music playing, and he invited people to dance into his home and eventually his heart.
Do you have any pet peeves?
I don’t like when guests or clients are disrespectful to the vendors or visa versa. I don’t like when vendors charge extra because they THINK the client can afford it. One cannot count someone else’s money. I adore when the party is over and it is just as clean and fun as when the guests arrive.
Future trends in event planning?
Everything will be technologically based and very interactive. People bring all their senses to a party—not just taste. Every party will be visceral—see, hear, taste and touch! like the experience visual, sound taste and touch.
What does it take to be a successful even planner?
Don’t expect your client to know your jargon or your job. It’s your job to know them.
What do you recommend for others who want to get into the hospitality profession?
I listen to people who want to PLAN PARTIES all the time, but a hospitality professional is a whole different thing. If a person is willing to give up a lot of personal time and make the profession the priority, then the profession becomes your personal time. I do not like to party very much, but love to be at parties. So ever since I started in this business it was an excuse to have fun but not partake. Now I am a professional at both!
What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com?
I LOVE HERE’S CHICAGO! AND am honored to be part of such a professional organization that delivers all it promises!
This interview was taken from a feature in HeresChicago.com. Visit HeresChicago.com to read the complete article.